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Paston, Norfolk

The north Norfolk village of Paston hosted the Norfolk Dig & Sow event in May 2012. A community steeped in history, it is famous for the Paston Letters, a large collection of correspondence between the Paston family dating from the 15th century. Our base for the day was Paston Church, where several 17th century members of the Paston family are buried. The building is Grade 1 listed with medieval wall paintings but is currently in need of restoration, more about their appeal for donations can be found here.

The residents of Paston went to an enormous effort organising refreshments and activities for the day. Cakes and sandwiches were served in the church by members of the Paston Heritage Society in traditional medieval costume, alongside the showing of a DVD about the history of the local area and activity materials for children. A welcome energy boost for the diggers was a hog roast at a nearby farm.

At the end of the day, each test-pit team laid out their finds along the pews of the church and were invited to summarise what they had found to everyone else present, nearly 100 people!

Many thanks to Paston Heritage Society for organising the day’s festivities and especially to Lucy Care for recruiting test-pit sites in the village.

As part of a Heritage Lottery Funded All Our Stories project, the heritage society have developed a new website which includes an interactive map and videos of the Dig & Sow test pits, which you can explore here.

Click here to view the project report.


88% of respondents rated their experience of the excavations as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, while 92% would recommend the activity to others.

"Very entertaining day - brought the community together." (NC, Paston resident)

"Excellent! Would do it again. Wish there were more 'Dig & Sow'!" (BW, Norfolk resident)

"Engage with heritage of area is extremely valuable and enjoyable experience. Also great to meet new people." (AR, Norfolk resident)

"Well organised. Enjoyable. Inclusive and open. Pleased to be a part of it." (NA, Norfolk resident)

"I enjoyed how the event was organised so that it created a lot of community spirit." (MW, Norfolk resident)