Archive for October, 2015

Foxearth & District Local History Society – Report of meeting on 13th October.

The premier department store in Sudbury, Winch and Blatch, has existed for 70 years having been established in December 1945. In a fascinating talk to the Foxearth and District Local History Society on 13th October, Mrs Judith Blatch – Company Secretary and Financial Director – described the development of the enterprise starting with a description of the store’s oldest building. Housing the main store this listed building is thought, from its decorated and octagonal crown post, to have been constructed about 1300. Other buildings were added in the 16th and 17th centuries. Mr Winch was an established trader in King St in 1800. A disastrous fire on New Years Day 1922 destroyed a whole parade of shops after which Mr Winch acquired the old building mentioned above. Mrs Blatch showed some very graphic photo slides of the devastation. Delays in dealing with the conflagration resulted from attempts to draw water from a 33 foot well with a 30 foot hose and the fact that Sudbury and Long Melford fire appliances operated on differing gauges of hose! In the 1960s John and Vera Blatch – who were already trading in the town as drapers – bought the premises from Mr Winch and later acquired the shop of  R S Joy, silk merchant and draper, which ultimately became the present menswear department. The present homewares store is on the site of an inn, the Rose and Crown, which was replaced by a cinema in the 1930s and later by a supermarket. Mrs Blatch emphasised that diligent research has shown rumours that tunnels lead from the old building cellars to various other buildings in the vicinity to be completely untrue!

This was a most carefully planned and interesting talk with some excellent illustrations and Mrs Blatch was warmly thanked by Chairman Alan Fitch on behalf of 18 members and guests present.

The Chairman reported that he would endeavour to book The George at Cavendish for this year’s Christmas dinner hopefully on the second Tuesday of December.

Next meeting: Tuesday 10th November 7.30pm in Foxearth Village Hall for an archive film evening.

Ken Nice

Patricia Ruth James 1941 – 2015

Foxearth Church was full, with many people standing, on Thursday 1st October for the funeral of Mrs James – a deeply respected and much loved resident of the village for more than 50 years. Her service was conducted by Team Rector, Rev. Margaret King and cremation at the West Suffolk Crematorium followed. The church was resplendent with flowers reflecting Pat’s abiding interest in the countryside and nature. Musical tributes came in the form of piano and recorder  pieces by grandchildren Sophie and Freddie. Grandson Daniel described Pat’s creation of her beautiful wildflower meadow and the many open days held there which raised thousands of pounds for various charities including Marie Curie Cancer, EACH, Romanian gypsies and Foxearth church. The connection with the village community of Tileagd in Romania and how this led to many visits by Pat during which she gave valuable help with the development of craft work ,was explained more fully by Sophie .

In a moving eulogy, daughter Polly described Pat as the complete package; a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, cousin, teacher , friend – in fact all things to all people. Drawing upon some of Pat’s own written reminiscences Polly told us of Pat’s early life in her native Newmarket and the family’s moves to Mildenhall and Spalding as her father’s  career as a bank manager progressed. From her recollections of gardens, chickens and pigs, bees and fruit trees it is evident that Pat’s fascination with these things was instilled from an early age. After training as a Domestic Science Teacher, Pat taught at large schools in Hammersmith, Braintree  – and Halstead, where she was for 30 years, before moving on to a post at Highpoint Prison, Stradishall. Here her formidable cooking skills were extended to take in some of the spicy Carribean food beloved of some inmates.

The move to Foxearth came in the early 1960s as did marriage to Maurice and the arrival of son Ben and then Polly. The house – Bellybones – had a demolition order on it but Pat’s determination made it a welcoming family home and in 1987 work on the Wildflower Meadow began. Many hours of effort were contributed by Pat, her children and grandchildren caring for the cowslips, fritillaries, ox eye daisies, orchids etc. which blaze of colour was her pride and joy and which became so well  known and admired in the wider community.

Through the strength of constant community commitment she showed, Pat was an institution in Foxearth always being on hand to produce  gorgeous baking products for fetes, coffee mornings and many other events. Anything she tackled was always wholehearted and she was ever ready to share her expertise with those who sought it. She was an active member of the Womens’ Institute serving for many years as President. She was much in demand as a judge at local shows. When the time came she enthusiastically supported the villages’ Over 60s Club.

Pat’s friendliness, generosity and talents touched so many lives. One was always welcomed at Bellybones with a warm smile, an offer of refreshment and three boisterous dogs! The village will greatly miss Pat’s presence and we join the family in expressing our sadness in their loss.


Ken Nice

Foxearth Harvest Supper – 3rd Oct 2015

On Saturday 3rd October in the Village Hall this turned out to be the annual event that had everything! Fantastic food and drink – preceded by Mally’s thoughtful grace -, music from the flexible fingers of Derek, intellectual stimulation from quizmaster, another Derek, the chance of a flutter in the raffle and heads and tails competition and – most unexpectedly – drama when a young lady became locked in the ladies! Interviewed by your correspondent after her ordeal, Karen was asked whether events in her life flashed before her eyes during her 20 minute incarceration. Her reply was “No, I was worried that I would miss dessert”!

Phil was compere (and promises to learn the heads and tails rules) Thanks were expressed to general organiser Val and to all who cooked, served, cleared and helped in any way. Televised World Cup rugby did not significantly affect attendance and we thank  all who came along to enjoy the fun. The occasion raised £500 for the parish church.

Ken Nice