Oulton is a village with the northern part of the conurbation of Lowestoft, Englands most easterly town. The centre of the modern village is the community centre with adjacent doctors surgery, dentist and pharmacy, with the public house opposite. The parish church of St Michaels is situated over a mile away overlooking the marshes. Stories explaining this distance vary, one mentions the black death of the middle ages leaving the old village in disuse but there are unfortunately no records to support this gruesome tale.
The village sign was errected in 1990 and is topped by a model of the church surrounded by various shields, below these are some ornate carvings of sheaves of barley and the village name. There is a paved area upon which the sign stands but this area is rather smothered by a shrubbery which does provide a little cover for the visiting cacher from the traffic.
Two of the shields depict Sir John Fastolfe (Lord of the Manor of Oulton (Houton) from 1419 until his death in 1445 and later imortalised by Shakespeare as Sir John Falstaff) and his wife Katharine who are buried in the church under reproduction brasses produced in the 1970's. The originals were stolen when the church was undergoing renovations in the 19th century.
Other shields show;
- The summer house of the author George Borrow (1808 - 1881) who resided in the south of the parish,
- the Arms of the Hobart family who were Lords of the Manor from the late 1500s until 1631,
- the 'Stook of Barley and Crossed Malt Shovels' which symbolises Oulton's agricultural past and its once flourishing malt houses,
- Oulton High House, the old manor house of Oulton, built by the Hobart family,
- a wherry, a traditional sailing craft which was a common sight on the waterways to the south of the parish in bygone years,
- the Arms of the Bacon family who were associated with the church in the early 14th century.
If anybody would like to expand this series please do. I would just ask that you let Smokeypugs know first so they can keep track of the Village Sign numbers and names to avoid duplication.