The Original Forncett Village Hall
Our village hall in Low Road plays a central role in much of Forncett village life today and villages have always needed a venue for many social activities. Whilst pubs and churches served as important meeting places, activities such as village fairs and fetes often took place on fields and in barns loaned for the occasion by one of Forncett's farmers.
Today's village hall in Forncett St. Mary was formerly the National school which was established by the Rev. Thomas Jack, vicar from 1805 to 1844. It served as the local school from around 1814 until it closed by the end of the Great War. What happened to the school then is not clear, but on 10th April 1952 it was signed over to the Trustees of Forncett Village Hall for the sum of £200.
However, Forncett's first "village hall" was opened in December 1905 in Forncett End when a large barn behind what is now called Austhorpe House was let to the parish by the new owner, Charles Emmerson, for use as a "Parish Room".
Barn used as the Parish Room in Forncett End
A newspaper report at the time described a concert by the Forncett St. Peter Glee Club in aid of providing the aged poor with a Christmas gift of coals, tea etc.
Norwich Mercury - 23 Dec 1905
We don't know how long the barn served as Forncett Parish Room but, much later, it was converted into staff accommodation for Austhorpe Nursing Home and now, in the ongoing development of the Austhorpe, it has been converted into a residential home called "The Barn".