Pennoyer's History

The Pennoyer Centre first came to public attention when it was featured – as a derelict building at risk - on the BBC’s Restoration Village TV series. A team of local people went on to secure grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other organisations to fund the £1.6m restoration. The Centre, which is a registered charity, opened in summer 2010.

Architecturally, the Centre is a harmonious marriage of the 15th, 19th and 21st centuries. The heritage features of the building have been maintained through sympathetic restoration using traditional skills and materials, whilst bringing the facilities right up to date.

The Centre’s history begins with the medieval Guild of St James, whose members built the chapel in 1401. In the 17th century, a Puritan merchant, William Pennoyer, left money to pay for a schoolmaster in the old chapel, and Pennoyer’s Free School was born. 

Within the Centre’s Heritage Gallery, you can find out more about the medieval Guild, William Pennoyer and the Free School. We also hold a fascinating archive of Airship memorabilia relating to RNAS Pulham. The Air Station was created in 1916 for airships to patrol the North Sea searching for enemy U-boats. Two of its most famous airships, the R33 and R34, are featured on Pulham St Mary’s village sign.

Visitors are welcome at any time – normal opening hours are Monday - Wednesday 9.00am to 5pm and Thursday - Saturday 9am - 4pm. Café last orders - 2.30pm.

Please visit our Contact Us page for further information.

lottery funded logoThe Pennoyer Centre, Station Rd, Pulham St Mary IP21 4QT Tel: 01379 676660 email:

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