The Foxearth and District Local History Society

Local group - events and information.

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

21st Annual General Meeting: Tuesday 10th March

The Society came of age on Tuesday 10th March when it held its 21st Annual General Meeting in Foxearth Village Hall. There were 22 members present and - as tradition dictates - savoury snacks and wine were served. 

In the Chair Lynda Rumble welcomed all and thanked members for their support including those who provided meeting refreshment, writing reports , managed the web site, maintained the accounts and generally kept the outfit on the road. Secretary Clare Mathieson reported on a thriving society with 42 paid up members, 61 email contacts and some very impressive visitor numbers in 2019 - due no doubt to popular "local content" talks with Ian McMillan's history of Liston Hall and the unforgettable duo of Ashley and Andrew on Sudbury memories being notable examples. A complete programme for 2020 had been circulated promising a year full of interest and it was understood that Judy and Randolph were engaged upon some research on Liston Church and graveyard which may feature in the future.

On the financial side, Treasurer Mark Mathieson produced an income and expenditure account showing a small profit of £18.68 on the year's activities and a respectable bank account balance of £2,390 of which £1,006 was the ring-fenced book fund. It was agreed that the membership subscription should remain at £10pa.

President Ashley Cooper expressed his appreciation to Clare and Lynda for their skillful programme planning and their enthusiasm for the Society. He endorsed what had been said about the popularity of talks relative to the area and felt that the new season had got off to a resounding start with 95 year old Len Manning's vivid WW2 experiences. Having heard Richard Humphries before Ashley commended the talk Richard would give at the April meeting. Ashley reminded members of the availability of the book fund and noted that Corinne Cox had a new book in preparation.

Members had been invited to contribute to a museum table and the items displayed included old photographs, a pewter plate (circa 1671), wall plaques, a commemorative plate (1945) presented to Clare's father, Rev. S. Harris for his organisation of a two-month holiday for war-deprived Dutch children and an account of a pageant, in Bury St Edmunds, based on the Court of Elizabeth 1, devised by the same energetic priest.

It is always a delight to welcome Anne Grimshaw to the Society. Her most recent talk concerned a weaver at Waterloo but this evening her contribution had a more personal theme. Researching her family history in the Oldham and Rochdale area Anne had discovered that her 5x great uncle, Edmund Elson (1740 - 1813) had left a Will naming Joseph Travis, grocer of Oldham, as an executor. Since there appeared to be no family connection between Edmund and Joseph, Anne was keen to find out more and her delving revealed that Joseph was the son of John Travis, chandler, soap boiler and grocer - and a neighbour of Edmund Elson. At the time there was great agitation, under the leadership of Henry Hunt, for electoral reform, universal suffrage and more representation and this culminated in a mass assembly in Manchester on 16th August 1819 when some 60,000 were charged at by the militia who used sabres to dreadful effect. Eighteen were killed and over 600 injured including many women and children in this horrendous Peterloo massacre. It appears that Joseph Travis was a Special Constable but his duties on this notorious day seem to have been confined to counting the number of marchers and demonstrators involved and when he appeared as a witness at the trial of Henry Hunt in 1820 he did not attempt to discredit the reformers in any way. John Travis bought some shares in the Rochdale Canal Company although he did lose money when the venture got into financial difficulties. Anne was amazed when she located via the internet an image of a share certificate in the name of John Travis and delighted when she was able to buy the actual document. This - and the fact that an ancestor of hers had known someone who had known and spoken to Henry Hunt - were the rewards for her diligent work. There are still unanswered questions but as Anne said the thing about doing family research is that once you start you cannot leave it alone! A lovely and most interesting account and I am indebted to Anne for her help writing this precis.

Next meeting: Tuesday 14th April 7.30pm in Foxearth ViIllage Hall - Richard Humphries describing silk's journey from China to the Essex/Suffolk border.

Ken Nice