Stoke Ferry Parish Council Meeting November

Draft (until approved at the next meeting)
Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on
Wednesday 11 November 2020 at 7.00 pm, Virtually online via Zoom
Cllr Sue Lintern (Chair)
Cllr Kit Hesketh-Harvey (Vice-Chair)
Cllr Stuart Collins
Cllr Andrew Hayward
Cllr Trudy Mann
Cllr Gail Reeve
Cllr Donna Stocking
Cllr Janet Taylor
Helen Richardson (Parish Clerk and Financial Responsible Person)
Also, in Attendance
Public – 1
Cllr Martin Storey, Norfolk County Council (From Item number 204/20-213/20)
Stephen Ward, Chair of the Bluebell Pub Campaign
204/20 Openness and Transparency Notice
The Chair read the notice.
205/20 Aggressive and Abusive Behaviour
The Chair read the notice.
206/20 To Receive and Consider Acceptance for Apologies of Absence
Apologies were received and accepted from Cllr Mandy Leamon (work commitments). Cllr Colin Sampson, Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk had sent apologies.
207/20 To Receive Declarations of Interest from Members
Cllr Trudy Mann continued to declare an interest regarding the Bluebell public house at item 209/20. Cllr Janet Taylor declared an interest regarding the Bluebell Campaign Update at item 209/20; the bus stop perch design at item 215/20 and payments for approval at item 220/20. Cllr Andrew Hayward declared an interest in regard to payments for approval at item 220/20.
208/20 To Approve the Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on 7 October 2020 and Minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting held on 14 October 2020 and matters arising (Clerks report)
There was one minor amendment in regard to the date of the next meeting which would be amended.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on 7 October 2020 with one minor amendment be approved. (Cllr Gail Reeve proposed, Cllr Kit Hesketh-Harvey seconded, all were in favour).
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting held on 14 October 2020 be approved. (Cllr Andrew Hayward proposed, Cllr Stuart Collins seconded, five were in favour and three abstained as they had been absent from the meeting).
Clerks Report (Matters Arising):
Old Railway Development – The Clerk emailed the developer to advise there had been burning of plastic on site. He responded to advise that on a very wet morning a decision had been taken to remove redundant office files from archive storage to make way for the latest years. As there was a large pile of wood on site, they decided to burn the two together. It was just unfortunate that the rain stopped very quickly, as they try not to burn material on wet days when people are generally not outside as much, and washing would not be hung out to dry. The other material on site that was to burn to his knowledge was fallen trees and removed timber studding from the buildings. He has checked with the operative and he has confirmed that the smoke was caused by the wet fallen trees. He wished to convey his apologies for any inconvenience caused to residents and wished to provide assurance that they will actively avoid it happening again.
Bluebell Planning Application – The Planning response was sent to the Borough Council Planning Team on 20th October 2020 and copied to the Bluebell Campaign Group for information.
Highways Rangers Visit – They had emailed the Council to advise that they had recently visited Stoke Ferry. The items they had been able to carry out were as follows: • Verges needed weeding on Wretton Road and Bridge Road – Rangers have strimmed overhanging nettles both sides of Wretton Road • On School Lane by the houses, Wild Dog Rose growing out in the road within the verge that needed cutting – Rangers trimmed back hedges School Lane approx. 20 metres. The items the Rangers were unable to complete: • Bridge Road – Rangers reported back the verge was OK at time of visit. • Furlong Drove at the junction onto the A134 hedges that required cutting for vision display – This work had already been programmed in. The parish would be contacted again three weeks before the Rangers next scheduled visit and if needed to list any further appropriate items which require our attention. The Clerk advised that they had today asked the Handyman to clear fallen leaves from Boughton Road and Furlong Road as part of his handyman role as a resident had made contact with them on email. BCKLWN Street Naming Team– There was recent communications advising that they had liaised with property owners and business owners and that some addresses would be amended as follows as they were in agreement – Boughton Road North leaving the major southern part as is and amending all properties to the North, which would only mean the addition of the suffix NORTH.
Planning Applications with No Consultation Required
20/00209/TREECA Stoke Ferry T1 and T2 Birch Trees x 2 – Dismantle to ground level. T3 Walnut Tree – Dismantle to ground level. T4 Birch Tree – Reduce up to 4m off top and 2m of sides within Conservation Area Birches Boughton Road Stoke Ferry PE33 9ST
20/00210/TREECA Stoke Ferry G1 2 x Conifers – Reduce limbs, T1 Twisted Willow – Pollard tree at rear within a conservation area The Old School House High Street Stoke Ferry King’s Lynn Norfolk PE33 9SF
20/00220/TREECA Stoke Ferry Tree in a Conservation Area – T2 Copper Beech – Reduce to approx. 12-14ft Highfields Boughton Road Stoke Ferry King’s Lynn Norfolk PE33 9ST
Planning Application Received for Comment Between Meetings
20/01538/F Stoke Ferry To retain newly constructed dwelling, Rosetta Cottage, (approved under 18/01752/F) including garden shed and joined open carport shared with Peake View Cottage. Rosetta Cottage Wretton Fen Drove Wretton Norfolk PE33 9QP (within Parish of Stoke Ferry). No Comment returned.
209/20 To Receive an update on the Bluebell Campaign
Stephen Ward, Chair of the Bluebell Campaign Group attended to provide an update to the Parish Council as follows:
• The survey and evaluation were received a few days after the last Parish Council meeting. It was very positive result with a clear and good valuation of the pub.
• The surveyor that carried out the survey advised that from their work and knowledge in this field and particularly community pubs, he felt that it was definitely a viable building for a community pub.
• The Campaign had put in an application to the Plunkett Foundation for £100k and it was hoped that on Friday they would receive the result.
• They had created a ‘Community Share Mark’ and its documentation to launch to the public at the end of November.
• The recent Halloween events had been great for awareness and publication of the campaign.
Stephen shared that as the Parish Council were aware they had received a letter from Eastlaw to advise that they had removed the Bluebell from the Assets of Community Value list as the owner had notified them that it had been sold, after some research it seemed that part of the plot had been sold but not the entire property. To follow this up the Campaign group were liaising with the Borough Council’s legal team. The owner had sent the campaign a drawing of what was proposed, and it may impact on the valuation of the pub and the ability to operate by impinging on the car parking space. After some discussion regarding the role of Eastlaw, the Chair clarified that East Law were providing a legal service to the Borough Council in regard to AVC’s, and though it could be that they hadn’t acted in the most moral way it was still within the law.
The owner had also told them that the Bluebell would be sold by auction in December and details were not yet available. Stephen added that the group felt they were ultimately in a strong position still if it becomes available for auction on the 15th December to commit to buy it and to be able to move it forward on that basis.
The Chair advised that at this point the Parish Council should consider whether to do a village survey in regards to the application by the Parish Council of a Public Works Loan as previously discussed to contribute towards the campaign and what the terms of the loan would be. The Chair suggested that if this was proceeded with that it would also need to call an extraordinary meeting between now and the end of November to discuss the results of the survey and how the village feels. Stephen shared that it would be very valuable to understand all the options as they go into the auction.
Stephen confirmed after a query that the campaign group would work to cover the costs of the repayment over the 50 years in the operation of the community pub. The Chair advised that the Borough Council Planning team were due to determine the current change of use application on 24 November.
RESOLVED: That the Council conduct a survey in the village in hard copy and available online in regard to the Public Works Loan and questions be agreed on email by Councillors to be sent out as soon as possible. (Cllr Sue Lintern proposed, Cllr Andrew Hayward seconded, all were in favour).
210/20 To Receive a Neighbourhood Planning Working Group Update
• Two workshops had been held to focus on policy ideas.
• There was a need to reapply for every grant again that include the design codes.
• Housing need analysis corrections had been actioned and sent to AECOM for finalisation.
• The Character assessment of the village is to be completed by the end of the month.
211/20 To Discuss Footpath 17
A SIM application had been obtained from Land Registry that advised the path was unregistered. The Clerk advised that Solicitors fees would be £350 upwards as first registration of land unless it was more complicated. The Chair suggested to take legal advice into the ownership of FP17 to gain first registration capped at £350 at this stage with the current solicitors who had dealt with enquiries to date.
RESOLVED: That the Council enlist the assistance of the current solicitor involved for first registration of Footpath 17 capped at £350 excluding VAT. (Cllr Sue Lintern proposed, Cllr Kit Hesketh-Harvey seconded, seven were in favour and one was against).
212/20 To Discuss and Approve Any Action in Relation to ‘The Common’ Land
The Council had received three quotes and advice from solicitors in relation to acquiring land ownership title for the Parish Council of the Common Land. It had been an item mentioned by residents who responded to the recent Neighbourhood Planning survey as being an important part of the village. The Council wished to open dialogue with the Commons Land Registered person and keep the Council informed as soon as a response is received.
RESOLVED: That contact be made with the Commons Land Registered person to ask how they wish to proceed to then be able to further progress with a solicitor. (Cllr Janet Taylor proposed, Cllr Donna Stocking seconded, all were in favour).
213/20 Cllr Colin Sampson (BCKLWN) and Cllr Martin Storey (NCC), if in attendance
It was agreed to move this item up on the agenda as Cllr Martin Storey needed to depart to go to another meeting.
Cllr Martin Storey
• NCC Budget consultation was available for the public to comment on between 26 October to Mid-November on their website.
• The Boundary Commission consultation had been live and ended on 23 November where they were looking at the Divisional Boundaries of the County and were looking at approx. 83 Councillors in total so that each Councillor has the same amount of residents to represent.
• The Borough Council had submitted a response from consultation on the Planning White Paper. The Borough Council Committee had a meeting and he had suggested that the Borough Council could suggest putting a locality for housing allocations for local people and look to have more powers for local people that what we do now, so that people can stay within the areas they have been born and grew up in.
• The Covid-19 Updates were on the County and Borough websites.
• Highways seem to be getting back to normal since lockdowns and expanding beyond large junctions into more small works. He had taken to highways traffic lights put up long after works has been undertaken.
214/20 To Discuss Streetlighting Review and Approve Any Actions
Some Councillors undertook a review of the streetlighting and were surprised how many there were in the village and how spread out they were mainly being at junctions which were lit as
a safety aspect. It was noted that they had a wide splay and looked to be effective with no further lighting required. In order to light the whole village, it would require doubling the amount of lights in place, and because of this there was no scope to take any away. It was generally felt however that the lighting in place was sufficient in the village and none should be taken away. There had been one particular light near the chip shop which had been raised by a resident as causing an issue to them, but upon inspection that light was on one of the busiest junctions in the village, with a high capacity of traffic and in the future with the housing development taking place that junction would have even more increased traffic. This corner is also a blind spot and is the main route home for a number of school children and therefore at this time it was felt it was required and sufficient. It was felt that no action needed to be taken at this time in regard to streetlights and therefore it would be removed from the agenda unless the Council felt it required further review in 12 months or more.
The Clerk agreed to write a note to the residents at Indigo Road to encourage them to write to Norfolk County Council and the Borough Council in order to get the streetlights switched back on in Indigo Road, the lights were not Parish Council or County Council adopted and County and Borough needed to work with the developer to enforce them to turn them on. They had not resolved the issue in over 12 months so the Council would write to them again. The Clerk suggested that residents should also consider contacting their landlords for them to raise the issue with Norfolk County Council and the Borough Council.
215/20 To Discuss and Approve Design for Parish Partnership Funding 2020/21 Perch Seating Project within ‘The Hill’ Bus Stop
A design was shared for the perch bench at the bus stop using the existing posts to fix it to. It was possible to be zinc sprayed black the same as the pillars. The Council were satisfied with this design, Cllr Janet Taylor abstained. The Clerk agreed to endeavour to get three estimates for approval at the December meeting. The Clerk agreed to ask Norfolk County Council or Borough Council Planning if there were any considerations.
216/20 To Approve Costs to Cut Playing Field Hedge
It was agreed to ask Grounds Maintenance to cut the hedge comparable with the costs of two grass cuts which would have been spent and are not required.
217/20 To Approve Grounds Maintenance, Bins and Handyman Quotation Documents
The draft quotation document had been circulated for comment. The Clerk agreed to send to three companies for quotes.
RESOLVED: That the quotation document with noted amendments be approved for sending out to three companies. (Cllr Sue Lintern proposed, Cllr Stuart Collins seconded, all were in favour).
218/20 To Discuss Provision of Bins in the Parish
The Council had wished to discuss the bins on the Playing Field that were not easily emptied with no liner, there were five on the playing field currently. The Clerk agreed to email the Parish Council options for discussion at the December meeting.
219/20 To Approve Fourth Signatory for Banking Authorisation
Cllr Trudy Mann agreed to be the fourth signatory.
RESOLVED: That Cllr Trudy Mann be approved as the fourth signatory for banking. (Cllr Janet Taylor proposed, Cllr Donna Stocking seconded, seven were in favour and one abstain being Cllr Trudy Mann).
220/20 To Approve Payments to date
RESOLVED: That payments as presented for approval be approved. (Cllr Sue Lintern proposed, Cllr Kit Hesketh-Harvey seconded, six were in favour and two abstained due to declarations).
221/20 Urgent Matters – Chairman
Village Gates and signs – It was agreed to have the larger design at the top of the gate. The Clerk agreed to get quotes for the larger sign for approval in December.
The Parish Council wished to thank Darby Nurseries for plant donations and to thank Parish Councillors who have been working in the garden areas on The Hill regularly. Thanks, were
given to Cllr Donna Stocking and Cllr Janet Taylor for their recent hard work in the gardens.
The Chair also wished to thank Cllr Trudy Mann, Cllr Janet Taylor and Cllr Donna Stocking for organising the Remembrance service the previous Sunday where lots of compliments had since been received from the public as the event had been a success with the work around the necessary restrictions in place.
The Stoke Ferry Isolation Volunteer Group was still very active in the village and were carrying a lot of work particularly for people that need on going help with prescriptions and other errands, and the Chair wished to remind all that this was still ongoing and available.
There had been a number of emails in regard to the Cemetery extension land and the Chair wished to note for the record that it was being leased over a 25 year agreement that had been drawn up in 2001, there were no break clauses and the only item to action during this time was a five year rent review, the next one is due mid-2021. So therefore, there was no need for it to be discussed at a Parish Council meeting other than next year when the rent review was due and when the lease comes to an end in 2026. The Parish Council had no cause for concern that it would a lost action and there was no need to look further at it as it was all legal and correct. The Parish Council at the time the lease had been drawn up had been very prudent to make sure that the Parish had plenty of land for future burials and the lease was professionally drawn up using solicitors for both parties.
PayeeCheque No.Payment forNetVATTotalClerkClerks Wages and Expenses -Oct 341.840.00341.84HMRCOctober81.000.0081.00Grounds Maintenance and HMOctober Cut plus bins, clearance of leaves and footpath near mill tidy153.000.00153.00Bonnetts85 Stainless Steel Badge Plates325.0065.00390.00Westcotec LtdStreetlighting maintenance – Aug – Oct46.329.2755.59Westcotec LtdStreetlight Pole Bracket Greatmans Way65.0013.0078.00RBL Poppy AppealCrosses9.500.009.50WaveWater in Cemetery5.850.005.85Hayward Miller LimitedBanners and Posts for NP 114.0822.82136.90EONElectricity for Streetlights – September78.003.9081.90EONDDElectricity for Streetlights – October80.604.0384.63Total1300.19118.021418.21As at 02.10.20Community Account – Current22,189.62As at 03.10.20Business Account27,585.89As at 07.10.20Unity Trust Bank10,592.0060,367.51
Cllr Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Cllr Sue Lintern attending a 2agriculture Mill Liaison meeting the previous week. The planning application for a new mill at Snetterton was progressing and they were working on that basis and though they had recently spent a lot of money on the mill some of the equipment could be transferred into the new mill. They recognised that they had a legal obligation to maintain the mill within health and safety regulations whilst the application was progressing. They could potentially be out of time with the planning application in Stoke Ferry lapsing but did not seem to think this would be an issue. It appeared that the major agency bodies were supporting the move. After planning permission, the new mill would take around two years to build so it would be a while off yet until there is anything visible occurring in Stoke Ferry.
Cllr Kit Hesketh-Harvey felt that despite communications from Elizabeth Truss MP or the Secretary of State, all agencies still needed to communicate and work better together on issues that affect the mill and the community. As required, a noise survey had been undertaken and the results showed an unacceptable high level of noise pollution. Steps are being taken to remedy this. The PC is awaiting a copy of the noise survey results which explained the failures.
Other clarification included confirmation the Mill has not leased out the fields for 10 years and these would still be available for village events if needed. The mill again re-iterated if there are issues with noise or anything else to phone them directly for the speediest way to rectify any problems. In regard to air quality there had been no days in recent times where air quality had not been at the permitted standard, and it was possible that they were going to scale the monitoring operation down.
The Clerk agreed to email the Mill Manager to remind him for a copy of the noise survey and the minutes of the meeting.
222/20 To Receive Urgent items of concern & matters to be included on the next agenda from the Parish Council and note forward items
• The Clerk agreed to add options for the Noticeboard to the December agenda.
• There was a tree neighbouring the gardens areas where a tree was cracking their wall, the Clerk agreed to notify them in writing.
• It was agreed that Cllr Sue Lintern would represent the Council at Norfolk Association of Local Councils as they were asking for members to attend and represent their Councils. The Clerk agreed to contact them.
• Cllr Donna Stocking had removed five seeded trees in the garden areas as well as some of the buddleia and spaced out the existing plants by splitting them and grouping them also planting the new donated plants. She had also installed a hedgehog box with a mother and daughter from the village. There were some gaps in the bedding area where we have had an offer of flowers to plant within. Some villagers had discussed with Councillors what they might like in the gardens area, and one has offered to donate a hydrangea. The Chair thanked Cllr Donna Stocking and the volunteers for their work on the gardens.
223/20 To Adjourn the meeting to allow for public comments
There were none.
224/20 To Confirm the Date of the Next Ordinary Meeting – Wednesday 2 December 2020 at 7 pm.
225/20 EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC The Council to pass a resolution excluding the press and public from the meeting in accordance with Section 1(2) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted. To Discuss a HR Related Issue.
The Clerk received her annual appraisal where the Parish Council thanked for her for hard work over the year and congratulated her on successfully completing the CILCA qualification (Certification in Local Council Administration) in April 2020 where she had now received the official Certificate. The Clerk thanked the Council for their support through this qualification and ongoing support through the year. The Clerk advised that she wished to forgo any performance related pay on the point of the hard-financial year that had been had by all and for the months to come. The Council thanked the Clerk for her sentiment on this point and noted this was what communities were all about.
Meeting closed at 10.00 pm

The fashionable world of the Villebois family and the conditions of their poor. Jim McNeill, Stoke Ferr

The Parish of Marham was once famed for its cherry and walnut orchards. The orchards were felled for use by gun manufactures during the Napoleonic wars, and it was around this time that Marham came under the lordship of the Villebois family (1). The two Henry Villebois’, father and son, had their country seat at Marham House: built by Henry senior (1777-1847) with the fabulous wealth he obtained as a major shareholder in London’s Truman brewery. Henry senior was the great-grandson of William Villebois, a French dance teacher who married one of his pupils. The pupil was Francis Truman, the grand-daughter of Sir Benjamin Truman and the founder of Truman’s Brewery. When Sir Benjamin died, he left the bulk of his estates worth £330,000 (the equivalent today of some £460million) to John & William Truman Villebois who then became majority shareholders. These shares remained in possession of the males of the family until the death of Henry Villebois junior in 1886 (2).
Each generation of the Villebois family showed little interest in their vast brewery empire. Their primary passion was hunting during the winter months followed by spending summers in their mansion houses in Belgravia or Gloucestershire.
It was hunting for game which, in 1803, first brought Henry Villebois senior to our region when he began purchasing recently enclosed lands at Marham where he installed his fox and stag hounds. Each season his fox hounds met in various local villages; Stoke Ferry, Methwold, Barton Bendish, Fincham, Gooderstone, etc., as well as on the Marham estate. Early newspaper notices record: “FASHIONABLE DEPARTURES…Mr. and Mrs. Henry Villebois for Marham, near Stoke Ferry, in Norfolk…”; and “HUNTING APPOINTMENTS…Mr. H. Villebois’s harriers, on Monday, at Oxburgh [sic]; Wednesday, Stoke Ferry Field ; Saturday, at the Town Barn, Swaffham, at eleven.”
After a day’s hunting there were sumptuous feasts with fine wines. Lavish Hunt Dinners and stylish Balls were held at Marham, Swaffham, King’s Lynn, etc. One feast is recorded for 1829; “Mr. H. Villebois’s hunt dinner took place…at the Crown Inn, Stoke Ferry; a large party attended, and after a number of loyal toasts and hunting songs, the gentlemen returned home thoroughly gratified”. As well as fox and stag hunting, the Villebois’ also organised hare coursing and the mass shooting of game birds.
The hunt-obsessed philanderer, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), became close friends with Henry junior and this Henry went on to run the Sandringham Hunt (3), spending summers sailing his luxury yacht (part of the Royal Yacht Squadron) on the Solent. Following the death of his father in 1846, he sold all the livestock and farming equipment in the Marham area and leased off his farms. But his lack of interest in farming did not prohibit him from becoming President of the Norfolk Agricultural Association in 1880!
As well being local magistriates, the two Henry’s were, in turn, the High Sherrif, and the Deputy Leiutennant of Norfolk. Henry junior was an active member of the Conservative Party’s ‘one nation’ Primrose League. He was also a Freemason and was married to Maria, the eldest daughter of the Tory MP, William Bagge of Stradsett Hall (3).
Memorials and contemporary newspapers and journals record the two Henry’s in glowing terms such as, “the perfect model of English gentlemen”, “genial manners and kind-hearted”, “endeared to all classes of society from the Royal to the humblest cottager”. But is that wholly true? And, what happened to those common folk who suffered from the enclosure of their common lands and the imposition of the Game Laws?
In 1869, influential landowners in and around Marham moved to arbitarily deprive the poor of their rights to “cut turves for fuel and of agisment (5) on fens and marshes” on Marham Fen. This Fen was typical of ‘marginal land’ that had escaped enclosure and cultivation to be used instead to provide meger resources for the poor. The landowners’ scheme was that the ‘owners’ of the newly enclosed Fen land were to pay an annual rent and this rent money to be dispursed amongst the poor of Marham. The plan was supported by The Poor’s Allotment, a charity run by the local church wardens along with Henry Villebois, Lord of the Manors of Oldhall, West Acre and Marham, and Sir Thomas Hare, Lord of the Manors of Newhall & Shoudham. Practicly every poor resident signed a petition against the plan. When there was an attempt to mark out the Fen lands for enclosure, two hundred females ‘armed’ with frying pans and tin-boilers confronted the local constabulary and a number of officials who had to stop their work. Twenty-eight of these women were subsiquently charged with affray and taken before the Magistraits at Downham. Eventually, the strenth of local feeling forced Henry Villebois junior to attend a meeting to hear the objections of the poor to the landowners’ attempt to “make Marham one of the poorest Parishes in Norfolk”. As a result, an enquiry was established and twenty acres of land was set aside for the taking of turves, and 40-50 acres was set aside for garden allotments. The land in question is now owned by the Marham Poor’s Trust.
Here are names of just some local males punished for crimes on Villebois property and their hunting grounds: Robert Carter, Watt Mason, William Goddard, George Hobbs; charged with shooting at Villebois gamekeepers, sentenced to transportation for life; John Boughen charged with stealing a Peck of potatoes value 8d, property of Henry Villebois, seven days imprisonment; Richard Hitchings, John Hitchings, Ruben Oats, and William Martis, four little boys, charged by a Villebois’s gamekeeer with poaching for rabbits, each fined 3s.6d; James Hard, 19, stealing a bridle belonging to Henry Villebois, gaoled for one month; Edward Hudson, labourer, of Narborough, charged by a Villebois’ gamekeeper of using traps to take game, fined 6s. and 14s. costs; two Villebois gamekeepers involved in an armed struggle with George Ripper, William Newton and Robert Burton, all of Swaffham, who were night poaching at “The Contract”, near Narborough, sentence unknown; Robert Burton of Swaffham, charged by a Villebois gamekeeper of night poaching at Narborough, two months prison; Robert Brown of Narborough, charged by a Villebois gamekeeper of using a snare to take and kill game, fined 18s. and 12s. costs; Henry Mason, labourer, and Walter Blye, dealer, both of Fincham, charged by a Villebois gamekeeper of poaching near ‘Devils Ditch’, each fined £1 and 11s costs; John Watkins and Edward Shafto, charged by a Villebois gamekeeper with stealing six pheasants eggs, each fined 5s. for every egg and 10s. 6d. costs; making £2.0s.6d each.
End Notes of interest: In the 1930s, most of Marham House was demolished, re-built using original materials in 1937, fully refurbished c.2005. Today within Marham there are nods to the past with a Villebois Road as well as a Walnut Walk and a Cherry Close. A little known fact: the father of Ann Lee of Shouldham Thorpe was the sign-writing artist for many of Truman Brewery’s pub signs.
(1) See also my article referring to the Villebois family in the Village Pump, October 2020, 19th Century Game Laws; complicated and challenging
(2) When Henry Villebois junior died, Truman’s brewery, with operations in London, East England, and Burton-on-Trent, ceased to be family-owned.
(3) Originally there were no foxes at Sandringham, they had to be introduced and ‘preserved’ to allow fox hunting to take place.
(4) Sir William Bagge (1810 – 1880) was a Conservative MP for West Norfolk in 1837-57 and 1865-80.
(5) Agistment, is the right to take cattle to graze.

The Ever Changing Seasons


I have been watching the progress of the harvest as we enter Autumn and the ever-changing landscape. In the fields around home the grain is in and the fields ploughed; further afield as I journey around the countryside there are pumpkins growing in the fields around Christchurch and Three Holes, a magical sight invoking memories of Harvest Festivals with pumpkins and gourds decorating the churches with lights shining out from the larger ones with crosses cut in the sides. The seasons come and go, just as they have for millennia: they are unaware of the pandemic raging around the world, the joys and the tragedies that affect us all as we journey through life.
Our Creator God, like the seasons, is ever present. He watches and abides alongside us, through the good and the bad times; the times of want and the times of plenty and as we face yet another wave of infection from this dreadful disease I recall the words of Christ:
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

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