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 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.