The Foxearth and District Local History Society
1908 Suffolk & Essex Free Press newspaper archive

January 1st 1908

We regret to announce the illness of Mrs Pressey, wife of the Rev Pressey, formerly of Foxearth, from diphtheria, she is now going on well. The Rev Pressey is vicar of Moulsham.

January 1st 1908

A young journeyman baker, Frederick Harrison of Bures appeared in the dock at Halstead charged with burgariously entering Moss's farm house at Alphampstone, occupied by an old couple and their grandson named Johnson and stealing £ 50 in gold and a silver verge clock. The said Bench that there was grave suspicion against defendant but not enough evidence for him to be sent for trial.

Note: from Rosemary Hurley
My great-grandparents died in the workhouse in 1908 and 1909 respectively, and family legend has it that they ended up there because all their savings were stolen by a burglar.
I always assumed this was a face-saving explanation by two very poor old people, but through your website I found a report in the Suffolk and Essex Free press newspaper archive for 1 January 1908 which describes the burglary, which took place in Alphamstone. A defendant appeared at Halstead accused of stealing £50 and a silver verge clock from their cottage, but there was not enough evidence for him to be sent for trial. My great-grandfather Johnson died two months later in the workhouse, his wife a year later. A very sad story, Iím very pleased to have found out what happened.

February 12th 1908

There are large quantities of dead fish near Lyston bridge, as on previous occasions the fish were mainly roach of all sizes from 1-2lbs were found floating and some young pike, there were large amounts passing through the floodgates of the mills, one gentleman counted 300 pass in one hour. Similar destruction occurred about 20 years ago, the river was thick with dead fish and tumbril loads were taken out and spread on the fields, the cause then was supposed to have been the overturning of a tank at the flax mills.

February 26th 1908

Mr F.Branwhite aged 61, of Branwhite and Son Ltd, who died on the 1st of December, left estate valued at £ 5, 210, 10s, with personal net of £ 3, 408, 10s. He left annuity of £ 52 to Mrs Kate Branwhite and the residue to his four children.

March 4th 1908

William Reeve who had been gardener at Borley Rectory for 44 years has died, his loss is much felt at the Rectory who recognise they have lost a faithful servant, he also acted as Parish Clerk and rang the bells on Sunday's. He leaves a wife and several daughters.

March 11th 1908

Messrs Portway Co.Have secured the contract to heat Lyston Hall throughout on the radiator system also for domestic hot and cold water system for Maj McLauchlin.

March 11th 1908

There was an inquest at Sudbury Town Hall on John Butcher aged 30 years who met his death in a gravel pit at Lt.
Waldingfield. Mrs Butcher said her son was employed at Holbrook Hall as under gardener, he was married with 7 children. William Spraggons said he was employed by Mrs Mitchell at Holbrook Hall, on January 16th he went to get some gravel from a pit belonging to Mr Wade for Mrs Mitchell, Butcher went with him, they were working on the side of the pit when it gave way and buried them up to their hips, he got out and called Josiah Girling who was working on a nearby farm, they could not get deceased out and Girling ran to the farm for help and with a crowbar they levered a large lump of frozen earth of deceased, they got him out but he died soon afterwards. Accidental.

April 22nd 1908

Although commencing only a few months ago the Halstead sparrow and rat club have accounted for 7000 sparrows. 1 rat tail or 10 sparrow eggs counted as equal to 2 sparrow heads.

March 6th 1908

There was an outbreak of fire at Borley Place, the residence of Mr Mason, there was little damage except to the back scullery, it appears that a beam in the copper chimney had been alight for several days when the woodwork caught light, Mrs Mason gave the alarm and Mr Payne's men working on the farm and Mr Kent the coachman at the Rectory set about putting the flames out. Miss K .Bull from the Rectory went for the Melford Fire Brigade giving rise to the rumour that Borley Rectory was on fire and had been destroyed. The owner is Mr R.T.B. Payne.

March 18th 1908

There was an inquest at Lower farm, Ashen, on Hannah Mitson, wife of William Mitson of Lower farm. When Mr Mitson went home for dinner he discovered his wife was absent but thought she had gone to visit her sister, in the afternoon, on finding a cap and a pail at the mill pool, Katherine Jarvis, daughter of Lieut.J.Jarvis, said she saw a body in the pool and had seen deceased walking towards the mill pool during the morning. Dr Medcalfe said deceased had been depressed since the birth of her last child 3 weeks ago. Suicide.

March 18th 1908

Mr William Ward the iron founder of Melford who died last year left an estate of £ 10.952. Probate was granted to his daughter Mrs Ada Byford and Ernest Adams an accountant. £ 20 to Ernest Adams-to Mrs Francis Payne his housekeeper £ 50 and an annuity of £ 26, the use of his house and grounds at Hall Mill, Melford, for life. He left his nephew David Ward a cottage at Bridge Street, his house and business premises at Hall Street, Melford, the pony and cart and the silver cup presented to him by the Suffolk Agricultural Society with the silver medal presented by the Essex Agricultural Society. All his personal effects to his daughter Mrs Ada Byford. Two thirds of his business to David Ward his nephew and one third to his accountant, Allan Silver.

April 16th 1908

The following incident was taken from an old book about the Great Plague of London. 
During the plague, carts were sent round the city in each neighbourhood, the drivers of which rang a bell as intimation for every house to bring out it's dead, the body was thrown promiscuously into the cart and conveyed to the suburbs to be burned.
A piper had his constant stand at the bottom of Holborn near the church, he was well known with his dog in the neighbourhood. A certain gentleman who never failed in his generosity to the piper was surprised one day on passing as usual to miss him from his accustomed place, upon inquiring he found the poor man had been taken ill in consequence of the arrival of one of his countrymen from the Highlands, the pair in fact made too freely with the contents of the keg, these so overpowered his faculties that he stretched himself out on the steps of the church and went to sleep. 
He was found in this situation when the dead cart came round and the carter supposing him to be dead made no scruple to put his fork under the man's belt and hoisted him into the cart. The faithful dog protested against this seizure of it's master that it jumped into the cart to the annoyance of the carter who would not suffer him to come near the bodies, he took upon himself to become chief mourner with constant howling. 
As they were passing through the rough streets and the jolting of the cart and the howling of the dog had the effect of waking the piper from his trance. It was very dark and the piper could form no idea of his predicament instinctively felt for his pipes and played a merry tune which terrified the carters in no small measure, they fancied they had got a ghost in the cart, a little thought however puts all things right, lights were procured and it turned out that the noisy corpse was the well known piper who was released from his perilous position. 
The poor man fell badly ill after this experience and was relieved of his malady by his benefactor who has resolved as soon as the patient recovers to employ a sculptor to execute him in stone. The statue represents him in a sitting posture playing his pipes.

June 17th 1908

Sale at Christies of Gainsborough letters from the artist to his sister Mrs Dupont written in 1783, they recall the career of the elder brother Scheming Jack, they made £ 33.

June 17th 1908

Within this village long and broad, A group of factories stand, 
the looms are still the doors are closed, And idle are the hands, 
And over all the grip of want, As strong as iron hands.

The men are leaving one by one, For other fields to toil, 
A few remainder, earn their bread, By tilling native soil, 
While some more than the rest, In patience wait awhile.

Week in Week out, From morn till night, Some twenty years gone by, 
The produce left for foreign lands, The owner's name stood high, 
Reliable, the word was, And customers would buy.

But now a change has come about, And with relentless hand, 
Grim competition, strong and keen, Has swept throughout the land, 
And now we are needing some reform, This monster to disband,

The children come home from school, Are looking wan and weak,
 Whilst parents wander far and wide, The staff of life to seek, 
And eke their dire existence out, On seven and six a week.

Who is the true philanthropist, Who is ready with his delf, 
To help the poor in time of need, And think not of himself, 
That time is now; we want a man, And not a fairy elf, 

Thanks, thanks, to thee, my unkown friend.For going to the mart, 
And buying up the factories, And giving trade a start, 
We want to work so very much, For we have felt the smart.


June 17th 1908

A shocking accident occurred at Hole farm, Finchingfield.
Harry Coote, 26, a Toppesfield man was feeding the threshing machine with beans, he left the feeder to get a fork from E.Cook who was on the fore part of the machine, upon returning Coote slipped and stepped on to the revolving drum, he was immediately drawn in by the left leg and his lower body was torn away and smashed to pulp, he died without speaking.

June 24th 1908

Sudbury Market. Wheat to 33s-Oats £ 1-Beans 32s.

July 15th 1908

Eyston Hall, part in Belchamp Walter part in Borley was offered for sale and created a great deal of interest, it embraces 137 acres and is in the occupation of Mr R.T.B.Payne. Bidding commenced at £ 2000 and went to £ 3, 9000 when it was withdrawn.

July 15th 1908

Newman Corder, the landlord of the Blackbirds Inn at Bulmer was summoned for assaulting Mrs Germany. Corder is living apart from his wife and Mrs Germany went to see him to ask him to let the children see their mother, he threw some beer in her face. 2s 6d with 5s costs.

September 2nd 1908

There was a tragic discovery at Bulmer on Thursday night when Mr James Stimpson, one of the relieving officers of Sudbury Union was found dead in his house. He was not present at a meeting of the Board of Guardians but a letter was read from him resigning his post. In the afternoon Mr Tomkins and Mr Scrace rode over to see him and found him sitting in his chair dead, by his side was a note saying " my troubles are too great for me". Dr Leeming was sent for and he said death was due to poisoning. Everything was in the best of order, he was 54 years old.

September 2nd 1908

Harry Parker, a labourer of Little Yeldham was summoned for being on land in search of game on land belonging to Mr Gurteen at Tilbury. Charles Basham, farm bailiff to Mr Gurteen gave evidence. 10s with 14s costs.

September 16th 1908

Ada Ambrose a single woman who is little more than a girl was charged with being drunk and disorderly outside the Bull Inn at Melford. Inspector Emsden said shortly after 11 pm she was using obscene language, he asked her to go away but she fell down, she had got in with a clique from the circus. The chairman said would be sent to a home for inebriates if she did not behave. 21 days.

September 16th 1908

During a storm last week a tree crashed through the roof of Bulmer school roof, a large elm tree standing on the green just outside the churchyard mdae a large hole in the roof.

September 23rd 1908

The whole of the live and dead stock at Nether Hall, Gestingthorpe, was sold by Messrs Balls. The farm had been farmed by the Bear family for 80 years.

September 30th 1908

On Sunday evening at about 10-30 a fire was seen from Sudbury in the direction of Belchamp. Shortly before 10 pm the alarm was given that the farm buildings at Fowes farm ablaze. The farm is of 500 acres belongs to Mrs Thistlewood and is farmed by Mr Abbot.
The fire broke out in a barn and spread quickly quickly only the farmhouse was saved. Great Yeldham fire brigade was called but it did not arrive until 2 hours after the alarm was given.

November 11th 1908

As Mr T.Brown of Hunts Hill at Glemsford was cutting down a pig at cottager's house when the chopper he was using glanced off a bone and struck him a severe blow on the left arm causing much injury.

December 16th 1908

At Clare Downs farm at Belchamp St Pauls, occupied by Mr Walter Eagle, his nephew and farm bailiff committed suicide by shooting himself.

December 16th 1908

Sudbury Mkt-wheat to 32s Barley to 23s.