ludham archive

    The ups and downs of the village sign

The village sign in Ludham stands on Baker's Arms Green, an open space in the middle of the village. This was the site of the former Baker's Arms Pub which was demolished when the road was widened.
The sign was designed by Joan Snelling and carved by Philip Sayer in Japanese oak. It was erected in 1970. On it you will find King Canute (Knut) who gave the manor of Ludham to St Benet's Abbey. The King is handing over the Charter to the Abbot of St Benet's. Also depicted is St Catherine (with her wheel).
Unfortunately, the rot got into the original wooden sign, so in 1990, Mike Fuller made a mould and re-cast the sign in fibre glass. This is the sign you see today. The sign was re-painted in 2010 and 2023 and is looking very nice.

Here are some pictures showing the history of the sign.


In the picture above. you see the dedication of the new sign in 1970. The people in the picture are Joan (Pop) Snelling who designed the sign, Philip Sayer, the sculptor, Cyril Thrower, then Chairman of Ludham Parish Council and The Hon Pamela Walpole, then Chairman of Smallbrough Rural District Council who unveiled the sign. This is the original wooden sign before the rot set in.

Pop Snelling was the winner of a competition set by the Parish Council to design the sign. She based her design on the stained glass window in the Lady Chapel at St Catherine's. The design was adapted by the sculptor, Philip Sayer, to fit in with his own style of carving which was influenced by Romanesque and Early Gothic church carving. This was one of the last events carried out by Lady Walpole of Wolterton Hall before she emigrated to South Africa.

Percy Hales
Percy Hales
The sign was erected by Philip's Father, J.H. Sayer and by Percy Hales, a Ludham builder who also built the cairn.

Mr Thrower said at the ceremony that the sign had not cost the village a penny thanks to the foresight and business ability of the Parish Council. A sign had first been planned in 1953, but it had not gone ahead due to the cost.

The explanatory plaque was made by Mr R.O. Brooks at Ludham Foundry.

Above we see Mike Fuller with the sign in 1990 after he had made the mould.


This is how the fibre glass replacement looked after Mike Fuller had made it but before it was painted. Making the mould and casting a new sign was not an easy task as the rotted wood was soft and there was only one chance of getting it right.
mike and

The replacement sign is painted.

The sign in 1990 after the work was completed

The sign in 2010 after being re-painted

Repainted 2023
The sign was again repainted in 2023 by Clare Routledge

The sign has two plaques on the post detailing the history of the sign.

They read:

In 1019, King Canute gave the manor of Ludham to the Abbey of St Benet at Holme. St. Catherine, whose emblem is a wheel, is the patron saint of the Parish Church.
Design by Joan M. Snelling
Carving by Philip Freeman Sayer

Moulded in 1990 by Michael E. Fuller from the original.

plaque 2
plaque 1

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