website last updated 10 January, 2010
Prince Duleep Singh of the Punjab was the subject of the February meeting of Wickhambrook Local History Society. This fascinating man owned the Elveden estate and was a friend of Queen Victoria, and Clive Paine’s talk took us from the Punjab to Suffolk , France and Egypt in an attempt to shed light on an eminent Victorian. Duleep Singh was born in 1838 in the Punjab and his mother plotted and schemed so that he inherited the title of Maharajah from his father.
When the Punjab became part of British India, he was given a pension by the British on condition that he left his home. He came to England in 1854 and his exotic good looks, costume and jewellery made him a celebrity. He often took tea with the Queen, and she was godmother to one of his sons.
He married in Cairo, and bought the Elveden estate in 1861, where he was a great host and an excellent shot. He had a few problems with the payment of his pension and began to want to return to India. He fled to France, became ill and the estate fell into decay. It was sold in 1984 and the archives were purchased by public subscription. They are kept in the Ipwich Record Office.
There was so much to learn about this man and his place in Victorian England - it was proposed that Clive Paine should write a book to answer all our questions.
The next meeting is on Tuesday 21st March at 7.30pm in the WI Hall when Ashley Cooper will talk on ‘The Suffolk/Essex Border in Roman Times.’
The Wickhambrook Parish Records are currently being digitised and updated. If you have any information you may be able to add or help fill in some of the gaps, please contact Paul Saunders.
We have had some fascinating photos and press cuttings sent to us which you can see by having a look at the pdf group images in the gallery
Dorothy Anderson is awarded a Diamond Champion - read more here
At the launch party at The Cherry Tree on 20th September, Jenny Bell told us how she had found diaries and notes written by her father-in- law Frances Bell and realised that this would make a wonderful book. It has taken her several years to produce but the finished volume makes fascinating reading for the people of Wickhambrook and Stradishall. Frances was the younger brother of Adrian Bell, the well-known writer of Corduroy, Silverley and The Cherry Tree among others. His books were very popular in the thirties and forties for their depiction of farming life in East Anglia. Frances went off to Argentina when a young man and learned much about land use and farming there before returning to this area where he worked for the charismatic fruit grower Justin Brooke, a major employer in the area. He ended up running the fruit growing side of the business, marrying and bringing up a family here, before differences between him and his employer caused him to leave and try his ideas elsewhere in the region. The book is much more than just a farming memoir. Frances was a real character, very popular with the men who worked for him,and enjoyed a glass of beer and played the accordion. It was lovely to see so many former employees of the Brooke empire at Clopton Hall chatting and reminiscing with members of the Bell family. Martin Bell ,the journalist, who is a cousin of the author's husband, has written an introduction to the book and he spoke at the book launch too. The Cherry Tree pub, former home of the Bells, laid on a lovely teatime spread. The book is available in local bookshops or from Larks Press, Ordnance Farmhouse,Guist Bottom, Dereham NR20 5PF for £10 and is an excellent read.
For information about the Society or events please contact either the Secretary or Events Secretary.
The main committee is as follows:
Membership costs £8 per year payable in April plus 50p for each meeting.
Guests are always very welcome - £2 per occasion.
Meetings held at 7.30pm in the W.I. Hall.
Library - The library is now all set up at the Primary School. Please let us know your views on this. (Little Bradley trip - we have bought Wendy Barnes' book for the library).
and now for some interesting Historical Facts from the 1500's ...
January | War Time Stories (in house) - cancelled
February | Sherlock Holmes in Cambridge
March | Victorian Photographs and how to date them
April | AGM and Morocco Bound
May | Mid-Suffolk Light Railway
June | Visit to Little Hall, Lavenham
July | Visit to Clare
September | Four Aeronautical Family Members
October | A New Look at the Romans
November | History of the River Gipping
January | I Remember When...
February | Stories from old Newspapers
March | Historical of the Roadside
April | AGM and The History of Addenbrookes Hospital
May | Life in Medieval England
June | Who Lived Here?
June | Wickhambrook Discovers its Past
October | The Vikings
November | Henry VIII's Legacy
January | Oliver Cromwell
February | The Anglo-Saxon Burials at Lakenheath
March | Local Historical and Literary Links
April | AGM and The Foundling Hospital
May | 25th Celebration
June | Visit to Castle Hedingham September | Figleaves, Farthingales and Fichus
October | Maps and Landscapes
November | Tudor Christmas with Mistress Sheffield
January | Family History
February | Policing London
March | Courtship and Marriage
April | AGM and Local Rare and Second Hand Books
May | From The History Recorder
July | Visit to Hundon
September | The Roman Circus
October | The Changing Face of Liverpool Street Station
November | St Edmund and his Town
January | Show and Tell
February | Wickhambrook Fire Service
March | History of Lidgate
April | AGM and coins
May | History Course
August | Summer outings
September | The Rolling English Road
October | Anglican Clerical Characters
January | Dig for Victory and the Festival of Britain
February | The remains of conflict from earthworks to pillboxes
March | Victorian Way of Death
April | AGM and Lord Nelson
May | sanitation
September | Various visits
October | RAF Stradishall
November | Victorian Christmas
January | RAF Chedburgh
February | Prince Duleep Singh of the Punjab
March | the Suffolk/Essex Border in Roman Times
April | AGM followed by Floods in the Fens in 1947
May | The Huguenot Society
June | Gainsborough's House, Sudbury
July | Visit to Mildenhall and Ashfield Green Farm
August | Visit to Ashley cooper's farm at Gestingthorpe
September/October | Rags and Bones / Farm Buildings
January | Progresses to Suffolk made by Queen Elizabeth I
Febuary | Plants in History of Art and Design
March | St Edmundsbury Cathedral & the New Tower
April | AGM and Village Signs
May | Celebration Evening | Celebration Evening Full Report
June | Bulmer Brickyards
July | Hawstead Church with Clive Paine
September | Birth and Baptism in the 1800s
October | Myths and Superstition in Buldings
November | For the Rest of Their Natural Lives
January | Wickhambrook Past, Present and Future
February | Frolic, Fervour and Fornication
March | Growing Up in Isleham
April | The History of advertising
May | All Saints Church and Little Bradley Church
June | sisters in the Canadian Wilderness
July | Library and Culford
August | Roman Villa at Gesingthorpe
September | Pickwick's Cambridge Scrapbook
October | 'A Cup of Tea'
November | Shops in the Middle Ages
January | Antiques Roadshow
January and February News
February | Sutton Hoo
March | It's a Grave Business
April | Connections between Suffolk and India
May | Giffords Hall
June/July | Kentwell Hall
September | Pakenham Mill
November | Wall Paintings in Domestic Tudor Buildings
Suffolk Surnames - Information, help and advice for anyone researching their Suffolk Roots
I have had a letter from the East Anglian Film Archive with details of DVDs which may be of interest to you. You can look online at archivefilmshop.co.uk and type HISTSOC into the discount box. Their Phone no. is 01603 251744. Please tell them which Hist Soc you belong to when you call (Dorothy)
Many will know that The National Archives gives regular talks on various aspects of family history at the PRO in Kew. Less well known is that they're now available to replay online. Very easy to listen to, providing you've got broadband.
Doctors who practised in Wickhambrook up until 1900 - Suffolk Medical Biographies website - type in 'Wickhambrook' in the 'place of practice' box and then 'search'.