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Wrenthorpe Environmental Society Village Sign

In Spring 1998, Wrenthorpe Environmental Society held a meeting to launch the new Wrenthorpe Guide. Suggestions were invited for a new project to unite and inspire the community. One of these suggestions was for a Millennium marker, and from this the idea for a village sign was developed. WRENS considered various sites for the Village Sign. The likely cost of the project exceeded funds available so sources of additional funding had to be found. The WRENS committee sought ideas for a design. It was agreed that the sign must include the word “Wrenthorpe”, but what else? All this deliberation took time. The Millennium came and went.

In October 2001 WRENS received a Community Chest Grant of £750 from Wakefield MDC as a contribution towards the Village Sign. WRENS committee agreed to fund the remaining cost, expecting the total to be less than £2000.

In April 2002 a draft design was published in the village newsletter: Wrenthorpe Matters. Following comments received, WRENS decided to approach Ibstock Brick Company for help in producing a design in brick. In August 2002 a design was agreed: a replica brick kiln, echoing Wrenthorpe’s history as a village of potters in the 18th Century. At this time the village was known as Potovens, although the name Wrenthorpe dates back to the Viking invasion. The lettering on the kiln was agreed: Wrenthorpe, Potovens, 2003.

Discussions with Wakefield MDC followed with regard to the siting of the kiln. A final decision was eventually made to site it outside the Village Hall. The Heritage Coordinator at Bretton Hall College was approached provide a craftsman to construct the kiln. Base works were planned and kindly constructed free of charge by Peter Duffy Ltd. The brick moulds were specially made.

Finally everything was ready for the kiln to be constructed by Matthew Fairley in September 2003. In the process of construction a Time Capsule was incorporated, including the book of names of sponsors, an explanation of the ideas behind the sign and a copy of the Wrenthorpe Guide. Outwood Video Club produced a short film of the constuction, including the firing of the bricks at Ibstock Brick Company. On 8th March 2004, Mayor David Atkinson unveiled the kiln, aided by children from local schools, in the presence of our local councillors, representatives from Ibstock Brick, local press and GMTV.

This small kiln is a monument to the community spirit of Wrenthorpe at the start of the 21st Century as well as to Wrenthorpe’s past. We hope it will be viewed with pride and affection by generations to come.

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