Summer Solstice, June 21st 2018 3.49 a.m.
All Village Recorder’s are required to write an annual report of Village events and submit them to the Suffolk Local History Council who will deposit them in Suffolk Record Office for the future. This is the second year I have written a report but it’s something of a first. As it is now possible to post it online through the medium of Trimley St. Martin Recorder’s Blog, this is how I am proceeding, thereby making it immediately accessible to everyone. Since I took on the role of Village Recorder, it has always been one of my principles to make all my records clear and visible to everyone. It may be described as an overview of village life in 2018 and contemporary readers are unlikely to find many surprises. However hard I try, there will inevitably be events which passed me by or I failed to record. Therefore before the report is submitted at the start of February 2019, I welcome correspondence concerning any omissions or inaccuracies. Contact details may be found at the end of this article, as may a short visual calendar of the village in 2018.
This has been a busy year in Trimley St. Martin. In this report events have been recorded under four headings:
- Village events
- External events and activities impacting on Trimley St. Martin
- The Village Recorder’s Blog
- Future projects
From my own perspective, 2018 saw growing collaborative work and discussion between the Trimley St. Mary Village Recorder, Jane Banning; the Kirton Village Recorder, Len Lanigan; and the former Trimley St. Martin’s Recorder, Rosemary Gitsham. I consult all of them on a regular basis. Their help, generosity and support is invaluable as I continue to learn more about the role of the Village Recorder and I take the opportunity to thank them publicly.
1 Main village events of the year
Some village events occur every year and help to set the seasonal clock by which Trimley St. Martin may define itself. Two hundred years ago the calendar would have been dominated by the agricultural year: Ploughing; sowing; harvesting; Lady Day; Michaelmas; Rogation Sunday, Easter and Christmas. When considering 2018 in these lights, I was struck by the change of focus. We operate within a different framework, which for the majority of us no longer centres upon the farming year but appears to centre on entertainment and memory.
In 2018, the constants in the Village Calendar began in February with the village Pantomime. “Once upon a time’ was performed by Trimley SAINTS[i] with great style and panache to vigorous acclaim. Every night was a sell-out performance and justifiably so because of the talent and hard work of the SAINTS team. On 18th March, a Model Railway exhibition took place in The Memorial Hall. The models were presented by representatives from Felixstowe Area ‘N’ Gauge Group[ii] and the Ipswich Model Engineering Society[iii], amongst others. They all displayed replicas made with care and exactitude. On the 6th May in excess of 500 vehicles travelled through Trimley St. Martin when the annual Classic Vehicle Rally came through the village on its way from Ipswich to Felixstowe; transport ranged from bicycles to Buses, motor bikes to coaches. In June, Trimley Saints replicated their pantomime success with a spirited production of ‘Guys and Dolls’.
At the start of July, in preparation for the 99th Armistice Day on 11th November and to commemorate one hundred years since the end of the First World War, sixteen tubs of poppies appeared around in the village in prominent positions, including the School, The Memorial Hall, the Methodist Church and Post Office. Photographs were taken of each floral memorial and included in my Blog, ‘Suffolk Remembers Day’ and ‘Roger Clarke and The Fallen’[iv]. These were accompanied by short details of all the men from Trimley St. Martin who died fighting in the First World War and were a moving testimonial for their descendants and the people of the village.
July also saw the annual Carnival, which is held at the Social Club. (The two Trimleys don’t have an annual Fête.) Consequently, Jane Banning and I decided to manage a stall focusing on the end of the First World War in an attempt to publicise the work we undertake. We were accompanied by Rosemary Gitsham, who kindly provided personal memorabilia from her father’s involvement in the War. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive the number of visitors we would have liked and upon reflection will probably hold future public representation of the Recorderships in a different venue.
The next public event started in October. Organised by the Churchwarden, Andrew King, a two and a half thousand ‘Cascade of Poppies’ was raised up to cover the side of St. Martin’s Church as a highly visual memorial and tribute to all those who died in the First World War. The poppies had been, “…knitted with love…” as one contributor observed. It provoked considerable respect and appreciation from the people of the two Trimley villages. People could be observed stopping their cars to take photographs, others stopped to gaze upwards as they walked to the Post Office and the event was sympathetically discussed on Face Book. I may say, possibly with an element of bias, it was just about the best commemoration I viewed. It remained in place for a month from 27th October.
When the Cascade was dismantled, it was more or less immediately replaced by a Christmas Star. And thus, we reached December.
The Parish Council held the annual lighting up Ceremony for the Christmas Tree by Father Christmas on 6th December 2018. The Welcome Hall offered hot soup in the Welcome Hall and Christmas Carol singing was led by Trimley SAINTS. Other seasonal events were reported in my Blog, ‘Christmas in the Village’[v]. Such were the traditional events in Trimley St. Martin for 2018.
Two unwelcome events were the Post Office Ram Raid in January and the Train and Car Crash on the Thorpe Lane Crossing. The Ram Raid on the Village Post office occurred on the 8th January 2018 sometime around 11.00 p.m. The story was reported in the East Anglian Daily Times and may be accessed online[vi]. It appeared to be link with other raids in Suffolk and Norfolk. The Rail crash occurred on 10th June 2018 in the morning and involved a goods train, car, the driver and a young child. Access to Thorpe and Grimston Lane was closed for a considerable part of the day. It was reported in the East Anglian Daily Times and may also be accessed online[vii]. The story appeared on the local TV stations, as well as in local newspapers.
Elevated view of rail and car crash at the Thorpe Lane Crossing 10th June 2018. Note the car at right angles to the oncoming train, almost touching the railway line.
Courtesy of K.M.
Two additional events occurred in 2018. Although the prospect of two new building sites is not welcome to everyone in the village, outline planning for housing has been obtained for the area of the old Chicken Farm adjacent to Howlett’s Way. The other approved housing development, known as the Pigeon site, was approved in 2017. Both of these were subject to archaeological investigation. The Pigeon site excavation started in January 2018. The Howlett Way development area had 70 plus trenches dug in early September. The Pigeon site dig revealed some ancient finds whose details have yet to be published. There is as yet no indication of significant finds on the Howlett Way site.
The archaeological dig on the old Chicken Farm site. The belt of tress to the top left of the image screens the village from the effects of the A14 Ipswich bound carriageway. 14/09/2018
2 External factors upon Trimley St. Martin Village Life
Two external factors impacted upon Trimley St. Martin in 2018.
The first was the arrival of Volker Fitzpatrick to the Village in February 2018. They were here for a very specific purpose, the dualling of the railway line from Ipswich to Felixstowe which will link in with the new third rail terminal at Felixstowe Docks.[viii], the purpose being to enable increased goods traffic on the line.Ten years ago they were given permission to dual the line from Felixstowe to Ipswich, but this proved too expensive and the option which is being put in place now is a much smaller scheme to install a 1.4km track loop, upgrade 4 level crossings between Felixstowe and Westerfield and, last but not least, construct a bridleway bridge to replace six footpath crossings. The loop is a compromise solution, but it does increase the capacity of the line because it will be possible for an up train and a down train to use the line at the same time, albeit without quite the same flexibility as would have been the case had the full dualling plan gone ahead. Volker Fitzpatrick set up a sophisticated camp at the end of Howlett Way, adjacent to Cavendish Grove. The public footpath between Cavendish Grove and Reeve Lodge was suspended until all work has been completed. The site is of a temporary nature and I was informed it would be returned to a brown field at the completion of the works. Heavy vehicles have used Gun Lane and also the approximate area of the footpath to achieve quick access to the railway line. Not only are Volker Fitzpatrick responsible for the improved tracks, they are also installing a substantial bridge at over the track at the end of Gun Lane. This will link on the other side approximately with the footpath to Grimston Hall. All the architectural plans viewed to date, which have been approved by the Secretary of State, indicate a construction suffering from an aesthetic by-pass.
The second significant factor impacting on the future of Trimley St. Martin and surrounding villages, was the publication of the First Draft Local Plan[ix] 2018. It had been possible to view the proposals at Felixstowe Town Hall and other locations in the Autumn of 2017 but nevertheless the contents of the document took many people by surprise. Trimley St. Martin faces a future of possibly two substantial housing developments. One concerns the area off Howlett Way; the site of the old Chicken Farm. The plot was allocated in the Felixstowe Peninsula Area Action Plan as an area suitable for the development of up to 360 dwellings. The landowner has made clear their intention to submit a planning application and in July 2018 a public relations firm acting for Trinity held an exhibition at the Sports and Social Club where they showed what they had in mind and invited local people to comment upon it. As yet no application has been submitted. the other, behind Reeve Lodge. An additional and arguably the most contentious development was the proposal to develop the land known as Innocence Farm. This prospect was mentioned in my preliminary report when I took over the Recordership and was and is visible on Bidwell’s Public site[x]. It is not my intention to repeat the debates and discussions concerning the Plan, which have received considerable public comment and are well documented. The public disapproval for the plans for Trimley St. Martin, particularly Innocence Farm, was supported by an Action Group now known as KATCAG – Kirton and Trimley Community Action Group[xi]. Details of the groups actions are online and it is hoped the Website and documentation may be preserved for the future. Spearheaded by Stephen Wrinch and assisted by a tightly-knit group of supporters, as well as a significant number of villagers in Kirton, Trimley and surrounding villages, this group resolved to protest, object and contest the proposals. More about the individuals and the Group’s actions will be published on the Trimley Village Recorder’s Blog during the Spring of 2019. KATCAG present a united front determined to fight the proposals and to achieve their goal of preventing the overburdening of Trimley with an excess of housing as well as the intimidating presence of a lorry terminal on Innocence Farm land, which will demand costly and major infrastructural road changes. The alteration to the land use predicated on continuous Port growth in a post-Brexit world, accompanied as it will be by air pollution and loss of green space has evoked considerable consternation. You may read the comments and objections on the Suffolk Coastal website[xii] if you wish to obtain an overview of the temper of the times.
3 The Blog
When I took on the role of Trimley St. Martin Village Recorder I reflected long and hard considered how to approach the work involved. Aware that I am recording for the future and trying to preserve or reveal forgotten events from the past, it seemed a sensible approach to involve the Community in this work as well as inform them about contemporary individuals and unknown history. I couldn’t see much value in conducting research which was only visible to myself, for the work is not in any way about me but rests on the lives of the many inhabitants of the village, past, present and future. It seemed equally important and appropriate to share information with the Community The logical way of doing this has been to create a Blog. Earlier Recorders used the technology available to them at the time; I have moved to a digital domain because it’s the medium through which much of the contemporary world communicates. It provides the greatest possible opportunity to keep the people of Trimley St. Martins informed and involved. One of my guiding principles is to recognise the value of every individual in the Village and attempt to record their lives for future generations. After some considerable research and reflection, the Blog was launched on 27th May 2018. Thanks to the support of the Parish Council, it was initially available via the Parish website:
The Parish Council continues to support me, although I am now hosted on a self-funded Website. All existing and subsequent Blogs have been posted to the WordPress site I purchased: http://trimleystmartinrecordersblog.com
although the links to this site continue to be added to the Parish website. Because the WordPress site is self-funded and only exists while this continues, I have digital files of each blog as well as paper copies. These may be viewed upon request by anyone who does not have access to the Internet. I’m currently considering lodging a file in a public place.
Between the end of May to the end of December, I posted 31 Blogs consisting of approximately 56,000 words. They include people who live in the village and those who may have moved away. I have also undertaken original research on people or events before the mid-20th century. One of these pieces of research, the two-part story ‘Lydia Rackham: A Trimley Woman in Van Dieman’s Land’ has resulted in contact with a direct descendent of Lydia Rackham and we are now working together to extend the story. When I receive comments from Readers these are added to the paper Blog file. All of the Blogs will be sent to Suffolk Record Office in paper copy as well.
In the last eight months I have encountered many new people and feel honoured and pleased to have met them, in equal measure. I take this opportunity to formally thank everyone for their help and cooperation, including my distant correspondent in Tasmania. Their collective kindness and decency is helping to define the nature of the community in which we live. In ordinary circumstances, I will continue to publish a Blog a week. It is still very early days for the Blogging Project; I’m learning all the time but do have long-term goals once it is more firmly established.
4 Existing and forthcoming projects
Throughout last year I worked on two projects, albeit it slowly. One relates to the creation of a House History for Grimston Hall, although I am fully aware of the complexities of my subject, not least the age of the building, the numerous tenants and confusing lists of the Lords of the Manor; there will be no quick results. My second research area links to the first project and is the study of one of the previous Lords of the Manor, George Nassau (1763-1824), almost certainly the last Lord of the Manor to occupy Grimston Hall. I have already researched a range of documentation, including his letters to his attorneys-at-law, Wenn and Dunningham of Ipswich. There is sufficient surviving correspondence to create a view of Trimley and the other villages in his Domain. Much of it relates to the Manors, the tenants and the prevailing preoccupations of a land owner during the Napoleonic Wars. One particular set of letters relates to the 1807 Enclosure Act and the responses from the Tenants of the period. You may be interested to know they met in ‘The Mariners’ to talk about the offers on the table. Nassau’s handwriting is comparatively modern but he seems to have been alphaphobic in that he avoided using the letter ‘A’ whenever possible, rendering some of his written words indecipherable and thereby slowing the speed of transcription. I will continue with these two areas of research for the foreseeable future, fully aware they may not be completed for some years.
I have a fourth project for the future which is comparatively simple: to index locally published material relating specifically to Trimley and its inhabitants before the 21st century. Not the most exciting task in the world, perhaps, but it may simplify the life of other researchers.
Finally, a comment on my first full year as Village Recorder for Trimley St. Martin. It has been a busy and fascinating year, which has demanded and received my attention. I thank the people of the village who have given their support and good wishes. Thank you.
If you have any comments or would like to be part of the Trimley St. Martin project, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visual Calendar of Trimley St. Martin in 2018.
The archeological dig on the Pigeon Development site. Mill Close is just visible to the top right of the picture.
Clearing the ground for the Volker Fitzpatrick site. Cavendish Grove (out of sight) is to the extreme left of the picture
Looking towards the Old Waterworks and Hill cottages. 27th February 2018
Model Railway Exhibition in The Memorial Hall, 18th March 2018
Part of the annual Vintage Car Rally, a resurrected 251 bus drove through Trimley St. Martin on 6th May 2018.
Work on the railway line moves apace. 27th June 2018
Trimley Carnival, a float just outside the Social Club, 14th July 2018
Tubs of poppies sponsored and planted by the Parish Council in commemoration of the St. Martin’s men who died in the First World War. 10th July 2018
Looking across the fields towards Shotley and the River Orwell after the harvest. Near Grimston Hall. 8th August 2008
The archaeological dig on the proposed Howlett way development site. The belt of trees at the top of the picture hide the Ipswich bound A14.
A Cascade of Poppies descended from Trimley St. Martin’s Church Tower on 27th October 2018.
The wreath laying ceremony at the Village Memorial. 11th November 2018
The first public protest against the Draft Local Plan on 27th November 2018, outside Felixstowe Golf Club
Father Christmas at the Lighting up ceremony at the Village Hall. 4th December 2018.
Christmas Fair at Goslings. 9th December 2018