Aug. 2013, Open Churches Week: Mary Hardy at Whissonsett

Mary Hardy spent nearly half her life at Whissonsett, in central Norfolk. Her family connections there will be commemorated on all seven days of Open Churches Week, from Monday 5 August to Sunday 11 August 2013.

Entitled Footprint in Whissonsett, various events will feature the diarist and her extended family. The church, seen at the banner, will be open every day from 10 am to 4 pm (except on Tuesday 6 August, when the exhibition will run only until 3 pm owing to a funeral later that afternoon). Visitors are warmly welcomed.

Events and explorations

  • A TALK on Mary Hardy’s family and the position of women by the editor of the newly published diary, Margaret Bird, in Whissonsett Church on Wednesday 7 August at 2 pm
  • AN ORGAN RECITAL of music of that period, including Handel, by Margaret Vincent on the Nicholson organ of Whissonsett Church on Saturday 10 August at 2 pm
  • REFRESHMENTS (AT THESE TWO MAIN EVENTS), including some from the recipe book 1784–1805 of Mary Hardy’s daughter Mary Ann; also home-made cakes by the village’s own 21st-century cooks. There will be a small charge for these. Some of the recipes are available for download as a four-page pdf as Mary Ann Hardy’s teatime recipes
  • A SELF-GUIDED WALK round the village centre, with a four-page illustrated handout (available for download as a pdf) In the footprints of Mary Hardy
  • ACTIVITIES for all ages, such as writing and illustrating your own diary page and adding to the one held in the church during Open Churches Week
There are no charges to attend the talk and recital, but donations are invited. The walk and activities are free.
All the volumes of Mary Hardy’s diary, published on 30 April 2013, will be available for browsing and purchase.

Finding the church and contact details

Whissonsett, south of the busy town of Fakenham, lies in beautiful arable countryside between the A1065 to the west and the B1146 to the east. The church’s postcode is NR20 5AP.

Parking is easy in front of the south side of the church on the large green called the Camping Land, reached from the High Street; or at the Village Hall to the west in London Street.

For further details contact Lesley Pegg in the village, tel. 01328 700010.

Also in the area

There are many fascinating churches nearby. Be sure not to miss two: majestic Brisley, and absorbing Tittleshall with its wealth of Coke family memorials.

Norfolk’s rural life museum and working farm at Gressenhall, only a short drive away on the road to Dereham, is open every day 10–5. There is masses to see and do there for both adults and children: see Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse

Some of Mary Ann Hardy's recipes

William Hardy wrote out most of the 122 recipes in his daughter’s household book, starting when she was about ten  [Cozens-Hardy Collection]

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Margaret Bird

Margaret Bird in 2016

The editor and author of the Mary Hardy volumes

You can read about the historian Margaret Bird on the link above

See inside…