My memories of Barwick with Stanhoe, 1929–1945
By Doreen Heather Bullock (née Bloy)
Doreen at Barwick in 1928
I was born at Barwick Hall Farm on 18 March 1929. After attending Stanhoe School and Fakenham Grammar School I left to work in King’s Lynn, but of course maintained a close interest in the village for some years after. My parents, Percy and Sarah Bloy, lived there for the rest of their lives and are buried in the churchyard.
My grandparents, Henry and Harriet Bloy, came from Castle Acre to work at Barwick Hall Farm round about 1910. Henry came to be farm bailiff (foreman/manager) for Mr Clement Savory, who was more a businessman than a farmer. He was married to Jean and had two daughters, Olga and Sheila.
My grandparents brought with them four children. The eldest two, Percy and Ella, had been to school in Castle Acre, but the younger two, Maud and Amy, finished their education at Stanhoe school. Percy, my father, went to work for Mr George Harrison at the bakery, cooking and delivering the bread to the village by horse and cart. The bakery eventually became Fern Cottage, where later on we lived.
My sister Beryl George (Bloy) was born in Fern Cottage 22 January 1936 and lived there with our parents until she married. She went to Wells Secondary School at 11 years old and later worked for Hill and Osborne of Burnham Market.
Henry Bloy, my grandfather, was a compassionate man who did his best for his workforce and the village. He was a committed Methodist and lay preacher on the Docking Circuit. He was also a staunch Liberal and initiated the NFWU (National Farm Workers’ Union) as he felt strongly that the men needed a representative at that difficult time in farming. He was also responsible for founding the Barwick and Stanhoe Hospitals Contributions Scheme (see below). He drove one of the first cars in the area, which I believe belonged to the farm. When going around the farm he rode a lovely black horse and in the summer he wore a Panama hat. My grandmother supported him in his activities and was a good cook.
My father Percy had a motorcycle. During the 1914–1918 war Percy was in the Royal Army Service Corps, spending a lot of time in France and Flanders. At the end of hostilities he was released from the army at Aldershot on the promise of work on the farm. He was a great supporter of the British Legion all his life, from its beginning, holding many posts on both the Stanhoe and Docking District committees (see below).
Percy and Sarah (Pattingale, from Dersingham and the Sandringham estate) were married at All Saints’ church, Stanhoe, in November 1926. I was born at Barwick in March 1929, after which the motorbike became a motorbike and sidecar.
Living through the Depression
Unfortunately the farm and Mr Savory’s finances were affected badly by the Wall Street crash of 1932–1933. My grandparents moved back to Castle Acre, where they had friends and contacts. My father, mother and myself moved into a cottage belonging to Stanhoe Hall estate near the War Memorial. Like many workers of the time my father did piecework and casual work until the village postman (Mr Charles Curson from Burnham Market) gave up the job and my father became the postman.
We were then able to move to Fern Cottage which was being vacated by Mr and Mrs Brown and their two sons, Cyril the farmer and Russell the coal merchant. There was a large corrugated shed which had been used for the coal business; this was removed and made the garden even bigger. It was already a large garden with outbuildings and an orchard. The layout at Fern Cottage lent itself to a small shop, having a large double front door and large bay window, which my mother opened soon after moving there, selling cigarettes, sweets and various confectionery as well as accessories for bicycles, including carbide for the bicycle lights, which we weighed out. It had a very unpleasant smell. This soon became a good meeting place for customers and was also a help to the various activities both my father and mother were interested in.
The living room led off from the shop and as well as three bedrooms there was a circular staircase and sitting room, plus a back kitchen, which was once the bakery, and various store areas. As well as a dog and cat, we also had chickens and pigs.
War brings changes
Once again, fate intervened when the 1939–1945 war began. This resulted in the GPO (General Post Office) reducing the postal delivery from two rounds per day to only one, and of course the wages were reduced, resulting in my father having to find other employment, as the GPO wages were not large enough for a family. He also supplemented his income by a small hire car business (see transport). He was employed by AMWD (Air Ministry Works Department) at Bircham Newton until he retired.
We also had many couples from RAF Bircham Newton staying with us. They came from all over the country and some stayed for one or two weeks, others for longer, depending on their posting. Two couples eventually lived in the village for several years.
The young man who delivered the daily papers to Stanhoe was called up and my mother took on the job, delegating it to me and later my sister during holiday times and weekends when we were not at school, for a number of years. It entailed cycling to the centre of RAF Bircham Newton to collect the papers from Mr Vertigan, who had brought them from Rudham, then delivery to the entire village – a task usually lasting from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm. I feel this gave us a good insight into the houses and people and I will try to map out the area as I remember it.
Tour around the village
Doreen’s phenomenal memory allowed her to write the most complete account we have of who lived in Stanhoe in the 1930s and 1940s.▼ Take the tour...
To accompany her tour Doreen drew an excellent sketch map which we hope to re-draw in due course.
1. Mrs Lucy Ayres and her husband. Lucy cycled to see her mother, Mrs Polly Ayres, who lived behind the post office every day. There were no children.
2. Various – I cannot remember the names.
3. Mr “Jigaro” Grey, his partner and family: Christopher, Phoebe and Jessie. They were general dealers with a small scrap-yard, several ponies, usually piebald, and various animals.
4. Mr Norman, sons Louis and Christopher and a daughter.
5. Mr and Mrs Dyble. Two sons and daughter, Dorothy, who married the chemist’s son from Docking (I believe Whitehead).
6. Mr and Mrs Reynolds and granddaughter Doreen.
7. Frogs Hall. Shepherds cottage. Mr and Mrs Woods and later Mr and Mrs Kendall with several children.
8. Barwick Hall Farm.
9. Mr Henry Bloy and family.
10. Mr Percy Bloy and family.
11. More recent bungalow built for farm and lived in by Mr and Mrs Tom King and son, followed by Mr and Mrs Wright (Winnie) and daughter Ann.
12. Barwick House. Colonel and Mrs Seymour. Later Mrs Seymour moved to the dower house (The Cabin), and Barwick House and Farm were run by her son from her first marriage, Capt. Ralli, with Mrs Ralli, their sons George and Roderick and daughter Claire (Pansy).
13. Mr Hugh Thompson (Huwkie) and family lived in the stockman’s cottage. He was the local milkman and dairyman at Barwick Farm and delivered milk to the village daily, measuring it out of large churns into residents’ jugs. When he was called up for the army, the job was done by Ruby Strudwick, who later became Mrs Dick Steward. He had been a prisoner of war of the Japanese and later became farm manager for Barwick Farm.
14. Believe this was Mr and Mrs Tom Blackburn ?
15. A very nicely converted railway carriage. Mr and Mrs Mayhew and daughter Daisy, who joined the WRAF. They later moved to the cottage behind the Crown.
16. The Kennels. Gamekeeper’s house. Mr and Mrs Rayner and son and then Mr and Mrs Ted Fisher with twin boys.
17. Mr and Mrs Strudwick and daughter Ruby, gardener for the Cabin and Barwick House.
18. Mr and Mrs Wedge, chauffeur and handyman for Cabin. Mrs Wedge was a very good dressmaker.
19. The Cabin: home of Mrs Seymour, widow of Col. Seymour and mother of Capt. Ralli, later Major Ralli. Mrs Seymour was a silent benefactor of the church and village. She was a friend of Princess Maud, later Queen of Norway.
20. The Old Laundry. Mr and Mrs Vincent Walker and two boys who later moved to Station Road when the council houses were built.
21. The home of the Barwick Farm manager, Mr and Mrs Jakes and their daughter, Doris, and a son. I believe the son went to work in Fakenham as a motor engineer, but Doris was tragically killed trying to hook a plough to a tractor with the engine running, as was the way then.
22. Home of Mr Fred Rowe, who was a widower with John, Eva and Elsie. I went to Fakenham School with Elsie who went to work for LNER, later British Rail. John married Joyce Smith from the Crown and you will all know Mrs Eva Blackburn.
23. Mr and Mrs Tom Johnson, with several daughters. Joan, Kathleen, Brenda. Later moved to the School House, where I think there were nine daughters and one son.
25. Mr and Mrs Fred Seaman. Mr Seaman was a tractor driver for Barwick Farm. I believe he and his wife and family had previously lived in Ramp Row.
26. The Blacksmith’s Shop run by Mr Goodman, the blacksmith. As well as looking after all the horses from a wide area, he also made the metal requirements of farms and people.
27. Mr and Mrs Goodman, the blacksmith and his wife, lived in a nice house just off Church Lane.
28. Mr and Mrs Bone and then later Kathleen Simpson (?) (nee Johnson) whose husband was electrocuted while working on the farm. They had one daughter.
29. Mr and Mrs Jack Frost and three daughters, Phyllis, Joyce and Sylvia. They moved to Ivy Farm when this house was refurbished after being empty for some years and later to Bakers Yard after the Stanhoe Hall estate was sold off, with the occupants having the chance to buy their own homes, as my father did.
30. The Norfolk Hero, public house, and the one most favoured by the people because it had a very good bowling green and bowling teams which competed in various leagues in the area. It was run by Mr and Mrs Brown, who had no children but two lovely dogs: an Airedale called Smooth and a Retriever called Rough. The bowling green was looked after by Mr Charlie Seaman.
31. Mr and Mrs Gibson were an elderly retired couple, and although it had been a nice house it had been very neglected and the couple seem to have been rather impoverished. There was a married son away in the army and a daughter who went to the High School at King’s Lynn.
32. A wooden bungalow in quite a lot of ground lived in by Mr and Mrs Loveday.
33. A substantial house lived in by Mr and Mrs Tydd, their two children, and Mr Tydd’s father and mother. Mrs Ivy Tydd was a schoolmistress at Burnham Thorpe and cycled there every day. Her parents, Mr and Mrs Gull, lived in the lodge at the Stanhoe Hall gates.
34. The butcher’s shop with a nicely refurbished railway carriage and lovely garden as living quarters. The shop was set back and not seen from the road, and was a corrugated structure with a stone floor. Mr and Mrs Newstead were the butcher and his wife, and they had one son. This business closed and the village then depended on outside butchers coming in about twice a week.
35. A bungalow and pleasant lawns and garden owned by the Savory family and lived in by the Misses Muriel and Daisy Savory. Muriel was the younger and more able person and drove a small Austin 7.
36. The Women’s Institute. The hall was used for all sorts of events: WI meetings, charity whist drives, dances with a 3-piece band, children’s clinic, wedding receptions etc. It was given to the parish by Mrs Seymour. It was a prefabricated type of building with an addition as a bungalow where Mr and Mrs Geoff Trundle, the caretaker and his wife, lived. He was employed as a tractor driver. The hall had a small store and kitchen but of course was lit by oil lamps and no sanitation.
37, 38. Ivy Farm. This large house was vacant and had become quite derelict during most of my childhood, but was refurbished and made into two substantial houses. Mr and Mrs J. Frost and family in No 38 before moving to Bakers Yard and Mr and Mrs Sid Trundle in No 37.
39. A brick built house set back from Cross Lane was used by Mr and Mrs George Rose, his wife and daughter, Gertie. George Rose was the gamekeeper, special constable and leader of the Home Guard.
40. Mr and Mrs George Harrison, who was once the baker. Their only daughter, Margaret, lived in Cambridge. Mrs Harrison was the local representative for the District Nursing Association prior to the National Health Service. For a small amount each mouth this organisation ensured the services of the nurse for mothers and babies, as well as minor accidents.
41. The middle house of a block of three, occupied by Mr and Mrs Cross. Mr Cross was awarded the Military Cross in the 1914–1918 war. They had No children but were great supporters of All Saints’ Church.
42. Mr and Mrs Smithson, an elderly couple, parents of Mrs Charlie Seaman (Muriel). They went to live at 3 Station Road when the council houses were built and the house in Cross lane was incorporated into No. 41 making a large house with large garden.
43. Mr and Mrs Bob Steward moved here from The Green. There were four sons and one daughter: Albert, Billy, Stanley, Dick and Lily. Mrs Anna Steward was one of the mainstays of village life, helping at births and deaths and always relied on to supervise refreshments for the many organisations and activities. I still wonder how we drank the lemonade without any lemons – probably something to do with citric acid. It would be interesting to read the family tree of her parents, Isaac and Anna Ayres, as they seemed to be related to a majority of the residents.
44. Mr and Mrs Plummer and granddaughter, who had moved from Bagthorpe, and the parents of Mrs Tom Walker of The Green and Station Road.
45. The Reading Room bungalow adjoining the Reading Room. Mr and Mrs Tom Farmer lived in this small bungalow with their son Michael. Mr Farmer was the blacksmith for Grange Farm.
The Reading Room was never used but was a gift to encourage knowledge through books. I first went in there some time in the 1990s when there was an exhibition of the history of Stanhoe and I was visiting my sister at the time.
46. Mr and Mrs Arthur Read and their son Eric, and a lodger, Mr Stanley Woombles. Stanley became the postman after my father, as his health was not good and it suited him. Eric went to an engineering apprenticeship in Chesterfield.
47. Mr and Mrs Trundle (Dolly) and their three little girls, who later had what was originally a prefabricated bungalow built next to the chapel.
48. A block of four houses built gable end to the road at the edge of Scott’s Meadow.
50. Mrs Keeley and family.
51. Mr and Mrs Trundle (Maud) and family: Peter and Jean.
52. Mr and Mrs Bone, before they moved to 28.
53. Mrs Callaby. Her daughter Emily lived in Docking but visited every day with several small children. Her son, Tom, was killed serving in the army during 1939–1945.
54. Mr and Mrs Margetson with two daughters, Ivy and Alice. (Alice later became Mrs Scales).
55. Miss May Winter, a frail lady who lived with her brother William (Billy), who was part time verger at the church, going down the gratings in the nave to light the boiler etc.
56. Mr Ayres in a small bungalow, later extended for Mr and Mrs Scales and family.
57. Mr and Mrs Sandell, a daughter (Myrtle) and son Cecil, who eventually was apprenticed to Mr Fred Cursy, the carpenter and undertaker at Docking and eventually took over the business. When they moved to The Cross the cottage was occupied by Mr and Mrs Billy Steward (43).
58. Mr and Mrs P. Bloy and daughter Doreen before moving to Fern Cottage. The Mr and Mrs Stanley Ayres and daughter Doreen.
59. Mr and Mrs Mordaunt Smith who was a carpenter and general builder, who looked after most of the property belonging to Stanhoe Hall.
60. The Post Office. Miss Kate Chesney and her father ran the post office and general store which was one of the mainstays of the village. Before the telephone box with the number Docking 241 was erected, it was the only place from where to send messages, most often by telegram, but occasionally by direct contact. Fortunately, then the postal service was very good and you could be sure of mail reaching its destination by at least the following morning, and sometimes the same day. One has only to look at the War Memorial to see the tragedy in the life of Miss Chesney – her four brothers were killed in the 1914–1918 War.
Later on her ‘niece’? came to live with her and helped in the post office. Miss Joan Dykes, who eventually married Mr Matthew Tuck, who father was the station master and they took over the running of the business. Later it was sold to Mr Taylor and then to Mr Barber.
60a. The Shoe-menders shop was a room attached to the Post Office and was run by Mr Tom Curzon. This was a great meeting place for the older men and everyone had their boots and shoes repaired there. Mr Curzon had been badly injured during the 1914–1918 War and used an artificial leg.
61. Mr and Mrs Arthur Goss and their two daughters Edna and Doris. Their son Leonard married one of the land girls who was billeted and worked at Grange Farm.
62. Mr and Mrs Billy Ayres and their four sons. Mrs Ayres was a tireless worker for residents, helping with births, deaths and charities.
Their eldest son Maurice (Motsy) joined the Royal Marines during the 1939 – 1945 War and on demob joined the police force, later to become Chief Constable of King’s Lynn.
Kenneth unfortunately was called to be a Bevin Boy working in the coal mines and subsequently died of a disease contracted there.
Michael now has the coal and transport business on the Burnham Road and Brian.
63. Mrs Polly Ayres, an elderly widow. The cottage was incorporated in No 62 at a later date.
64. Mr and Mrs William Ayres (Billy and Rose). There were no surviving children. They took in lodgers from time to time.
65. Mr and Mrs Curzon the shoe-mender. (60a).
66. Mrs Midgeley, an elderly lady. This house was later let to Mr and Mrs Bob Mackey who had previously lived with our family at Fern Cottage. Mr Mackey was a Scottish engineer stationed at Burcham Newton, ut was later transferred to St. Faith’s, Norwich, which is now Norwich Airport.
67. Mr and Mrs Stringer.
69. Mr and Mrs C. Seaman and two sons, who then moved to 2 Station Road.
70. The Crown public house was run by Mrs Pighkling, but early in the 1939 – 1945 War it was taken over by a family from London. Mr and Mrs Smith and two daughters: Iona and Joyce (see 22).
71. Mr and Mrs Mayhew and daughter Daisy moved from Bircham Road (see 15).
72. The small farmhouse and farm of Mr and Mrs Brown, later taken over by their son Cyril who had married the Stanhoe school headmistress, Miss Marie Brown, from South Creake. His brother Russell married the District Nurse.
73. A substantial farm house belonging to Mr and Mrs Symington. They had three small daughters.
74. The first dwelling of a row of cottages – a tiny one roomed bungalow of Mr Trundle.
75. Small one-up one-down house of Mr Siddle.
76. Mr and Mrs Augustus Ireson (Gussy) and family. Four boys and two girls: Jack, Ellen, John, Ernest, Reggie and Doreen. Moved to 6 Station Road when those houses were built.
77. Mr and Mrs Tom Walker and family: Kate, Peggy, Barbara, Arthur and twins Jack and Jill. Both Peggy and Barbara went to Fakenham School at the same time as myself. Peggy became a teacher but emigrated when she married. They moved to 5 Station Road.
78. Mr and Mrs Arthur Ayres. Three sons and one daughter, Sybil. The middle son was killed during the 1939–1945 War.
79. Mr and Mrs Bob Steward (see 43).
80. Mrs Newell and Miss Talmage.
81. The village general store owned by Roys of Docking was run by managers who lived in the attached house. Mr Stangroom and his daughter Leah. Miss Stangroom lived at the house some time after her father died and the manager came from Docking every day. Later when the house was required for a new manager Leah moved to Chapel Yard and the shop was run by Mr W. Blower, obviously nicknamed Puffer by the children. He was a very active and agile man, although rather disabled. His wife supported the church, was a dressmaker and taught piano (see Activities).
82. A small cottage set back from the road and occupied by Mr and Mrs Lew Norman and their young son. They later moved to 83 where Mrs Norman (Ethel Pygall) died at a young age. The cottage was eventually replaced by a bungalow.
83. A large cottage with a back garden but fronting on to the road was occupied by Mr and Mrs Ted Johnson, their five children and Mrs Johnson’s father and sister. The main entrance was from Bakers yard. When the family left to live at 4 Station Road Mr and Mrs Norman from 82 moved there.
84. The older part of Fern Cottage with the more recent addition towards the west (see buildings).
85 and 86 are Baker’s Yard with two cottages and outbuildings for 84.
85. The cottages were occupied by Mr and Mrs Newell and their daughter Lucy who went to work in munitions and therefore left the village.
86. The second cottage was occupied by Mr Ben Rout a reclusive bachelor.
87. A disused Methodist Chapel eventually made into a dwelling house (see Recreation).
88–91. Chapel Yard.
88. Occupied by various couples, mostly from Bircham Newton during the war.
89. A young couple – Mr and Mrs Martin who had young twins.
90. Miss Leah Stangroom (see 81).
91. A larger detached house set back in a good garden and lived in by Mr Tom Pygall and his daughters Maud and Phoebe and one son Tim. His oldest daughter was Ethel (see 82). Tim served in the RAF during the war and later became manager of the Modern Butter Co. in King’s Lynn. Maud qualified as a teacher and went to South Africa. And after working for Roys at Docking Phoebe became a nurse and also went to South Africa.
Later the house was occupied by Mr and Mrs Sampher and their three girls ?, Joan and Ann.
There was also a one-bedroom single-storey dwelling in Chapel Yard occupied by Mr and Mrs Wright. He had a small lorry and was the village carrier doing scheduled trips to King’s Lynn and Fakenham, and Mrs Nellie Wright was a part-time postwoman.
92, 93. A pair of cottages fronting on to Cross Lane. When I was very young 92 was lived in by Mr and Mrs Isaac Ayres, who supported the Methodist Church and seemed to be related to a large percentage of the village. It would be very interesting to trace their family tree. They had several sons and one of their daughters was Mrs Anna Steward (see 43).
It was later lived in by Mr and Mrs Fred King who then moved into 93 after it had been extended and modernised. Previously 93 was the home of Mr and Mrs C. Sandall (see 57).
94. The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel stood on the corner of Station Road and Main Road and was well supported along with the Parish Church by most of the parish. We were ecumenical then, before the word had been thought of. (see Activities).
The houses in Station Road were built as family homes by Docking District Council 1938/39, which resulted in quite a change.
95. Mr and Mrs Albert Steward, with two sons, Peter and Irvine, and a daughter, moved from 104 to here, 2 Station Road. Their house was then occupied by Mr and Mrs Nathan Fenn who came to work at Grange Farm and their son Ernest.
96. Mr and Mrs Charles Seaman moved from 71 with two grown-up sons.
97. This house was adapted to a two-bedroom house and lived in by Mr and Mrs Smithson, who were Mrs Mabel Seaman’s parents (see 42).
98. By adapting No 97 to a two bed dwelling it enabled No 98 to be converted to a four-bedroom house to accommodate Mr and Mrs Ted Johnson’s family to move from 83. There were Albert, Billy, Ivy, Fred and Eve, plus Mrs Johnson’s sister Beatrice Ayres, who was disabled. Mr and Mrs Norman from 82 then moved to 83.
99. Mr and Mrs Tom Walker moved from 77 with their six children: Kate, Peggy, Barbara, Arthur and twins Jack and Jill. Kate joined the ATS after a time in Newcastle, Peggy trained as a teacher and emigrated.
100. Mr and Mrs Gus Ireson moved from 76 to 6 Station Road and later moved to Chapel Yard; their three elder children had left home by this time.
101. Mr and Mrs Reg Chilvers. Mr Chilvers was the organist at All Saints’ Church and a very accomplished pianist who accompanied the various concerts and dance bands especially during the war. He also played for the various school activities such as country dancing at the village fetes.
102. Mr and Mrs E. Green and family. Mr Green had come to the village a road lengthman, but was called up. Mrs Green came from London and lodged with Mrs Rose Ayres. They married and settled in Station Road. Later when the two bungalows were built Mrs Green moved to 9 Station Road and Mr and Mrs Verdun Walker moved from (20) to 10 Station Road.
103. Stanhoe Station on the LNER line (see Transport).
Near to the station there was also a farm run by two brothers Dick and Harry Calver.
104. Mr Middleditch moved from Muckleton with his daughter Sybil and son Dennis.
105. Mr and Mrs Albert Steward moved from here to Station Road and Mr and Mrs Nathan Fenn moved to the village to work at Grange Farm.
106. These two bungalows were built on the site of the farm buildings, e.g. stables, belonging to Grange Farm and Mr and Mrs N. Fenn moved in when they were built from 104.
107. These semi-detached bungalow was occupied by Mr and Mrs Mann who had two long term evacuees who remained with them.
108. Mrs Margetson lived in what was once the farm foremans house and her grandson Len Goss spent a lot of time with her.
109. An extended house for the Grange Farm foreman, Mr and Mrs Arthur Fenn and family and later Mr and Mrs Hurn.
110. The Grange. A large unoccupied house behind a large holly and evergreen hedge which was always a source of mystery for children. It wasn’t until the war when it was party opened up as living quarters for the Women’s Land Army that anyone saw in the gates. Eventually the rear accommodation was used by Mr and Mrs Spinks, their son and two daughters.
111. A little used house until it was bought by the railway station master and his wife, Mr and Mrs Matthew Tuck. They had two sons, James who joined the RAF and became a pilot, and Matthew who was in bomb disposal but late took over the post office with his wife Joan from Miss Chesney.
112. A small cottage lived in by Mrs Charlotte Allen and her grandson Ronnie Newell. Mr Newell eventually married and lived at 16.
The village well was at the edge of their garden (see Utilities).
113. A larger house of a block of three occupied by Mr and Mrs David Ireson and their son. The moved to 83 and it was then lived in by Mr and Mrs Blackburn.
114. A seldom used small cottage owned by relations of Mr T. Johnson and used as a holiday home. It was eventually incorporated into 113.
115. Mrs Margetson, a widow with two grown up sons. Bertie and Tommy.
116. The first new house to be built in the village after the war. It was a modern substantial house owned by Mr Horn, who also had a large store for animal feedstuff on the site.
117. The back lodge to the Hall situated in Parsons Lane and lived in by Mr and Mrs Newell and their son Geoffrey. Mr Newell was the gardener and general outside help at the Hall.
118. Stanhoe Hall, a very attractive large house built in the time of Robert Walpole, reputedly by his brother Horace Walpole. It was owned by Henry Hollway Calthrop and his wife, who were childless. Mr Hollway Calthrop was completely blind and although a benefactor of the church, school and village, he was unable to help in a practical way, though he was always seen in church on Sundays. His wife predeceased him and his niece, Miss Macindoe, came to live with him.
119. A small lodge bungalow lived in by Mr and Mrs Gull and their daughter Irene. Irene was secretary and general assistant to Mr Hollway Calthrop at the hall. She also had a good singing voice and sang in the church choir and at concerts etc.
120. Mrs Midgeley lived in a wooden bungalow.
121. Mrs Hood. Both Mrs Midgeley and Mrs Hood were widows and I believe they were sisters, but am not sure.
122. This semi-detached cottage bordered onto the plantation back path to the church.
123. The school house used by the Headmistress Miss Barnes, who came from South Creake. She became Mrs Brown on her marriage to Mr Cyril Brown (72) and after starting a family retired from teaching and moved out of the school house. It was occupied by Mr and Mrs Tom Johnson who eventually had a large family of girls with one son. They had outgrown No 23. Mr Johnson had moved into the village to work for Mrs Seymour.
124. The school (see Buildings).
125. The Rectory. An attractive house set in its own grounds opposite All Saints Church. There was a good walled vegetable and fruit garden and to the south of the house were lawns and shrubs. (see Activities).
The children from High House and Summerfield also came to Stanhoe School – a family by the name of Jeary.
Organisations and recreation
The Norfolk and Norwich Hospital Contributory Association was subscribed to by many Norfolk villages. In Barwick and Stanhoe it was set up by my grandfather, Mr Henry Bloy, who organised a committee and collectors. For a small amount each week/month members were assured of a free place in the Norwich Hospital if the need arose. Prior to the National Health Act 1947/48 this facility would only have been available to those who could afford to pay. The hospital was supported partly from this organisation and many benefactors.
After my grandparents moved from Stanhoe the work was continued by my father and, after his death, my mother. Out of this organisation grew the annual Hospital Sunday. This took the form of an open air combined (ecumenical) service in a pasture lent by Barwick Farms. A wagon with seats was put in the pasture and the leaders from the different churches conducted the service with the congregation sitting or standing around informally. A representative, usually Mr Bussey, from the Norwich Headquarters would attend as would the incumbent of All Saints, a member of the Salvation Army and representatives of the Docking Methodist Circuit, probably Mr Fred Curry from Docking and Mr Wacey from Bircham.
There was a Salvation Army band or the Snettisham Silver Band who were afterwards entertained to tea with cakes provided by Mr Terry Wagg, the baker from Docking. Service sheets were sold prior to the day and a collection taken for hospital funds. At a later date this activity was held in the gardens of bungalow belonging to the Misses Muriel and Daisy Savory. This gathering was not really required after the National Health Service started but continued as a means of raising money for the hospitals until my mother left the village.
The British Legion was very active from its conception due to the aftermath of the 1914–1918 War. The war memorial lists a large number of men killed, and those that came back gave support to the families of those men. Stanhoe Branch was part of the Docking and District British Legion and had both the men’s section and the women’s associated section. There was a lot of fund raising, such as local whist drives and always a large district fete. Remembrance Sunday was observed with a large district march and service in the morning and a village meeting at the war memorial followed by a march and service at All Saints’ in the afternoon, when the names of the fallen were read out. My father held several of the committee offices both at village and district level and during the 1939–1945 war one of his jobs, along with other district officers, was to visit families of those who were lost or injured to offer help in either a financial or practical way.
The Women’s Institute was well attended and met in the WI hall which was provided by Mrs Seymour for the use of village activities.
The Mothers’ Union, an official part of the Church of England for all people interested in family life, was well attended. It met either in the rectory or the church, depending on the incumbent. My mother was a member all her married life and I still have her MU badge, which I wear.
Miss Macindoe at the Hall started a branch of the Girls’ Friendly Society for the girls of the village. It was a similar organisation to the Girls’ Brigade, which also had a religious background. There were competitions and games. The hide and seek around the Hall grounds was always enjoyed.
For the men and boys there was a good cricket and football team, which played on the school meadow and were part of the local leagues. They were supported by the women who were responsible for refreshments. I can still remember Denny Middleton being dressed up as a mascot for away games.
There was a good bowls team at the Norfolk Hero. The ground there was maintained by Mr Charles Seaman to a high standard.
For a short time a physical training group was set up by Mr W. Blower in the old chapel (No 87), which is the only time I can remember this being used.
For King George V’s jubilee celebration the big barn at Ivy Farm was cleared and a large sit-down meal was enjoyed followed by a presentation of a Jubilee Mug to all school children.
Unfortunately the Reading Room was never used and the only time I went in there was a history presentation in 1992/1993.
Law and order
The Magistrates’ Court was at Docking alongside the police station. Only very high-ranking policeman were allowed cars, so our local policeman Mr Beales used a bicycle to cover his beat, from North Creake to Docking. Mr George Rose was the special constable who could keep an eye on transgressors, but the village looked after itself.
The village was covered by Dr. Davidson from Docking and Dr. Sharpe and Dr. Luffman from Burnham Market. As there were no telephones a system of calling the doctor was used whereby it a doctor was needed for a home visit, a message was sent to the local shop (Roy’s Stores) for them to put the red flag out. On seeing the red flag the doctor would pick up the message and visit the patient. If medicine was required he would be back at his surgery/dispensary in time for the medicine to be taken to Burnham Post Office to be given to the main driver who would bring it to Stanhoe Post Office on his way back to King’s Lynn. A donation of two pennies would be left when the medicine was collected.
It was very seldom that anyone went to hospital. Local remedies were used which were handed down the generations.
The District Nurses Association was of great benefit. The nurse lived at Docking and her salary was paid partly from this fund. For a small weekly sum, collected by Mrs Harrison, the women were covered for childbirth (there was no ante-natal or post-natal facilities then) and the families could call on the nurse for minor illnesses, cuts and bruises.
Each year the school dentist’s caravan would arrive in the school play ground (see Schools).
Transport and services
The London and North Eastern Railway station was just over a mile from the village. It connected Stanhoe to Norwich via Wells-next-Sea and in the opposite direction to London, via King’s Lynn and Heacham. The first train in the morning was at 6.00 am to Heacham, and the next, to Wells, was at 7.00 am. Those of us who went to Fakenham School had to catch the 7.00 am, which meant we had a 35-minute wait at Wells for the school train. The last train at night was back from Heacham at 7.00 pm.
The station stood on its own and as there was no fresh water well, the water was sent in wooden barrels from Wells. Mr and Mrs Matthew Tuck were the station masters and after they retired it was a Mrs Wells.
Mr Hubbard from Burnham Market ran a bus to Fakenham on Thursdays and King’s Lynn on Tuesdays (Market days) and Mr Hawes from North Creake ran a service to King’s Lynn on Saturdays.
My father ran a car with a Hackney carriage licence for a time, but during the war he was restricted to an emergency car driver because of petrol rationing.
Heavy items sent by rail were delivered from the goods yard and Docking, and Mr Wright ran a carrier business about twice a week.
The main lines of communication were by newspapers and radio (run by accumulators which were recharged weekly).
The Royal Mail was very efficient, with at least a next day delivery, and urgent brief messages could be sent by telegrams from the post office. A public telephone box was erected near the post office in the 1940s but it was a joint line with the post office (Docking 241).
The village was served by the Post Office Stores, Roy’s Stores and Mrs Bloy’s Shop. The Fakenham Co-op and Lamberts Stores from Snettisham came in twice a week to take grocery orders and deliver.
After Mr Newstead’s butchers shop closed early in 1940, residents had to rely on the butchers from Docking (Mr Bayfield) and the one from Creake.
Milk was delivered daily from Barwick Farm, first by pony and cart and then by a van. It was measured out of large churns into the customers’ jugs.
Mr Terry Wagg and Mr Tinker were the two bakers, both from Docking.
Mr Tom Curzon the shoe mender had a very well-equipped room at the side of the Post Office, he also repaired leather goods such as horses’ reins and school satchels. If any carpentry was needed, from house repairs to making wooden utensils, it was done by Mr Maudaunt Smith. Mr Goodson at the blacksmith’s shop provided iron goods as well as shoeing the horses.
There were two pubs: the Norfolk Hero and the Crown. The Hero had a very good bowling green with teams made up of the local men, and during the war was well patronised by the servicemen from RAF Bircham Newton, in spite of the fact that it often ran out of beer. The Crown seems to have been much quieter.
There were no modern facilities at all in the village.
Drinking water was carried by buckets on a yoke or in galvanised small hand cards from the village well. This stood on the main road (near 111 on the map), the water being pumped up from the ground by an engine into a large galvanised tank set on posts high off the ground. The Parish Council gave a small wage to Mr Charlie Seaman for the maintenance of the well, and a small yearly rate was charged to the residents. There may have been a well at Church Farm, but I’m not sure.
Water for all purposes other than drinking was collected by each household in large tanks from various downpipes and roofs, then heated either in the copper or on top of the cooking stove in kettles and saucepans. Water was eventually brought to the homes in the late 1940s.
There was no gas or electricity, so heating and cooking was by kitchen range or open fireplaces. Coal was relatively expensive and wood was used as an alternative. Wood was gathered from the woods or any fallen tree, especially during the war when coal was rationed and of very inferior quality.
Lighting was by oil lamps and candles, especially Aladdin lamps and Tilley lamps. Surprisingly I can’t recall any accidents as a result of this. Electricity was laid on about 1950/51, when most people joined a scheme were you could have five electric lights fitted. This resulted in various electrical fittings such as irons and extra lights being fitted into a light socket.
Clothes were ironed and pressed by flat irons or heater boxes put in the fire until they were red hot.
Mains drainage was just a dream then, and earth toilets were used which had to be emptied into holes in the garden. It was fascinating when I went to school in Fakenham and there were flush water toilets.
All Saints’ Church School was obviously a large part of church and village life and all the children from the area went there. There was a small classroom for infants and a large divided room for older pupils. Miss Pike was the infant teacher; she came by cycle every day from Burnham Market unless the weather was exceptionally bad, when she would stay with Mrs Hood (121). It was always a large class and Miss Pike spent all her working life there.
The larger room was divided into two, for 7–10 years and 10–14 years, 14 being the usual age for leaving school. Miss Zanella who came from Rudham was a junior teacher. Tragically she was killed riding her bike at Rudham Railway crossing, and Miss Sadler, who came from Thornham, then took over the juniors. Miss Sadler later married Leslie Ireson, the son of Mr and Mrs David Ireson.
Miss Barnes who came from South Creake was the headmistress. After her marriage to Mr Cyril Brown she lived in the school house next to the school. These teachers were followed by Mrs Wake and Mrs Osbourne.
The school day always started with religious instruction by either the headmistress or the Rector, and the “3Rs” were a high priority. There was quite a large playground with access into the school meadow, where games lessons took place. Mr Seaman was the school caretaker and looked after what few facilities there were.
Each year the pupils filed outside to salute the flag on Empire Day. They also took an active part in the Church fete, with country dancing and various displays.
During the summer time Mr Flint’s ice cream van from Wells came once a week at playtime and we were allowed to buy an ice cream. In winter time a large iron kettle would be put on the open fire so that a hot drink could be had from the little pots of cocoa and sugar brought from home. There was no such thing as school dinners.
At Christmas some pupils would be invited to Barwick House by Capt. Ralli for tea and a silent film show, and I saw my first Charlie Chaplin film there. In summer we usually had a school outing, and I remember going to the Slipper Chapel and the shrine at Walsingham.
We were encouraged to save in the Post Office Bank, and on Monday mornings a small amount of money would be taken to school and recorded in our bank books and later deposited at the Post Office on our behalf. There was also a charity known as Wright’s Charity, whereby some of the profit from a piece of land in Station Road was used each year to reward children with good attendance. The land was looked after by Mr Seaman and I think it was Tithe Land.
One of the more unhappy times was to see the Norfolk Schools dentist caravan arrive. Each child’s teeth were examined and recommendations were sent home to parents. Any necessary treatment was a slow painful business as there was no electricity and the drills were operated by a foot-driven treadle machine. The alternative to this would be a trip to the dentist at Fakenham which would have to be paid for, so the school dentist was the only option.
During the War everyone was encouraged to “Dig for Victory” so a small allotment was started next to the extended church yard, where we also had some bee hives and once again Mr Seaman supervised this.
All Saints’ church
There are some good information leaflets in the church on the history and the artefacts and it is believed it was built in the 1300s. It has a square tower with one bell which was rung to summon people to church and also to tell of a death in the village; one dong for a child, two dongs for a woman and three for a man.
The congregations fluctuated depending on different occasions. The ‘Squire’ and the prominent families and their guests sat at the front and their household staff sat near the back to enable them to leave quickly.
Mr Roy Chilvers was the church organist and there were usually a few members in the choir. The organ was pumped by hand as there was no electricity, and the organ blower had to be reminded when to start blowing.
The church was heated by a coal boiler reached through grating in the floor of the nave.
Whether you belong to either church or chapel everyone attended the social evens as they came around each year. There were the usual Christmas festivities and may be a new hat for Easter. The village fete in the summer was well attended and as well as the efforts from the school children, there would be bowling for a pig and games and sideshows.
One of the highlights at the chapel was the sale of produce on the Monday evening after Harvest Thanksgiving Sunday, where ridiculous sums of money would be given for something you probably didn’t want just to help financially. On some occasions a “Service of Song” would be held in co-operation with the Salvation Army.
The Rev. Black was incumbent when I was born, followed by Rev. and Mrs Bannister and their daughter Ruth and son. The Rev. Mowell was a very inventive man and the fetes attracted a lot of people when he was there. One year we had a swish-back going from one corner of the garden to the other. The participants sat on a wooden seat on a high point and were hurtled into a pile of straw at the opposite end. Another year he devised a toy elephant (as big as a young elephant) and a penny was put into its trunk and sweets came out of its mouth. During the war years there was the Rev. and Mrs Tuck who both rode large –sit up and beg’ bicycles. My husband and I were married by Rev. Pilliphant in 1949.
The next extension of the church yard was looked after by the Parish Council.
The chapel was part of the Docking District Methodist Circuit but was not licensed for weddings. All wedding took place in the parish church.
Any Quakers in the village were able to go to the Friends Meeting House in Wells and the Roman Catholic family had permission to go to the RAF Catholic church at Bircham Newton.
The Hall estate
Most of the cottages were made of flint and a big percentage of them were owned by Hollway Calthorpe at the Hall. Some of the land from the estate was sold in 1932/33 but there was a big breaking up of the village in the early 1950s when the houses were sold off in lots, which enabled the tenants to purchase their own homes.
Fern Cottage was sold off as part of a lot which my father was able to buy and then sell on that part which he didn’t want to the occupants. In the lot was a very large garden reaching down to Scotts pasture and a well stocked orchard with outbuildings, some of which had been stables for horses and a store house for animal feedstuffs. In a westerly direction it reached almost to Chapel Yard apart from a small area which was the garden of 85.
The house itself was on two different levels and one part was the traditional flint, and what appeared to be a more recent addition in brick. The part made of brick was much higher than the original both upstairs and down. The construction was such that fern Cottage and Bakers Yard (84,85,86) could possibly have been one dwelling as part of the upstairs of Fern Cottage overlapped that in 85 and there was only one shared window and it was also over the kitchen area of 85.
A detachment of the Home Guard was formed and was supported by those men who were past the call up age, or were in reserved occupations e.g. farm work and also a band of ARP (Air Raid Precaution) officers, under the supervision of Mr George Rose (special constable and game keeper). The ARP’s main task was to ensure all homes were blacked out and no light was showing from homes or vehicles and also that everyone carried their gas mask. Gas masks were issued in three types suitable for three different age groups. The wardens were also to watch out for enemy paratroops etc. and to warn people of impending air raids.
The air raid shelter for Fern Cottage and surround homes was a comparatively upmarket affair. It was designed by an engineer who was living with us and was entered by strong steps, which led to a small underground room similar to the Anderson Shelter provided by the Government for people living in vulnerable towns. There was a ventilation system, a cot for a baby and a store of food kept in a tin chest. The fear was the Bircham Newton and its satellite landing field near the railway station would be attacked and the village would be in a dangerous position.
Part of the Grange was opened up as a base for land army girls who had come to help out on the farms. It was very Spartan and they had to fend for themselves. Several from occupied Europe were there and would come in to the shop and to listen to the news on the radio. They were not allowed to join the forces.
There was also a room at the Grange set aside for the Red Cross to house equipment and train volunteers. My father and I went there for training.
On the outbreak of the war several evacuees were sent from East London and of course their way of life was very different from the country life we were used to. Some went back to London but a number stayed in the village for some time and at least two of them made it their home.
At that time there was quite a lot of entertainment by way of whist drives, dances and concert parties made up of local talent to support such things as “Wings for Victory” and the “Spitfire Fund” and all sorts of charitable things to help the war effort.
I have all sorts of mixed feelings about growing up in Stanhoe all those years ago. It was certainly a different place and a different time.
Doreen Bullock died in Portsmouth on 21 January 2013