The Foxearth and District Local History Society
About this site

This website was constructed by Andrew Clarke of MML Systems, Pentlow Mill, Pentlow, Essex CO10 7SP, using materials provided by the Foxearth & District Local History Society. It is hosted by USP Networks.

To read of any new developments or gossip, please read the Hysterical Historian on this site, which tends to get regularly updated.

Most of the transcriptions on the site were donated to the Foxearth & District Local History Society by the generosity of a local historian (GH) who wishes to remain anonymous. All editorial comment, arrangement and formatting is the copyright of the Society.

The Foxearth & District Local History Society believes strongly in the importance of making source material freely available to researchers in any branch of historical research. We rely on volunteers to provide this material and would be very keen on receiving donations of material to expand the site. We would particularly like primary materials such as newspaper articles, photographs, inquests, coroners' reports, census data, and registers of 'Births, marriages and deaths'.

Although we focus on the history of the four North-Essex parishes that make up the area; Borley, Liston, Pentlow and Foxearth, we are not oblivious to the wider area. It is absurd to think of these parishes in isolation. Nobody ever did in the past, despite the parish being the focus of welfare and support. The contents of the website reflects this. The news items we pick are the ones that would have been discussed, which is why a lurid murder from Pebmarsh rubs shoulders with an account of illegal bull-baiting in Lavenham. Themes such as Emigration effect the entire region.

We are aware of the possible intrusiveness of publishing newspaper reports that affect people who are still living. This is possible even with a collection that stops in the 1950s. Newspaper articles are normally ephemeral. One weeks' reading matter is next week's fire-lighting materials. With the coming of Information Technology, this is no longer necessarily the case. Whereas one could always look up old newspapers, the Internet has made searching such ephemera ridiculously easy. Things that should have been forgotten cannot now be easily expunged. We try to compromise between the vital need to understand the past and the essential need for privacy and redemption. If we have offended anyone by including a news item that causes anguish, we apologise. It was entirely unintentional. Let us know and we will remove the offending item.

The site was put in place on Friday, 08 August 2003.
simple 'Site' searching added on Tuesday, 12 August 2003
New publications added in October, November and December 2003, and every month of 2004 The Photographic section was greatly extended in October 2004 thanks to the efforts of Stan Thompson and Terry Baxter.
Blogging added in December 2004.
Materials from Norwich, transcribed by Janelle Penney added 2006
Material from other parts of East Anglia added 2006-2008, thanks to David Lindley and Michael Wand.
Church register transcriptions added 2008


Phase 1
placed all the materials on the site to facilitate the indexing of these materials by search-engines such as Google.
Phase 2
Added 'brute-force' searching through the source files to allow users to find people or places by name.
Phase 3
Added more materials to the site, filling in gaps and omissions including missing material from the publication on Bull Baiting. Gradually adding illustrations as an when I come across them
Phase 4
Addition of new publications such as 'The Stour from Source to Sea & 'And far with the brave I have ridden'. Addition of more newspaper extracts from the 1850s. Corrections to the titles of the newspaper files to make them more meaningful.
Phase 5
Completion of the index to the 1851 census.
Phase 6
Summaries of the UK's years' events added to the newspaper collection. Detail added to the newspaper collection for the years 1850 to 1863, Addition of two Cavendish memoirs, Frank hartley's memories of Glemsford, and Kenneth Glass's "Short History of Glemsford"
Phase 7
Reorganisation and expansion of the collection of photographs, particularly those of Cavendish and Glemsford, and the incorporation of some remarkable military memoirs of Foxearth and Pentlow residents."
Phase 8
The extension of publication activities into the production and sale of printed books, including "Foxearth Brew", and hopefully soon "The Bones of Borley". The addition of Newspaper stories from the Ipswich Journal back to 1760. The addition of 'The Song of the Emigrant Ship' as an extended essay into East Anglian history. Separation of the Photographic Gallery into geographical areas, and the doubling of the quantity of material to around 1000 photographs
Phase 9
Adding Blogging to the site to enable members of the Society, and hopefully neighbouring History groups, to paste information directly to the site or to comment on other items. Also the means for the committee to add dates of meetings, minutes, announcements and the addresses of committee members. Extending the access to our neighbouring societies where they wish to give notice of their public meetings
Phase 10
Addition of material covering a wider area of East Anglia, and the transcription of the Pentlow Church registers. Continued transcription of the Suffolk Free Press throughout victorian times.

The site is written using CSS and is intended for IE5.5 or newer, or Netscape 6 or newer. The site should be viewable with older browsers, Netscape 2 Netscape 6+ or Mozilla is fine but Netscape V4.7 makes a bit of a hash of it. If you have bad experiences on the site with an old browser then let us know.

Occasionally, we are able to do automatic transcription of materials: for this we use ABBYY FineReader. For all the newspaper materials, the resident historian has to travel to Bury St Edmunds to the records office, and take pencil notes from a microfiche reader which are then keyed in to a computer on return home. For some years, the microfiche is so worn or scratched that the text is unreadable. Where this happens, it is noted in the transcript.

Please note that this website was funded entirely by the subscription of a small number of members of a local history society in a small parish in East Anglia. We received no grants from anywhere, and no lottery money. No help at all from the East Anglian universities, and precious little help from the County Archivists. In fact, the insistance by Essex County Council that they charge us a considerable fee for photocopying our own parish documents for transcriptions, and blithering complete nonsense about their copyright, has been a low point in this project. We think that our complete independence actually helped us pull it all together.