Little Waldingfield Recorder’s Report 2018





The year started with the completion of the redecoration of the Parish Room kitchen, which is now a lovely bright white space thanks to the installation of new LED lighting. Pres Dieu, which went up for sale last January at £510,000, is now being marketed for £475,000.


This month's edition of Bury and West Suffolk magazine included an article entitled 'A wander around Waldingfield', in which the reporter writes of her walk from Little Waldingfield to Great Waldingfield, starting at The Swan car park, down Church Road to Archers Farm and then turning right across the footpath. Boston Cottage, The Parish Room, Churchside, the church, Walnut Cottage (and Joyce Smith waving from her window), School House and Pink Cottage all get a mention and there are beautiful photos of the pub, Churchside and the church, together with a map of the route taken.


The Sudbury Miniaturists resumed their monthly craft sessions on the 9th, after a Christmas break, but their numbers are ever diminishing and it is likely this will be their last year with us.


The first Parish Council meeting of 2018 was held on the 11th, attended by seven members of the public. At the meeting it was advised that responses to the Neighbourhood Plan questionnaire, sent out in November, had been received from over half of the village's addresses, and that any change by Babergh District Council (BDC) of the status of the village from ‘hinterland village’ to ‘hamlet’ would not take place until at least the spring.


The defective speed indicator device (SID) reported last November has now been repaired and the stolen one replaced. County Councillor Colin Spence has confirmed that funding has been authorised for traffic calming measures at Haymarket Corner.


The Little Waldingfield History Society (LWHS) event on the 17th was a member only event, with Roger Green presenting a talk entitled 'If these walls could talk', on the history of his house to the 34 members present, followed by wine and nibbles. Saturday 20th was a stormy day with lots of rain and strong winds resulting in part of the playing field pavilion roof being blown off and landing in a neighbouring garden, followed by snow on the Sunday.


The Gatehouse at Holbrook Hall Park went up for sale this month with an asking price of £825,000; this Victorian building was the gatehouse to the ‘new’ Holbrook Hall, which was built in 1884 and is now Brookwood Manor care home. Number 2 The Street is also on the market at £240,000.


The last event of the month was a meeting of the Over 60s in the Parish Room, with a talk and demonstration on 'makeup for the older woman'.




A quiz evening was held in the Parish Room on the 3rd, with 36 people taking part and enjoying a two course meal of Moroccan meatballs and vegetables, followed by syrup sponge pudding and custard; £346 was raised towards the upkeep of the room.


There were two funerals at the church this month, on the 5th and 8th, in a week which also saw a sprinkling of snow. Shirley Hobson, who lived at Gable Lodge, had been resident in the village for many years and had been a staunch churchgoer and gifted flower arranger until her illness; Ken Horsley was born in the village in 1937 and grew up at what was then the village shop, which was run by his parents George and Ethel (now Pitt Cottage and The Stores). Ken was a keen member of the village cricket team in the 1960s, together with his brother Ray who still lives in the village.


Two planning applications were discussed at the Parish Council meeting, which was also on the 8th; the first was an application to convert a former piggery at High Street Farm into a dwelling and the second was for tree surgery at The Priory.


The LWHS talk this month by Jenny Antill, entitled 'Between heaven and earth', took the audience of 23 through 1,000 years of history of the Orthodox Christian church in Russia. A chair based exercise class was held in the Parish Room on the 21st, and on the 23rd a light-hearted bridge drive was held there, organised by the parochial church council (PCC). This was a successful event with 7 tables of bridge players who enjoyed lots of tea and cake while raising £322 for church funds.


There was light snow overnight on 26th, with a temperature of -4.6C at 6am on the 27th; the snow forecast for the rest of the day never materialised, with bright sunshine all day instead. It returned that night however, and by 10 o'clock the next morning there was at least 6 inches of snow. The planned Over 60s lunch in Cockfield on the 28th was postponed due to the weather, with more snow falling throughout the day and into the next morning, when temperatures were again approaching -5C




March 3rd started with temperatures above freezing and there was a gradual thaw all day, despite light snow flurries in the morning. The lent lunch was held at Newmans Hall on the 7th, when a small group of people enjoyed homemade soup, bread, cheese and coffee and raised £100 for a farming charity.


At the Parish Council meeting on the 8th, the planning application to build a detached dwelling on Ireland's Meadow was supported and BDC have granted permission for the tree works at The Priory; the new owner of The Swan (which has been closed since April 2017) intends to renovate and improve the property, subject to planning and listed building consents. The Parish Council also agreed to send minutes of council meetings for publication in the Box River News to make them accessible to those without internet access.


LWHS welcomed Geoffrey Kay back to the Parish Room on the 14th, when he gave a talk entitled 'A tonic to the nation’, about the 1951 Festival of Britain, to the 26 members present - some of whom remembered attending the festival as children.


The village woke to a light covering of snow on the 17th, with more light snow showers continuing through the day and a temperature of -0.3C at 1.30 in the afternoon - the previous afternoon the temperature had reached 14C!


A forensic police van was seen outside Gable Lodge on 23rd March, following a break in at the property.


The annual village litter pick on the 24th was attended by 14 volunteers; over 20 bags of rubbish were collected and an article was published in the following week's Suffolk Free Press on our litter pick and the problem of litter in general. The Over 60s AGM in the Parish Room on 28th was attended by 26 members.


Andy Sheppard has now resigned as Parish Council chairman and councillor after six years; this month also saw the resignation of Priest in Charge Judith Sweetman, who is retiring to Norfolk with her husband Rufus, and will leave her post at the end of June.


The Good Friday family service in the church on the 30th was followed by hot cross buns and children's craft activities in the Parish Room.




Speedwatch sessions resumed during the first week of the month - ironically this same week the hedge bordering a property on Haymarket Corner was partially flattened by a speeding vehicle, while a further accident resulted in a car in the ditch at Humble Green on the corner by Bells Drift.


The playing field AGM was held at the pavilion on the 5th, while that of the PCC was on the 10th and that of the Parish Room on the 11th. At the Parish Council meeting on the 12th Barbara Campbell was elected as interim chairman; Neighbourhood Plan public meetings were proposed for 9th June and 7th July, and the need to ensure that correct council details are held by the BRN was agreed. The annual parish meeting was held the same night.


LWHS held their AGM on the 18th following the regular monthly meeting. This month 29 members enjoyed a talk by Linda Sexton entitled 'Sisters in adversity', about the role played by the WI following the devastating floods of January 1953.


The following day, the 19th, was the hottest April day since 1949, while on the 25th Over 60s members enjoyed a trip to Perrywood Garden Centre.




Speedwatch this month was held the week commencing 7th, and there were traffic lights in The Street on the 8th, because of road works by Park Farm.


The funeral of Winnie Hamblett was held in the church on the 9th, with 95 people attending the service. Winnie had in the past been a great organiser of children's activities in the village, running a youth club in the Parish Room during the winter months and sporting activities on the playing field during the summer; she died on 20 April, aged 75.


At the Parish Council AGM on the 10th Barbara Campbell was re-elected as chairman and Chris White as vice chairman. A planning application for a self-contained holiday lodge at Bell Farm was supported; the earlier applications for development at High Street Farm and Ireland's Meadow have now been granted approval by BDC. The large potholes in Church Road, which had been reported to highways, have now been filled in.


A quiz evening held at the Parish Room on the 12th, with a two course meal of Spanish chicken followed by summer fruit pavlovas was enjoyed by 37 people, raising almost £350 towards the upkeep of the room.


On 13th the christening of Fred Clowes took place in the church. The 2 medieval chests in the church have been moved away from the damp walls and are now at the back of the pews, on wooden stands made by Ivan Carter and Ian Bowen.


A coffee morning in the Parish Room on the 19th, with a display of photographs of the Dordogne taken by Fran Gregor Smith, raised £184 for Christian Aid.


In response to comments made by villagers completing the Neighbourhood Plan questionnaire that the Parish Room should be used more, a notice was published in the BRN detailing the use of the hall over the previous 12 months; in total the hall was used for 59 public events and 10 private hire events.

Pip Wright was the speaker for this month's LWHS meeting on the 16th, with 31 members and guests gathered to hear him on the topic 'A picture history of Margaret Catchpole'.


The Over 60s went for lunch on the 30th to The Horseshoes in Cockfield, the meal having been postponed from February due to the bad weather then.




Speedwatch was carried out during the first week of the month. A public workshop was held in the Parish Room on the 9th by the Neighbourhood Plan steering group, focusing on the landscape character appraisal. LWHS member Allan Manning gave this month's talk on the 13th, attended by 24 people, on 'The battle of Waterloo'.


Chancel roof damage noticed in April, probably caused by the high winds in March, has been repaired using monies from the church fabric fund, and on the 16th the church saw the christening of Martín Sheppard. The biennial village open gardens was held on the 17th, with gardens open around the village, refreshments and plants and produce for sale; the sum of £844 was raised for church funds.


A village afternoon tea was held at the Parish Room on the afternoon of the 24th, with all villagers invited to this free event to partake of tea, sandwiches, scones and cake - those who attended had a lovely afternoon but they numbered only 26, out of a population of over 350.


The Over 60s met in the Parish Room on 27th, with a talk on guide dogs followed by the usual tea and cakes. The last event of the month was the playing field midsummer dance on the evening of the 30th, with music provided by the Disraeli band.




Speedwatch again took place in the first week of the month, a week in which temperatures climbed steadily, peaking at 30.5C in the shade at 4.30pm on the 8th. Scaffolding went up on the church this week, and the Neighbourhood Plan presentation scheduled for the 7th was cancelled.


On the 11th members of the Over 60s enjoyed a coach trip to Southwold, with a two course meal in the pier restaurant - another gloriously sunny day. At the Parish Council meeting on the 12th it was noted that approval had been granted for the erection of the holiday lodge at Bell House, and that the Neighbourhood Plan was in receipt of a further grant of approximately £8,000. Following the discontinuation of support by BDC, councillors approved the spending of £10 on 500 dog waste bags. A quotation of £85 to clear the gravel pathway across the closed churchyard, from the pavement to the entrance to the open churchyard, was approved and a price for the future maintenance of this area was to be obtained from D Gott when his grass-cutting contract next came up for renewal.


Other matters discussed at the council meeting were that push tests in the closed churchyard would be carried out in September, additional land behind The Swan has been purchased by the new owner from Brian Tora, and councillor Wells would attend a Speedwatch meeting at Bury police station on 1 August. 


The concert performed by Landermason in the church on 13th was well supported and raised £537 for church funds. On 23rd a farewell tea party for retiring Priest in Charge Judith Sweetman was held in the Parish Room, attended by many villagers; Judith was presented with a leaving present of a painting and pottery bowl by local artist Sandy Larkman, together with a John Lewis voucher - her last service was in Boxford on 29th, although she would return for some special pre-booked ceremonies.


Maintenance work continues at the church - following on from the chancel roof repairs, the treatment of the ancient chests for death-watch beetle and the tidying of the churchyard, the next job to be tackled is the weeding and extension of the cremation memorial space.


The last two events this month were the Over 60s strawberry tea, held in the Parish Room on the 25th, and the next Speedwatch session, which started on the 30th.




Allan Wells attended the Speedwatch meeting at Bury police station on 1st, accompanied by Andy Sheppard who is a regular Speedwatch participator; at this meeting they commented on the abuse sometimes received from passing motorists and requested occasional police presence during Speedwatch sessions. At the session the following day a policeman did indeed attend, and one such irresponsible motorist was reprimanded by the officer.


On the 13th the village postbox was destroyed after it was hit by a reversing vehicle, and the village was without a postbox for several weeks. Ironically this incident happened a week before Speedwatch resumed again on the 20th.


Village activities for the month ended on the 29th with a coffee morning and bring and buy sale organised by the Over 60s.




The 1st of the month saw the village sale trail organised by Parish Room trustees. This was a lovely sunny day with garage sales around the village together with table sales, refreshments and tombola in the Parish Room, raising £124 for maintenance of the room. The push test was carried out in the old churchyard on 3rd with no issues resulting.


The church service on the 7th was led by Tim Harbord. A new repair has been achieved in the church - for many months plaster, small stones and flints have fallen from the ceiling above the west window outside the vestry. This considerable gap has now been filled by a beautiful piece of shaped oak, which has restored the look of the roof of the north aisle. The village now has two churchwardens, Tim and Sandra Harbord, having been without anyone in this position for many years.


At the Parish Council meeting on the 13th it was reported that the Neighbourhood Plan character appraisal was nearing completion and that the site assessment was currently in draft; a public workshop was planned for 17th November, but this was later cancelled shortly before the event. Downgrade of the village to hamlet status still remained a potential discussion for BDC. Approval of payment for the purchase of a replacement set of defibrillator pads and spares up to £100 was given, and the £85 charge for spraying and strimming the closed churchyard has been paid to the church.


Royal Mail advised that the postbox would be replaced and the parish clerk was asked to request that the brick housing of the original box be replaced.


The conclusion of the local government boundary commission electoral review was that a new Lavenham ward would be created, comprising Little Waldingfield, Great Waldingfield, Lavenham, Chilton and Cockfield. Haymarket traffic calming measures were scheduled to commence under road closure during the period 8-12th October.


Speedwatch resumed again during the week commencing 17th, while the new LWHS season started on the 19th with a talk by Martin Hedges on 'Frauds of 19th century', attended by 31 members and guests.


There was a quiz evening on the 22nd in the Parish Room with a two course meal of beef tagine followed by summer pudding, raising £386 towards the upkeep of the room - thanks were again given to Sue Bowen for her culinary skills. The following afternoon was the harvest festival service in the church, followed by appropriate refreshments.


The Over 60s had their monthly meeting on the 26th, and the postbox was replaced the same day, although with a more modern box on a pole instead of the earlier brick built structure.




The wedding of Matt Foster and Victoria Mound was held in the church on 6 the October on a very wet day, although the sun eventually made an appearance; Rev Judith returned to officiate at the ceremony. The road through the village was closed on the 8th, as planned, for new highway markings - there are now 30 mph roundels at several points along the road and new 'slow' signs at Haymarket Corner.


A coffee morning was held in the Parish Room on the 13th, raising £181 for church funds. On the 16th the funeral of Richard Mitchell took place at Bury crematorium; Richard lived at Larksmead in Church Road, the house having by been built for him and his wife Sue in 1972. He had been a parish councillor in the 1990s and was chairman of the Parish Room trustees for many years until his retirement in April 2017.


In the afternoon of the 16th Hartog Hutton gave a presentation in the Parish Room on proposed development of part of the land surrounding Enniskillen, owned by Brian and Elizabeth Tora. At the time of writing this report no plans had yet appeared on the BDC planning website. LWHS welcomed the return of Ashley Cooper on the 17th, with his talk on 'Harvest Home' greatly appreciated by the 47 people present.


Park House had been up for sale in recent months and has now sold, with the sellers moving out on the 23rd. This month's Speedwatch session started the same day, while on the following day a coffee morning organised by Louise Smith and Judith Kiddy, which was held in the Parish Room, raised funds for the Oddfellows.


The month ended with the Over 60s outing on the 31st to Suffolk Food Hall and then on to The Shipwreck at Shotley for lunch.




On the morning of the 2nd there was very low water pressure in the village due to a burst water main. The fields behind the houses in Church Road from Beaden to Pink Cottage welcomed the arrival of sheep, if only for a few weeks.


At the Parish Council meeting on the 8th Justin Nevison Grainger and his architect Phil Branton presented their plans for the development of The Swan, including the land purchased behind the premises. He confirmed his plans to open up the dining room and redistribute the space, making a country pub where patrons could dine if they wished. Submitted planning applications discussed were for the creation of a manège at Priory Wood, Slough Hall, tree works at Bramley Cottage and the erection of a garden shed at The Old Vicarage. Councillors noted that reflective markings on the bollards at Haymarket Corner, part of the traffic calming measures there, were missing and that highways had been informed that the village 'gate' had been knocked down. (At the time of writing this report in March 2019 no plans have yet appeared on the district council website in relation to The Swan, and the village gate has yet to be reinstated).


The remembrance service at the church on 11th was led by Tim Harbord.


The last Speedwatch session of the year took place the week commencing 12th.The Sudbury Miniaturists held their last craft session of the year in the Parish Room on the 13th, and as already suspected they will not be returning in January as their numbers are now so depleted; they said they had greatly enjoyed their sessions in the village and would consider returning in future if their numbers increased sufficiently.


Parish Room trustees were approached by Nick Pringle, a Fit Village Coordinator, who suggested the possibility of some form of classes in the hall commencing in the new year if there was sufficient interest amongst villagers - questionnaires were duly distributed to every household in the middle of the month. 16 people responded to the questionnaire, on the results of which it was decided to trial a weekly keep fit class, to commence in January.


Richard Humphries was the LWHS speaker this month, with a very entertaining and informative talk on 'The history of silk' on the 21st, much enjoyed by the 41 members and guests gathered in the Parish Room.


There was an hour long power cut in the village on the morning of the 28th, while that afternoon the Over 60s meeting in the Parish Room had a Christmas theme




A Christmas social event planned for the 1st at the Parish Room was cancelled due to lack of support; the raffle organised by the playing field committee was drawn that afternoon in the pavilion. On the 2nd, the first Sunday in advent, the village church welcomed Rev Cattermole to conduct Holy Communion; the first candle in the advent ring was lit, and after the service and refreshments the church was cleared and pews covered in readiness for the builders.


Permission has at last been obtained to begin knocking the old, damp plaster off the walls up to window height. New lime plaster will be applied, 3 coats in all, each one to be dry before the next is applied. This will be paid for by the appeal fund, which has already this year paid for repairs to the chancel roof, oak insert above the west window, repairs to the floorboards under the pews by the north aisle and treatment for death watch beetle in both of the ancient chests and the wooden flooring nearby. There is also a new notice board outside the church, made by Gordon Kennett of Edwardstone.


LWHS met this month on the 12th, with a talk by Kate Jewell entitled 'Bonfire and bells' at which 32 people were present.


At the Parish Council meeting on the 13th it was reported that the planning applications for Bramley Cottage and Priory Wood had both been approved by the district council. There has as yet been no reply from Royal Mail Sudbury regarding the reinstatement of the brick built post box and the parish clerk will complain to Royal Mail.


On the 15th and 16th a Christmas flower festival was held in the church, the flowers arranged according to the theme of carols. The Carol service was held in the church on the evening of the 20th, and Holy Communion at 9pm on the 24th.


Susan Sheppard                                                                                                                  March 2019