Archive for August, 2010

Letter from New Zealand

This letter was received by Roger Messer, Chairman of Foxearth Village Hall Charitable Trust as a direct consequence of material published on the Foxearth & Liston website.

27 July 2010

Dear Mr Messer,

Congratulations on the village’s new sign. It’s over 63 years since I visited your village – the birth place of my parents. My father was Harry Maxim and my mother Florence Maxim (nee Arbon). Both went to Foxearth School. My cousin Edie married a Mr Wildbore in the church in about 1954 and my father and I attended that event but, being caught in a hailstorm afterwards, we had to shelter in the Lychgate.

I have been in New Zealand since 1958 and never returned. My daughter Esther in interested in my early days and wants to trace the Maxim in the area round about. I worked in the Meteorological Service in New Zealand prior to retiring in 1992 at the age of 60 so weather events are very special to me. The disastrous storm of 27 June 1947 (or wasit 1948) I remember well. My father was working at Bakers Mill in Gt Cornard (we lived in Sudbury) where a tree was lifted out of the ground. The tornado or series of them accompanying the storm proceeded via Brundon (a large oak uprooted) and on to Foxearth taking the church spire with it.

My father had the story that his father Robert Maxim (1834-1913) had worked on the spire and when we inspected the lead sheathing just below the cross it had his initials on it.

I believe my other cousin Doris Sandford was on the History Society before she died a few years back. If there are any Foxearth people about my age (78 1/2) who wish to contact me with their stories I would like to hear from them. My four children and six grandchildren have all been born in New Zealand and can only study these things by computer but I have such clear memories of it all and discuss it with them.

I have traced a line back to the 1700’s. The Maxim family seem to feature few generations per century. My father was 45 when I was born and his father was 52 [when my father was born]. Harry’s mother was Ann Piper and I remember a Mark Piper being in Foxearth Street just up from the brewery. My cousin Clifford Arbon worked at the brewery bottling soft drinks after World War II.

And so it goes on. Who knows when the first Maxim arrived in the village and from where? Perhaps Fr Buchanan has it in the church records?

It has been great hearing about your village on the Google website. I have a computer but my daughter Esther is much more educated with hers.

Yours sincerely

Leonard H. Maxim


New Zealand


The following letter was received by Roger Messer, Chairman of Foxearth Village Hall Charitable Trust from Mrs Trish Dixon Smith daughter of Mr & Mrs Horace Chapman who donated the Foxearth sign to the village in 1983.


Refurbishment and Dedication of Foxearth Village Sign

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A very special and happy social occasion took place in Foxearth on the evening of 30th July when the refurbished village sign was unveiled and dedicated.

The sign was originally provided by the Chapman family of Foxearth Hall in 1983 as a gift to the village and erected on a small traffic island in the village centre. Action of the weather and the proximity of an oak tree led over the years to a deterioration of the sign to the point that earlier this year renovation was clearly indicated. All the residents of Foxearth and Liston were invited to the ceremony and about seventy assembled in the Foxearth Village Hall to hear tributes by Roger Messer, Chairman of the Village Hall Charitable Trust, Colin Flux, Chairman of the two villages Parish Council and Alan Fitch, Chairman of the District Local History Society and to enjoy cheese and wine. Clive Waite was warmly thanked for his work in expertly repairing and reassembling the sign which had included careful research into the materials used and investigation of the reasons for the decay. Appreciation was also expressed to Steven Binks of Bures who had carried out the sign’s redecoration, to Jon Broad for erecting the sign, and to the History Society for obtaining a grant to cover the cost.

As everyone gathered outside- and as volunteer wardens carried out necessary “traffic-calming”duties – members of the Chapman family unveiled the sign, to audible gasps of admiration as the beauty of the artwork was revealed. The sign was then dedicated and blessed by the Team Rector, Father Eoin Buchanan. Mr. Binks was required to identify himself and accept a very well deserved round of applause!

The sign now stands as a symbol of a proud village.

Ken Nice