March 2023 Meeting

Talk by Pip Wright 8th March 2023

“It Happened Here in Suffolk”

Pip Wright gave us a fascinating talk on Suffolk events and people – not lords and ladies but the past lives of normal working folk.

He started with a character, Thomas Carlston, born around 1800, who left his family and discarded his ordinary clothes for strange attire, pinning biblical quotations to himself. He sailed back and forth down the Orwell selling fish to big families.

Pip described his research methods: for example, looking at documents in the Parish Chest and old newspapers which have a fund of local knowledge.

He talked about a couple from Hadleigh who moved to Beccles in 1637. As they were poor, Beccles was reluctant to support them and they were given a shilling to return to Hadleigh. Pip mentioned other ways the poor were dealt with: in 1836 the 14 poorest people in Covehithe near Southwold were supplied with clothing and some money and sent to Montreal in Canada.

Another interesting character was Elizabeth Woods, also called Sally Woods, a dwarf, living in Creeting St Mary. She died in 1801 aged 83 years. Her cottage fell apart around her and she ended up living in her chimney. To this day, there is a road there called Sally Woods Road.

He pointed out how names could change over time: a pub near Ipswich was previously called the “Ostrich”. This name was changed to “Oyster Reach” which was its original name as it was near the river where the sailors could see the sign from the water.

A very entertaining and informative talk. Pip ended by saying “but that’s another story” and we hope he will return to tell it.


The next meeting, on Wednesday 12th April 2023, will be the Annual General Meeting. A notice of the meeting and a form for nominating committee members were available at the meeting. After the formal business, Ashley Cooper will give the second part of his talk on Local Heroes and Villains.

Membership fees of £12 per person are due by 30th April.

There will be a Tribute to the late Barry Wall on Saturday 9th September 2023 at Sudbury Town Hall at 2.00pm.

Booking for the first outing of the year has opened. It will be to Holkham Hall in Norfolk on Thursday 27th April. Admission is £20.70, and the cost of the coach is £18.

Unfortunately, the outing to Holkham Hall has now been cancelled.

Future outings are expected to include:

  • Euston Hall in May
  • Aldeburgh in June
  • Sutton Hoo in July
  • Peckover House in September
  • Oxburgh Hall in October
  • Norwich in November

In August there will be the usual al-fresco lunch at the barn at Shrubs Farm, Lamarsh.

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