NEWSLETTER - APRIL 1990
WHAT THE STARS FORETELL - A personal view of John Griffin
I often wonder how much more dependable are the prognostications of the social and economic boffins, than are those of the magicians who compile the pages of Old Moore's Almanac: both are good at guessing. Anyhow the first variety of foretune teller is affirming that the Eastern Counties - which includes us in Hadleigh- is set for booms and expansions as the pressure upon the South East corner of England increases, and London, for various reasons, becomes a less attractive place to work and live in.
Maybe it was some of the second species of star watcher who inspired Mr. Edwin Barritt, the county planning officer, to say that Hadleigh was badly in need of improved road communications: on the other hand, it may be that he has read the evidence given by the Hadleigh Society at the planning enquiry in May last year. However that may be, he affirms that the county's road building budgets could not afford them - unless developers can be persuaded to produce the cash. Of course that means that the unfortunate who purchase new houses will have the cost of new link roads added to their mortgages. To me that does not seem fair, for all of us would benefit.
According to the report in the E. Anglian Daily Times of March 20, the county planning dept. agrees with us that "the conservation of Hadleigh is being threatened by the large amount of traffic in the town": yet it is proposed that 2,200 new houses be built, in addition to the 135 planned for Frog Hall Lane, increasing the population, as is reported,by 4,020 by the year 2006 (and by how many more when their children have been born?). But although this population figure does not seem to relate to the proposed number of houses, the point being made is that the contribution which might be expected from the developers towards the cost of new road links and improvements would be insufficient unless there are 1,500 more to share the levy. This would double our population. At this point I began to suck my carpenter's pencil, and scribble on the back of an envelope; as I have done for many years when faced by the problem of adjusting designs to match the available material.
Not only do houses require water, electricity and gas but, above all else, drains. Yet the Layham sewage works is already overloaded, and storms are apt to flush untreated effluent directly into the Brett; from which pumps at Stratford St Mary lift water into Abberton reservoir. Will the consumers of N. East Essex be happy? I know they are "furriners" over there,but it is hardly the done thing to empty our chamber pots upon them! And what about schools, and the facilities for the recreation of all these new citizens? Could our existing shops cope? Or is it anticipated that all these people will jump into their cars and head for one or other of the supermarkets and the urban bright lights? At present we are just able to get by with our numerous inadequate services: but double our size, and endless problems are created. Indeed, only the churches have buildings which would not need enlarging. No, Mr Barritt! Such a development will destroy that which it is intended to conserve. Why flood the valley to halt riverbank erosion?
'THE YANKS ARE COMING' - priority message from the Town Clerk
No you did not miss the start of World War III. There's no need to lock up your wives and daughters either - some of these ARE wives and daughters.
Many well known American families have ancestral connections in this area. Our visitors are the CLOPTONS.
The tomb of Sir William de Clopton, Lord of the Manor of Toppesfield, Hadleigh is in the (Clopton) Chapel in Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford. The descendants of Sir William in the U.S.A. have formed a large and strong family Society and hold a family reunion every two years. In 1984 it was held in Suffolk (England), in 1986 Williamsburg (Virginia), in 1988 San Antonio (Texas) and in 1990 they are returning to Suffolk. If there appears to be an excess of Americans around 18th 'thro' 22nd June they are probably CLOPTONS, our American cousins.
Approximately 130 family members are expected. They will be staying in Long Melford, visiting Bury St Edmunds (something to do with the Magna Carta) and on Wednesday, 20th June they will be in HADLEIGH.
In Hadleigh the President of the Clopton Society, Mr Dean Clopton from New York, will receive the rent of one red rose from the Town Mayor. This was the rent set by Sir William in 1451 when he handed over the Guildhall to the people of the Town. On Thursday 21st June the rose will be placed on the tomb of (the earlier) Sir William at Long Melford as it is every year - but of course you knew that!
A successful and heartening start was made of the new Environmental group under the informal chairmanship of John Bloomfield. There was a general exchange of views at their recent meeting at the 'Pink House' from which emerged a clear idea of just what is required to encourage participation in future projects that new teams can get there teeth into without getting too bogged down.
Some of the fresh ideas envisage looking into the following
The list of likely projects goes on and on, but if you have a particular fancy or any information on any of the above however small, or tentative please do not hesitate to contact John Bloomfield at the 'Pink House' Angel Street Hadleigh preferably in writing, or by telephoning him on Hadleigh 822063.
The next get together of project teams and interested members of the Society has been tentatively arranged for Thursday 7th June at the 'Pink House' from 8 p.m. to which you are cordially invited to attend.
WOOD AND FURNITURE - Paul Garrod
The simplest form of early furniture was the chest; it was the most important piece in the early house and many other pieces were evolved from it. Apart from the storing of clothes, food and valuables it was used as a seat; many of these pieces survive. The earliest form was simply a hollowed out baulk of timber roughly shaped with an adze with a rounded lid following the shape of the tree trunk. The next stage of development was a chest made with cleft boards, the front and back pegged to the ends and a bottom and lid added . This method of construction took no account of shrinkage so the boards split as the pegs prevented movement. This problem was overcome by the use of a framed construction with mortice and tenon joints, the centre of the frame being filled with a panel resting in grooves, the panel was not fixed allowing it to shrink without splitting. This method is stillused today. The chest had one serious drawback; to reach an article in the bottom of the chest meant the removal of everything on top. Lift out trays were added, then sometime in the 17th C a pull-out drawer was added to the bottom of the chest · This meant that some items could be stored separately. Eventually the lidded part of the chest was dispensed with, more drawers were added and the 'chest' of drawers was the result, keeping the name but creating an entirely different piece of furniture.
The craft of furniture making in this country dates from about 450 years ago when life was very different from today. There was no organised industry, the population of England was very much less and was centred round small towns and villages which were largely independant from each other. Poor roads and the absence of long distance transport or communication meant that each community had its complement of craftsmen to meet its basic needs. The carpenter was the man to construct the timber framed houses, windmills, carts barrels, gates and fences and finally the coffins. The combination of woodworker and undertaker survives in many rural areas to this day.
Such furniture that was made was very basic by todays standards; it was solid and heavily made with 'building trade' techniques very much in evidence. Tables, benches, settles, simple cupboards and chests survive; many pieces can be seen in old churches. The church led the way in architectural style which developed from the Norman at the end of the l2thC. Every Monastry had its own stonemasons, carvers and carpenters. When the woodworkers were confronted with the task of furnishing their designs showed the influence of the stonemasons with the pierced and carved Gothic panels, interwoven strapwork and carved egg and tongue mouldings.
The timber used was purely local, Oak being the most widely used and it has stood the test of time. Apple, Pear and Beech were also used in small sections.. Most of the furniture appears to have been left in its natural state although there is evidence of some pieces being treated with lime or linseed oil with earth pigments added for colour.
By about the middle of the l7thC the separate craft of cabinet or furniture making developed particularly in the towns which were growing in importance and had contact with other communities. These were usually near the sea or a navigable river as it was easier to travel by water than overland; there was also the influence of visitors from the Continent who brought their ideas and skills with them. Huguenot refugees arrived in 1665 and Dutch craftsmen came during the reign of William and Mary (1689 - 1702).
PLANNING BILL SHAKE-UP
We note that the proposed Planning Bill shake - up which was to cause the biggest shake-up of planning legislation for twenty years has been shelved.
The idea it seems was to give top priority to the abolition of County Structure Plans.
LET'S TAKE A WALK
A programme of guided walks along public footpaths and rights of way around Hadleigh. Taken at a gentle pace they will take around two and a half hours, a little longer if you want to stand and stare or if we see anything of interest on the way.
Monday 7th May 2.30 p.m. Swimming Pool Car Park, George Street.
By the time this walk (four and a half miles) is due, local volunteers hope to have this circular walk fully way marked. A leaflet has been printed and is available for those interested in going solo.
We start up Tower Mill Lane, past Durrants Farm to Cookson & Zinn. A few hundred yards along Pond Hall Road (watch the children please) then through some meadows to the Railway line and back to Hadleigh.
Further information can be obtained from either :
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St. MARY'S CHURCH HADLEIGH APPEAL - GARDEN EVENTS 1990
For further details and your reduced price SEASON TICKET for these and the later GARDEN EVENTS planned for June, July , August and September 1990 please contact Mrs Hilary Griffin 3 Church St., Hadleigh (Telephone 823100)
MORE DIARY DATES
Editor: Jim Betteridge