Archive for August, 2014

Foxearth Local History Society – Visit to Long Melford Heritage Centre

The District Society’s meeting on 12th August took the form of a visit to the Long Melford Heritage Centre by 14 members. One of the part time curators, Julie Thompson, explained how the Centre arose from an archaeological dig in the village and was formally opened in 2012 by Dr Carenza Lewis of TV Timewatch team. The dig had revealed many Roman – and earlier – artefacts such as coins, pottery, knives etc and these were displayed in show cases. Among the Centre’s many exhibits are photographs of old Melford buildings and residents and a special feature on Melford in the Great War. Local historian Anne Grimshaw explained how, from photographs, research had uncovered some fascinating stories. She mentioned in particular the sad episode of Sydney Shelley, a pupil teacher at Melford school who was allowed to defer his call-up so that he could take his final exams in a month or two; he was killed in action in 1915. Among his possessions is a paint box bearing his name – a poignant reminder of a life and career that might have been. The Centre also has a curious photograph of Dorothy Evelyn Younger – a Melford girl born in 1897 who served in the WAAC with distinction being awarded a Croix de Guerre and other medals; why she is photographed wearing a male uniform, with some contradictory features, and an enigmatic smile has never been discovered. This Centre, alongside the Village Hall, is beautifully set out with a great variety of interesting material in a relatively small space.

The second half of the visit consisted of a tour, conducted by Trudi Jeffs, of that section of the village from the Heritage Centre to the School. We learnt that the School – now of course the Community Centre – had been built just over 150 years ago and was a mirror image of Melford Hall. Trudi told the story of the day some lads found a bomb in a nearby field and carried it to the school presenting it to the Head Teacher – who was not amused! When the experts arrived to take it away they found it was extremely sensitive and it was easily detonated at a safe distance! A close call for the school and its staff! The house of the First World War poet, Edmund Blunden, was pointed out as we walked over a narrow bridge said to have been guaranteed for 3 years when it was built in 1787. We arrived at the Court House – famous as being the place where the Riot Act was read for the last time (it was in this place that Sydney Shelley’s appeal for deferred call-up would have been heard). At the Bull Hotel we were shown pictures of how this Tudor building was “modernised” in the Georgian era with a façade deemed fashionable at the time. In the gathering gloom, Trudi talked about the coconut matting industry and the iron foundry that once gave employment to the village.

All the members agreed that this had been a most worthwhile visit and thanked our hosts warmly for their contributions.

The Society’s next meeting will be on Tuesday 9th September at 7.30pm in Foxearth Village Hall when Brian Strong will speak  about River Lea House Mill

Kenneth Nice, Orchard Cottage, Foxearth


Foxearth Church – Concert of American Country Music

Crochets & QuaversA chance meeting several weeks ago by Corinne and Phil Cox led to an entertaining evening in Foxearth Church on 16th August. Sandy and Mike hail from Belchamp Walter and are American country music enthusiasts who have honed their craft on numerous visits to various parts of the United States. With Sandy on double bass – which she has named Bessie – and Mike as guitarist this husband and wife duo sang through a large number of songs paying tribute at times  to some of the great names in Country Music such as Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, the Everly Brothers etc.

Every song in this genre tells a story with love being the typical emotional theme. Sometimes it is lost love – as in the tear-jerker “Tear stained letter”.  The earliest songs date from the American civil war but perhaps most featured were from the 20s and 30s some reflecting the poverty and hard times of that period, for example “All I have to offer you is me” and “I’ve pawned the gold watch and chain” The music related such diverse themes as meetings at country fairs, the anguish of the absence of a loved one and advice not to be a miner – and there was the saga of Billy Gray the outlaw!

Mike interspersed the renderings with facts about the couple’s travels and the background to Country Music – which should not be confused with Country and Western. He also contributed a solo on the American mandolin. This was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and we thank Sandy and Mike for freely giving of their talent to raise funds for the Church Restoration Fund which benefitted by £230.

In the interval delicious hot food was served for which we thank Corinne, Mally and Victoria while Phil and John pleased everyone with the provision of liquid refreshment. Thanks too to all who came along in support and to share the fun.

Kenneth Nice, Orchard Cottage, Foxearth


Closure of Village Hall to Public Meetings

The following has been received from Mr Roger Messer to be published in the public interest on behalf of the Village Hall.



Serving the communities of Foxearth & Liston

(Registered Charity No. 301303)

Chairman – Roger Messer; Treasurer – David Busby; Secretary – Angela Pacey; Bookings Secretary – Mary Waite;

Members: Valerie Hastie, Rebecca Fitzgerald, Lorna White


To The Parish Clerk,

Foxearth and Liston Parish Council

7th August 2014


At the 5th August 2014 meeting of the Parish Council, the matter of a hearing loop in the Village Hall was raised. Points were made about legal responsibilities which included threat of legal action by Councillor St.John Howe towards those he holds responsible.

Following the Parish Council meeting, and in light of the perceived seriousness of the matter, the Trustees of Foxearth Village Hall held a meeting on the 7th August to further discuss this issue but also to decide their response to Councillor St.John Howe’s threat.

We are concerned about possible liability and considering that the Trustees provide their services in good faith, willingly and freely, we are not prepared to be threatened, bullied or placed in this position by Councillor St. John Howe. We feel this is not the way issues in a small community such as ours should be conducted.

We feel we must take action to protect ourselves and the Village Hall. The Trustees  have now made the decision to close the Hall to public meetings where legislation might require us to provide a hearing loop or similar and it will remain closed to public meetings until such time as we are advised that the Hall meets said requirements.

Meantime,the Village Hall will continue taking advice about the possible installation and availability of funding for a hearing loop or similar and will consider it to be a matter of urgency to get the Hall back to a fully functioning state.

Consequently, I am writing to inform you that Foxearth Village Hall will not be available to the Parish Council for its public meetings or Parish Council meetings for the immediate future. Making it available will depend on the speed of the processes of getting advice and funding and installation.

Yours faithfully


Roger W Messer

Chairman – Foxearth Village Hall Charitable Trust