Archive for June, 2013

Foxearth Summer (?!?) Fete 2013

“Weather and rain have undone it again – and now you would never know”

Kipling’s words are very apt when one thinks back two years to the fete on 18th June 2011. On that occasion the heavens opened just before 4pm as the clearing up started. On Saturday 15th June this year a torrential downpour began about 3.15pm bringing the fete to a premature end and sending the stall holders scrambling for shelter. On both occasions our kind hosts were Louise and Nick Wells and we are once again grateful to them for the use of their beautiful garden and other facilities; the weather was out of their hands!

As usual this year, despite a cool wind and threatening skies, a reasonable attendance was able to enjoy stalls for plants, cakes, books, bric-a-brac. Those up for a challenge could guess the weight of a cake or try games of skill and chance. Children got their faces painted, afternoon tea was welcomed and those manning the tombola and raffle were kept busy. Melford Silver Band entertained with a varied repertoire which included “Singing in the Rain”

As ever it took a team to organise the Fete and to all involved – and to those who came along in support -we say a sincere thank you. The final amount raised was £743 to be shared between the Parish Church and the Village Hall. The first prize of £50 in the raffle was won by Dawn Messer.

Finally perhaps we may contemplate the wisdom – or otherwise – of John Ruskin’s view

“There is no such thing as bad weather; only different kinds of good weather”

Ken Nice

Further Improvements to Footpaths

We are pleased to inform you that following on from the installation of the new bridges on the footpath that runs between Hall Cottage and Foxearth Hall and across the field, that fences have now been re-aligned and a new gate installed which has allowed for the removal of the stiles.

This means that this popular circular route that runs from the churchyard, up Church path, down left by the field,  across the field where the long horn cattle are and back into the Village is now entirely obstruction free and suitable for anyone who found climbing the stiles difficult.

Foxearth History Society

Twenty one intrepid members and guests of the District Local; History Society assembled on the evening of 11th June (one of the cold ones!) in Pentlow churchyard to hear Isobel Clark talk about gravestones. “Talk” is an entirely inadequate word for someone who professed a life-long fascination with the subject and who has explored many cemeteries including some in Turkey and the Sudan. Isobel is now involved with a group based at Sudbury library researching some of the graves in the area  and her enthusiasm was apparent as we toured Pentlow churchyard and various features were pointed out. For example when lettering is almost illegible the style will often indicate a particular time period. One of the reasons why engraving is worn and faint is due to the practice at one time of covering the memorial stone with plaster upon which the lettering would appear in sharp relief but the ravages of time, weather etc would cause the plaster to fall off leaving just a slight impression. The fact that the initials and date of decease often appear on the foot stone is a help and access to burial registers will often provide confirmatory evidence in the case of names difficult to read. In some cases lead lettering has been prised out leaving just the fixing holes – but we saw no examples of this in Pentlow! A trick of the trade Isobel explained is to lather the faded writing with shaving soap; alas this was not demonstrated so we may have to try it at home!

Moving inside the church Andrew Clarke discussed the origin of the building. What was once thought to be a Norman foundation is now considered to be of much earlier date. Various configurations including the width of the nave point to a Saxon building i.e 650 – 850AD. This would place Pentlow among the earliest stone churches in the country. The original main door would have been at the west end and there would have been a three-arched opening to the chancel. Wall paintings would have represented the educational function of the early church. Of particular interest is the square font – thought to be 12th century – with its elaborate carvings of interlacing ornaments and foliage. Some of the commemorative wall plaques were discussed as were the well-known Kempe and Felton tombs in the North Chapel.

Chairman Alan Fitch expressed thanks to Isobel and Andrew for their contribution to an interesting and enlightening evening. He reminded members that the next two gatherings of the Society would be visits to Halstead – to explore the town’s industrial heritage – on 13th July and to the Nuclear Bunker on 17th August.

Ken Nice