October 2023 Meeting

Frolics, Fervour and Fornication.

A talk by Pip Wright, October 11th, 2023.

This talk showed many interesting glimpses of often neglected insights into our social history. Importantly these insights were written by people living at the time of the events.

Pip Wright explained how the large locked chests often found in churches were the safe place to store all the paperwork of a parish. During the reign of Henry the eighth it was made a legal requirement that records of births, marriages and deaths were kept, although it wasn’t until the reign of his daughter Elizabeth the first that these records were required to be kept in a book.

The majority of these registers have survived and allow us to understand more about the lives of everyday people and in some cases show tensions that are beginning before more momentous events. One example was a reference in 1626 of a letter (a lone survivor of many that were probably sent out) which asked the Constables of Earl Stonham to employ a man to guard the beacon that was to be lit in honour of the coronation of Charles the first. It seems to indicate that maybe people were not completely supportive of the new king long before his execution seven years later.

One interesting addition to the marriage register of a woman called Charity was that although her husband was unable to sign his name, she could not only write her own name but had learnt to write it using her feet as she could not use her arms.

This talk shed an often amusing light on aspects of the lives of ordinary people, their loves and their hardships.

Sally Card

Image: The parish chest at Southelmham St. Cross, from www.pipwright.com/Frolic-fervour-fornication.htm


There are still spare places for the outing on Friday 20th October to Oxburgh Hall, near Swaffham, Norfolk. Transport £18. Admission for National Trust members free, non members, £10 per person. Prior booking is essential: contact our Treasurer Ann Spiller on 01787 372636. Depart from Sudbury Bus Station at 9am.

The last outing of 2023 will be on Friday 24th November, to Norwich, leaving Sudbury Bus Station at 9am. Do your own thing – visit the Castle, the Cathedral, the shops, the cafés, … . The cost is £12. Book at a meeting or phone our Treasurer Ann Spiller on 01787 372636. For more information about Norwich, see www.visitnorwich.co.uk/ .

The next meeting is on Wednesday 8 November. The speaker will be Newmarket Town Crier Brenda Willison. Brenda has been a Town Crier now for over 33 years. She will tell us about the history of town criers, and her own experiences.

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