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Quiz Night – 12th May – Foxearth Village Hall

A lot of unknown facts about animals, geography, food and drink and people emerged at the quiz night  in Foxearth Village Hall on Saturday evening 12th May as quiz master Peter Highmore – resplendent in suitable attire – fired 56 questions in 7 rounds at 8 teams to sort out the best from the rest. Contestants seemed to be  “more at home” with Radio and TV!  The final scores were surprisingly close with the Geddes Clan turning out to be top of the class by a couple of marks. Well done to them – they obviously knew exactly when to use their Joker!

At half time a supper of cottage pie or chilli was served and a bar kept thirst at bay. Val used her persuasive powers to achieve an excellent raffle result. We thank those who cooked, washed up, moved chairs and tables about and served the drinks; and the unquestionably right Peter who kept things moving with good humour. Mostly we thank all who came along and raised a marvellous £540 for the Parish Church.

Ken Nice

Foxearth and District Local History Society

In a fascinating exposition of what “digging up the past” really means, Foxearth archeologist and author Corinne Cox entertained at the Society’s meeting on 8th May. Secretary Clare Mathieson welcomed 25 members and guests of the Stour Valley Archeological Group to hear Mrs Cox focus on the test pit excavations in Foxearth in 2013 and 2017.

As Corinne explains in her book “Foxearth Treasures” of  2014 it seems likely that the village’s name has nothing to do with a burrowing fox! Research into Old English supports a derivation from two Anglo-Saxon words meaning “folk or people” and “a piece of land or ploughed field” – but why spoil a good myth!

With the help of a large screen and computer technology Corinne took us through the excavations in private gardens and fields illustrating the detailed and meticulous approach that can prove that even a tiny piece of pottery can be the source of important information about settlements in the past. Taken together these snippets can build a comprehensive picture of community life thousands of years ago. Before any digging (a misnomer as the work with very small trowels is slow and painstaking) can take place a one metre square is marked on a site that is measured and accurately charted. Any turf is cut and put on one side before soil removal begins in layers of 10cm. The maximum depth of a pit would be 90cm. Soil strata and colour are noted and sifting to find any small pieces takes place. Some pits do not reach maximum depth because a layer of natural material e.g clay or in one case chalk is encountered -or because of time constraints. Finds in Foxearth have included many flint tools (dating back to 4,000 BC), Roman coins, a vast range of medieval pottery fragments, clay pipes – which can be quite accurately dated because over time bowl shape and stem design changed – and even some Spanish tin-glazed ware which was a very expensive commodity. All these treasures are recorded and photographed and sent for expert evaluation when necessary.

Corinne acknowledged the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Scheme – All our stories – project and the local residents who had allowed their personal space to be briefly invaded; everything is put back as it was at the end of the two-day excavation. An exhibition showing some of the artifacts and photographs is continuously on view in Foxearth church. An invitation was made to all villagers to consider offering one square metre of garden for the next series of excavations on Wednesday and Thursday, 6th and 7th June 2018. Please contact Corinne if interested.

The 2017 exercise gave senior pupils from schools in Sudbury and Haverhill the chance to experience test pit digging and this year a similar insight will be available to interested students in Bury St Edmunds and Halstead.

Another book is in the pipeline – and this is Corinne’s research into Foxearth and  the First World War. It will be called Foxearth Pals, is due for publication later this year and is eagerly awaited.

Corinne was warmly thanked by Clare for her most interesting talk which was clearly well appreciated by her audience.

Next meeting: Tuesday 12th June A guided tour of Hadleigh  – in the hands of Jan Byrne 

Ken Nice

Annual Meeting of Electors of Foxearth and Liston – 5th May 2018

This meeting was held in Foxearth Village Hall on Saturday 5th May. There were 22 local residents present. Chairman of the Parish Council, Cllr Tony Clayton, reported on the activity of the Council in the past year. Funding for the installation of a public access defibrillator had been obtained and quotations were being obtained for an electrical supply to the Foxearth telephone box. Progress was being made on the restoration of the Foxearth War Memorial and the “Quiet Lane” in Liston had been formally designated. Fibre Broadband for Foxearth and Pentlow was a step nearer following an expression of the minimum 30% support (in this connection a local land owner understood that permission had not yet been sought for the neccessary cable laying across his land) Mr David Fahie explained his thoughts on the need for forward planning of housing needs in Foxearth. He felt that it would be in the best interests of villagers if there were opportunities for local folk – as their requirements changed but who wished to continue to live in the area- to downsize, acquire “easier living”, to have some choice available with different ownership options. This could be provided by a phased housing development for which an appropriate site would be an area at the back of Glebeside and the east side of Claypits. The first phase might consist of about 12 dwellings (various types of 2 or 3 bedroom properties) ultimately extending to about 21 units of accommodation all with a reasonable garden. Mr Fahie stressed that this was long-term thinking as any action in this matter would depend on several important factors: before any planning could begin the District Council Planning Department would need to be convinced that there was a requirement for such a development in the village. An independent housing needs survey would have to be undertaken and the views of the local populace obtained. Any project must have local support and Mr Fahie urged all to think carefully about his ideas and co-operate in any survey. Mr Fahie was thanked by Cllr Clayton for his contribution. Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, discussed current objectives of the Council as (a) sustaining economic growth which had seen council tax stable for 7 years intil 2018/19, (b) extending services for the elderly and children as demand grew; new schools were planned for Colchester (3) and Chelmsford (2), (c) protection of the environment and (d) ensuring that every service is provided as effectively as possible. He emphasised the County’s high rating in various fields by comparison with other authorities. Cllr Finch drew attention to several schemes initiated by County including the Essex Lottery, crowd funding and the community service fund which provides grants of up to £5,000 pa for up to 3 years. Responding to questions concerning pot holes Cllr Finch urged that all problems should reported via the web site or by telephone as all instances are recorded and put in the repair programme. District Councillor Iona Parker explained that investment in community facilities such as doctors’ surgeries in Braintree was continuing as was support for tourism development. Efforts were being made to gain wider Broadband access. She mentioned the small grant scheme which provided amounts up to £1,500 at individual councillors’ discretion.The Council also had a policy of dealing with fly-tipping complaints within 24 hours whenever possible. In the public forum session it was recalled that at a recent meeting attention had been drawn to problems arising from the priority at the Rodbridge river crossing at which an aggressive incident had been noted. Visibility from the Suffolk side was not clear until one is on the beginning of the bridge. Cutting back some foliage would help but better still would be to reverse the priority! It was noted that litter – in considerable quantity- tended to be left at the “lay-by”, on the left past Foxearth Hall, and it was questioned whether this unofficial stopping place should be allowed to continue to exist. The land owner expressed a willingness to close it off and bank the edges with soil. Dog mess was also reported as a persistent nuisance and health hazard. Dog walkers were reminded that failing to remove fouling constitutes a criminal offence; plastic bags are available and receptacles – which are regularly emptied – are in place.

Ken Nice.

 

Parish Council A meeting of the Parish Council for Foxearth and Liston was held on 12th May with Cllr Mark Posen in the Chair; there was one local resident present. Formal elections were unanimously made as follows: Chairman – Cllr Tony Clayton, Vice-Chairman – Cllr Mark Posen, Appointments and Employment Committee – Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Cllr William Binks. Arising from the recent meeting of electors it was noted that Mr David Fahie had offered to commission and fund a RCCE housing needs survey if the Parish Council supported this approach – which it did unanimously. In connection with the desired War Memorial realignment Cllr C. Cox explained the difficulty of getting an alternative quotation and said that the matter was now in the hands of the Arch Deacon who had asked for more information. On the subject of footpaths it was noted that some repairs had been done and some areas overgrown with nettles would be reported. Next meeting: 14th July 2018 9.45am in Foxearth Village Hall.

Ken Nice