The Search for the lost ‘Tale of Scarning’  – (A Scarning Primary School project)

Scarning has lots of history. Whether it’s William Seckar, founder of our school; Augustus Jessopp a famed 19th century Rector, writer and headteacher; or the fascinating but short-lived Scarning railway station – built in 1848 but decommissioned just 2 years later – there is history everywhere.

However, one thing it does not seem to have is a legend. By that I mean a tale of Scarning, something that everyone knows. Dereham had St Withburga; Swaffham the story of its pedlar.

It was this last story that got me thinking, ‘wouldn’t it be great if there was a story like this, but one very much of Scarning?’

‘The Pedlar of Swaffham’ strikes me as just about the perfect local folk tale. A little hint of something supernatural, emotional highs and lows, and an absolutely brilliant twist to round things off. +It’s a story I love telling the children in assembly and one that works for our youngest through to our oldest.

If there was a ‘tale of Scarning’ or a ‘legend of Scarning’ – what might it be?

Would it be set in the time when Augustus Jessop was the vicar? Would it be a story centred around the railway station, or the Church? Would it be from a completely different time? Perhaps it might have the medieval feel of one of the Canterbury Tales?

So, at school we are going to encourage our children to write ‘The legend of Scarning’.

We also want to encourage people beyond the school – anyone in the Scarning community who wants to, can write that tale. We will then post these stories to our website and create a bank of tales; stories that might conceivably have been Scarning’s Legend. If we get enough interest, then who knows, maybe we could even put them into a book!

Some thoughts on what the stories might be like…

  • Shorter rather than longer
  • Child appropriate: ‘U’ or PG’ would be the rating! (But that doesn’t mean they can’t be a spine-chiller)
  • Probably set pre 20th century?
  • Focussing on one story;  probably with just a few characters; maybe taking in a local landmark or two. The previously mentioned ‘Pedlar of Swaffham’ would be a great model. As would, albeit from another part of the country, the ‘Wizard of Alderley’.
  • Ideally submitted as a Word document so as to make it easier to publish

Children and adults alike would probably welcome a decent amount of time to think about this, so with that in mind we ask that we receive the entries by September 1st.

Please email your entry to

You will receive an acknowledgement that we have received your story, so if you do not receive one please let us know as it may not have made it through our cyber-security.

As we have said, your entry will sit on a specially created part of the school website, and may feature in a publication should we decide to pursue that.

Happy writing and best wishes.

Nick King
Scarning Primary School Headteacher