Wickhambrook Local History Society

Crime Updates

Crime reports for around Wickhambrook
Crime updates for January

See the latest updates on crime incidents affecting Wickhambrook and the surrounding areas...


Wanted/For Sale

See what is for sale and wanted for around Wickhambrook

Take a look at all the items we have for sale and see if you can find yourself a bargain. You can also post requests for items you are looking for.  It's free and we have sold lots of items over the years from cars to sofas!

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website last updated 10 January, 2010

Wickhambrook Local History Society Reports

January 2009

At the January meeting several members took part in a Show and Tell evening which was much enjoyed for its interest and variety.

Sheila Childs gave an amusing and nostalgic account of her father’s life as a baker in the 1930s and how members of her family carried on the business. She brought along several implements and photographs to show.

John Norton brought along a wonderful model of the sailing ship ‘La Superbe’ which he had made - one of many he has at home. This particular vessel, similar to Nelson’s ‘Victory’ sank off the Azores in 1785.

Sue Britnell talked about the history of fund-raising with reference to her involvement with Dr. Barnardo’s.

Margaret Chittock worked for Fortnum and Mason in the 1960s in their PR department and her talk’. The Queen’s Grocer’ proved to be a fascinating insight into Swinging London. At that time 800 staff were employed. The film ‘Darling ‘was shot there. Margaret had so many stories to tell. Did you know, for instance, that people could order special provisions for Winston Churchill and the first tins of beans from Heinz were sold there too.

Joyce Draycott showed us the contents of her grandfather’s toolbox, and many of the audience recognised similar items from their own families. It is difficult to part with possessions which bear the imprint of our ancestors hands!

Steven Coe had found a teapot in his late Aunt’s house which commemmorated an ancestor’s time as the Mayor of Preston in Lancashire. He told us about Preston Guild which only meets once every twenty years and has passed into the language in the north of England as an expression of time delayed, ie ’When will the potholes in our road be filled in?’ ‘Oh, they only do jobs like that once every Preston Guild’

The History Society made a video at the Millennium, with Steve Taylor, and we are pleased to report that with the advances in technology over the last nine years - (Steve has some new toys!)- it has now been edited down and has become the Millennium DVD. It comes as a 5-set DVD and will be available for £5 from the Society. Please order through the Secretary, Dorothy Anderson (820376). It covers a year in the life of Wickhambrook, from the Carnival in 1999, and takes in Sport, Farming, The Fire Service,WI, The Churches and many other aspects of village life. It was intended as a record to keep for posterity, but ten years on, it is already of interest. Sadly, several people who took part are no longer with us, but it is heartening to see many of the youngsters now grown up and taking part in village activities.

There is also some exciting news about our much loved and respected Chairman, Percy Nunn.

A letter has come from Buckingham Palace telling him that he has been chosen to receive Maundy Money from the Queen when she visits Bury St Edmunds Cathedral in April! As a lifelong supporter of the Church, this is no more than his due, but I am sure the whole village is very proud of him. Well done, Percy! Thursday 9th April will be a very special day.

The next meeting of the Society is on Tuesday 17th February at 7.30pm in the WI hall when Kit Holmes will give an ‘Introduction to Antiques’. On 17th March, Leigh Alston will talk on ‘The Black Death’.

Events and News

Tuesday 20th February
Local History Society - Our next meeting is on Tuesday 20th February when Sarah Doig will talk on East Anglian almshouses. All welcome. Look out for posters or check the village website.


Baileys of Wickhambrook

This poem was given to Dorothy by one of our members and is to be included in a book later this year
Poem | Baileys of Wickhambrook

Wickhambrook Parish Records

The Wickhambrook Parish Records are currently being digitised and updated.  If you have any information you may be able to add or help fill in some of the gaps, please contact Paul Saunders.

View the Parish Records document here

Photos and Press Cuttings

We have had some fascinating photos and press cuttings sent to us which you can see by having a look at the pdf group images in the gallery

View Gallery

Dorothy Anderson is awarded a Diamond Champion - read more here

Short Straw by Jennifer Bell

At the launch party at The Cherry Tree on 20th September, Jenny Bell told us how she had found diaries and notes written by her father-in- law Frances Bell and realised that this would make a wonderful book. It has taken her several years to produce but the finished volume makes fascinating reading for the people of Wickhambrook and Stradishall. Frances was the younger brother of Adrian Bell, the well-known writer of Corduroy, Silverley and The Cherry Tree among others. His books were very popular in the thirties and forties for their depiction of farming life in East Anglia. Frances went off to Argentina when a young man and learned much about land use and farming there before returning to this area where he worked for the charismatic fruit grower Justin Brooke, a major employer in the area. He ended up running the fruit growing side of the business, marrying and bringing up a family here, before differences between him and his employer caused him to leave and try his ideas elsewhere in the region. The book is much more than just a farming memoir. Frances was a real character, very popular with the men who worked for him,and enjoyed a glass of beer and played the accordion. It was lovely to see so many former employees of the Brooke empire at Clopton Hall chatting and reminiscing with members of the Bell family. Martin Bell ,the journalist, who is a cousin of the author's husband, has written an introduction to the book and he spoke at the book launch too. The Cherry Tree pub, former home of the Bells, laid on a lovely teatime spread. The book is available in local bookshops or from Larks Press, Ordnance Farmhouse,Guist Bottom, Dereham NR20 5PF for £10 and is an excellent read.

Local History Society photos

History Society visit to

Our Committee

For information about the Society or events please contact either the Secretary or Events Secretary.

The main committee is as follows:

Chairman Dorothy Anderson
01440 820376
Secretary &
Events Secretary
Gillian Cooper
01440 820052
Treasurer Pam Miller
01440 820696

Members Information

Membership costs £8 per year payable in April  plus 50p for each meeting.

Guests are always very welcome - £2 per occasion.

Meetings held at 7.30pm in the W.I. Hall.

Library - The library is now all set up at the Primary School. Please let us know your views on this. (Little Bradley trip - we have bought Wendy Barnes' book for the library).

Adobe pdf document Discover the Paintings you Own - The Hidden Heritage of Suffolk Revealed by the Public Catalogue Foundation

and now for some interesting Historical Facts from the 1500's ...

2017 Reports

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2015 Reports

2014 Reports

2013 Reports

2012 Reports

2011 Reports

2010 Reports

2009 Reports

2008 Reports

2007 Reports

2006 Reports

2005 Reports

2004 Reports

Useful links and information


link Suffolk Observatory

link Suffolk Family History Society

link Suffolk Local History Council

link Suffolk Surnames - Information, help and advice for anyone researching their Suffolk Roots

link I have had a letter from the East Anglian Film Archive with details of DVDs which may be of interest to you. You can look online at archivefilmshop.co.uk and type HISTSOC into the discount box. Their Phone no. is 01603 251744. Please tell them which Hist Soc you belong to when you call (Dorothy)

link Many will know that The National Archives gives regular talks on various aspects of family history at the PRO in Kew. Less well known is that they're now available to replay online. Very easy to listen to, providing you've got broadband.

link The Family and Community Historical Research Society

link The Archive CD Books Project

link Doctors who practised in Wickhambrook up until 1900 - Suffolk Medical Biographies website - type in 'Wickhambrook' in the 'place of practice' box and then 'search'.