The Hadleigh SocietyApr 1999
Newsletter Index Up Jan 1999 Apr 1999 Jun 1999 Aug 1999 Oct 1999 Dec 1999



Newsletter Registered with THE CIVIC TRUST April 1999

Inside this Issue









An 'Issues Report’, was recently sent out by the Planing (Policy) Division of the District Council and the Society’s view invited on the changes likely to affect the environment we live in. Your Executive Committee, led by the Chairman and Vice-Chair, has replied on behalf of the Society.

The Issues Report tries to identify what Babergh District Council considers to be the major planning issues facing the area for the period up to 2011. The District Council will consider our comments, along with other responses, before it drafts the Babergh Local Plan Alteration No.2 later this year. Nothing has been decided at this stage.

ALTERATION No.2 is needed

bulletTo provide planning guidance beyond 2001
bulletTo keep in step with the Suffolk County Structure Plan
bulletTo identify land for development with clear land-use guidance
bulletTo reflect new government advice
bulletTo review and amend policies formed 15 years ago

The document sets the scene for Hadleigh as follows:

In spite of being the second largest settlement in the district, Hadleigh only has a population of about 7,000. The town centre itself provides a wide variety of shopping, employment, social and recreational opportunities, all set within an historic environment.

The main points relating to Hadleigh are summarised here. Italicised comments represent the essence of the Hadleigh Society response. You can see the whole report at the Babergh offices, public library or on the Internet. You can see the full text of the Hadleigh Society comments on our Website, with cross-links to the Babergh document, or contact the Secretary.

Areas for Housing

Proposed are:

bulletA major area is already allocated, for perhaps 220 homes on the former MOD site off Aldham Mill Hill.
bulletOne new small site for 15 houses off Gallows Hill at the northern end of the town would occupy a largely unused area, to create a better-landscaped edge on one of the principal approach roads into the town. Given the sensitivity of this site the Society has proposed that the building design should be low level.

Further growth on any scale in Hadleigh could be difficult without breaching environmental thresholds and would only be considered if a high level of growth is imposed on the district.

Employment Developments

The current allocation of 25 acres of land north of Lady Lane Industrial Estate for employment purposes would remain. The Society has also proposed support for suitable business activities on the Pound Lane estate.

Car Parking

A shift in national policy over the past few years means that local authorities need to manage existing car parking spaces rather than provide more car parks. In recent years many more parking spaces have been provided, for example at the new High Street car park. This car park is attracting shoppers to the town so reference to a retail development on this site would be removed.


Despite speculation about a new food supermarket in the town centre no new site is put forward for retail development. The Council does not believe there is a need for another supermarket.

Hadleigh Health Centre

This needs to expand, perhaps by expansion on the existing site.

Fire Station

An alternative site is sought for the Fire Station: one possibility is the Lady Lane Industrial Estate.

Market Place / Duke Street Garages

If this site is not needed for the expansion of the Hadleigh Health Centre, it could be developed for housing, which would be consistent with the government's desire to recycle urban land for housing purposes.

The Society proposes a more comprehensive review of opportunities for the whole area surrounding the Market Place and Health Centre in conjunction with relocation of the Fire Station. This could give a strong focus for the centre, perhaps encouraging market trading.

Community Hall

Since producing the current Plan Hadleigh Guildhall and East House have had major improvements, and the High School Sports facility has been opened to the public. A new community hall is no longer needed. The Society would also like to note the community use of St Mary’s Church, the Deanery Tower and the URC building.


A few weeks ago you will have read in the East Anglian Daily Times (based on a press release from Tesco) of their planning application for a 27,500 sq.ft. supermarket on the site between the river, High Street and Pound Lane. When we attempted to view the plans at Babergh we were told that they had been withdrawn for "technical reasons" involving certification.

This week there has been some activity in the High Street with photographs being taken over the roof of Sun Court from a very high mobile crane. Surveyors have also been making measurements and drawings of the outside.

It is nearly two weeks since the plans were first lodged and they are still not available for viewing. However we have seen some of the proposals that were recently sent by the developers to the owners of Sun Court.

The proposed supermarket is 27,500 sq.ft. in area, and about 150 feet behind the gardens of the High Street houses between Sun Court and Bull’s. The car park for 217 vehicles is, at its nearest point, only about 30 feet from the river.

The road entrance for Cars and lorries would be between Cinch and 111 High Street with roughly half the Cinch building being demolished to make room for it. The remaining part of the building would be adapted to provide a pedestrian access via a short arcade. The side elevation shows a three-storey building.

The plans show the High Street narrowed on either side of the entrance, presumably to make it easier for traffic to get in and out of the supermarket (according to Suffolk County Council’s survey in 1997 this is already the busiest road in Hadleigh). We presume the parking on both sides of the High Street at that point will have to be removed.

These are only proposals: Tesco have not yet bought the land but have ‘Options to purchase’, as confirmed on a copy of the planning application.

Once the plans have been registered with Babergh and are available for public viewing we will be in a better position to comment fully on them and will keep you informed.

Several people have suggested that the whole town should be consulted on the desirability of another supermarket in the town. Accordingly we decided to conduct a survey and the Hadleigh Community News has helped by distributing our questionnaire. We’ve had 127 back so far; there are several places that they can be returned to: please remember to return yours.

CAASH (Campaign Against Another Supermarket in Hadleigh) has been formed to co-ordinate opposition to the plans You will soon start to see its logo around town. The Society is heavily involved in CAASH.


Government is relying heavily on local authorities to realise its transport plans, and all unitary and county councils in England will have to write a plan for local transport in their area. Civic Societies will be important in securing the many improvements for which no legislation is necessary. The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions has issued detailed Guidance on Local Transport Plans, which local authorities must follow. For a copy contact Local Transport Policy, Zone 3/14, DETR, 76 Marsham Street, London SWIP 4DR, or try the DETR website on


Illicit Sex in 17th century Hadleigh

It was a good turn out to hear Sue Andrews, with the promise of some revelation of Hadleigh’s colourful past. If there were a few expecting to hear of nothing but sex they might have been disappointed, as we were introduced to several of the other activities over which the church court had jurisdiction.

Drawing on the two brief periods for which there are records of this court, around 1640 and around 1670, Sue illustrated the life of the town just before the Civil War and following the restoration. Since the parish was a Peculiar, Hadleigh’s court had an unusual status, with the Dean being responsible directly to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The town at that time had not long had its charter and still had a strong industry of clothiers although Lavenham’s cloth trade was by then in decline. The population was only 1,500 and the plague in one year took 200 of those.

We heard of how the church court’s roles spanned the birth, marriage and death of every citizen to a much greater extent than today, and how citizens were much more likely to have to attest to the conduct of their neighbours.

Turning for a moment from the primary subject we heard how a large body of cases concerned failure to attend church, and another major role concerned probate. Returning to the main theme, a significant proportion of the court’s cases concerned pre and post marital relations, and the best recourse for those accused would be to find neighbours prepared to confirm your innocence. Cross-examination in court might be one thing but midwives, who were licensed by the court, were expected to enquire of the paternity of the child at the height of the labour.

Babies arriving indecently soon after the marriage ceremony led to a court case, and public humiliation; even worse if there was no marriage. Although there was a clear moral standpoint there would also be a strong economic motivation to avoid the cost to the parish of providing for orphans and bastards. With data for the two periods on record, Sue showed how cases concerning morality dropped markedly in the Restoration after the Civil War, but we can only speculate whether this was a change in attitudes or behaviour.

Will-making in Mediaeval Hadleigh

Our History Group members who know just how long it can take to work through the archived documents that have survived will sympathise with Peter Northeast who felt better able to tackle the mediaeval wills of Hadleigh because of the action of a servant in 1618. His fire destroyed the records belonging to the Hadleigh Peculiar.

The 49 documents which survive to this day are those that were proved at the Archbishop’s court because the estate extended beyond Hadleigh. With only 25% making a will at all and most being handled by the Dean’s court, these survivors represented the upper crust of the population.

You may remember our History Group introducing us last year to Archdeacon Pykynham’s will in the context of Hadleigh’s Charities. This time we learned more details of this wealthy cleric, whom we should now learn to pronounce as Pickinham. One thousand requiem masses didn’t come cheap by the standards of a 6d daily wage.

We not only learned more about Hadleigh and were reminded of the arithmetic of ‘old money’ but also learned of the distinction between wills and testaments. Altogether it was an entertaining but educational experience.

If you are interested in seeing Peter’s notes on the full set of 111 Hadleigh will’s from 1403 to 1601 they will be available in the Hadleigh Archive.

Contact Sue Andrews
01449 740673

History Group

Help us write a book

The members of the History Group, having recovered from the preparation of last November’s presentation have been thinking about our next project.

We have decided that there is a need for a new book about our town’s history, suitable for sale to visitors to the town.

We hope to start with what is known about the Celts, Romans and Saxons, all of whom seem to have had a presence here and to bring the story right up in to this century.

We plan two versions, one aimed at the casual reader and one fully annotated with sources for anyone wanting to make a serious study of our town’s history.

We intend to concentrate on one chapter at a time to gradually build the book and I am sure all the members of the group will learn a lot along the way.

If you would like to be part of the project, now would be a good time to join the History Group. Our next two meetings are on the 19th April and 14th May in the Town’s Archive Room at the Guildhall.

For more information ring Joe Byrne on 822192.


The Vice Chairman

Jan Byrne, the Vice Chair of the Society was born a cockney, spent her formative years in North London, and moved with Joe to Hadleigh High Street in 1961. She had trained as a General Nurse and when the children started school she worked for a few years as a staff nurse at the Ipswich hospital.

When the children were older she trained to be a Health Visitor, then spent about twenty years visiting young families in Ipswich. From 1990 she was a manager in the Community Nursing service. For some years she was the Vice Chair of her professional organisation and was elected to represent the profession on the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting. She was also a member of the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting.

She joined the Hadleigh Evening Women’s Institute in its early days and is now its President. The W.I. may have a "Jam and Jerusalem" image but it educates (Jan says "Joe doesn’t now know what a jar of shop jam tastes like"), it influences government policies and she enjoys the relaxation of being in the company of friends.

Joe and Jan joined the Society at its inauguration and have been on the committee for much of the time. Jan was Chairman in the 1980’s.

She is now a member of the Society’s history group and since retirement has worked with Joe in the Town’s Archives where they are members of the group who are re-cataloguing the collection and putting it on a computer. They hope the Archives will be open to the public for one afternoon a week later this year. Having helped to raise money to build the swimming pool in the seventies she now has time to benefit almost every morning.

Since they retired they enjoy spending more time in the town to which after 38 years they feel they belong. Jan now has time to go to the local shops most days. They never really believed people who said retirement was a very busy time, but now they wonder how they ever had time to work.

Next Event: Clive Paine on The Paupers of Hadleigh

Clive entertained us in 1997 with a well-researched account of a Murder in Benton Street. His investigations of how Hadleigh tackled poverty in the 1830’s should be equally enthralling. Don’t miss it!

1999/2000 Programme

The Paupers of Hadleigh,
Clive Paine

27th Apr

AGM, Cheese and Wine

24th Jun

Putting a House to Bed

Monica Place

17th Aug

Hadleigh in the War Years
John Kersey

14th Oct

Pictures from the Hadleigh Archives


23rd Nov

Hadleigh in 1881
History Group

Tues 1st Feb 2000

Throwing Light on the Dark Ages in Hadleigh
Sue Andrews

Thurs 16th March

Venue: Hadleigh Old Town Hall, 8pm. Please note that we now use the side entrance behind the Corn Exchange.

Free to members, 2 for non-members.


If you know someone who is interested in joining the Executive Committee don’t hold back. We’re always keen to welcome ‘new blood’. There’s a form at the back of this newsletter for you to make nominations.

Our membership is getting close to 200, which is a very good figure for an organisation of our type in relation to the size of town. Why not encourage a few more people to help reach that milestone.


At our Web address (see Files Group Contact, below) you can find this and many past newsletters, with photos in their original colours, an extensive list of past events going back over ten years, and their posters.

We’ve recently added some more newsletters from 10 years ago, including articles on Hadleigh Aerodrome and the Hadleigh Gang.

Hadleigh Library now provides free access to the Internet, bookable in hourly sessions. Printouts cost 5p per page.



is on Saturday 15th May. Come and visit the Hadleigh Society stand.


Would anyone like to look after the garden for a week during the Summer? Light work only: deadheading etc.

Contact Jane at the Idler or Hattie 823193


are on Thursday 6th May. Two members of our Executive Committee, Jan Byrne and Sue Angland, are standing for election to the Town Council. Jan is also a candidate for the District Council.

Chairman and Environmental matters John Bloomfield 01473 822063
Planning Jan Byrne 01473 822192
History Group Joe Byrne 01473 822192
Files Group and Associate Newsletter Editor


Graham Panton


01473 828676

01473 828460

Membership Ben Allen

Rosemary Schade

01473 827691

01473 824009

Secretary and Newsletter Editor Jim Betteridge 01473 823991

Published by

All views expressed are those of the contributors and are not necessarily those of the Hadleigh Society




ON THURSDAY 24th JUNE 1999 AT 8 pm.


Society members are invited to make nominations for service on the Society’s Executive Committee for the year following the Annual General Meeting in the following capacities:

Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer or Secretary

or as one of six Committee members.

All posts are honorary and seconded nominations must reach the Society’s Chairman by 10th June 1999.

To: Chairman, The Hadleigh Society, c/o 49 Angel Street, Hadleigh, Suffolk, (Telephone: 01473 822063)

I nominate the following for service on the Executive Committee of The Hadleigh Society for the year 1999/2000.



Position Nominated

Name of Seconder

In each case the nominee has agreed to stand.

Name Date

You may copy this form or write your own letter to The Chairman
so long as you include the necessary details.