Next ACT meeting 14 December, 7.30 p.m. at St Augustine's Church Hall 

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Knocks Board, St Augustine's church, Norwich
This is an extremely rare survival, a sexton's 'knocks board'. Peal boards recording noteworthy campanological feats are fairly common in comparison. The wording, which isn't too clear in this image, is as follows:

Knocks
For the Dead, 1816.
3 For a Girl
4 For a Boy
6 For a Maid
7 For a Married Woman
8 For a Bachlor
9 For a Married Man

It was one of the sexton's duties to toll the bell to mark the death of a parishioner; the number of tolls indicating the gender and marital status of the deceased. Strangely, five knocks wasn't allocated.

There were two sextons at St Augustine's in 1816, John Goose senior, who died on 16th November aged 51, and John Goose junior, his son, who inherited his late father's position at the age of 18 or 19, and served as sexton at St Augustine's for 32 years until his death on 11 September 1848, also aged 51. Perhaps John Goose senior, realising his days were numbered and fearing that his young son would forget the protocol of death tolls or 'knocks', wrote or had written this board for him.

A curious memorial to both men is set high up on the north side of the tower arch. It includes four stencilled bell profiles. The knocks board seems to have survived by having been left in a dark unvisited corner of the second course of the tower.


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