Blue Flower

History of Narborough day school 17/11/15

David Turner's talk began with the history of Narborough in eight objects.
First was the photo of the Bone Mill as it was pre 1880. A rare photograph of the Mill that was given to David around 35 years ago, originally owned by Jack Bland from Pentney.
Second item was a scrap book that started David's interest in researching the history of Narborough Hall. David's Father began working at the hall in 1915 as head gardener and was given the scrap book by Mrs Critchely-Martin who lived at the Hall.  It gives a glimpse into the lives of the country set of the time.
The third object was a postcard of the village war memorial from 1920 - a memorial to the eleven village boys who died in WW1.
David then showed us an AA badge that once sat on the 1911 Daimler of the Herring family that lived at Narborough House. It was given by Greta Towler for display in the heritage centre. Greta's Father worked as Chauffeur at Narborough House.
The fifth object was a letter from a letter book from one member of the Marriott family from Stowmarket to his brother who owned the Maltings and Bone mill in Narborough. The letter, dated May 7 1837 talks of the cholera epidemic in the village.
Item six was a newspaper report. The 1920 headline tells of the Narborough Aerodrome and reports how the place is going to ruin. From its beginnings in 1915 it grew to 151 buildings by the end of the war. The only thing that now marks the aerodrome is the memorial that stands by the roadside.
The seventh object is situated in the Heritage Centre, a model of the village of Narborough, made by an old resident of the village - Philip Hoggett.
And finally the eighth object is a will for a resident of Narborough who died in 1593. David supplied us all with a copy of the last will made on the death bed of a George Jagge, a Miller of Narborough. He leaves his worldly goods including a cow, pigs and piglets to his fiancée Eme Ellwyn of West Lexham.

The village has grown in size from the days of the Marriott brothers when the population was around 400 to today where there are over 1500 residents.
Before the arrival of census records one way to look at population numbers was the hearth tax and David gave us all a copy of a record from 1664 that indicates that approx 112 were living in the village at that time. We were given a handout with the hearth tax records for 1664 and the will, translation and inventory of George Jagge.

We were then shown various images of buildings and places from around the village.
Starting from the Ship Inn, which was a popular haunt of the barge men who would travel up the river to the maltings next door. The maltings was a vast complex of buildings, many destroyed in a fire in the 1990's. Now the remaining buildings house various workshops and business units. Across from the maltings once stood  the Rookery. Built as almshouses, the building housed up to 50 people all with outside toilets. The building was demolished in the 1950s as it was deemed unsanitary - one resident reluctant to leave felt that it was the new accommodation that was unsanitary as it had the lavatory within the building!
Along the main road we then see the Foresters Hall built around 1886, sadly now running into disrepair. It once housed a shop and also a doctor's surgery and the upstairs was used as a village hall, holding various events including wedding receptions.
Further along at what is now the Trout Farm was the village bakery, three generations of the Shirley family ran the bakery until the mid 1950's.
Next door stands the corn mill now a family home but once a hive of activity as the steam engine powered the wheels to turn the stones when the water levels were too low. Next door is Narside - the Miller's residence.

Across the road stands the Heritage Centre, housed in the Wesleyan chapel, built by Charles Boyce who was the farmer of Church Farm. The heritage centre opened 9 years ago.

Opposite the Heritage centre is the entrance to Narborough Hall. At one time Narborough Hall estate encompassed nearly all of the village apart from the Maltings and Glebe land. The Lordship of the manor once belonged to the de Narburgh family who took their name from the village. In 1461 when William de Narburgh died the estate was inherited by his daughter Ela whose second husband was Henry Spelman. It was their son John Spelman who was then bequeathed the manor.
Further down the Spelman family tree was Henry Spelman who was the last of the Spelmans to own the Estate. As vicar of Narborough he lived in the rectory and part of his legacy are the copies of his letters from 1777-1805 which have been documented into a book by David Turner. Narborough Hall has seen various owners and occupiers over the years - during WW1 the house was given up to be used as a hospital. 600 soldiers passed through in three years. Those in the later stages of recovery were shown in a photograph playing bowls outside the house. 40 beds were available in the ward, converted from the upstairs ballroom.

David brought many items which were put on display which we viewed after the presentation, these included books by David – The Book of Narborough, and The Spelman Letters. Also on display were old photograph albums, letter books, an old map of the village, photographic record of the bone mill project, a file of ancient documents and a supply of free items including notelets with scenes from Narborough and leaflets with the history of Narborough Hall.

We then took a trip out to the village, first visiting the heritage centre where the model village is displayed. It also has some other interesting exhibits including the human skull and other finds from the bone mill project, Pentney Mammoth bones, tusks and teeth, and a section about Narborough airfield’s 59 Squadron.

This was followed by a visit to Narborough House, the home of Annabelle & Mark Law, it was built by the Marriotts who also owned the bone mill. We were shown round the house and gardens by Annabelle who also gave us soup and a roll for lunch, followed by coffee and biscuits. Mark owns Law Fertilizers, a manufacturing company so there is a second link to the bone mill project, and Mark had tested a sample of powder found at the mill and confirmed it was single phosphate fertilizer. Mark also gave us an interesting talk about the fertilizer business.

We then went to Narborough Hall owned by Robert & Joanne Sandelson where David’s father was head gardener from 1915 to 1965, and we saw the commemorative bench in the kitchen garden in his memory. David showed us around the outside of the building then went into the Phoenix room and entrance hall. We walked round the grounds seeing the formal gardens, lake, riverside walk, iron age fort and the cricket pitch in the distance. We noticed the Wisteria has now been tidied up and does not obscure the windows any longer. Afterwards several people looked around All Saints Church yard.

Report written by Jan and Graham Bartlett            Blog 19/11/15

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