centre of the sign is an escutcheon with
the Coat of Arms of Roger Bigod, 2nd Earl of Norfolk.
. This is
flanked by four quadrants representing stylised images of the Forncetts' past.
Upper left. This shows a monk reading a
manuscript, with Forncett St. Mary church in the background. The monk
represents John of Fornsette who was reputedly born in Forncett and who
died in 1238 or 1239. He was a monk at Reading Abbey where he kept the records
and is credited as being the composer of "Summer is coming in" (Sumer
is Icumen In - Old Eng.); a piece that is considered to be a masterpiece of
medieval music. John has been widely regarded as the possible scribe of the
manuscript containing it, and as the person who inspired the Latin and English
words and the music. However, whilst his name appears on the manuscript, it is
debatable whether he was the author or composer.
Upper right. Farm labourers are shown protesting about
conditions on the land, with Forncett St. Peter church in the background. In
the early 1800s food riots, machine breaking and the protests over tithes,
wages and the Poor Laws were all quite common public activities.
Saturday 2nd March 1822 there was a riot in which as many as 500 men
gathered at Forncett End. They went through Tacolneston, Fundenhall, Ashwellthorpe
and Hapton breaking all the threshing machines they could find and by the 6th
March there was reputedly not an intact machine for ten miles around. A number
of the rioters were subsequently imprisoned in Norwich Castle.
Lower left. The half-timbered house represents
the now lost manor house of Forncett which is
believed to have stood immediately to the north of St. Mary's church. The manor
house is said to have fallen into disrepair and disappeared around 1460-1490. The
whole manor of Forncett was given to Roger Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk, by William the Conqueror, as a reward
for his services during the Conquest. In the foreground of this quadrant a
noble couple represent Forncett as the Duke of Norfolk's prime manor. (Note: In
1397 Richard II conferred on the then Duke of Norfolk the estates and titles
that had formerly belonged to the Earls of Norfolk.)
postmill is representative of the two mills (the White Mill and the Black Mill)
that existed at the crossroads in Forncett End from the early 1800s to the