War Memorial Gary Trouton


August 2010

Richard tells us of the June meeting of the Group which took the form of a walk aropund the village.

The Group meeting on the 17th of June was another village walk conducted by Richard French with contributions from Ken Barker and Fred Lucas. Meeting up at the Village Hall on a very fine summer evening 28 members moved off up Church Road. Over to the East stands White House Farm purchased at auction in 1894 by the Glover family on the death of Hugh Alymer when the West Dereham Estate was put on the market. It has remained in the family until quite recently.

Some historians also believe this to be the site where Hubert De Walter was born and it is recorded that his Mother,Matilda,died in the Village in 1198 and was almost certain to have been buried in the Abbey.

A little further along is Hill House Farm where, at the beginning of the 20th century stood a mixture off agricultural buildings with a farmhouse and row of cottages, of which, only the latter survives.

At the junction of Bath Road stands the dwelling that was the White Horse pub which has been a private home since 1964. All of the other properties on Bath Road are modern, built within the last 40 years. The Church stands on the high ground to the west and is presently undergoing another stage of the restoration project this time dealing with the age related erosion to the South Porch and the Nave windows.

On arriving at the highest point of Bath Road one can look out to the North towards the A134 and the site of The Grange and Gibbert Lane which is where the Mill stood.

To the east is Anzac quarry where much of the ballast for the Stoke Ferry Branch Railway Line was extracted. Just below this was the Searchlight site during WWII and in fact the field was from then on called the Searchlight Field.

It was at this point we were by the home of Keith Gore who being known to both Ken and Fred was introduced to members and was very happy to confirm the sites of both the Roman Baths and the searchlights. Keith was born in the Village and takes a keen interest in preserving local knowledge and old farm machinery.

The Roman Baths were excavated in 1969-70 and some fine mosaics were found as well as other artefacts. They date from the 2nd century AD and had been known about from the mid 18th century and probably remained in use until the end of Roman occupation in 410 AD. The baths were fed by a spring and from which the Village took its water supply for many centuries after the Romans had left these shores.

Everyone enjoyed listening to Keith reminisce about West Dereham and the changes he has seen in his time and members were most grateful that he was able to talk with us. A slow walk back to the Village Hall being half hour later that expected for refreshments and thanks to Richard from the Chairman, Jack Walker.

I n conclusion I offer my sincere thanks to Ken, Fred and Keith for their contributions without which the evening would not have been so interesting and entertaining and to all the members who attended. Last but by no means least to Ruth who manned the Village Hall and provided a splendid array of snacks along with tea and coffee.

Richard C.French.

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