December 2022 – Brief answers to the recent questions on Charsfield Past.


Q1 –     In 1325 Sir William Bole made a grant of the manor of Bedfield for life to Sir Robert Weylond of Charsfield. Sir Robert …… was to make an annual payment to Sir William Bole at the feast of St John the Baptist (24th June) …… something found in a garden. What was it?

  • “… an annual payment of one rose at the feast of the nativity of St John the Baptist [June 24th] for every service, custom and exaction”. The present owner of Bedfield Hall, Timothy Easton, writes* : “When we have shown groups around …. we have always tried to have one tour take place on this day. This story about the midsummer rose is retold and as fealty to my wife, I cut a rose there and then to present to her.”      


Q2 –     The beam above the vestry entrance in Charsfield Church has 1585 carved on it and the initials GS. But it was only moved there in Victorian times. From where in Charsfield did it come?

  • From the old timber-framed parsonage, demolished in 1861 to make way for the new one that exists today.

Q3 –     We know Charsfield Church as just St Peter’s but in past times it was dedicated to a second saint as well. Who? (There is a connection to an Institution suppressed by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey as part of his project to create his school in Ipswich).

  • Charsfield Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul is the ancient name. From medieval times, Charsfield was under the patronage of the Priory of Augustinian Cannons at Letheringham, itself an outlying cell of the Priory of St Peter and St Paul in Ipswich. Cardinal Wolsey was given permission in 1528 to suppress this Ipswich Priory and to start the building of his college/school on the site (only for it to founder when he fell from favour two years later).

Q4 –     There was briefly a village police house in late Victorian times at one of the Charsfield farms. Which one?

  • Brook Farm, as depicted on the 1884 OS Map. John Pittockwas the police constable living there with wife Emma and children. They appear in the 1881 census but by 1891 they have gone to Otley and the Charsfield Police Station no longer exists.

Q5 –     What useful service for the village did two houses in Church Road and one in the Street perform, at different times from the late 1800s to recent years.

  • Post Offices – In Church Road, the houses presently known as The Old Post House and Midsummer House (this latter previously being TOPOS – The Old Post Office Stores). In the Street, present day London House, this being a long-standing grocers and general store from early Victorian times at least.

Q6 –     In which decade was Charsfield Cricket Club first formed?

  • 1870s just – in June 1879 a newspaper report starts and then ends,  “For some time past the young people of Charsfield have wished to start a cricket club as a means of a little variation of their village life …… Charsfield may be congratulated on having a Cricket Club, the members of which will, however, require some amount of practice before being able to challenge All England’s Eleven.”

Q7 –     Alice Emma Whicker, born in St Pancras, later lived at Brook Farm, Charsfield and finally Brook House where she died in February 1930. What gift did she provide to the village shortly before her death (one that is both audible and visible).

  • The Church Clock

Q8 –     After Gypsy Fiddler Billy Harris died (circa 90 years old in the early 1930s), what happened to his caravan?

  • It was burnt, according to traditional gypsy custom, in Magpie Street on land just opposite the end of Davey Lane. Billy, one of Charsfield’s greatest characters and talents, had lived a short distance away on the north side of Monewden Road.

Q8 –     Which farm in Charsfield had outbuildings set on fire by incendiary bombs in 1944,  during a raid that mistook the area for Debach Airfield?

  • Park Farm on Hall Road. Incendiary bombs were dropped in a number of places in the village during World War II.

Q9 –     During part of World War II, the village children only went to school in the mornings. What happened in the afternoons?

  • The evacuee children went to school in the afternoons.

Q11 –   Michael Parkes, who is buried in St Peter’s churchyard, came second in a major international event twice in 1966 (in France, then Italy). In what sport?

  • Formula One motor racing. Michael got his chance to drive for Ferrari after John Surtees fell out with them. He finished second in June at the Rheims French Grand Prix and again in September at the Monza Italian Grand Prix.

Q12 –   In the 1990s and 2000s Dawn Staple ran the self-help group “The Soup Kitchen” and a newsletter “Anything Goes” from her cottage in the Street in Charsfield. Nowadays the cottage is called The Retreat. What did she call it?

  • The Cook’s Retreat.