Old Moot Hall & St. Peter's
Reports of Monthly Meetings
Mrs. Carla Broderick, as Chairman, introduced our guest speaker Mrs Judith Blatch who delivered a most interesting and multi-layered talk on the history and future of Sudbury's oldest and largest independent shop - Winch and Blatch.
She held the attention of her audience of 125 local history buffs from the start with an update on the historic structure of the main store on the Market Hill. Although there have been many changes over the centuries, including the introduction of moulded timbers from elsewhere in the l960's, at the core are substantial remains of an important early 14th century aisled Hall with a rare crown-post supporting the roof in situ. This is of immense interest and forms a direct link with the original layout and conception of the Market Hill area for Elizabeth de Burgh, Lady of Clare, in the l320's which the Society have been studying in recent months.
Various subdivisions over the centuries have resulted in an interesting mixture of periods and styles and variations in merchandise. The first Winch shop was further down in King Street, between the Rose and Crown Hotel and Manchester House Linen Emporium, all of which were destroyed by fire in 1926. Mr. Winch immediately secured the occupancy of what is now the main store, part of which was Mauldon's Brewery shop. The subsequent history after the 1939-45 war, when the Winch and Blatch partnership was formed, is a remarkable story of private enterprise and vision against all the odds.
Two other well established shops, Stephen Baker and Joy's were taken over and their premises retained resulting in a well-stocked and pleasant independent shopping ambience, which suits a town like Sudbury admirably.
Mrs. Blatch was most informative in replying to questions from the floor about trading today and the challenges they have to face with the multiples' and the Intemet.
Mrs Broderick thanked her on behalf of the membership for a thoroughly enjoyable talk.
After the interval Mike Crome projected a series of photographs of the events earlier in the week to commemorate the centenary of the unveiling of Gainsborough's statue.
reported on the visit from Australia of some descendants of the Burkitt
family a few days earlier. He had been able to arrange access to the two
premises created from the original Burkitt House, now a restaurant and
Estate Agents in Gainsborough Street. They were also taken to All Saints
Church where 14 members of the Burkitt family are buried in the chancel
although without a memorial stone. The visitors had been most impressed
After this meeting we shall have our first of a new series exploring the town street-by-street starting with Ballingdon, Sudbury's Transpontine Suburb. A short illustrated talk by member Ann Grimshaw concerning Temple Bar will round off the proceedings.
this year were planned to show how, even in today's economic climate,
a magnificent day out need only cost you ten pounds plus what ever you
decide to spend on refreshments. There was a heavy concentration on London,
as we shall be steering clear of the Capital next season for various reasons.
To remind you, this is where we went: -
for me in July was an invitation from H.M. to attend a Garden Party
at Buckingham Palace. Apparently to acknowledge the work put in to
promoting the history and appreciation of this town. August saw another
successful Al Fresco lunch at Shrubbs Farm Lamarsh for which many thanks
are due to Cynthia and her team for organising the fabulous spread.
the Good News banner, it has been decided not to increase the membership
fee which we consider to be extremely good value for money at £7
bad and distressing news was of the destruction of St. Bartholomew's
magnificent 14th century barn early this year by arson. Nobody has
been charged with the offence to date. Knowing that we have for ten years
been in constant contact with English Heritage and Babergh District Council
voicing our concern for the vulnerability of this unprotected and uninhabited
historic site the former did at least contact me the next day to commiserate
and promised to try and settle the long going dispute about the Priory's
future with the minimum of delay. So far nothing except that talks are
In attendance at our meeting was Sudbury Society chairman Nick Hallidie who briefed the meeting with the latest position.
"There is to be a meeting on the 16th January of Suffolk County Council to agree their priorities before the EERA meeting. This is to be followed by a Sudbury Town public meeting chaired by Andrew Phillips, both Guy McGregor (Portfolio holder for Roads and Transport) and Peter Grimm have said they will attend and give a presentation of the current situation and all the factors on Thursday 22nd January in the Town Hall at 7 pm. Our two local County Councillors, Jack Owen and Colin Spence have both said they will attend. Nick then highlighted two issues he raised with Guy McGregor at a meeting on the 13th January as significant to why the priority should be escalated. Firstly, there is a significant pollution problem in Cross Street, which is way above the recommended European levels, and secondly the basis used for traffic counts made in 2003 was flawed".
Barry Wall presented a 'walkthrough' of the proposed route (see map) of the relief road, stressing how the road will be screened from view (mostly by being in a cutting) and that it does not go anywhere near or across the water meadows (contrary to many peoples perceptions). Barry also advised that the history society is preparing a document that will explain the damage done by traffic and the fact that the design & heritage of a uniquely laid out town is slowly being eroded by not taking a significant amount of traffic out of Sudbury. A letter is to be sent to the meeting on the 16th January highlighting the History Society's views and calling for more attention to the historical aspects of Sudbury that are being destroyed by heavy volumes of traffic, a problem that can only be resolved by implementing a relief road.
Barry Wall asked for as many members as possible to attend the Town Hall meeting on the 22nd January at 7pm and advised members to be constructive & positive with their views.
In the second
halfof the meeting Barry Wall gave a presentation on extracts from a recently
republished book 'The buildings of England - ESSEX by Nikolaus Pevsner".
This describes a significant number of important buildings, their history
in and around most of the towns & villages in Essex. Many of the buildings
& places ignored in the previous edition have now been included. A
highly recommended book for all historians of Essex.
recommended reading by Carla Broderick: