The Hadleigh SocietyAug 2000
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Supermarket update

We now know that the joint inquiry into the Tesco and Buyright applications will start on the 31st October and will last about 12 days.

The inquiry will be conducted by Mrs Wood, who we understand has a background in conservation. There will be three barristers involved, representing Tesco, QD Stores (Buyright) and Babergh.

Ken Turner, the MD of QD Stores has brought together a strong team of experts who will be strongly opposing the Tesco application as well as promoting the Buyright case. This team will be doing much of the work that we would have tried to do and with much greater resources than we could dream of. Nevertheless, we still have a part to play and your Society will be giving evidence at the inquiry to object to the Tesco application and to support the QD Stores.(Buyright) application

Whilst the inspector will have access to all the letters that have been written to the Council we are advised that we should now send as many letters as possible directly to the Planning Inspectorate, stating our objections to the Tesco application and support for Buyright’s.

If you wish to speak at the Inquiry itself then you should also write to the same address with details of the points you wish to cover.

Letters should be sent to:
Mr Bob Palmer,
The Planning Inspectorate,
Room 11/00,
Tollgate House,
Houlton Street,
Bristol BS2 9DJ.

The National Scene

From the Civic Trust’s Civic Society Briefing

Retailing In Town Centres

Following reports by The Civic Trust and other bodies the Environment. Transport and Regional Affairs Committee is urging the government not to amend its policies on retailing in town centres in the light of the Competition Commission’s review. Instead the MPs called on the government to strengthen PPG6 on retailing development. They recommend that clarification is needed in defining suitable sites in town centres that must be considered for development before an out of town scheme is approved. The Competition Commission is due publish its findings shortly but has already floated the idea that retail impact assessments should be independently conducted. A single, independently produced report, based on mutually agreed data, would result in more robust decision-making. Especially helpful would be compulsory post-decision monitoring to check whether forecasts proved accurate.


The Marlow Society has reported bulky lampposts erected without proper consultation.  The District Council brushed aside requests to have them re-sited.  The Civic Trust is interested to hear of any other cases. 


Over the 4 years that the Hadleigh Society has had its own stand at the May Show it has gone from strength to strength, due particularly to the work of Joe Byrne.  This year’s display was probably the most varied yet.  Whilst it was important to present the supermarket issue the wide range of other interests were equally represented, covering the recent archaeological finds, the history of the MoD site, and this year’s Noel Turner Award. 


The Hadleigh Dig

We are grateful to Linzi Everett of the Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service for the following account and pictures. 

Land at the junction of Boswell Lane and Aldham Mill Hill, Hadleigh, was the subject of an archaeological excavation carried out by the Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service. The project, which was funded by Persimmon Homes, ran for nearly two months during which time, a number of interesting discoveries were made.

An assessment of air photographs had identified two Bronze Age ring ditches (around 3500 - 4000 years old) visible as cropmarks within the excavation area. The southern ditch was around 2.5m in width and 1.5m deep and probably had quite a large mound or barrow in the centre, created by the upcast of spoil from the original digging of the encircling ditch. Such ring ditches are associated with burials and/or cremations and whilst no Bronze Age burials were found within the ditch, it is likely that at least one was contained within the barrow itself. However, any mound was probably flattened centuries ago, destroying evidence of the burial practices that once took place there.

The second ring ditch was shallower and much narrower than the first and probably did not have such a large central mound. Within this ditch, a cluster of around 30 cremations had survived, some of which contained hand-made ceramic urns that held either cremated material or possible food offerings. Other cremations showed signs that remains had been burnt in situ. A third, much smaller ring ditch was not visible from air photos but was found to contain a group of at least five cremations. All of these features produced bone fragments that will be analysed by specialists, giving valuable clues about the social groups that are represented here.

The site produced plenty of evidence to show that there was prehistoric activity in the area from the Mesolithic period (c.8300 BC) through to the Bronze Age. This took the form of occasional isolated features and numerous worked flints scattered all over the site. However, no evidence of settlement was found in the study area, although it is clear from the distribution and number of finds, and from the burials themselves, that there must have been some form of prehistoric settlement relatively close by.

During the seventh century, the ring ditches were used again as a focus for burial, this time by the Anglo Saxons. Four graves were discovered, two male and two female, producing a number of glass and ceramic beads, items of bronze and silver jewellery, a spearhead and a complete pot which originally came from the Rhineland region of Europe. Little bone was preserved in these graves as the sandy soil was too acidic. Despite this, finding these graves offers us important information about the ring ditch, indicating that it was still somehow visible in the seventh century in order that the burials could focus upon it. It is most likely that the mound survived rather than the ditch; one grave lies half in the ditch and half out showing that by around 2000 years after it was excavated, the ring ditch must have filled up, and may not have been visible at all.

Aerial photos also picked out hints of a field system, which was found during the dig to be part of a quite substantial agricultural complex. This consisted mostly of boundary ditches forming trackways and paddocks but also produced evidence of at least two buildings. However, they were probably farm buildings, rather than dwellings since they do not appear to have hearths or any sign of internal divisions

MoDern History

There have been many stories of the massive underground chambers at the MOD site, all once filled with High Explosives.  Now the secret is out.  There are no underground chambers, just three bunkers on the surface with large concrete blocks for lorries to unload.  

Each building is divided into a number of bays and has a roller type conveyor running its length. The roller tracks could be extended to the loading blocks to enable boxes to be lifted off lorries, pushed along the rollers and then lifted off to be stacked in one of the bays.

There are no signs of any lifting equipment; everything had to be manhandled.  It is likely that only small-arms ammunition was ever stored there.  We have it on good authority that the last contents of the bunkers were Thunder Flashes and Baton Rounds.



At our April meeting, which saw one of the best attendances, Pat Lewis, wife of one of the prominent Hadleigh Freemasons, gave us a very interesting insight into the mysteries of freemasonry. 

What is usually regarded as a secret society came alive uncovered by Mrs. Pat Lewis who told us she was given all the help in her researches by the Masonic Grand Lodge in London.

Pat explained the connection between the Angel Lodge in Colchester and The Lodge, Virtue and Silence of Hadleigh, which was founded in 1811. They used to meet on the nearest Wednesday to the full moon so that visits by horse and cart could take place.  Both were affected by the Napoleonic War.  After the war, Colchester, because of its position with a navigable river to the sea and its good network of roads and the garrison; prospered at a far greater pace than Hadleigh.  When the Hadleigh Lodge was formed there were four other Lodges in Suffolk; now there are over 60.

Mention was made of the grand procession after Virtue and Silence was first ordained in the Hadleigh Guildhall.  Masonic dignitaries came from far and wide and the procession took place along the Hadleigh High Street in full regalia, finishing up at the Shoulder of Mutton where 150 people had a substantial meal.  Pat explained that there was no class distinction in Freemasonry and right from the earliest days anyone could join provided someone in the Lodge would vouch for them as being of good standing, and they believed in a supreme being. Anyone who joined could become Master of the Lodge.  One of the many facets of freemasonry was to help one another in adversity and many of the Friendly Societies and Trade Unions adopted similar methods with similar ceremonies.  This extremely interesting talk received a loud round of applause.

Next Meeting: A Hadleigh Time Line

Tuesday 22nd August at 8pm, Hadleigh Old Town Hall

John Bloomfield leads us on a journey through Hadleigh’s history.  

Noel Turner Award, 2000

No 100 High Street Hadleigh, Suffolk, has long been an eyesore in the conservation area of the town. It was last used as a shoe shop and was still packed with items from this period. The building, which contributes considerably to the street’s appearance, had been allowed to deteriorate to the point of near collapse. Part of the original shop extended into the building to the North and a complicated pattern of subdivision of the two adjacent properties had evolved.  Mrs. King and Mr. Hipkin resolved the boundary issues and commenced repair of the building, whilst retaining the features of its development from its original construction.

What was discovered under the many layers of evolution was a 15th century medieval hall to which a large hearth had been added in the 17th century. In the 18th Century the building had been refronted, possibly at the time it was made into a shop. The recent restoration has created a compact dwelling of considerable charm having all modem facilities and which does much to enhance the appearance of the Northern part of the High Street. By their low key but effective approach to the project, which in other hands could have easily suffered from over restoration or loss of character, Mrs. King and Mr. Hipkin are to be roundly congratulated.


Hadleigh Society AGM

Sue Angland as Treasurer reported the Society was running at a slight loss, leading to the Executive Committee raising membership subscriptions by £1 per member (see opposite).

Joe Byrne reported an active year for the History Group, meeting at three-weekly intervals, and continuing to work on the Town’s Archives.

Jan Byrne reported on planning activities, including the continuing issue of Tesco and Buyright applications.  A group of five members of the Executive Committee had prepared a submission to the District Council, a copy of which was available for view.  The Society has been represented by Jan Byrne on the Town Forum and Sue Angland on the Traffic Management Working Party.  

In his review John Bloomfield, one of the founding members together with John Griffin, looked back over 18 AGMs and 160 meetings.  Membership was the highest ever at 200 and still growing. He thanked members for their support, since it was important that they endorsed the work of the Executive Committee.  He concluded by suggesting the Society should have a motto, and that ‘Constant Vigilance’ was more appropriate than ever.

Membership Rates

Following a proposal from the Executive Committee the AGM approved Internet-based membership of the Society, with no charge, no mailings, no free meetings and no vote.  Such members will be notified by e-mail and can access newsletters from the Society’s website. 

Having been unchanged for several years the Executive Committee has made a small increase this year so that rates now stand as follows. 

Single member


Joint members at same address


Single life membership


Joint life membership


Full Time Students


Senior Citizen


Joint Senior


The New Executive Committee

Under the ‘5 year’ rule there were several changes to the Executive Committee this year. 

Jan Byrne


John Bloomfield

Vice Chairman

Colin Reeve


Sue Angland


Joe Byrne

History Group

Bert Keele


Rosemary Schade


Gordon Sutcliffe


Jim Betteridge


John O'Brien


Mary Howell


Graham Panton