Stanhoe Pit



Parish Council Minutes

Parish Council Minutes – 21 September 2017.


Grisly tales

The Red Barn murder holds WI members spellbound.


Family trees

We’ve been asked for information about the Collison and Shaul families.


October film

Churchill is showing in Stanhoe on 25 October.


Daily bus service

Stanhoe now has a practical daily bus service to Docking, Bircham, the QEH and King’s Lynn.


Harbour tales

Wells Harbour Master Rob Smith gives an excellent talk to WI members and visitors.


Glass art and craft

Jill Husselby informed and entertained at her stained glass talk on Sunday.


Tide times

Hunstanton 19 Oct
01:12 low (1.38m)
06:32 high (7.35m)
13:45 low (0.88m)
19:09 high (7.26m)

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Stanhoe & Barwick WI news archive


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5 October 2017

Grisly tales

The Red Barn murder holds WI members spellbound.

Stanhoe and Barwick WI members and guests assembled at their October meeting to hear Sue Parry, who has a great interest in “True Crime”, give a presentation on “The Red Barn Murder”.

It began with a story of small village life (in Polstead in Suffolk) in the early 1800s.

Maria Marten, daughter of the village mole catcher, had a series of relationships with local young men, who fathered several children. But it was William Corder in 1827, who proposed taking Maria to Ipswich to marry her, after an assignation at the red barn in the village. Unfortunately, after an altercation en route in the village Maria died from gunshot wounds in the barn and was later found buried beneath the floor, whilst William moved to London, happily advertised for a well-off wife, and remarried.

But justice prevailed and William was brought back to Bury St Edmunds for trial and in 1827 was hanged before a large crowd, and his body was later offered for dissection.

The notoriety led to plays being performed about the murder; to pamphlets and illustrated mementoes being produced; and even to Staffordshire china figurines being constructed.

Our speaker then surprised us with an up to date and unusual ending by showing us family trees from the original Marten family and showing that she was related to Maria through lineage from Maria’s sister Anne.

It was an amazing afternoon.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 5 October 2017

8 September 2017

Harbour tales

Wells Harbour Master Rob Smith gives an excellent talk to WI members and visitors.

It was a packed room of Stanhoe and Barwick WI members and visitors at their September meeting who heard Rob Smith MBE talk about his work as the Harbour Master at Wells for the past 28 years.

At the start of his tenure just two people were employed to bring boats up the channel to the quay. Nowadays there are 13 people involved in duties encompassing the harbour and its environs.

We learnt of the historical background to the formation of the harbour and the quay as we know it, and about the responsibilities of the appointed Wells Harbour Commissioners who oversee everything.

In a more lighthearted vein we heard why Wells seamen are nicknamed “Bitefingers”; about smuggling now and years ago; and how the nature of the use of Wells harbour has been changed by the increase in tourism, and with the coming of the wind farms.

Rob finished with some funny stories of real events in his working life.

WI business, including a report from the Liverpool National Federation AGM, brought to a close a busy and very enjoyable afternoon.


Wells Harbour website, with live (moving and zooming!) webcam

EDP report from 2013 on the 350th anniversary of the Wells Harbour Commissioners

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 8 September 2017

5 August 2017

Dusty but not dry

Stanhoe WI members learn the secrets of textile conservation from a National Trust expert.

A roomful of Stanhoe and Barwick WI members and visitors from neighbouring WIs welcomed Terri Dewhurst from the National Trust Conservation Centre at Oulton Street, near Blickling, to talk about the work undertaken in the Conservation Studios.

Originally trained in fashion design, Terri decided that she preferred stitching and took an MA in textile conservation. This proved to be a wonderful foundation for working on a selection of the 65 tapestries, 20 state beds, and 31,000 costumes owned by the National Trust.

photo: Rosemary Brown

Terri in front of a screen showing a conservation workshop

We were treated to a step by step explanation, with samples as well as images, of the conservation of 11 of the Gideon Tapestries from Hardwick Hall, woven in 1578, which are 6 metres high and 70 metres in total length. We were even shown an original bag of dust vacuumed from a tapestry, which process came before wet cleaning, and then being supported by conservation stitching onto linen, and finally having Velcro applied for rehanging.

The Knole Spangled Bed, which was three years into detailed conservation, and the Congress of Vienna Chairs from Northern Ireland also amazed us.

It is detailed, methodical and meticulous work, often in chilly, damp, uncomfortable conditions, but one which fascinates the conservators, and leads them to pass on their knowledge by training National Trust house staff and volunteers.

Our speaker was enthusiastic, entertaining, and utterly enthralling, and we much hope to meet her in situ if we visit the centre next year.

After tea and delicious cake provided by members we despatched the business meeting with speed, and much clearing up was quickly carried out after a wonderful afternoon which was enjoyed by our visitors and audience in general.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 5 August 2017

10 July 2017

Garden delights

WI members enjoy the sunshine for their July meeting.

It was a sunny afternoon when a happy group of members of Stanhoe and Barwick WI assembled in the lovely garden of our president Pamela Austin.

The business meeting, which started with a complimentary report from our Adviser regarding her recent visit, evolved into the opportunity to make bookings for a wide variety of upcoming trips and events.

photo: Rosemary Brown

And then the treat of the afternoon followed with an invitation to take tea and to choose from a selection of scrumptious goodies made for us by our president.

Happily sitting out on the patio, we finished the afternoon with some hilarity. Each member was asked to give three statements about herself – two of them true and one untrue – and the group had to guess which was untrue. Was it an unexpected appendix operation in Mexico, lunch with the king of Norway, or much bungee jumping and abseiling from steep heights? Some surprises turned up!

We had a very happy time in the spirit of the WI and thank our president wholeheartedly.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 10 July 2017

5 June 2017


A story of survival on the high seas inspires the WI.

It was a rather gory tale that Peter Elphick told to Stanhoe and Barwick WI members at their June meeting.

John Fryer, a local lad, was born in Wells in 1752, the son of a maker of wooden block – an essential on a sailing ship. He went to sea at 12 years old, was captured and imprisoned by the French, but later joined the Royal Navy and worked on several naval vessels before joining the famous HMS Bounty, a small sailing vessel captained by William Bligh.

It was a gruelling and cruel life as the ship sailed out to Tahiti to collect breadfruit plants for the Jamaican market. So in 1789 some of the disaffected crew seized control of the ship, and they set John Fryer, Captain Bligh, and several crew members adrift in a 20-foot open boat.

After many weeks adrift they managed to get to the East Indies and then found passage back to Britain, where the Admiralty were persuaded to apprehend the mutineers and get them convicted.

John Fryer returned to sea and became “the preferred master” under Admiral Sir Hyde Parker. He took part in several of Nelson’s battle campaigns.

He died in 1817 and was buried in Wells churchyard. His headstone is proudly placed inside Wells church for all to see. An unsung hero in our history.

What an interesting research project this has proved to be for our speaker.

After the talk we were addressed by Coral Batchelor, our WI Adviser on all aspects of her job. We then continued to organise a variety of outings and meetings for the future.

It was a very friendly, cheerful, and chatty afternoon.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 5 June 2017

4 May 2017

The naked truth

Life model Ruth Smith amuses the WI.

photo: Rosemary Brown

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Ruth Smith

Gales of laughter reverberated around the Methodist Chapel when 19 members and guests of Stanhoe and Barwick WI listened to Ruth Smith regale them with her “Tales of a Life Model”.

A diminutive Londoner, with a gift for comical commentary, Ruth started life as a copy typist and had an endless string of boring office jobs before moving to Norfolk as a vicar’s wife.

After three children had come along, a friend illustrating a children’s book asked if she could draw the back of Ruth’s knees, commenting on how still she kept. That was the start of the second career for Ruth as a life model.

Norwich Art School hired her immediately as she was adept at striking a variety of poses, both individually and in the company of another model. To alleviate the boredom of maintaining poses for three hours she would count passing cars, or think of things with different alphabet letters, or silently sing songs such as “100 green bottles”, or even hymns. Her “mermaid pose” was her most popular.

Ill health brought an end to Ruth’s modelling career, but she soon found a replacement speaking to groups, relating racy tales of her previous 10 years’ work. We really did laugh and laugh a lot, as every sentence involved a joke.

Well done Ruthie!

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 4 May 2017

9 April 2017

Eating well

Nutrition tips have the WI fired up for a busy summer.

Seventeen ladies assembled at the April meeting of Stanhoe and Barwick WI to hear Jane Rose-Land, a trained nutritionist (, give many tips on using good practice with nutrition to avoid or cope with health problems. Her message was threefold: to eat regularly, to eat protein foods at every meal, and to eat wholefoods as far as possible.

Concentrating on blood sugar management, and essential oils, she carefully explained the technical aspects.

Then to our surprise our speaker donned an apron and proceeded to concoct delicious spiced toasted seeds as a “nibble”, and “apricot snowdrops” as healthy little cakes. All of which disappeared rapidly on tasting.

We followed this by organising two (not so healthy) afternoon teas, a couple of craft workshops, and a day out in Norwich. We shall have a busy summer.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 9 April 2017

5 March 2017

Glorious food

A globetrotting chef entertains the WI.

The room was really packed when Stanhoe and Barwick WI and visitors from neighbouring villages were privileged to have Robert MacNaughtan speak on the theme of “My life as a chef”.

From an inauspicious start with part-time work on a Romford market stall, selling fabrics from an East End warehouse and washing up in his uncle’s restaurant, Robert was offered a place on a course at Westminster College. This prestigious training led to work as a chef at the Grosvenor Hotel, the Post Office Tower revolving restaurant, many London restaurants, and catering for many famous private clients, before moving into management.

photo: Rosemary Brown

These jobs were interspersed with travels to 44 different countries worldwide, working casually in all to explore the foods, and ending up with a liking for Japanese and Asian foods.

Whilst speaking, and entertaining us with funny tales of his days working with food, he quickly created a beautiful Seafood and Asparagus Summer Pudding, making it look so easy.

We all had a most enjoyable afternoon and were happy to collect donations to a local kidney charity on his behalf.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 5 March 2017

8 February 2017

Fire safety

WI members get advice from King’s Lynn firefighters.

A very chatty ex-Marine from Texas, courtesy of Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, kept Stanhoe and Barwick WI members busy at their February meeting with hints and tips on keeping safe from fires in the home.

Did you know that you need a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector correctly positioned on all levels of your home, and that you need to test them once a week?

It will take a fire engine and four crew members 20 minutes to travel to Stanhoe, so make sure that you have door and window keys accessible upstairs as well as downstairs, and that you exit rapidly, feet first, from the nearest window if necessary.

Never shout “Help”, but shout “Fire” to alert people, and try to have a phone available on all levels too for emergency use.

But above all keep all doors closed, as a closed door will hold back fire for 20 minutes. And never go back in once you have escaped.

Tea lights are one of the greatest hazards in the home for causing fires, we were warned. A set of them was prominent on our sales table, and no one took them home!

Well, we live and learn at the WI.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 8 February 2017

9 January 2017

Helping paws

WI members learn about life with a guide dog.

In January members of Stanhoe and Barwick WI heard that Ruby, Ben, Sadie, Brian and Jasmine have all been wonderful companions, and saviours, for Gill Southgate for over 40 years.

A petite lady, keen to keep on living life to the full, Gill lost her sight in a road accident at the age of 18. A white stick proved to be a disadvantage, so a lucky meeting with Ruby, a trained Guide Dog for the Blind, acquired for just 50p, allowed for continuation of a remarkable lifestyle, with marriage, two small boys, and a job in the real world as an audio typist for the next 35 years.

photo: Rosemary Brown

Gill Southgate with her guide dog

Gill Southgate with her guide dog

The ups and downs of getting and living with a guide dog had us laughing, but also full of admiration for the pair of them.

We finished with a stern warning; “Guide dogs should never be fed by the public, and never be stroked or spoken to when in harness. They are at work and must not be distracted.” “But always offer assistance if it looks necessary as it is always gratefully received.”

It was a heart-warming afternoon, and further admiration came along when we tried to interpret Braille as used for notes and in a children’s story book.

So we were in good form when the WI business followed and Julia Walton talked us through the six Resolutions put forward by the NFWI for the 2017 AGM, to find our final choice. And our president suggested a range of options for events for safer driving in the coming year.

You never know what opportunities will be put forward at a WI meeting.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 9 January 2017

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