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Mr Clark's Boxford Memories

Dear All,

I was born on June 4th 1944 in a hospital in nearby Sudbury.
My beloved parents Thomas and Florence Clark brought me up in a house located in Calais Street named Roylands. I have many fond memories of my early life in the village.

I worked as a paperboy for the beloved Mary Ridlestone delivering newspapers to recipiants in Calais St. and White Street Green. I also worked as a shop boy in the Grocery Store and Post Office. The post lady was Mrs Hughes - a lovely lady.

I often went out with a milk delivery roundsman from the local Green Bank Dairy. The owner of the dairy was Mr. James Peek.
I went to school in my infant years with offspring Anne and Jimmy Peek.

I read of the news the Boxford fellow that found a winning lottery ticket whose surname Crighten made me wonder if he is related to a lad I knew in the village Albert Crighten. He and his parents lived in a bus parked on a plot behind the Fleece Hotel.

Along with a number of other Boxford youth I was among the first 300+ pupils to attend Stoke By Nayland Secondary School the first headmaster was Mr Whiting.

Many thanks,

Nigel Clark

Home Guard according to Percy Fletcher, Boxford

I may be the only person who actually served in the Home Guard in Boxford although of course maybe there are others in the other villages.

Upon reaching the age of 17 years I eventually joined the Local Defence Volunteers, later becoming the Home Guard. I recall that at that time the H.Q. of the Company was in the small room to the right of the Fleece Hotel as one faces it. Whether or not the proximity of the two main pubs in the village had any bearing on the choice of HQ will remain a mystery. Most of the members were old soldiers from the 1914/18 conflict who proudly wore upon their uniforms their medal ribbans. The officer in charge was a Mr Matthews, the local postmaster and shop keeper who to the best of my knowledge had no experiance what so ever of a military nature. He was eventually replaced by Mr W. Wylie who resided in a bungalow on the Sudbury Road. Besides the old soldiers and we boys (stupid no doubt!) those persons who were exempt from the forces either because of their occupation or ill health, volunteered for the force.

I recall that one such person was Archie Rule (son of the bus proprietor) He and I one evening were sent down Stone Street to mount guard in a field known locally as '100 acres' belonging to Mr Pawsey of Peyton Hall. Having arrived in daylight we were supposed to return in the early hours of the morning - but we got lost! We were in this large field and could not find our way out. We walked round and round but could not find a hedgerow. I recall Archie saying that we should give it up as a bad job and wait for the dawn. We did just that, sitting in what turned out to be the middle of this large field. I also remember going on a battle training course at Dunmow.

Amongst other duties were - manning the Spigot gun position where the playing field is now and inspecting the various deterrents placed by farmers in the fields to deter glider landings, It was all very much 'Dads Army' but taken very seriously because the true threat of invasion of these shores was never far away. I was called into the Army in 1942 aged 18 - a life a little different to the Home Guard!

The Defence Medal was awarded to all civilians who fulfilled duties during the war, the Home Guard being amongst them. It is one of these queer facts of life that I qualified for the award in 1941 and last year was award by the French Government the 'Legion of Honneur' in recognition of the part I played in the Liberation of France.

Percy Fletcher
Photo of me with my father in law in Special Police uniform. I am in uniform and around my waist attached to my belt is my bayonet - They didn't 'like it up 'em'! The photo was taken just prior to my call up.


Last year several of us got together to share our memories of our time at Goodlands Farm, with Fred and Prim Leeder. This was back in the late 60s - 70s, when Boxford had no playing field and Leeder's farm provided us with an amazing array of activities. Originally, friends of Fred and Prim's 5 children; Roy, Kate, Billy, Jane and Tim, were invited to the farm. Over the course of several decades the list of invites extended to many other children of the villages, until Fred passed away in 2002 in his late 80s. By which time some of the children of the original visitors were also 'going down the farm'.

We all agreed that we were incredibly lucky that Fred and Prim gave us the chance to have such a wonderful place to play and socialise in. They literally kept us off the streets. There was a wide age range of young people there, from about 8 years to late teens, with several people meeting their future partners at Leeder's. This was all before the time of health and safety of course and looking back, we realise that Prim was very worried at times about the screams and yells as we were enjoying ourselves around the pool. Fred had created an absolute haven for all the kids. There was a large swimming pool, where many of us learned to swim and dive. In the winter a small rowing boat was floated on the pool! Outside the pool area there was a roller skating rink, an enormous slide and seesaw, swings and a hammock. Many of us enjoyed 'playing house' in the old gypsy caravan on the meadow, which even had a lighting stove! There were two separate rooms, one for the girls, one for the boys, with a full billiard table, pianos, tvs, settees and record players. We used to take it in turns to choose and buy the latest singles.

Fred also kept horses; in the early days he had Stormy, Whisky, Snowy, Tommy, Mum and Silver. Later he had many others, including Nefton. Most of us not only learned to ride and take care of horses, but entered competitions as well. We had all of the meadows - now primrose wood, to explore, to enjoy long walks and rides on the horses, and in winter slide down the hills on the big wooden sledge. There was also a tuckshop, where Fred stocked crisps and corona drinks as well as an array of cheeky seaside postcards he had been sent by us on our holidays!

As well as this there were the many facilities of the farm itself, including two big barns, the milking shed, chicken runs and pigsties. We all enjoyed helping to feed the animals, collect the eggs, milking the cows and many of the older boys learned to drive tractors, and ride motorbikes there. Some of the older kids would help to get the harvest in. On top of all this, every morning, afternoon and evening, Fred would come round with a tray of hot chocolate and camp coffee! All provided with a smile and free of charge!

Fred was a quiet, gentle man, with a great sense of humour. Endlessly patient with us all, but would keep us within safe bounds as he went about his work, with all of us milling around him. So many of us have our own personal memories of Fred and our time at the farm. And we feel so lucky and privileged to have known Fred and Prim and to have had these incredibly happy experiences as part of our growing years.

We are hoping to have another reunion soon. If you were one of the 'Leeder's Farm Kids', please contact Elaine Carpenter on 01787 210601 or Linda Drake on 01787 210850. Hope to see some of you then!

The Carpenters of Boxford

I would like to add a memory of Boxford, no, wonderful memories that I have of Boxford 75 years ago.
As a child of four, I was evacuated with my grandmother Mary Jane Farthing, nee Carpenter, to Boxford to stay with her parents, my great Grandmother Mary and Grandfather Charles Carpenter at Tinywent Corner - a little cottage with a well and a toilet way up the end of the garden. The start of this adventure suddenly went haywire when the train stopped at Marks Tey, and we had to walk the rest of the way to Boxford.
Looking up Swan Street, the school I attended would have been behind me, and also the village hall. This was our meeting place on a Saturday morning to see the silent black and white pictures with somebody playing the piano.
Moving up Swan Street, the first house on the right was rented out to my great uncle Eddy and great aunt Flo. (Her Yorkshire pudding and gravy, cooked on paraffin stove was delicious.)
Further up the street on the left was the butcher who used to stop selling meat at midday on a Saturday, and then become the barber. He only used to cut the sides in a style known as the basin cut, leaving the top quite long.
Further on were some small old peoples' dwellings where my great Grand parents spent their last days.
Just past this was the church, which I had to attend twice on Sundays, I believe it was Methodist. Keeping going past the road to Tidywent Corner, and up the hill was the public house called, I believe The Fox. This was managed by my Great Uncle Olly and Great Aunt Sybil. He was some character, with an artificial leg, which he used to stand in the corner with his collar and tie attached.
Many a time I walked across the fields from Tidywent to get a bottle of beer for my Great Grandad. A frightening thing to do in Autumn and Winter. Carrying on past the Fox was a field with a broken mulberry tree, when ripe we all made ourselves sick, but they were gorgeous. Next on the right was Rose Cottage within was my Great Aunt Beatrice. I hope it still stands, because it was so beautiful. And now to Tidywent Corner. As the road turns at the top to the right, a pond sat next to a 'modern' cottage wherein were two of my mates, a boy and girl, their names I cannot remember. Legend had it there was a horse and cart sunken in the pond, and we believed it! Next to it and opposite my cottage was a Molten, a long building for keeping hay etc, with below it a rifle range. I don't think I ever heard a noise from it.
Further up on the left was (to us) the Manor house. Once, when scrumping grapes, I was caught by the local bobby who clumped me round the ear and sent me home, to get another one from Great Grandpa!
I mentioned the well earlier. This was directly outside the kitchen door, and quite deep. It was, for a long time our only source of water. Before going to school, it became my job to wind up a few buckets to see us through the day.
The toilet was a tin hutted contraption with just a hole in the ground, and a wooden seat. Built under a plum tree I think, when ripe they sounded like bombs when hitting the roof.
Although blind, my grandpa kept singing birds in a brick shed by the side entrance. He had a cat, which was vicious, and would only go to him; I just kept out of its way. One day the cat never came home, until that is, whilst I was pulling up the water, the cat was in the bucket. I dropped it and ran into Granny who picked it up and buried it. I think to his dying day great grandfather thought I had thrown it down the well. I used to help the milkman deliver the milk, just in the Tidywent corner that is. He had a horse and a cart like a Roman chariot, without the swords. The jugs were left by the door, with cash of 2 pence or more covered with a saucer.
My daughter is carrying out a family tree, and we would love to hear from anyone in the family. She has compiled a list of the Carpenters (see below) a large family as you can see, but there is one name not on the list. I was often teased by 'Una' a land army girl whom I am sure was a relative; I would dearly like to meet her again. I sincerely hope this little memory will stir someone's interest, and hopefully they will get in touch with us.

Many thanks,
Alan Lloyd
By email to address

Family tree of carpenters:
Earnest married Leslie Fairs
Edgar married Elsie Herbert
Oliver married Sybil Hunt
Elsie married Percy Gant
Beatrice married Albert Tricker
Mary Jane married Charles Farthing

My Younger Days

Hello, I lived on Hadleigh Road & I went to Boxford school from age 7 until 11 plus, Mr Sore was Headmaster who lived in the village in Riverside house. The village hall opposite the school was where I would go to have my lunch during school. I recall the General Stores, Riddlestons paper shop & Grimwoods, a lovely little shop with a really nice lady serving. I believe she was Malcolm's relation? I joined a tap dancing class held upstairs in The Fleece.
When I left school I used to park my cycle in Rules's bus shed! I have vague memories of the flooding of the river too.
I had an Aunt Kate who lived opposite to the Police station in an imposing building which I could see everytime I travelled into the village down Bank Hill, I think that was the name. My Father worked as a builder for Mr. Self who retired & Mr. Kingsbury took over.
Also I recall the dairy - Mr. Peeks, often went there to get extra milk needed.
The local Eastern Counties 205 bus would pass my house to take me to Hadleigh or Sudbury. I could see it coming from half a mile away which meant I could stay indoors until the last few minutes if I was off to Hadleigh.
As a small child I would walk down Wash lane from Calais St. corner & paddle my feet in the stream there. If I carried on walking I would reach Stone street.
Lovely village, very fond memories.

Audrey Pamplin