The Foxearth and District Local History Society

Committee Announcements
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Meetings, announcements and notices for the Foxearth and District Local History Society, and associated organisations. For details of our activities, and for more information on recent events and current programme, please contact Clare Mathieson 01787 311337 or Lynda Rumble 01787 281434.

The 19th AGM of the F&DLHS: Tuesday March 13th


The 19th Annual General Meeting of the Foxearth and District Local History Society was held on Tuesday March 13th in Foxearth Village Hall. There was a good attendance of 24 members, representative of most of the area, who responded enthusiastically to an invitation to bring along old photographs of the villages; a varied and nostalgic (school photos) display.

Secretary Clare Mathieson welcomed all especially several new members and reflected upon the past season which had included talks about weaving with hair cloth, histories of the Quay Theatre and the Sue Ryder Foundation, an appreciation of Pentlow Church and its relationship to Pentlow Hall, the connections that artists John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough had with the Essex/Suffolk countryside and two war related evenings - the experience of a weaver who left his trade to fight at Waterloo and the effect of World War One on the Foxearth community. The visit to Harwich had been well-supported and full of interest. 2018 promised to be no less attractive with a wartime escape from Malaya, recent Foxearth excavations, astronomical artefacts of Bury St Edmunds and family history researching. President Ashley Cooper will delve into some of the heroic, villainous and colourful events in our local history. This summer there are three "outside" visits; guided tours of Hadleigh and of Sudbury Masonic Lodge and a day trip to Ely.

Clare expressed thanks to all who had helped with, refreshments, raffles, report writing and to Andrew Clarke for his maintenace of the web site. From the floor appreciation was shown for the work of Clare and Chairman Lynda Rumble (suffering tonight from severe croakiness) and relief that they were prepared to continue in these roles.

A financial report showing the income and expenditure in 2017 was presented by Mark Mathieson who had "kept the books" since John Geddes' serious illness. It was wonderful to welcome John back at the meeting. A surplus of £80 had resulted following last year's activities and this together with the fact that membership was holding up was encouraging. Mark was thanked for agreeing to continue as Treasurer. It was agreed that the annual membership subscription should remain at £10.

Lynda reported that she had received an original copy of an indenture dated 1855 which transferred land in Foxearth and Pentlow from one Samuel Viall - a Cavendish gentleman - to Robert Steadman of Sudbury. Andrew took up the story by describing his work of transcribing the manuscript - which does not benefit from punctuation marks - recalling that the Viall offspring have become infamous in local history for exhuming their father's corpse from Foxearth churchyard and reburying him at Belchamp Otten. This episode is fully documented in the web site under sacrilege and body-stealing. Study of the indenture had revealed a large number of land owners and some hitherto unknown place names e.g.Pollard's Cross, Barelands. This is clearly an important historical record which will in due course be lodged with the appropriate authority.

Ashley was delighted that the Society was so buoyant and that members were contributing talks.
Referring to last season's talk by Dr Judy Ivy on Thomas Gainsborough he said that he had been reading a recently published book about the artist by James Hamilton. In the book's index of references appeared the Society's web site - an indication of its spreading usefulness and popularity.

A mid-meeting break allowed wine, cheese and other savouries to be enjoyed while memers explored more of the photographs on view.

Next meeting: 7.30pm Tuesday 10th April in Foxearth Village Hall when Margaret Nice will talk abot her evacuation from Malaya in 1941. Members guests and new members are always welcomed at any meeting.

Ken Nice

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