Sunrise over Loompit Lake, Summer Solstice, 2021.
After the 2020 Christmas that never really happened, the nation as a whole and our community moved into the New Year with minimal expectations ‘things’ would improve. A third Lockdown seemed inevitable and indeed so it proved to be. On 4th January 2022 it was announced it would commence on 6th January. Children returned to school for one day before an extended period of home schooling took off. It lasted for most of the Spring term. The prevailing mood was one of reluctant resignation and concern on the part of many parents who were faced with prospect of working from home whilst educating and looking after their children again. Covid restrictions combined with poor weather to colour the landscape of this Lockdown. There was a heightened sense of isolation from friends, neighbours and the community. The Trimley SAINTS Pantomime and the Annual Carnival were just two cancelled annual events when people might expect to bump into each other. Parish Council meetings were held using Zoom. They didn’t return to the Memorial Hall until 1st June 2021. There was little opportunity for people to meet at social events. Commenting retrospectively many people have spoken of a year lost, confused recollections of what happened when, general ennui and a loss of motivation, which proved difficult to defy. Perhaps this could be described as Lockdown languish, which went on far longer than the Lockdown itself. The ‘stay at home’ rule was modified on 29 March but many restrictions remained in place. On 12th April Pubs re-opened with people using outdoor facilities. The Hand in Hand opened with a flourish and business appeared to boom. The Trimley Sports and Social Club re-opened on Friday 16th April 2021.
The Hand in Hand, 1 p.m. 12th April 2021.
It is truism to say we fail to flourish amidst disease and death but the situation was exacerbated by the loss of normal life and social contact. In January it seemed the only bright light on the horizon was the programme of Covid vaccinations which had started in December 2020. The Grove Medical Centre was the vaccination centre for villages in the Felixstowe area and comments on Facebook testified to the excellence and efficiency of the service it offered. One of the villagers, Lisa Williams, said, “Thanks to the slick operation at the Grove Medical Centre both myself and Dad have had our Covid Jabs.” At the time of writing, 23rd Feb. 2022, the number of people vaccinated in Trimley and Kirton stands as follows: 1st dose 92.1%; 2nd dose 89.4%; 3rd dose or boosters 77.2%. This is no mean achievement.
To counteract the general gloom of this introduction, it has to be mentioned that after what seemed, ‘Always winter and never Christmas’, the end of the year refuted this epigram when the Government didn’t impose restrictions on how or where people engaged in Seasonal pastimes.
As we all retreated to our homes, perhaps one of the main points of interest was the weather. After all, we are British. Rain arrived early in January and fell with solid persistence for twenty six non-consecutive days, although some days were lighter than others and there were some breaks of bright sunshine. As the month progressed back roads and lanes became impassable at times and fields became sodden. Foggy days followed when few people felt encouraged to take to the open air. But when snow started falling on 7th February, locked down parents and children rushed outside to maximise a different condition, some with toboggans in tow. Snow fell to such an extent the slip road at the end of the High Road on to the A14 was blocked and was impassable for all normal traffic, although everything had vanished within two or three days. April, the ‘cruellest month’, was very dry but at this point we were allowed to cautiously engage with people in socially distanced groups of no more than six. Therein after the weather took a back seat in people’s interest. The summer months were indifferent, October was wet and we rolled into a December which was comparatively mild.
Grimston Lane, 5th January 2021
A reflective Grimston Lane, January 2021
Sleighton Hill, with the scarcely visible Orwell beyond, 5th February 2021
The corner of Grimston and Thorpe Lane looking towards Trimley Sports and Social Club and Cavendish Grove. 7th February 2021. (Prior to the commencement of the Poppyfield development.)
The Corner of Grimston Lane and Thorpe Lane looking towards the rail crossing. 7th February 2021.
High Road blocked by snow approaching Goslings Farm Shop and the A14. 8th February 2021. Photo courtesy of Gordon Davies-Morris.
Property for sale next to The Hand in Hand, 2021
Despite the Pandemic, people still needed to buy and sell houses. Twenty one properties were sold in Trimley St. Martin for a total value of £5,464,500 (Taken from estimated current prices, Feb. 2022.) As an example of the heightened escalation of property values in Trimley St. Martin, I looked at one particular anonymous property. It was bought in 1964 for £3,500. An extension was added in the 2000s and is now estimated to be worth a conservative £500,000 (As of February 2022). (A Bank of England Inflation calculation makes the original £3,500 worth £75,000.)
Housing developments and road names
In addition to existing properties being sold, work on two housing developments started in 2021. Planning permission for both developments had been granted prior to 2020.
The Lilacs, Flagship Homes
This development is almost opposite the entrance to Grimston Lane, one of the oldest lanes in the village. Work began in January. By the end of November, passers-by could see some of the newly erected houses having their roofs finished off. At the start of December, the Show Home opened and sales commenced. Flagship is a charitable trust who state on their website (they are), ‘Solving the housing crisis in the East of England.’ They aim to ‘…provide beautiful homes for open market sales, shared ownership and rent.’
Initially twelve houses were released in December and these were enthusiastically snapped up within the first two weeks of the launch. Property values on the site range from £260,000 – £440,000, although at the time of writing it’s not clear whether subsequent releases will be re-valued in line with surrounding house prices. Flagship offer the opportunity to purchase a house as shared ownership. The minimum share it is possible to buy is 45% of the full market value up to 75%. i.e. if purchased at 45% then owners will pay rent on the remaining 55%. Also included on the site are social housing properties solely for rent. The ethos of Flagship is that profit from the housing is ploughed back into the charity for further homes.
The development draws its name from two or three previous years of non-farming on the site when poppies flourished in merry abandonment. Prior to 2018, the land had been actively farmed for many hundreds, if not thousands, of years. (Farmers of earlier generations would have decried the presence of poppies as weeds.) Archaeological work commenced at the start of March when trees and bushes on the perimeter of the field running parallel to the High Road were removed.
The site of a building, possibly medieval was located close to the Wooden houses and almost opposite Mill Lane. Otherwise, the site was not rich in finds.
‘Poppy Field’ Dig in progress. 21st March 2021. Looking towards the Wooden houses.
The construction company, Taylor Wimpey, moved on to the site by June and work started on the development. Houses on the site will be 2,3,4 and 5 bedroom properties. Some social housing will be constructed near the Sports and Social Club but not until the final phase of construction. Houses were due to be released in the early part of 2022.
View of part of the field with a sugar beet crop opposite the Hand In Hand, June 2017.
Archaeological investigations on the land behind Reeve Lodge were more fruitful. The unpublished report found,
“Evidence for a prehistoric trackway and field system – found along a northwest to southeast alignment across the site – was probably established during the Bronze Age.”
The decision to build on the site was not to be determined until April 2022.
New Village Street Names
The road names for The Lilacs will be:
Drewry Way: Yvonne Drewry was a renowned artist who lived in the Mill House on Kirton Road.
Rivers Walk: The land on which The Lilacs stands was farmed by Solomon Rivers in 1807. The majority of his land was spread across the two Trimleys. Solomon Rivers was one of the Parish Overseers at the start of the 19th century.
Rosemary Way: This brings to mind Rosemary Gitsham, the previous Village Recorder who died in 2021.
Those for the Poppy Field Green will be:
Allens Drive: At the time of the 1807 Inclosure Act, the majority of the field opposite The Hand in Hand was called The Allens
Nassau Drive: George Nassau was the last Lord of the Manor to live in Grimston Hall sometime during the 1780s. Grimston Hall was the seat of the Lords of Grimston Manor). He introduced the 1807 Inclosure Act.
Oak Tree Drive: Oak trees are the trees associated with Trimley and Grimston Hall. Thomas Cavendish, the second circumnavigator of the globe, was born in Grimston hall. After his first successful voyage, an avenue of Quercus Ilex was planted on the approach to Grimston Hall from the High Road. (Ilex Quercus is commonly known as the Holm Oak.)
On the 24th April 2021 the East Anglian Daily Times reported on the proposed development of Howlett Way. Although there was nothing new to followers of local planning, nevertheless for many it came as a shock to learn land off Howlett Way was due to have 340 new homes. Currently it houses one Second World War Pill Box and a mature tree.
The field adjacent to Howlett Way and the A14. August 2017
The newspaper article articulated the anticipated arrival of more families with children which will necessitate a new school. Consequently, it stated that a £1.2 million school will be built on the opposite side of High Road on another proposed development next to Reeve Lodge. An Early Years site will be built on the Howlett Way site. A side effect of increased pupil numbers may require Felixstowe School (11-18 year olds) may require expansion. Perhaps it would be mindful to reflect that all of this land was proposed for development as far back as 1933 when Trinity College investigated and subsequently purchased the Orwell Park Estate, as it was then known.
“There is also good prospect of building development on part of the estate, which is traversed for 3 ½ miles by the main road between Felixstowe and Ipswich.”
Opposition to both the sites in progress and those in the planning stage have been opposed by action groups for nearly two decades. Latterly, K.A.T.C.A.G. (Kirton And Trimley Community Action Group) have expressed the views of development opponents. Their views were recently summarised by Ian Cowan and Becca Atherstone, of K.A.T.C.A.G. who produced the following two statements on behalf of the group:
“K.A.T.C.A.G. have spent the year trying to persuade decision-makers of the folly of building hundreds of houses on food producing farmland, via social media, correspondence and The K.A.T.C.A.G. Report. This showed that East Suffolk planners had failed to make proper provision for parking spaces, disabled spaces and electric vehicle charging points infrastructure on recent and proposed housing developments. Although we have strong community support we have been met with indifference by the local politicians who were elected to protect our interests.”
“We should be focusing on Saving Our Fields. We have some of the finest fertile soil in the country.
Food shortages are looming on the horizon. Floods, fires, wars and Climate Change are wrecking food crops across the planet. Relying on food imports in the future is short sighted. We need to produce more of our own food. The needless excessive crammed-in house building is obliterating the village character. Traffic and parking are already huge problems. Wildlife is struggling against the odds to survive. Sadly, we are one of the most Nature depleted countries in the world. It’s an ecological meltdown. This fertile soil has taken centuries to form. Fields are our Fortune…now…and in the future.”
There were several occasions throughout the year when traffic through Trimley St. Martin and Trimley St. Mary posed difficulties. Both housing developments required the insulation of utilities and as a result one way traffic was a frequent occurrence resulting in small delays and diversions via Mill Lane.
Looking from the corner of Grimston Lane to the Poppy Field site, July 2021
Two major interruptions occurred on the A14 on 2nd September and 19th November 2021. In the first instance, a lorry shed 200 litres of oil onto the A14 at the Dock Spur roundabout. All traffic was then diverted through the Trimleys via the High Road. The second incident occurred on the west bound carriage way between junctions 58 and 59 when a lorry overturned at 5.30 in the morning. This resulted in an eight hour delay before it re-opened. Traffic was diverted through Trimley St. Martin and the knock on effect of this was clogged roads along the single track Morston Hall Road and also on the roads to and through Kirton and Bucklesham. What both events proved was the inadequacy of the High Road to cope with excess traffic, particularly when parked vehicles create an extra hazard. K.A.T.C.A.G produced a report expounding their concerns about parking and traffic in the villages. This may be access via the following link . The report will be handed S.L.H.C. separately when this report is despatched.
Other events in the Village
At the very start of the year, on 1st January 2021, the results of a musical collaboration was launched online. As previously reported Chandra Grover of Trimley St. Martin had written a song, ‘Across the Borders’ during the first lockdown in 2020. Patti Burkland, an American who lives in Washington, heard the music, contacted Chandra and together they produced a recording involving Prime Time, Song of Seattle, Felixstowe Harmonies and Stella Acapella. Follow the link to listen to the stunning result:
New hedges were planted at the start of the year on the land behind Reeve Lodge as follow on work from the new Bridge.
View of new hedges planted on the land behind Reeve Lodge and close to the bridge. January 2021
In September, local resident Laura Locke, launched a new two day Festival in Felixstowe, Women in Arts and Music Festival or WAM Fest. This was a resounding success. The Grand Finale was held at the Two Sisters Arts Centre in Trimley St. Mary Church when Big Mama Funk delivered a Big and Funky performance.
McColl’s, perhaps better known as the Post Office, became a Morrisons Daily outlet in November. It kept its doors open throughout the pandemic together with the other village retail outlets: Goslings Farm Shop, Roselea Farm Shop, the Sausage Shop. All of these shops deserve recognition and thanks for providing an essential service throughout difficult times. The Mariners in Trimley St. Mary also provided an excellent take away service before it re-opened in April 2021.
The Post Office takes on a new appearance and service delivery. November 2021
Footpaths and Walks. 2021 also the completion of the Trimley Walks, started in 2021 by Alison and David Vickers. These were published alongside Nature Notes by Robin Bidwell and a Gazetteer compiled by the Village Recorder. All were published on the Trimley St. Martin Parish Council website. A further Walks and Footpath project was undertaken by Alison and David for Trimley St. Mary Parish Council. This included further Nature Notes by Robin Biddle and a Gazetteer by Jane Banning, former Village Recorder for St. Mary’s and the Trimley St. Martin’s Recorder. These were due to be launched in 2022.
The East Anglian Daily Times reported a young entrepreneur, Noah Last who is hoping to be a millionaire. One of his current projects is the manufacture of Christmas Trees from wooden pallets.
Queen of the Road. On Saturday 9th October, the Women’s Cycling Tour swept across Suffolk going through Trimley and finishing in Felixstowe. This fabulous day saw Lisa Williams of Trimley St. Martin became part of the pack as may be seen below.
The Women’s Tour 9th October 2021. Photo: courtesy of Lisa Williams
Bridget Gosling at the laying of the wreath at the Peace Sign outside Reeve Lodge11.o’clock.11th November 2022
Trimley St. Mary’s Lynn Beal promoted three events in the Trimley Villages for the period of remembrance. On November 11th at 11am, there was a reath laying ceremony at the Peace Sign outside Reeve Lodge in Trimley St. Martin. There was a Rededication Service at St. Mary’s Green when a new bench was blessed by the Reverend Paul Clarke. An Exhortation was read by Laura Locke, local resident and Felixstowe radio presenter followed by the ‘Last Post’ sounded by Bugler Kevin Harold before the two minutes silence. The ‘Kohima Epitaph’ was read by Laura Locke followed by the Wreath laying ceremony, which included one laid by Percy King of Trimley St. Mary and one by Lisa Williams of Trimley St. Martin.
Wreath being laid by Percy King at the re-dedicated bench. Lisa Williams seated on the right. 13th November 2021.
On Remembrance Sunday the church service at Trimley St. Martin was attended by Councillor Heather Rodwell who laid a wreath at the War Memorial in Trimley St. Martin. Heather then moved on to lay a second wreath at the Peace Sign outside Reeve Lodge.
Strictly speaking, the 2 Sisters Arts Centre is in Trimley St. Mary and therefore not technically part of this Recorder’s remit but it would be remiss not to mention it. Throughout the Pandemic, Suzanne Hawkes kept the arts alive at the Two Sisters Arts Centre. Before re-opening in June 2021, she recorded interviews with local musicians, writers and authors and these were advertised through social media. Live performances commenced on 24th June with the Chris Ingham Jazz Trio. All Covid regulations were observed and the well-spaced out tables made it possible to experience not just Jazz, but also other musical performances, Drama, a Book Fayre, a Flamenco taster session and the performance of a new play ‘Sealand’, the story of the sea fort off the coast of Felixstowe. (There were many other events.) A resounding round of applause for Suzanne who has kept the cultural flag flying during difficult times.
Correspondence was received throughout the year requesting information about people or incidents related to the Village. Part of this was due to people accessing the Village Recorder’s Blog and being motivated to make contact with additional facts or aspects to the stories published.
Seven blogs were published during 2021, a severe reduction from previous years. This was mostly down to the long lockdown and unfortunately, ensuing lockdown languish. There are now new ones in the blogging pipeline.
The best news from the research perspective was the re-opening of the Search Room in Suffolk Archives. The facilities and the staff are highly appreciated and for this research starved Recorder, just the best.
Trimley St. Mary Village Recorder
Jane Banning, who had been St. Mary’s Recorder for eight years handed in her resignation and finished at the end of the year. I would like to record my gratitude to Jane for helping me as a green ‘newbie’ and for being a complete pleasure in various collaborations. Her common sense approach and hospitable nature are already a gap in my life. There is now a vacancy for the position of Recorder in Trimley St. Mary.
This year saw the deaths of three former Village Recorders in this area.
- Reg Dixon, former Head of Trimley St. Mary School and Village Recorder for St. Mary’s died on 3rd February 2021. Kindness was his hallmark and his disposition sweet. Many tributes of appreciation were made and an article in The Spotlight magazine enumerated his talents and contributions. He was gracious and thoughtful in his dispensation of local knowledge.
Len Lannigan, Village Recorder for Kirton for more than thirty years, died on 20th May 2021. Curiosity, intelligence and enthusiasm for his village and all matters historical were omnipresent and by no means the least of his interests and attributes. His excellence as a Village Recorder didn’t simply depend upon his well informed knowledge base; his interpretation of historical and contemporary date was outstanding. During his time as Recorder he collaborated in a number of publications such as ‘Kirton and Falkenham from Old Photographs’, together with Les Leggett and Helen Harrison. The current guide to Kirton Church is his work. His knowledge and understanding of the village were not easily surpassed. From a personal perspective he proved to be a kind and generous mentor, always questioning and supportive, always productive. Any conversation with Len was stimulating and engaging. His loss to his family is profound, his contribution to his community not easily replicated. Len Lanigan on the right with his wife Lynne in Saxon garb as part of a Living History day held in Kirton.
- Rosemary Gitsham was Village Recorder of Trimley St. Martin for about twenty years. On Saturday 9th October 2021 she died after a short but intense illness. As reported in the 2020 Recorder’s Annual Report, she caught COVID 19 in April 2020. Following her hospitalisation, she was moved to a Care Home in Ipswich. “I didn’t even know I had been moved”, she told me on the final occasion we met. In the summer of 2021 she was moved to Maynell House in Felixstowe, formerly part of Felixstowe College. She longed to return to her home in Grimston Lane but it wasn’t practical, due to her increased immobility and illnesses. A short piece about Rosemary was published on the current Recorder’s Blog site:
and subsequently a full page article appeared in the East Anglian Daily Times:
Rosemary at the Carnival, July 2017.
Rosemary was an enthusiastic supporter of local campaigns, notably involved in protests against housing developments in the village. S.T.A.G, (Save Trimley Against Growth) the first group to actively take a stand against land development from 2003 onwards and she was a major participant. Other local causes included the campaign to save the Bartlett Convalescent home from conversion to flats; the restoration and preservation of Trimley Station from decay and ruin; the closure of the foot crossing on Grimston Lane, part of ancient route to Grimston Hall. Everything was tackled with enthusiasm and determination.
Her notes and records effectively cover the transition from one century to another. Her knowledge and remembrances of an earlier, rural Trimley informed her inner landscape and have been warmly documented by herself. When once asked if the current nature of the village bore any resemblance to that of her childhood, she pursed her lips and said, “Just. Just.”
Rosemary was an entirely supportive and encouraging mentor to this Recorder. She wore her knowledge lightly but it ran deep. Like Len, her kindness and generosity of spirit cannot be underestimated and are a loss to all who knew her.
Rosemary Gitsham’s funeral cortège pauses at the end of Grimston Lane. Photograph courtesy of Robin Biddle.
All three former Recorders worked willingly for their communities. All three are sorely missed.
Sunset at Trimley Shore, Midsummer’s Eve, 2021
If you have any comments or would like to be part of th3 Trimley St. Martin Blogging Project, please contact me at:
 The lion, the witch and the wardrobe C.S. Lewis
 The Financial History of Trinity College, Cambridge Robert Nield Granta 2008 1857570936 p.104