Wickhambrook Local History Society

Crime Updates

Crime reports for around Wickhambrook
Crime updates for February

See the latest updates on crime incidents affecting Wickhambrook and the surrounding areas...


Wanted/For Sale

See what is for sale and wanted for around Wickhambrook

Take a look at all the items we have for sale and see if you can find yourself a bargain. You can also post requests for items you are looking for.  It's free and we have sold lots of items over the years from cars to sofas!

more info...


Get the latest free Adobe Reader to view pdf files on the website
PDF Files

You will need the Adobe Reader to view some documents on the website. You can download it for FREE from the Adobe Website

Wickhambrook Local History Society

The History of the Wickhambrook Local History Society together with how it is today providing interesting facts, exhibitions, talks and entertaining events.

Events and News

read Local History Society Reports

Tuesday 20th February
Local History Society - Our next meeting is on Tuesday 20th February when Sarah Doig will talk on East Anglian almshouses. All welcome. Look out for posters or check the village website.


Baileys of Wickhambrook

This poem was given to Dorothy by one of our members and is to be included in a book later this year
Poem | Baileys of Wickhambrook

Wickhambrook Parish Records

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.

View the Parish Records document here

Photos and Press Cuttings

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

View Gallery

Dorothy Anderson is awarded a Diamond Champion - read more here

Short Straw by Jennifer Bell

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.

Local History Society photos

History Society visit to

Our Committee

For information about the Society or events please contact either the Secretary or Events Secretary.

The main committee is as follows:

Chairman Dorothy Anderson
01440 820376
Secretary &
Events Secretary
Gillian Cooper
01440 820052
Treasurer Pam Miller
01440 820696

Members Information

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).

Adobe pdf document Discover the Paintings you Own - The Hidden Heritage of Suffolk Revealed by the Public Catalogue Foundation

and now for some interesting Historical Facts from the 1500's ...

Our Location : CB8 8XR

View Wickhambrook W.I. Hall in a larger map

Programme of Events

A new website is currently being designed for Wickhambrook which will be coming soon and include all the History Society events for the year


Our Club

The History Society has been running since 1986 when meetings were held in the Bar Room at the Memorial Social Centre before moving to the Pavilion.

Meetings are now held in the WI Hall on the third Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm.

We have around 50 members who enjoy talks, often illustrated by slides, on topics of local and historical interest.

We have at least two summer outings each year and a social evening in December.

Members also attend events and meetings held by the Suffolk Local History Council to which we are affiliated.

In 2000 we held a very successful Millennium Exhibition, and in 2002 a fundraising Concert in aid of All Saints’ Church.

How it all started ...

In the spring of 1986 Alf Hicks, known to many as Mr Wickhambrook for his lifelong love of his village called a meeting for all those interested in forming a local history society. About 30 people were present at the meeting in the Dulcie Smith room of the MSC and with the help of the Haverhill Society President, Lionel Mitson a society was set up to promote an interest in history with an emphasis on local matters. Alf was the first Chairman and we still have ten of the founder members in our group at the moment.

Over the years we have enjoyed a varied programme of talks, theatre trips, outings and visits to other societies.

Alf’s time as Chairman saw him undertake a successful campaign to save our Victorian post boxes, and as the longest serving village reporter (ever!!) for the Bury Free Press, he kept Wickhambrook very much in the public eye. After his death in 1995 at the age of 89, his old school friend Clement Fuller of Newmarket took over as Chairman until the A.G.M. of 1996 when Percy Nunn was elected to the post.

Under Percy’s Chairmanship, we have undertaken our most ambitious project – to “capture” the houses of Wickhambrook at the turn of the century. With the financial help of St Edmundsbury and the Parish Council we are compiling a record of the village which we hope will be of use to researchers in the future.

It was one of Alf’s dreams to investigate the many old interesting properties in the village and our project has already brought some interesting facts to light. We were fortunate to enlist the help of Leigh Alston of Madingly College, Cambridge to date some of the older properties. During his visit to the village. Leigh remarked that the “spread-out” layout of the village and it’s greens conforms to Anglo-Saxon village patterns, thus clearing up the mystery of those famous eleven greens. To have kept our village “shape” for over a thousand years is remarkable.

The survey was displayed In April 2000 at an exhibition in the W.I. Hall together with a photographic exhibition by Mike Pettitt, a video by Steve Taylor, beer tasting by Lidstones Brewery, displays by local societies and book signing by local authors.

The possibilities for further research are endless. There are wonderful grand houses, fascinating old farmhouses and famous council houses just begging for further investigation.

The Society has a hard working and “committed” committee whose interest in local history is boundless. The survey and video was also shown at the Suffolk Local History Council’s “Societies Day” at Mendlesham in March. Each time we take part in an event there, someone always says “Wickhambrook”? Oh yes we remember! The little man who used to give everyone copies of the ‘Scene’. Is he still going?” Alf’s Spirit goes on!

Useful links and information


link Suffolk Observatory

link Suffolk Family History Society

link Suffolk Local History Council

link Suffolk Surnames - Information, help and advice for anyone researching their Suffolk Roots

link 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)

link 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.

link The Family and Community Historical Research Society

link The Archive CD Books Project

link Doctors who practised in Wickhambrook up until 1900 - Suffolk Medical Biographies website - type in 'Wickhambrook' in the 'place of practice' box and then 'search'.