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Sue Andrews has been at her research again, this time inspired by a couple of maps and she presented her findings last October. From the one she rediscovered a long-lost mediaeval deer park. The other, a map of 1668 currently on show in the Guildhall, led her to further research on Holbecks in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The deer park was first identified East of Pond Hall on a map produced by Rosemary Hoppitt. Whilst of lower status than forest or chase, deer Parks were still a privilege and subject to licence. Venison was a prerogative of the king and never traded. Parks had certain common features including effective boundaries to keep the animals in and the poachers out. For economy these were often circular and had to have more than 200ft of clear ground next to a highway to deny cover to robbers. Pond Halls' history shows that in 1340 it was a free warren, perhaps a prelude to a full park, then in 1369 a patent to empark was granted and in 1371, a licence to crenellate. The present house can be dated back to mid C15 but has no signs of crenellation. However, the ground plan of the site in relation to the original which had a much larger moat does suggest the location of a defensive gateway. 1490-1551 records a number of gifts for mending the road, given by the clothiers of Hadleigh, no doubt keen to ensure easy passage for their goods to and from Ipswich. In 1638 there was reference to the Great Park and 1721 the Long Park but all traces of the park have now disappeared and all the area is arable land.
In January Frank Grace introduced his talk as ‘a trip into the slums of Ipswich’. The slums in question were those in the St Clements Dock area of the town, bordered by Rope Walk to the north and Fore Street to the south. This area had been rapidly developed in the 1830s with housing for up to 9000 people. Accommodation was urgently needed for the migrant workers who were arriving from all over the UK to find work in the docks and at Ransome’s Foundry, which had relocated to this area.
Terraces of single-room dwellings were hastily built, and by 1837 Rope Walk consisted of very dense housing with no individual sanitation, overshadowed by Ipswich Prison. There was no access to the rear gardens/yards of the terraces where the open cesspits were located. As the houses were not well constructed, they were often subject to bug infestations in the cracks and crevices.
Frank took us on a pictorial journey down Bishop’s Hill and we could see the rundown state of the ancient timber-framed merchants’ houses that were being used to accommodate several families. Groups of small cottages or shacks, known as ‘courts’, were often erected in their back gardens as every available piece of land was used for housing. Small shops were often located on street corners and horse-and-carts would tour the streets selling produce.
There was no social provision for this overcrowded community, only 54 pubs! Drunkenness and domestic violence were common. However, by the 1890s the situation improved when John Ford Goddard built a large social centre, where social activities and clubs, a resident nurse and a people’s lawyer were available.
In 1936 the district was declared ‘insanitary’ and was totally demolished. The community scattered to the new estates on the southern and eastern outskirts, and the area was redeveloped with substantial housing. Frank concluded his fascinating talk by showing us how the area looks today – it is now part of the prestigious Neptune Quay development!
On Monday 13th August, the eight members of Hadleigh Society History Group will be peopling the streets of the town based on a map dated 1836 held in Hadleigh Archive.
The map shows all the residential streets with buildings represented as approximate-sized rectangles, except for the parish church of St Mary’s that appears to be a scaled plan. Some dwellings and business premises have the names of their occupiers, while others are numbered. These numbers do not refer to present addresses but to a local census discovered in Suffolk Record Office at Bury St Edmunds.
At the August Meeting size A3 colour photographic copies of the map (suitable for framing) will be on sale together with notes and a transcription of the census, price £15.00. The talk as usual is at the Old Town Hall, members free, visitors £2.
Nominations are invited from any member of the Hadleigh Society for an award to be made in recognition of ‘Outstanding improvements to, or conservation of, Hadleigh’s buildings or environment’
In deciding to make an award the Society’s Executive Committee and any expert they may wish to consult, will be considering how sympathetic the work is with its surroundings and how well it integrates with them. They will expect all work to display a high quality of workmanship and to be an example of good practice.
Nominations should include details of the improvement made or of work carried out and should be sent to the Hon. Secretary.