The Foxearth and District Local History Society

The Hysterical Hystorian

For occasional articles, snippets and announcements by the Resident Historians. (Andrew Clarke and GH) These articles are presented in date order, but if you explore the back-catalogue, you may find much of interest. Historical information doesn't really go out of date! Any member of the F&DLHS may add an entry or make a comment to an existing entry once they have got their userID and password from the Webmaster.

If you'd like to publish any interesting material about the history of East Anglia on the site, then please send an email to the Resident Historians at and we'll add it.

Family Historians have their own area on the site, so look there if your main interest is in tracing your family history.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Borley Rectory Crib-Sheet!

For a chat on Radio Suffolk over Christmas, I prepared the following chart that lists the main points that point to the conclusion that there is no need to think that Borley Rectory was ever haunted. They are rally just a quick 'aide memoir' of a very complex case. Conclusion? It all happened during the depression years when everyone was short of money. In those days, there was big money in spiritualism.



Borley Rectory had been the focus of
ghostly events from shortly after it was built.

Neither the original rector nor his wife ever claimed to have seen anything. Only three, or four, of their 13 children ever claimed to have seen a ghost. Several of them said the place definitely wasn’t haunted.

A contemporary diary of one of the daughters mentions no incidents at Borley rectory. When their son Harry Bull, the second rector, lived there, his wife, his daughter, and their staff, saw or heard nothing unusual, and weren’t even aware that the place was haunted at the time.

The rectory, built on the site of an ancient monastery, was haunted by the ghost of a nun, that was seen regularly

There was no monastery there or nearby.
The phantom was seen only once by more than one person, and then whatever it was, was seen in the garden, after sundown, at a distance of two tennis-courts.

A black phantasmal coach and horses was seen by the rector’s wife, her maid, and a tenant in the coach house.

Mrs Yelloly of Cavendish Hall, a cousin of the Bull family, did her social visits in an old-fashioned black horse-drawn coach at the time.

Ghostly events happened in front of Harry Price, an investigating scientist, a news reporter, and the rector’s wife, Mrs Smith

Harry Price wasn’t a scientist. He left school at the age of 15 and worked as a paper bag salesman most of his life. He had previously pretended to be an expert archaeologist and antiquarian. He was an accomplished conjurer, but was seen faking poltergeist activities at the time by three people independently. The ghostly events ceased as soon as Harry Price left.

The haunting then increased in
intensity and included Poltergeist phenomena, and bell-ringing.

Several psychic investigators visited at the time and concluded that the next rector’s wife, Mrs Foyster, was faking the phenomena.

There was ‘incessant’ bellringing, even though the wires to the handbells had been cut

All the service bells could be rung by anyone who reached into a hatch in the pantry or upstairs passage. A wire was discovered in the courtyard that, when tugged, caused all the bells to ring.

A strange supernatural smell of lavender occasionally pervaded the rectory

The largest lavender factory in Britain, Stafford Allen, was just over the brow of the hill, two miles away at Long Melford.

There were ghostly footsteps,
mysterious noises, and the rector’s wife was given a black eye by a ghost.

Mrs Foyster was engaged in a clandestine torrid sexual affair with the lodger. She later admitted that there was little in the way of haunting at the rectory that couldn't be explained naturally.

Strange things were seen by a visiting nephew of the churchwardens. Ghostly Wall-writings appeared, asking for ‘light, mass and prayers’.

Mrs Foyster lured the affluent Edwin to the mostly deserted rectory, as he was fascinated by the wall writings,
written in Mrs Foyster’s handwriting. Edwin was more interested in spirits than Mrs Foyster, and eventually had to be admitted to a mentalhospital.

The churchwardens were committed spiritualists but even they eventually suspected Mrs Foyster’s motives.

The haunting was the subject of a scientific investigation for an entire year by experts

A mixed group of untrained undergraduates and amateurs answered an advert in the paper and were selected by Harry Price. Even so they say almost nothing. Harry Price
visited very rarely.

A séance held at the rectory came up with several spirits, including a girl who died at the rectory. It gave many details of a nun who had lived there

The séance was held in Streatham in London. It was conducted by the daughter of one of the investigators.
The results were considered worthless as evidence by that investigator.
The girl featured in the séance had died in Sudbury. The investigator and his daughter had already checked the church register of deaths.

The rectory was burned down by a ghost ‘Senex Amures’ in mysterious circumstances

The empty rectory was burned down by the owner almost certainly as an insurance fraud.

Three people saw a ‘flying brick’ inthe ruins of the rectory suspended in mid-air

Two of the three people saw a demolition man throw a brick from the wall he was demolishing onto a pile. One of them took a high-speed photo as a joke. The third witness was Harry Price.

The partial skeleton of a nun was
discovered in the cellar during excavation by Harry Price, and laid to rest in the churchyard.

Some pig bones were found in the backfill of a previous investigation. These were then switched by Harry Price for a couple of cranial human bones. They were refused burial at
Borley Church, and were interred at Liston.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Waveney Valley Floods of August 1912

From Eugene Ulph’s Scrapbook 1962-64 in Beccles Museum

Torrential rain accompanied by a severe hurricane left scenes of flooding and desolation. The strong wind and heavy rain played havoc with trees, orchards and houses on the higher ground. In 36 hours four inches of rain fell at Beccles. Weeks of wet days with only occasional sunshine culminated in a deluge in the last weekend of August. However towards the end of Sunday there seemed to be a promise of better things. On the contrary, the next day brought terrific wind and more rain and on the Tuesday morning the extent of the widespread damage was fully apparent.

Slates and tiles strewed the roads, tall trees were on the ground and fruit trees were stripped of their crops. chimney stacks were either on the ground or resting on neighbouring properties. Right in the middle of the town there was special evidence of the force of the storm in the battered appearance of the detached tower of the Parish Church. Large portions of stonework had been forced off by wind and rain.

The Waveney burst its banks, and miles of marshland on both sides of the town resembled a vast inland sea. The Gillingham Marshes were often flooded during the winter months, but this time water also lay to a great depth on those belonging to the Corporation.

Railway communication on the Waveney Valley Line between Beccles and Bungay was impossible as the track across Gillingham marshes was washed away for some distance. It was not long before the rising waters on the Corporation level brought services along the Yarmouth and Lowestoft lines to a standstill.

Swirling expanses of water cut off the town from the west, north and east. Even the south was affected, for from the higher ground towards Weston water rushed through Swine’s Green and along St Anne’s Road, causing flooding at Ingate Street. The medieval St Anne’s River was in existence once again. Its swollen waters contributed to those rapidly rising on the College and Caxton football grounds at the railway end of the Avenue.

Scene of desolation.

There was a scene of desolation in the Avenue, as elsewhere, as many trees had been blown down and the roadway was submerged to a depth of nearly a foot. It was very difficult to get to the Common, both lanes also being flooded.

Allotment holders in that part of the town suffered greatly as the preceding weather had delayed the harvesting of crops. When the water eventually receded, tenants found their plots in a deplorable state through the overflowing of sewage. Pumping at the Common Lane sewage station stopped on the Tuesday and could not be restarted for several days. In the meantime there was an awful accumulation in the sewers, causing a lot of concern to the authorities.

House flooding was particularly serious in the vicinity of the river. Many properties suffered at Bridge Street, Fen Lane, Thurlow’s Yard and Puddingmoor. There was a loss too at industrial undertakings. The timber yards and saw mills of Darby Bros. just on the Gillingham side of Beccles Bridge, were completely submerged. On the Beccles bank the tannery at Northgate was badly hit. Work was suspended for almost a week through the yards being inundated, the pits flooded and the water level reaching the fire bars of the engine.

Messrs Smith & Eastaugh lost a quantity of malt from their premises at the Score. Several tons of salt were dissolved when the water reached their store at the Staithe. The Northgate boat-sheds of George Wright were flooded. Mr Wright pointed out marks made on his buildings during a big inundation in 1879. Their height however was exceeded by eight or nine inches this time.

Bullocks Rescued.

Being summertime there were plenty of cattle on the marshes bordering the Waveney on the Gillingham side of the town. When on Monday evening water was creeping up an effort was made by marsh-men to remove a batch of five store beasts to safety. Despite their persistent efforts the bullocks refused to budge and, finally had to be left to their fate.

Next morning a photographer, Mr A. Leyneek, of Station Road, happened to see the animals floundering about while he was gazing at the flooded marshes from the churchyard wall. Braving the danger caused by wind and swiftly flowing water, he borrowed a rowing boat and set out towards the animals in the hope that he could attract them to safety. After a great deal of patient effort he got them to swim towards the town side of the river. Eventually they were hauled ashore by a band of willing helpers at the Puddingmoor boatyard of Mr Herbert Hipperson.

Wheat and barley standing in sheaves in the fields between Harleston and Bungay was washed away by the rising waters. Bungay itself was almost surrounded. Moving over Earsham Dam like a huge river, the flood washed away the embankment of the railway and the ballast from the track. The same thing happened on the Ditchingham side of Bungay station.

Speaking on BBC Radio Suffolk- The Weather

There is a certain terror about going onto live radio to talk about local history. I'm not a natural speaker, but I didn't even dare to ask Tom if he wanted to do the talk.

I chose to talk about weather events as it is a pretty easy subject to talk about. Previously, I'd always done recorded interviews, (I've been on Sky TV, Daytime ITV and Songs of Praise on BBC). Being live takes a bit of getting used to.- especially if ones brain turns to putty when anxious.

David Lindley and I have been filling in a database of freak weather events which is getting big. I'd like to put it on the site, but unfortunately, some of the entries come from published sources, and it would be quite a bit of work to get all the permissions. Otherwise it would be on the site by now. You can get most of the material on the site by Googling.

Tomorrow, I'll be talking about melancholy accidents. You know, reports of accidents that make you feel so sad, and make you understand how important it is to think of safety when you do potentially dangerous things, such as leading a full life.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Smelly Cavendish!

From the Suffolk free Press April 10th 1905

Cavendish. From our correspondent.

I believe as long ago as September last the Cavendish Parish Council appointed a committee to locate if possible the source of the most offensive smell which was evident during the hot weather, the Rural Council was asked to build a weir at the point where the old county river joins the new river so that all surplus water which hitherto has been regulated by the floodgates at Messrs Garrett and Co mill some 400 yards below the junction so that it might be turned to good account and made to flush the bed of the old river and take in its course the sewage of many drains.

The District Council adopted these suggestions and drafted plans, the weir was built with a clear opening into the stream of 10ft wide over which all water beyond the high level at which the mill works come tumbling down,

I prophesied it was always a risky procedure but anything to clear away the objectionable matter and the consequent stinks is warranted, on Sunday last the water was pouring over the concrete apron fully 3 inches deep and clear, by the time it reached it’s destination the same water was black.

Monday rains added to the volume and water was rushing down the river where for years had been nothing but pools and or the most part stagnant, a rush of water cannot be expected in hot weather but the winter rains and high tides will clear the course, this weir when on paper looked like going a long way towards abatement of the nuisance.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The First Newspaper Account of the Borley Ghost.

The Borley “Ghost” July 18th 1929. Suffolk Free Press

Extraordinary Incidents at the Rectory Domestics Experience

Matter for Psychic Investigations

The district has been thrown into a state of considerable excitement by an announcement that a “ghost” has been seen at Borley Rectory and the peaceful little village has this week by the notoriety it has gained, become “the hub of the universe”.

It is a fact that both inside and outside the Rectory there have been certain strange happenings, strange enough for those engaged in psychical research to cause investigations to be made. What the eventual findings will be it remains to be seen, but from our enquiries the matter is worthy of the closest possible scrutiny.

Borley is certainly just the district where interesting legends should survive and it’s history has sufficient in it to make it the background for tales, not only of ghosts but all the chivalry of the middle ages and the Crusades. The name is compounded of the Saxon words “Bap” and “ley” and means Boars Pasture. In the reign of Edward the Confessor a freeman named Lewin held the lands of the parish, which at the time of the survey belonged to Adeliza, countess of Abermarle, half sister of William the Conqueror. Her daughter was Judith and her son was Stephen who attended Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy,to the Holy Land and distinguished himself in a Great Battle at Antinoch. He had one son and four daughters and the son in turn was the father of two daughters, one of whom, Amica, married Easton, a family whose surname was derived from the manor of Easton in Walter Belchamp. The family practically died out in 1293 when the heiress to the estate was married by Henry 3rd to his second son in 1269. This lady gave up her estates and lands to Edward 1st who gave her 20,000 marks . The estates passed to Christ Church, Canterbury, and then in 1545 we find the manor of Borley was granted to Edward Waldegrave. Sir Edward died in the Tower of London in 1561 and is buried in Borley Church. His lady was also interred in the same grave having enjoyed the estate of Borley until 1599 when she died at the age of eighty, Nicholas Waldegrave, a second son succeeded to Borley and in 1621 his son Philip made Borley Hall his permanent residence.

The manor was held by the descendants of the Waldegraves until recent times. In Wright’s “History of Essex” there is no mention of a monastery or convent at Borley but there is a definite tradition that there was one somewhere near the site of the old rectory.

With the district ancient in tradition the family of Bull was connected for hundreds of years until the death in June 1927 of the Rev H.F.Bull, M.A. who had been 35 years the Rector. His father had been rector before him and there is a long line of ancestors resting in the little parish churchyard of Pentlow. T

he present rector, the Rev G.E.Smith, came to Borley in September 1929

Now for the ghostly part of the history of Borley. Tradition has it and it is generally accepted by the inhabitants, although there is a certain amount of scepticism that in the Middle Ages there was a great monastery or convent somewhere where the Rectory now stands. Once upon a time a nun became acquainted with a coachman. The acquaintance ripened into romance and they were wont to meet in secret amongst the trees near the convent. Eventually they decide to elope and the coachman called to his aid another who prepared a coach drawn by two horses. This intended elopement was, however, discovered, the coachmen was seized and the nun taken back to the convent from which she never again appeared. It was said she was walled up alive. As for the coachmen they were tried and beheaded. Since at long intervals it has been reported that the nun has been seen walking in the shade of trees and that two headless coachmen together with an old time coach drawn by two bay horses have been observed riding through the parish. It is an extraordinary fact that the Rev Bull often spoke of the remarkable experience he had one night when walking along the road outside the rectory, he heard the sound of horses hoofs. Upon looking round he saw the old time coach coming up the road driven by two headless men

The Rev and Mrs Smith upon taking up residence at the Rectory were told of the reputation of the place for ghostly visitations but like practical people they were more amused than otherwise at the story.

Nothing untoward occurred for a period then a maid who they had brought with them from London suddenly declined to stay in the house any longer. Asked for her reasons she was quite emphatic that she had seen a nun walking amidst the trees near the house. Nothing would persuade her otherwise.

The next incident was last month when the Rev G.E.Smith heard sounds of dragging footsteps in slippered feet across one of the rooms . He decided upon an investigation and armed with a hockey stick sat in the room at night and waited. Again the noise of someone shuffling across the room on the bare boards, he struck at it with the stick but nothing happened and the noise continued.

Miss Mary Pearson who is at present a maid at the Rectory told our representative on Tuesday quite confidently that she had seen a ghost. There was at dusk what appeared to be an old fashioned coach on the lawn “drawn by brown horses”. Miss Pearson is certain that she has seen the figure as of a nun apparently leaning over a gate close to the house.

In addition to this the Rector states that on two or three occasions a curious light has been seen by himself in a disused wing of the building, and this light at the moment is quite inexplicable. He has investigated this wing and it has been ascertained that there is no light inside although the watchers outside could still see it shining through a window. It was suggested that somebody should go into the empty wing and place a light in another window for comparison. This the Rector did and sure enough another light appeared and was visible next to the other, although on approaching close to the building this disappeared while the while the Rector’s lamp still burned.

The Rector who is not the least disturbed at the mysteries, in conversation with our representative at the Rectory on Tuesday, said he could not believe in ghosts. They had been warned against the evil reputation of the house before moving in, but being townspeople they took no notice of the country rumours.

This is their first summer the Rev Smith had been in Borley and he understands that the Rectory is “haunted by the ghosts”. Having seen for himself the apparitions, Mr Smith is causing investigations to be made by psychic experts.

The gardener at the Rectory was inclined to smile at the idea of ghosts, telling our representative that he had never seen anything and although there was a great deal of talk about ghosts many years ago he believed that it was only really “ couples sweethearting”.

The Rector believes that some of the folk in the village are frightened to pass the spot at night. Other residents however told our representative that they ridiculed the whole affair. What has been seen recently is nothing additional to what was seen by previous residents of the Rectory. Other people who have had close association with the Rectory in past years agree that there has been periodically strange happenings there which however they do not consider it desirable to talk about.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Samuel Nott and the libellous doggerel

This strange piece of poisonous doggerel comes from the Bury and Norwich Post of 1879. The story is from Alphampstone, and was discovered by David Lewis who lived in the old pub at Alphampstone. The papers could be vicious, and Samuel Nott was a real person. How interesting it would be to find out the whole story.


There was a man named Samuel Nott, and all folks Must agree
He was the biggest man, I think, that ever you did see
And all the neighbours know him well, a knotty crab to be

His back across, if measured right, was three yards, if no more;
His Belly was just like a Tun, and balanced him before.
To see him waddle up and down, you would with laughter roar.

We will say nothing of his Bum, but still all folks agree,
When his own way he could not have, a Bumptious dog was he;
But though his back it was so broad, a narrow mind had he.

This Churl, he had a little farm close to the village green,
On which he cast a longing eye, as shortly will be seen,
And he as he could not have it, he was devoured with spleen.

Now on this green for many a year was held a village fair,
Where great and small, and young and old for pastime did repair,
And once a year the folks around enjoyed their pleasure there.

A right of pasture, too, there is for cattle to be fed,
And every copyholder there, can turn on several head
Of cows, or sheep, or Asses, to get their daily bread.

“That Green I’ll have” says greedy Gut, “whatever they may say”,
And to make sure, without ado, I’ll plough it up today,
And never more shall green grass grow, for feeding or for hay.

He ploughed it once; he ploughed it twice; and loudly he did crow;
And fain he would have thrice, but Webber he said No !
But Nott he pitch’d him Heels or Head into the ditch below.

Now Nott he was so savage, he couldn’t sleep at night,
He would not eat his supper, lest he should burst with spite;
But how to be avenged, he could not compass quite

But Satan, who is ready, when man gives him a chance.
(One would have thought he had enough to do in wretched France).
Still though, throughout the world, he constantly doth roam,
He likes to look at, now and then, his little flock at home.

Now, our great big burly Friend, he never goes to Church,
Except to Bully the Parson in the Porch;
And though he sometimes threatens a Meeting House to build,
The Devil saw it very clear, his heart with spite was filled.

Quoth he, “I see quite plain, the course that’s to be took,
And now discern the Bait, this whopping Fish to hook;
But first I’ll try him with a worm, he might be rather shy,
And if he will not bite at that, I’ll try him with a fly,

One day friend Nott was walking and musing by the wood
And thinking of revenge, in a melancholy mood.
A stranger stood before him, all dressed in keepers clothes,
He rather smelt of sulphur, and had a hooked nose.

“Friend Nott”, says he, “your rather down, as plainly may be seen;
I know what troubles you, tis all about the Green;
But cheer up friend, your only way your wishes to attain
Just trust in me, I’ll show you how, your end to quickly gain

Quoth Nott, “if you compass that, “I’ll stand a dozen of wine”,
And more than that I swear, for ever I’ll be thine.
Then having shaken hands, the stranger thus began-
“You know tis not the poor you fear, it is the gentlemen.

You’re well aware their pleasure is in hunting of the Fox;
If you destroy the Vermin you’ll give ‘em rare hard knocks;
You’ll spoil their fun, they’d get no run, and precious soon they’ll find
They’d better give it up, and let you have your mind.

“I like your plan” says Nott, “so let us quick begin”
The other said, this night, by poison or by gin,
Three foxes you shall have, two dead and one alive,
So now good-bye, if you want more, I’ll soon make it up to five”.

Say’s Nott, on walking home, “I know one that this will make smart;
I’ll teach how to thwart me, sure as his name is----------
That chap that’s gone must have the itch, he sorely stunk of Brimstone;
But a dead Fox will stink much worse, and sadly plague old------

Next morn he hung the dead’uns upon the windmill sail
The living Fox he showed about, all for a pint of ale.
After a time he took ‘em down, and tied them in a line
Upon the post before his house, instead of his old sign.

Some chaps who lived about there, resolv’d to have a lark,
So they waited till the nights were pretty dark,
They broke into his house, before the dawn of day,
The Foxes dead they carried home, the live one ran away.

Oh! had you heard old Nott, how much he stamped and swore,
For never such a trick had been heard ere before.
“I must find out my friend”, says he, and make him understand,
More Foxes I will have, if there is any in my land”.

Now, if you want the Devil, he’s always close at hand,
But don’t put too much trust in him, or you will be treppan’d
The friends they met again, and t’was not very long,
Four Foxes more he had, but they smelt of Brimstone strong.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Insurrection in Suffolk

from the Bury and Norwich Post 1830

A meeting of the Aldermen and Magistrates was held last night in Bury Guildhall in this borough yesterday se’nnight when resolutions were passed declaring that there was no cause of the apprehension for the peace of the town existed but that vigorous measures would be taken in the event disturbances in the town or neighbourhood, in case of which the inhabitants were invited to attend immediately to be sworn in as Special Constables. On Wednesday however it was thought to be desirable to be prepared for any possible tumult and a large number of Special Constables were sworn on that and the following day.

On Monday se’nnight at about nine in the morning, a large body of labourers of the parish of Stanningfield entered the village of Whepstead and proceeding to the house of Rev T.Image who is Rector of both parishes, they told him the farmers were willing to raise their wages provided that he would reduce their tithes. Mr Image promised that he would make a reduction if the labourers had the benefit of it; the men then asked for some refreshment and obtained the sum of £2 of which they gave 10s to a party of the Whepstead people and they then returned home. In the afternoon the Whepstead people, stimulated by this example; proceeded to the farm of Mr N.Winfield and insisted that his workmen, 21 in number should go with them, compelling those who were at plough to leave the horses in the field and only leaving one man at Mr Winfield’s earnest entreaty to finish up dressing a load of corn. They next proceeded to Mr Denny’s and took away his labourers and from thence to Sir T.Hammond who gave them ten shillings, they then called upon Mr Image and obtained £2 from him, subsequently to which Mr Winfield gave them 10s to protect his own property, and another farmer gave a smaller sum. With this money they made themselves merry for the night and returned to work the next day. On Saturday a parish meeting was held when it was agreed to make an addition to the wages of the parish. This statement was made at the request of Mr Winfield in consequence of an unfounded charge having been preferred against him having instigated the proceedings of the labourers.

Similar assemblages to the above have taken place in other parishes to the West of this town. On Saturday night four men were apprehended at Chevington (some of them being taken from their beds) and brought before the magistrates who sat during the whole Sunday at the Shirehall in this town and finally committed them for trial at the ensuing Sessions on the charge of having riotously and tumultuously assembled for the purpose of obtaining a rise in wages and having taken men away from their employment. Five more were apprehended on that day and committed on Monday, warrants have been issued against others concerned in these illegal proceedings. We trust this will be a warning to others who may be ignorant of the unlawfulness of such assemblages, for which every person who is present is equally liable to punishment even though no acts of violence should be committed. The magistrates hold meetings at the Shirehall daily for the dispatch of business

On Monday se’nnight the labouring men working on the roads in the neighbourhood Hadleigh refused to commence work unless an advance was made in their pay which has hitherto been at the rate of 1s 6d a day they now claim 2s a day pay. A select vestry was held on Thursday to take labourer’s propositions into consideration, and they were refused but the farmers offered to take them to work on their land at 10s a week and beer which the men refused, consequently they remained the week without work or money. On Wednesday a number of special constables were sworn in and a night patrol was established.

After the meeting of the Lord Lieutenant and Magistrates on the 2nd inst, Sir Wm Middleton and other gentlemen in the Boamera and Claydon Hundred called a meeting on the following day which was very numerous and respectfully attended, after the arrangements for a constabulary force had been explained, the Chairman expressed his anxiety to relieve the distresses of the poor in the Hundred, particularly as they had at the time exhibited no symptoms of a riotous nature. He therefore declared his intention to reduce his rents in order to enable his tenantry to pay better wages and employ a greater number of hands; but he made this abatement upon the express understanding that the poor were to be benefited by it. Several other gentlemen having expressed similar opinions, the meeting was postponed till Wednesday last when the Directors and other Landed Proprietors met for the purpose of agreeing upon some plans to relieve and pay the poor. It was attended by most of the Directors and other Gentlemen who had property in the Hundred. There appeared to be but one opinion as to the existing distress and upon a calculation being made as to the number of men compared with the number of acres in the Hundred; it appeared that if one man was employed to every thirty acres of land throughout the Hundred, every able-bodied man belonging to different parishes would be fully employed and the Occupiers of land by receiving benefit from the labour for which they would pay out a trifle more than in paying to the poor rate. The meeting also thought that less than 1s 8d per day was not a fair price to a able bodied man for his labour. And it was stated that the farmer was over burdened with expenses and was totally unable to meet these additional expenses, it was agreed by most of the gentlemen present to reduce their rents and tithes upon the express understanding mentioned by the Chairman at the previous meeting and that agreed to urge every land and tithe holder to do the same. It also appeared to the meeting that it would be right that men with families should receive some additional relief and they agreed that there should be allowed weekly to families of three children under the age of twelve years of age, 6d, and for the fourth child, ninepence, and the same for every such child above four. Amongst the suggestions for the employment of the poor and their families, it appeared to be thought that knitting schools would be very beneficial if generally adopted in the parishes, and it was strongly recommended to be done. One has been already instituted in the parish of Barham and has succeeded very well. They are attended with a trifling expense and the governor stated the he could readily dispose of all the stockings made throughout the Hundred. The meeting strongly urged their suggestions and recommendations to be adopted.

Yesterday sennight in compliance with the resolutions passed by the Magistrates at Ipswich, those acting in the Hundred of Blything attended at Walpole for the purpose of swearing in the respectable inhabitants of the neighbourhood as a special constable; on this proceeding considerable agitation manifested itself among the labourers who had exclaimed “we are starving”. Col.Bence, on hearing of these exclamations, went up to the men and having remonstrated in vain, upon their showing symptoms of insubordinations, seized one man who was very conspicuous and attempted to carry him before the Magistrates who were in the Justice room. A cry of “Rescue” was made by the labourers and Col Bence was thrown down; Lord Huntingfield was also roughly handled. This took place amidst loud cries of “down with the rents and tithes”. About 7-8 o’clock in the evening of the same day a fire broke out in the stackyard of Mr Stanford of Westleton, no doubt the work of an incendiary.

A fire broke out on Thursday evening of the 7th inst between 7-8 o’clock in the stackyard of Mr O.Palmer at Ramsey about 4 miles form Harwich. As soon as the alarm was given Sir G.Hoste, Bart. Ordered the Ordinance fire engine and a file of soldiers from Harwich to the spot and accompanied by Capt Kitchen, R.N. Anthony Cox, Esq, Mayor, and several of the inhabitants immediately followed, by whose exertions the flames were subdued. The fire commenced in a pea stack which was totally consumed and communicated to a wheat stack adjoining which was nearly destroyed. There were several other stacks in the direction of the wind but they were happily preserved. There is little doubt but this fire was caused by an incendiary and that his malice was directed against Mr Palmer, from the circumstances of his having hired a threshing-machine which was to have been set to work on Wednesday. No sooner were the flames extinguished and the soldiers departed than a number of agricultural labourers seized upon the machine which was on the premises and broke it to pieces. Nine men have been apprehended for this act and committed to Chelmsford gaol and two men are apprehended on suspicion of setting fire to the stacks.

On Saturday evening at about half past 5 o’clock a fire was discovered in a haystack standing in a meadow on Goose Green, Beccles, belonging to Mr Geo. Fenn of that town. Very fortunately it was discovered in time to be put out without doing much damage to the stack, no doubt but it was the work of some incendiary as there is no house or other property near it except another haystack.

On the same night a stack of marsh hay standing in the marsh on Gilligham Dam, the property of Mr Goat of Beccles was set on fire and entirely consumed.

On Monday morning last a partial rising of the labourers of the parish of Melford took place for an advance of their wages but by the prompt assistance of the neighbouring Magistrates and special constables, five of the ringleaders were taken into custody and committed to Bury gaol which prevented any further disturbances.

Last week upwards of 150 special constables were sworn in at Boxford and adjoining parishes.

Last week several farmers and others were summoned before a Magistrate at Bradfield in order to be sworn in as special constables, but when they assembled there was some dissatisfaction appearing amongst them as to serving

Those who did not wish to be sworn were ordered to leave the room which they did and left the Magistrate alone.

(WHY ?)
His Majesty’s free pardon has been received here at Bury Gaol for Isaac Jeffries and Thomas Wakeling who were severally convicted of the felony at a Sessions holden by the Recorder and Magistrates in and for the Borough of Sudbury in October last. We understand that the above pardons were granted in consequence of the Law Officers of the Crown being of the opinion that the Charter only gives the Sessions jurisdiction to try misdemeanours and not cases of felony. Jeffries was sentenced to be transported for 7 years and Wakeling to 3 months imprisonment.

On Wednesday last, five male convicts were removed from Bury gaol to be put on board the Leviathan Hulk lying at Portsmouth, viz. William Savage, John Savage, Peter Aylward, John Oakley and Robert Kemp to be severally transported for 7 years. Mary Ann Fobister, a female convict, was also to be removed at the same time to be put aboard the ship America lying at Woolwich, to be transported for 14 years.

Commited to Bury Gaol—John Evered, Robert Flack, Abraham Hammond and Thomas Nunn (by J. Bejafield, R.Dalton and O.R. Oakes, Esqrs.) charged with having with divers other persons on the 10th inst riotously assembled at the parish of Chevington with intent by force to obtain an increase of wages and to instigate other persons to join them for the illegal destruction of threshing machines.—Samuel Jolly, Joseph Rawlinson and William Diss, (by B.B.Sayer and W.Mayd, Clerks) charged with having been extremely active in exciting a riotous mob which was assembled in the street of the parish of Great Thurlow on the 6th inst and likewise on their way there were forcing men to leave their ploughs and their work in the barns and go with them—John Harlock, (by B.B.Syer and Wm Mayd, Clerks) charged with attempting to rescue Isaac Hargrave who was taken into custody for being one of the principal instigators of the mob at Great Thurlow—Richard Green, (by B.B Sayer and Wm Mayd, Clerks) charged on the oath of Mary Farrants the wife of George Farrants, of Stoke next Clare, labourer, with having on the 8th inst come with many other persons in a riotous and tumultuous manner to the house of her husband and violently assaulting her and compelled her husband to join the mob—William Norman, (by G.Gataker, Esq) convicted of wandering about the parish of Eriswell and using threats concerning the firing of the said parish and otherwise to the great fear of Elizabeth, the wife of Robt. Manning and others and refusing to find sureties to keep the peace for three calendar months.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wards Brewery

It seems incredible that just a few rare collectors' items, our first book 'Foxearth Brew' by the award-winning author Richard Morris, should still be available. Already, the rare copies signed by the legendary, and late-lamented, George Best are changing hands at unimaginable prices. To celebrate the continuing association between the four parishes and brewing, our present brewers, Nethergate, are planning to recreate some more beers from Ward's recipe-books. Here, in the meantime, is an advert from 1912, is an image that combines GH's two passions, cricket and Beer.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

This photo was taken in the spinney opposite the Pinkuah Arms, Pentlow, before the 'Beerhouse' became a pub. The mystery is who the people were, the date of the photo. and the occasion they were dessed up for. Such is the interest in genealogy nowadays that, if we can identify people in these local photos, we can make someone happy.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Hooliganism at Glemsford.

From the Suffolk Free Press: December 29th 1909.

At a meeting at the school in Glemsford when Mr W. Eley Quilter the Unionist candidate and several more gentlemen visited Glemsford with the intention of delivering an address on the political situation, a hostile gathering thronged the approach to the school and the arrival of the visitors was the signal for a hostile demonstration

During the whole of the evening, utmost confusion prevailed, the chairman tried to maintain order but his efforts were greeted with derisive shouts

Another cause for annoyance was a young man who constantly rose from his seat and interrupted each speaker, at one stage there was nearly a brawl when the chairman Mr W.S.Goodchild went over to the sweep and endeavoured to reason with him. He seemed to resent the chairman’s remarks and wished to know who was going to put him out and squared up in a pugilistic manner.

The pandemonium continued unabated until the close of the meeting a party of friends from Sudbury and Melford formed a bodyguard for the visitors and escorted the party to the rectory.

On leaving the rectory, stones and mud were thrown at their cars and several missiles struck the windows of their vehicles.