About Weeting Village
Its church, St. Mary, stands close to Weeting Castle,
and is one of 124 existing round-tower churches in
Norfolk. Another church, All Saints stood 500M south of
St.Mary's, but was destroyed by the fall of its tower in
C.1700, the site is still visible today, with various
grave markers lining a fence on the south side of the
old churchyard, and a high mound marks the location of
the church foundations, during dry spells, the crop mark
outline of All Saints can be clearly seen, and some
flint remains of the tower, south aisle wall, and east
wall are just breaking the surface.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Weeting housed a Ministry of
Labour work camp. Basing its operations in the
eighteenth century Weeting Hall, the Ministry of Labour
opened a residential training centre in 1926, aimed at
helping unemployed men - particularly war veterans - to
acquire basic agricultural techniques. The centre had a
capacity of 200; of these, three quarters were expected
to emigrate to countries such as Canada or Australia.
The training programme initially consisted of a 'testing
period', involving heavy manual tasks such as
road-making and log-splitting; those judged suitable
were then trained in dairy work, ploughing, horse
management, rough carpentry and seed planting.
By 1929, the policy of overseas emigration was under
severe pressure. High unemployment in the Dominions led
to a sharp decline in demand for freshly trained British
workers, and the collapse of mining and heavy
manufacturing at home had produced new pressures.
Weeting Hall was redesignated as an Instructional
Centre, taking in young long-term unemployed men from
the depressed areas and giving them a three-month
exposure to heavy manual work. The Ministry sometimes
described this as a "reconditioning" process, which
hardened up young men who had gone "soft" through
prolonged unemployment. While some of the trainees did
find work as a result, quite significant numbers were
either dismissed or walked out - despite the risk to
their benefits. Weeting was one of a number of work
camps opened by the Ministry rising to a total of 35 by
1938; by the summer of 1939, with unemployment falling
as war became imminent, all were closed, and several
were turned over to other uses. Weeting Hall, which was
used to house wounded Indian and Gurkha soldiers during
the Second World War, was demolished in 1954.
Weeting has many thatched cottages and is home to one of
the longest continuous lines of thatched roofed houses.
Unfortunately in January 2007 the thatched roof caught
fire initially only damaging one house, however four
years later another fire ravaged one half of the whole
row. The row is believed to be dated between the
eighteenth and nineteenth century.