correspondence in the Hadleigh Community News reported
stories of a series of
tunnels crossing the town. Like all the best myths these are rarely first hand
reports but have been relayed several times removed. That is not to say that
they are fictional: there is substance behind this particular story and it is
far from a myth.
do exist, but it is unlikely that any was built for the primary benefit of
clergy or smugglers. Whether this
was ever a secondary use we do not know.
The main purpose of the tunnels we are aware of was very ordinary:
can arise by putting two observations together and blurring them into
something different, or more mysterious.
This can particularly arise from half remembered experiences of our
years ago when we moved to where the newsletter is now produced we soon began
to hear all sorts of stories from the building’s past.
There were persistent reports of its ghosts, and we could even have
conjured them up ourselves in those early days when the house was a new
there were visitors who had known the house in their childhood, and could
recollect where they played. They
couldn’t quite locate the tunnel entrance but a newish bricking up seemed to
be in the right sort of place. Behind
this was a passage of sorts, but leading upwards, following the chimney,
rather than down.
the other hand, in the garden was, and still is, another tunnel: a culvert
taking a stream underground. Although
we’ve never tried, a small person could get down it, and it leads towards
the Brett. However, the scope for smugglers offloading their contraband from
that river is probably rather limited. Follow the same course upstream and you’ll
again find culverts. The myths
would have you believe a passage linked us to Pond Hall. Our stream rises from that direction, and the occasional
fragments of tunnel are perhaps enough to start that particular myth.
to the house, and hiding places. Like many old properties it has its fair
share of lost spaces between rooms, floors and ceilings. Were they accidental, or
were they deliberately created? Even
if accidental, could they have been used for secret purposes? What purposes:
smuggling goods or people? What historical activities have been most closely
associated with hiding places: persecution of priests, civil war, or
smuggling? Each of these falls within the period of the building, and any of
it is possible. We don’t know
the one hand we have what actually exists together with what has been clearly
and authoritatively documented. On
the other hand we have stories and memories that are not always so carefully
researched and recorded. All are
worth preserving, but we would like to try to classify each according to its
on Tuesday 26th June 2001
REPORT: Colin Reeve showed an
increased balance with no need to increase subscriptions this year.
Paul Garrod at Walter Wright was thanked for his help in compiling the
statement of accounts.
GROUP REPORT: The eleven members
of the group meet approximately every three weeks.
In February the group had given a repeat presentation of ‘Hadleigh in
1881’ at a well-attended Hadleigh Society meeting. Sue Andrews, archivist, had conducted several teaching
sessions. The group’s current
project is a study of Hadleigh’s 1836 map.
Joe Byrne is standing down as Chairman of the group under the five-year
rule and is replaced by Glenda Druce.
REPORT: Joe Byrne and John
Bloomfield were thanked for their tremendous efforts in the preparation of the
submissions for the supermarket Public Inquiry.
The Society had written to Suffolk County Council expressing concerns
about noise, dust and traffic issues regarding the Peyton Hall Farm Quarry
application and John Bloomfield had attended the site visit.
ON OTHER BODIES: The Society had
continued to be represented on other bodies including the Town Forum and the
Traffic Management Working Party, which had been attended by Jan Byrne.
Changes in the town this year included the installation of a zebra
crossing in the High Street. Major alterations in the lighting of the High Street area
were planned and Suffolk County Council will hold a public exhibition of the
proposals in the near future. Jan
Byrne urged all members to attend the exhibition and make comments in writing
to Suffolk County Council. John
Bloomfield reported on his recent appointment to the Executive Committee of
the newly formed East of England Association of Civic Trust Societies.
REVIEW: In December at the
Christmas Tree Ceremony Colin Reeve and John Bloomfield had organised a stall
roasting chestnuts and the Society had donated the money raised to the Mayor’s
Charity. Jan thanked Gordon
Sutcliffe and Bert Keele who are both standing down after their five-year
term, for the time they have given to the Committee.
Jan also thanked the newsletter editors, treasurer and secretary for
their continued hard work.
TURNER AWARD 2001: Although
several projects had been nominated, it was decided that there would be no
award this year.
No formal ballot was necessary and the Executive Committee for the
coming year will be:
meeting closed with the serving of Cheese and Wine during which John
Bloomfield proposed a vote of thanks to Jan Byrne for a particularly
successful year as Society Chairman.
in Wales, brought up in Windsor, she was educated at Princess Margaret Rose
school which had the rare distinction of its religious instruction and
services being held in St. George’s Chapel, the schoolgirls marching in line
three times a week to the castle from the school. One of her very earliest
memories is of lining the route inside Windsor Great Park to the state
entrance of the castle for the funeral of King George V. Another memory is of
playing Queen Katherine of France in a performance of King Henry VIII for Her
Majesty Queen Elizabeth (now the Queen Mother) and Princess Margaret Rose and
saying “I cannot speek zis English” -what’s new!
the age of 23 she was recruited by the Crown Agents for the Colonies as a
secretary for the government of Tanganyika. Together with her ticket for the
maiden voyage of the “Bloemfontain Castle” she remembers receiving a book
entitled “Hints on the Preservation of Health in Tropical Africa” the
inside cover of which bore the dire warning “a poisonous insecticidal
solution has been used in binding this book”. It was from this book that
she learned to tell the difference between a malaria- carrying female
anopheles mosquito and a harmless little biter!!
1950 Africa was only just emerging from being the Dark Continent. No freezers
so no ice, no air conditioning, and milk was flown down to Dar es Salaam daily
legs of all kitchen cupboards had to be placed into small tins of petrol,
which was the only way to keep the sugar ants away from the food. Drinking
water had to be boiled, filtered, and kept cool in the fridge. Food was washed
in permanganate. (but mangos, pineapples, paw paws, oranges, all grew in the
was obligatory for civil servants to spend a short annual period upcountry as
12 months on the equator was bad for the health, so she and a friend went off
on safari (a Swahili word meaning journey and in pre-tourist days nothing to
do with visiting wild life parks!). In order to get to Moshi on the slopes of
Kilimanjaro they had to travel by train to Morogoro where the railway track
ran out, and then by railway bus across to Korogwe during which the bus got
stuck in the mud and all the passengers had to get out and push it. Then on to
Moshi: what an adventure!
1961, marriage and 3 children later, the family started afresh in Europe
living and working for the next 10 years in Brussels. After a traumatic period
of adjustment to French/Flemish schools for the children, they all rapidly
replaced their Swahili with French and Flemish and the family settled into a
very happy period of life in Belgium.
1972 the family moved to Windsor where they remained until one by one the
offspring married and moved away- Charles to Canada, Debbie to Cyprus and
Catherine to Suffolk. Which
brought Rosemary to Hadleigh.
did you know that Mount Kilimanjaro used to be in Kenya but was given by Queen
Victoria to her grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm, as a wedding present, Tanganyika
then being German East Africa?
year a lot of interest was raised when archaeologists had the opportunity to
investigate the site adjacent to the ex MoD site. On 24th April to a packed house the leader of that
dig, Linzi Everett of the Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service, gave
the Hadleigh Society a preliminary account of the findings.
preliminary archaeological investigations had been made to the north of
Hadleigh in 1979 before the bypass was built.
Crop markings visible from the air marked out the ditches of what was
probably a Roman enclosure. It
was probably agricultural, perhaps associated with a watermill and there were
also some circular features and ditches of an unknown date.
the South West corner was a concentration of mediaeval activity. When
Persimmon Homes proposed building in this area it was an opportunity for a dig
to be funded as a condition of granting planning permission.
team moved in with a JCB and removed over a metre of topsoil in some places to
reveal a range of markings of which the largest features were two ring
ditches. Also significant was a
pattern of postholes indicating a building which although substantial enough
to be a dwelling lacked internal walls and hearth so it was probably
pottery around this building was 12th to 14th century
and mostly from Essex, consisting of storage jars and cooking pots with the
latter having soot deposits. Rubbish deposits indicated that people lived
nearby but the domestic rubbish was not very high status. It is likely that
the site has always been close to the flood plain of the river and had not
been suitable for habitation.
ring ditches were much older, from the Bronze Age about 2,500 to 4,000 years
ago, and marked out cemetery sites. The
ditches were up to 1.5m deep, and the spoil originally dug out from them would
have probably formed a central mound. The 40 or so cremations associated with
these monuments could be dated to around 1900BC: some in pots, some not.
Boswell Lane, which borders the site to the South was known as Dead
Vessel Lane until the 19th century, so perhaps the ancient use was
well known to past residents of Hadleigh.
of the cremations was of an adult male, about 35 to 40 years old, which would
have been a typical life expectancy of the time. Seeds of elderberries have
been identified during analysis of the cremated material, which were perhaps
used as food offerings.
the edge of the south ring ditch were four graves dated to the 7th
century. Only fragments of the
bones remained because of the acidity of the sandy soil. More enduring were their possessions: spears, a knife and
bronze buckles for the two men; beads, pendants and finger rings for the two
women. The graves were dated by
the style of the grave goods. A
Merovingian pot (from France) was found there but may have already been an
antique by the time it was deposited.
show were two of the most enduring finds: stone tools.
A very fine axe head was shaped from granite, which must have come from
along the Cornish, Cumbrian or North Welsh border of the country, suggesting
that trading links were widespread. A
napped flint axe head was typical of the Neolithic age, 4,000-6,000 years ago.
This would be consistent with evidence from several other similar sites around
this part of the country.
few coins found on the site were mediaeval, but since they were in the topsoil
they would probably have been carried there with fertiliser. In general, there
was surprisingly little metalwork.
from this site was any Iron Age remains, whereas the current dig at the nearby
Red Hill Road development has uncovered remains from just this period.
Everett will be producing a full report in due course and a copy will be
deposited in the Hadleigh Archive. It is hoped that there would be an
opportunity to exhibit some of the finds from the site in Hadleigh at some
Bieberach Revisited is the fascinating story of Carol Wheatley who was born in a German internment camp. Carol’s parents lived on Guernsey from where all English nationals were deported during World War II. Bieberach Revisited tells of the family's early experiences in the camp and Carol’s subsequent return to Bieberach as an adult. Come to the Hadleigh Society meeting in the Old Town Hall at 8pm on Tuesday 21st August to hear the story.