Tuesday, 23 August 2011

DICK CAN TELL: extracts from "The autobiography of a Suffolk Farm Labourer"

I have recently transcribed parts of this excellent 19th century document which gives an illuminating and insightful overview of the life of an 'educated' farm labourer in the first half of the Victorian era.  It was serialised in the 'Suffolk Times and Mercury' newspaper between 1894 and 1895.  In the autobiography, the anonymous author recounts his experiences and observations of agricultural life over a period of sixty years, from 1816 until 1876.

If you would like to receive a copy of this transcription please contact me here.

James Collinson – ‘Answering the Emigrant's Letter’

1850, oil on panel, 70 x 89cm, Manchester City Art Gallery

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Traditional music making in Felsham

I have recently come across a book by John Howson called: "Many a Good Horseman..."  The book is a survey of traditional music making in Mid-Suffolk and includes a section on Felsham.

Felsham Six Bells PH

John Howson reports the words of a local man - Frank Smith - who tells how music was an important feature of life in the village centred on the Six Bells pub.

Now in Felsham Bells, we used to have a club there, and they called that "The Jolly Boys," and we didn't have to pay much for it. There was a big room up some stairs, and you were right out of the way, and at that time of day they used to swim in beer - they could bloody drink it. That was good stuff then, but I'm talking about 50 years ago. The "Jolly Boys" stopped when insurance became cheaper, but on the yearly share out, they'd have this do.
There'd be an old boy called George Witton, he must have been 100 when he died, and his son, who was also called George, he's retired now.  Well, he would getup and sing, so would his father. They lived in Thorpe Morieux. Well, the old boys would sit round with their hands leaning on their sticks, and if there was any noise, they'd grunt, "Order!" Well, you could hear a pin drop.  "The singer's on his feet", they'd holler, and he'd be up singing and he'd forget a line, and an old boy would say, "Never mind, boy. Many a good horseman has turned round in a field."

Many of the songs that may have been sung in the past in Felsham appear on a CD entitled SONGS SUNG IN SUFFOLK [Veteran]

Some of the songs which feature on this excellent CD are sung by Cyril Barber.  Cyril is now 87 and still lives in Felsham.
An extract from the beginning of "Hail the dewy morning" can be heard here.
Hail the Dewy Morning

I went out one May morning to see what I could shoot,
I there a-spied a fair pretty maid a-rowing in a boat.

Chorus: Singing hail the dewy morning,
Blow the winds high-ho,

Clear away the morning dew,
How sweet the winds do blow.

We both strolled on together 'til we came to some cocks of hay,
I said 'Young lady it's a very nice place for you and I to play.'

I put my arms around her and tried to lay her down,
She said 'Young man this dewy grass will spoil my new silk gown.'

'If you come down to my father's house there you may lay me down,
And take away my maidenhead, likewise ten thousand pounds.'

We strolled down to her father's house, where she quickly locked me out,
She said 'Young man I'm a maid within, and you're a fool wthout.

One of the earliest English versions of this song is 'Blow the Winds i-o' (1609). It has been found all over the British Isles; Cecil Sharp collected many versions, and it has been collected under a variety of titles including: 'The Shepherd Laddie' (and 'The Shepherd's Son'), 'Yonder Comes a Courteous Knight', 'Blow Away the Morning Sun' and 'The New Mown Hay', but is normally classified under the title 'The Baffled Knight' (Child ballad no. 112). It was printed in the 19th century by, amongst others: Pitts of London, Bebbington of Manchester and Forth of Pocklington. It was a popular song in East Anglia and Sam Larner's (of Winterton Norfolk,) version is worth hearing (TSCD511). Cyril learned this from his father and it is unusual in that the 'fair maid' is found rowing in a boat.
Song transcribed by John Howson/Song notes: John Howson 
Cyril was born into a large family in 1922 and his three brothers Sonny, Rip and Royal all played, danced and sang. The eldest brother, Sonny, was first to have an accordion. As Cyril said, "When he was out of the way we'd all steal a tune on his music." Many of Cyril's songs he grew up with, as both his mother and father sang. The family home was Wingfield and it was around that area he first started to sing, play and step dance. He told me, "Yes there was a lot of singing in the pubs around Wingfield. There was one old man who lived to be a hundred and he used to sing about 'shot and shell flying across the battle field' from the 1914 war. The folk used to sit there and tears came into their eyes."
He would often keep company with the Whiting family, "Old Charlie Whiting, he could dance and sing a song!" and favourite pubs in those days would have been the Hoxne Swan and the Ivy House at Stradbroke.
Cyril worked mainly on the land and he moved around quite a lot to find farm work, including a period in Cambridgeshire. In the sixties he moved to Felsham and worked for the council before retirement. In these later years he had almost stopped playing and singing: "Nobody wanted to hear those old songs any more" he told me. I'm pleased to say that many people are still interested in the old music and Cyril is always pleased to oblige with a tune, a step or a song. (John Howson at http://www.veteran.co.uk/index.htm )

There is more information about Cyril Barber in an article from 1984 at MusicalTraditions.
The article includes a photograph of Cyril playing his accordion.
If you would like to comment on this blog please use the Comment section below:

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Felsham’s Green Men, Gargoyles and Grotesques

Font with mid 14th century base
The font in St Peter’s Church has a very curious feature: it is really two fonts. It would appear that the base of the octagonal font was the top part of another older mid-14th century font. This base has been cut down showing only the upper half of eight sunken panels which are carved with various figures. One of the figures, below an ogee arch, shows the top half of a head which is believed to be a “green man”. If so, this is an example of how a feature of pagan culture – the fertility symbol - survived into the Christian period.

"Green Man" on base of font

The Green Man on the font appears to have leaves for hair or is perhaps just peering out from dense foliage. His lower face may have originally shown a vigorous leafy beard and perhaps a mouth disgorging fresh shoots.
The gargoyles that peer down at us from high up on the church roof are perhaps a more familiar sight.  

Gargoyle on Church Roof

They are rather obscured by the large basins that are fixed to the top of the drainpipes.  Most people know that these frightening carved stone faces with a spout were designed to convey rainwater away from the side of the building to prevent erosion of the mortar and stonework.  Apparently, the word “gargoyle” derives from the French “gargouille” and the Latin “gargula” meaning “throat” or “gullet”.  Gurgling and gargling must have similar origins.  The Felsham gargoyles are carbuncled and heavy jawed with strange scaly ears and are reminiscent of pictures of the jaws of hell.  The frightening WENHASTON DOOM shows the damned being swallowed up by a vicious looking fish like monster.
The jaws of hell, The Wenhaston Doom
It has been said that the purpose of gargoyles was to frighten away demons and other evil spirits.

Church porch
Among the carvings on the entrance arch to the fine church porch there is another curious feature. 

Detail of carvings on porch archway
Among the carved crowns, shields and square-shaped roses, small grotesque faces can be seen.   

Tongue-poking grotesque on Church doorway
Like the green men faces on the font, their eyes stare blankly out at us.  The hair style is aggressively wild with strands standing up vertically as though in fright.  But, the most startling feature of the pugnacious face is the long tongue that provocatively pushes out from the broad wide mouth. What effect did the medieval sculpture intend with this startling malevolent image on a church doorway?  One answer can be found by studying the Luttrell Psalter, an illustrated manuscript commissioned by a rich Lincolnshire knight sometime between 1320 and 1340.  The Psalter includes depictions of strange figures and imaginary beasts called babwyns.  One big-eared babwyn sticks his tongue out in a way reminiscent of our Felsham grotesque:

These strange illustrations may well have been representations of medieval folk activities which included dressing up in weird garb similar perhaps to features associated with our more familiar morris dancing groups.
I have recently visited the Villa d'Este near Rome with its incredible water features.  This photo shows one of many biomorphic faces in the Garden of the Hundred Fountains with water gushing from its mouth.  A little reminiscent of our Felsham grotesque?

Fountain in Villa d'Este, Italy
Finally, it has been suggested that these grimacing gargoyles, tongue-poking beasties and melancholic green men with foliage spewing from their mouths could be caricatures of villagers who lived in Felsham in medieval times.

Dragon sculpture on porch

Illustrated Guide to St Peter's Church, Felsham, Suffolk
Nikolaus Pevsner: "The buildings of England - Suffolk"
A useful description of the church's north porch can be found at

Hairy face carving on base of font
The Felsham Green Man - a poem

I have seen it all. 
In the beginning I lived in the wild and sacred wood 
Hidden among oaken boles bearded with ivy I watched 
With knotted eyes of furrowed brown the browsing 
Snouts sweeping besom-like the musty floor of cracked acorns. 

I have seen it all. 
Then they took my free high heathen spirit open 
To the canopied over-arching sky of dappled green 
And enclosed me heavily in white stained stone 
Under a carved canopy of heaving hammer-beams. 

I have seen it all. 
But I am dumb, my gaping mouth stuffed and gorged 
With yellowing leaves of the Fall by dark figures who lift 
The silvered chalice above the cope to the crossed form 
Where the sun rises refracted through beaming glass. 

I have seen it all. 
The unlocking of the ashen lid to reveal the bless├ęd water 
And the thrice dipping of the pulsing infant fontanel 
And the thrice crossing at the chrisomed head, hands and soles 
And the devilish screams as the North Door slams shut. 

I have seen it all. 
The souls harassed by thoughts of unpurged purgatory 
Buying their heaven-ward hopes by willing the sheltering porch 
Of crusted grey flint and buttressed stone enlivened 
With gruesome grotesques and roses repeated in roundels.

I have seen it all. 
The stripping of the altars and the crash of statued-saints 
As the Suffolk iconoclast with forked rod aloft wreaks his revenge 
On suffering neighbours, now faceless and unknown, broken 
And dejected where the pursed lips and narrowed brows berate.

I have seen it all. 
But the tiled and trodden terra firma clogs my mouth and nose. 
I stare out uncertain, half-submerged, trapped in my font of unknowing 
What the shrouded future holds. The rivulet Rat is rising and threatens 
The larches limply branching as the charcoal ash buds stir and die.

Christopher Bornett

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Felsham Grotesques

This is a short slideshow of images from Felsham Church which depict gargoyles, green men, mythical creatures and "rude men" sticking their tongues out.

Look out for Felsham Grotesques Part 2

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

“Working women and children in 1840s Felsham”

You may remember an article I wrote for Village News recently entitled: “Down on the allotments 170 years ago”.  It focussed on the life of a farm labourer’s family and described the importance of their allotment in providing wheat and fresh vegetables for themselves and their pig.
We meet this family again in my forthcoming booklet - Felsham village life in 1840 no. 2: The farm labourer and his family - in a section where I explore the employment of local women and children in agriculture.  This is an extract:

The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them. (1 Samuel 2: 7, 8)

In 1840 William Osborn and his wife Susan were about 30 years of age and had three children: Nero, aged 10, Christiana aged 8 and Eliza aged 4.  By 1844, another daughter was to be born, called Susannah.  They lived in The Street, probably in a house that was demolished later to make room for the new school.  During the 1840s the family would have depended heavily on the money that the wife and growing children could contribute to the household income.

William probably earned about 9 shillings [45p] a week.  Most of that would have been spent on buying bread and potatoes. Rent and fuel [coal and wood] would have been about 2 shillings a week.  Other items of weekly expenditure would have included tea, sugar, soap, thread, candles, salt, butter and cheese.  These items would have cost about three shillings to purchase from the local grocer on Upper Green.  How they found money to pay for shoes and clothing is anybody’s guess!  Would they have been dependent on charity?  On the good offices of the clergyman’s wife?

As the paltry income of the main bread-winner would have been insufficient to make ends meet, the earnings of the wife and children would have been vital.  So, what employment opportunities were available for women and children in Felsham at this time? 

December and January were very difficult months in which to find casual labour but during the rest of the year there would have been a succession of possible jobs.  The most common jobs involved clearing land, planting crops, hay-making and harvesting.  After the harvest, gleaning was a job traditionally carried out by women and children.  Some of the gleanings may have been used to feed the family chickens as well as providing supplementary grain to be ground into bread-making flour.

Harvesting by hand [detail] by Myles Birket Foster

Susan, the wife, could have earned from 6d to 10d a day doing field work when it was available. During hay-making and harvest time her daily earnings could reach the princely sum of 1/6d.  Good money could also be made, if she was prepared to walk down the Rattlesden valley towards Stowmarket where she could find work in the thriving hop-growing industry.  This provided important employment for labourers and their families during both growing and harvesting but also in ancillary occupations such as sack manufacture.  With Bradfield Woods and Thorpe Woods in close proximity to Felsham, Susan may also have been able to find work in various woodland trades such as broom making and basket making. 

Susan would also have been on the look out for jobs that she could do if she was confined to the house with babies and infants.  Looking after other labourer’s children, laundry work, caring for the sick, providing mid-wife services and even laying out bodies would have been possibilities.  The relatively large allotment would also have been demanding on time and energy.  The daughters, Christiana, Eliza and Susannah would have played an important role in helping their mother with her jobs, and then, after the age of 9 or 10, gaining casual work on the local farms. 

Newspapers of the time frequently commented on the “loose morals” of young unmarried women doing field work.  There were hints of prostitution and it was said that working in the fields contributed to the bastardy lists.  An examination of the Baptisms Registers for Felsham between 1835 and 1842 provides some corroboration for this.  During this period twelve children were baptised with the mothers described as “spinsters”.  These 12 children, “born out of wedlock”, comprised 10% of the total number of births in the village.

Nero, Susan’s son, may well have earned up to 2 shilling a week swinging a rattle and scaring birds off the crops; a rather lonely job which would have taken him to some of the most distant fields in the parish.  Boys like Nero would have worked from 8 to 12 hours a day depending on the work and the season. 

Idealized and sentimentalized image of bird-scaring boy

If he received any sort of schooling, it would have been haphazard and intermittent.  There was a schoolmaster living in the village in 1841 but there is no indication of how many children attended his classes or whether Nero and his sisters were among them.  Certainly, once Nero had started earning, he would have been absent from school for long periods, particularly in the summer.  It is quite possible that none of the Osborn children attended school.  The cost of education, at this time, could well have been beyond the reach of many labouring families.

At the end of a hard working day, the Osborn family would have sat down to a well-earned, if frugal meal, at about 6 or 7 in the evening.  Bread would have been the most important part of the meal, closely followed by potatoes and onions.  Meat would have been a very occasional luxury.  Cheese, green vegetables, butter and flour dumplings would have appeared on a regular basis.  Drinks consisted of tea, milk and less frequently beer.  William in hungry times may have been tempted, like many of his contemporaries, to filch a turnip from the farmer’s field or seize a pheasant or rabbit from the woods belonging to a local landowner.  However, if his allotment was productive these sorts of temptations would have receded as the decade progressed.

All the time, the labouring families of Felsham would have been aware of their lowly status, and of the harsh penalties that faced them if the strict property rules were infringed.  They would also have been aware of the fate that awaited them if they failed to be frugal and balance their meagre weekly budget. The Stow Union Workhouse beckoned the improvident and those that had fallen on hard times!  At the end of the day though, the Osborn family may well have taken comfort from the biblical beatitudes about the poor being blessed, or from passages like that from Samuel that began this account.


Sources of information:
  • David Dymond: "Suffolk in the 1840s: The employment of women and children in agriculture", Old Series - Volume 3 Issue 2 (Suffolk Local History Council, 2003)
  • John Glyde: "Suffolk in the 19th century", SIMPKIN MARSHALL & CO, c1860
  • K Handford: "The agricultural labourer in 19th century England", Grosvenor House Publishing, 2011
  • D Pocock: "Some former hop-growing centres", The Agricultural History Review [pdf file at www.bahs.org.uk/13n1a2.pdf]
  • A.S.: " Felsham in 1851", Felsham History Club

Please note: the first booklet and CD in the series FELSHAM VILLAGE LIFE IN 1840, which includes some of the main documentary evidence for this time, will be on sale in the village shop during June.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Felsham Village life in 1840 ~ an exciting new local history series

"Felsham Village life in 1840:
The main documentary evidence"

This booklet is the first in a series about rural life in Felsham in the late 1830s and early 1840s.  Using primary documentary evidence from the Felsham tithe map of 1838, the 1841 census, and parish registers of the time, the booklet will provide information on the people who lived in Felsham and their local environment.

Where possible, the census data and tithe information have been linked.  In this way, the exact whereabouts of where people lived and their relative land-holdings can be traced.  Detailed maps (based on the Tithe Map) showing field names and dwelling places provide a useful aid for researching the “hidden lives” of local people.
Extract from Felsham Tithe Map 1838 [reproduced by kind permission of Felsham PCC]
On Sale now!
  Booklet only: £10 
CD version only: £6
Combined booklet & CD: £15
All proceeds towards the fabric fund of St Peters Church, Felsham
  Available from Felsham Village Stores  

The CD is fully searchable using Adobe Acrobat Reader

If you would like further information, or if you would like items sent to you by post, please contact WALKINGKIT PUBLICATIONS at: info.fhf@phonecoop.coop

Further booklets are planned:

  1. Felsham village life in 1840: The main documentary evidence
  2. Felsham village life in 1840: The Farm Labourer
  3. Felsham village life in 1840: The Farmer
  4. Felsham village life in 1840: The Parson
  5. Felsham village life in 1840: The Tradesman & Craftsman
  6. Felsham village life in 1840: The Schoolmaster

    Saturday, 9 April 2011

    The Defence of Britain 1940: The Felsham Pillbox

    Felsham pillbox on the Brettenham Road

    If you travel from Felsham’s Lower Green towards Brettenham you can hardly fail to see the grey “concrete monstrosity” that is the remnant of the World War 2 pillbox. It squats by the side of the road covered with brambles about midway between the Old Rectory and Valley Farm. 

    Its exact position can be seen on this map:

    The pillbox may not be the most pretty of ruins but it was built at the beginning of World War 2 for a very important reason.  In 1940 a network of defences was hastily built all over Britain to prevent an anticipated German invasion that fortunately never came.  Pillboxes were an intrinsic part of this network.  They were low concrete defensive structures, usually sited at road junctions, alongside canals, railway embankments, rivers, shorelines and at other strategic places such as airfields and radar stations.

    View of pillbox entrance from the west
    Most pillboxes were built to provide protection for the infantry and anti-tank weapons that covered a series of static defences.  These were organised as a series of anti-tank “stop lines” running inland from the coast.

    The pattern of “stop lines” and reinforcement roads in Suffolk can be seen on this map:

    To the west of Felsham, line C ran from Lavenham, through Cockfield and onto Bury St Edmunds following the path of the now defunct railway line.  To the east, line D ran from Ipswich to Stowmarket and Haughley roughly following the River Gipping and the railway line to Norwich.

    Felsham was not on a “stop line” so its function may have been to do with the nearby airfield about 1 km away on the south-east boundary of the parish.  It would also have been connected to the anti-aircraft battery and searchlight emplacements that were positioned in the adjacent field.

    B-17 on bombing run from Rattlesden airfield

    Mike Osborne in "20th century defences of Britain: Suffolk" points out that in July 1940 instructions were issued

    "to construct a concrete or brick pillbox on every searchlight site which would then, in the event of  either an airborne landing or a full-fledged invasion, become a resistance strong-point to be held under the orders of the local Field Force commander." [p. 73]

    The design of the pillbox is of interest.  The “Defence of Britain database” {Council for British Archaeology} provides a rudimentary archaeological summary from a field visit in 1997:

    “Standard type 23 pillbox but with blast wall in front of entrance, which faces WSW. Brick ricochet wall. A central concrete pillar in the unroofed section has been broken off and is lying on the floor. The embrasures are at different levels in the unroofed and roofed sections. There are steps down at the inner and outer entrances.”  [http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/]

    View of entrance from inside pillbox
    The following diagram shows that the Felsham pillbox has a rectangular plan featuring a roofed fighting compartment with an internal anti-ricochet wall and an open topped anti-aircraft compartment coloured grey.
    Plan of Felsham pillbox

    Notice the loopholes on the outer facing walls which were designed to be suitable for rifle or light machine guns.  The walls are 8 feet [2.4 m] wide by 16 feet [4.9 m] long and were built to a bullet proof standard of 30 cm thick.  The open half of the pillbox was designed to hold a light anti-aircraft defence such as a Bren or Lewis gun on a post mounting.

    Photo of gun mount from Sudbury pillbox
    This type of pillbox was designed to hold a complement of up to four men in a temporarily manned defensive position.  There was no provision for longer term living accommodation.

    Open end of pillbox
    The pillbox may have been surrounded with support defences comprising barbed wire, trenches or other earthworks.  It would almost certainly have been camouflaged in some way probably with netting to break the outline of the bunker from above, while hedging and brambles, as now, would have provided authentic cover at road level.

    View looking east towards road through an aperture
    The Felsham pillbox is of a Type 23 design. This makes it fairly significant as only 156 (equating to 2.6%) Type 23 pillboxes are known from the remaining national total of approximately 6,000. This equates to only 2.6% of the national total making the Type 23 a fairly uncommon pillbox design.

    View of pillbox from the south

    Interestingly, some villages have converted their pillboxes to make roosts for bats.  Pillboxes that are well dug-in and thick walled are naturally damp and provide a stable thermal environment that is required by bats that would otherwise hibernate in caves.  With a few minor modifications, the Felsham pillbox could easily be converted into an artificial cave for bats.  Unfortunately, its proximity to the road makes success in attracting bats unlikely.

    How to convert a pillbox into a bat hibernaculum

    Further information about places in Suffolk that have tried out creating a hibernaculum or summer roost can be found at:

    Further information about pillboxes can be found at:

    Information about Rattlesden airfield can be found at:


    [Please note: the Felsham pillbox is situated on private property]


    Useful background book by William Foot: ‘Beaches, Fields, Streets, and Hills’


    "After the defeat at Dunkirk at the end of May 1940, Britain was faced with the imminent

    prospect of invasion. To counter the threat of a ground war fought across her own territory,

    defences were hastily erected on the coast and then inland, the latter involving a complicated

    pattern of linear (stop line) defence and of area defence based on important communication

    points (nodal points). The prime purpose of these inland defence systems was to serve as

    anti-tank obstacles preventing German armoured columns ‘cutting loose’ in Britain as they

    had done in France. The linear defences, formed of natural barriers such as rivers but

    supplemented by miles of machine-cut anti-tank ditches and rows of concrete obstacles,

    were protected at their crossing points of roads and railways by hardened weapon

    emplacements (concrete pillboxes and anti-tank gun emplacements). The landscapes that

    were defended in this way lay throughout Britain – at beach fronts, in marshland, on uplands

    and moorland, within cornfields and woodland, in valleys and on hillsides."

    Saturday, 19 March 2011

    Felsham History Quiz

    In 1951, Sir John Tilley who was Chairman of the Parish Council, wrote some Notes for a history of Felsham.  This quiz is based on his article which can be read in full at:


    All extracts within quotation marks and coloured blue are from his Notes.

    1.  Sir John had a record of the “beating of the bounds” made in 1810.  “The Beating of the Bounds in those and earlier days was the occa­sion of an annual procession, including some of the parish officials and a number of small boys, who at chosen points were beaten to ensure their recollection of the exact line of the parish boundary”.  But who was “bumped” at Hill Farm?

    The Felsham Parish boundary can be seen to run right through the farmhouse on the this map of 1838

    2.  “Felsham, from its name, was the "home" of Faele”.  What is the meaning of the Saxon word “faele”?

    3.  Sir John describes the Church in considerable detail.  For example, “Rood Lofts were to be found in nearly all old Churches and were in many cases, and probably at Felsham, removed after the Reformation.”  Where can the remains of the staircase leading to the Rood Loft be seen from outside the church?

    4.  In 1857,“A man was brought before the Justices … charged with disorderly conduct in Felsham Church. He had made a disturbance in the gallery, being ‘in a beastly state of intoxication’ and having to be carried down and laid in the belfry.”  How much was he fined?

    5.  “The East window [of the Church] is in memory of the Rev. Thomas Anderson, so long Rector of the parish, and the West window in memory of John Anderson, his son and Mrs Anderson's husband.”  The Rev. Anderson was Sir John’s great-uncle.   Which part of the country did the Anderson family hail from?

    6.  “The Bells [public house] is first mentioned by name in 1754” in the Easter Church Accounts.  At about this time who had dinner at the Bells for ten shillings?

    7.  “About 1866 or 1867 my grand­mother was coming from Ayrshire to stay with her brother.  Just before she was due to start her lady's-maid fell ill, so she brought in her place a young, strong Scotch housemaid, Ellen by name, a girl of much courage….”  When a burglar tried to enter the house, “she seized him by the hair and yelled at the top of her voice till everyone in the house came to see what was the matter.  The village policeman was fetched and the man taken away...”   How did the Rector reward her?

    Former rectory. Early C19 with earlier core, perhaps of C17. Timber-framed,
    part clad in C19 gault mathematical tiles, part plastered. A band at 1st
    floor level of entrance front; dentilled eaves cornice. Plaintiled roofs, the
    front range hipped. Two early C19 chimneys, each with a group of 4 circular
    shafts of gault terracotta tiles, moulded in the C17 manner. 2 storeys. 3
    windows. Small-paned C19 sashes, those at ground storey with sidelights. 2-
    storeyed semi-circular flat roofed bays were added in early C19 to either
    gable of the entrance front, with 3 sashes to each storey. Pair of early C19
    half-glazed panelled entrance doors: Roman Doric portico porch with columns
    and flat entablature. The slightly lower rear service wing probably comprises
    the C17 hall range, and the attached crosswing was converted to form the
    entrance front in C19. The use of mathematical tiles is a rare feature in
    8. “Although the Risbys were the principal family in Felsham in the 17th century, there were a fair number of payers of the "hearth tax," a very unpopular tax of two shillings per hearth, which was abolished in 1689.”  How many households in Felsham paid this hearth tax in 1674?

    9.  “As to the name Mudlin End, I once tried to think that Mudlin might be a corruption of Magdalene and that there might have been a Chapel dedicated to that Saint; but experts would not have it…”   What did the “experts” think the name derived from?

    10.  “There was a Fete, so far as I know the first in Felsham, held in honour of Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1887 on the meadow whose real name is Settletons, but which is now generally known as the Jubilee Meadow.”  What did a Mrs Avis have to do to win a prize at this Fete?

    1. The Rector
    2. Good or faithful
    3. Through the loophole in the buttress on the north wall
    4. Five shillings with four shillings costs
    5. From the extreme north of Scotland
    6. The Rector, Churchwardens, Sidesmen, Overseers, and perhaps a few others
    7. She was presented with a silk dress
    8. 99
    9. That it was merely the end of a mud lane leading from Felsham to Cockfield
    10.  Mrs. Avis won the prize for grinning through a horse collar.
    Section of north wall of Felsham Church
    Note: "Beating the bounds".  A very useful overview of this practice can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beating_the_bounds

    Boundary farm: as the name suggests the Parish boundary passed right through the middle of the farmhouse - straight through the front door!
    The Felsham Circular Walk touches the Parish boundary at some points.  See: A circular walk around Felsham