Saturday, 28 February 2009

Results of Green election

Who is doing what
At the AGM of the Green Right Proprietors on Tuesday24 February the membership returned the following people as officers of the organisation:
Chairman - Mike Read,
Vice-chairman - Colin Phillips,
Secretary/Treasurer - Rosemary West.

Friday, 27 February 2009

February at the Parish Council

Parish Council meeting
These notes of the parish council meetings are prepared by the editor of the newsletter from the draft minutes and so may contain information that is corrected later at the next month's meeting.
Those attending the February meeting were Norman Cawston (Chairman), Tim Ing (vice-chairman), Mike Craven-Romain, Adrian Joel, Carol Marshall, Gerald Norton, Kerry Talbot, Liz Taylor and Denise Ziman along with John Baskerville (County Councillor), Mike Read (Clerk) and one member of the public.
The minutes of the January meeting were approved and there were no matters arising.
Village Hall. The Lottery ‘Awards for All’ grant application submitted by the village hall had been turned down. At a meeting with Laura Apps-Green of Breckland Council attended by Adrian Joel, Mike Bartlett, representatives of the Luncheon Club and Mike Read, she explained that the refusal had been partly due to the parish council’s involvement in the application. This opinion was reinforced by a letter received by Mike Bartlett from “Awards for All” confirming this situation.
County Councillor’s report. John Baskerville said that the Council Tax increase is likely to be 2.9%. The Puddledock end of Fen Street may be shut for about 10 days to facilitate road works when drainage work is undertaken. The Park & Ride fares are being revised.
Children’s Play Area. Kerry Talbot reported that the East Coast Truckers’ Charity has pledged a donation of £554 for the purchase of some equipment for the enlarged playground. Mike Craven-Romain and Kerry Talbot met with Lucinda Leonard from Norfolk Rural Communities Council about further funding opportunities. Lucinda was able to provide a further list of funders and some useful information on funding coming online during March.
The Community Spaces grant application has been completed and sent off.
Lesley Coates has organised the licence and Spring Grand Draw tickets. Thanks were expressed to Womack Building Supplies Limited, Executive Leisure and members of Bucks Just Play for sponsoring the draw. The tickets are on sale at various village outlets and by door-to-door sales.
The draw will be on Saturday 4 April in the Ox & Plough at 1pm. The main prizes (1st, 2nd and 3rd) are £100, £50 and £25. Other prizes include vouchers for a meal at The Gamekeeper, treatment at the Clinic on the Green, two tickets to Funtime Factory plus many more.
The next meeting of the working party will be Wednesday 4 March to follow the Breckland Council decision on funding due to be considered on Tuesday 24 February.
The Norfolk Rural Communities Council is running a course for weekly play area inspections and course fee is £10 per person. The Parish Council agreed unanimously to finance two people from the working party to attend.
Settlement Boundary Review. The second stage of site specifics consists of three further sites and the consultation period goes up to Monday 30 March. Placement of details will be made in the village newsletter and on their blog (see earlier post for map showing sites). This will give people about six weeks to make any comments.
Recreation area behind the Village Hall. The planning application is now under consideration and the statutory period for consultation expires on Thursday 26 March. The Parish Council has returned a “no objection” response on its own application.
The Green. The Green Rights Proprietors have raised a query with Mott MacDonald about the promised dropped kerb that has not yet been installed. They still await a positive reply. Information on when the remaining work will be carried out is necessary before the construction of the footpath can proceed.
Consideration was given to the possible letting of the Green to the Parish Council. John Baskerville reported that in answer to a survey (which had a 68% response) 78% of the village who voted wanted the Parish Council to manage the Green. A proposal to approach the Green Rights Proprietors was made and put to the vote. The proposal was carried (9 in favour and 1 against).
A further proposal was made that no up-front payment would be made to the Green Rights Proprietors in respect of the proposed letting by the Parish Council. This was carried unanimously.
It was also proposed that a joint meeting be set up afterwards with a specific group from the Parish Council if the Green Rights Proprietors agree to grant the letting. This too was carried unanimously.
Adrian Joel commented that the Proprietors could and should invest in the Green. Mike Read, as current Chairman of the Green Rights Proprietors, pointed out that, even with the benefit of a grant from Breckland Council, over £4,000 had been invested by the Proprietors in the Rod Alley pond improvements. This money constituted most of the Proprietors’ savings.
Tim Ing, as the Parish Council’s representative on the Green Rights Proprietors, will present concrete proposals at the Proprietors’ AGM on Tuesday 24 February.
From the floor, Mike Bartlett referred to his letter suggesting that the Parish Council might consider organising a fund-raising appeal to local residents to help finance the initial costs involved if the Parish Council does take on the letting of the Green. The chairman pointed out that he had made a proposal of setting aside a sum of £1,000 to get the ball rolling but the Parish Council voted not to go to the full extent of his proposal for a precept of £17,000 and instead elected for £15,000.
Planning applications. Old Buckenham Parish Council. Land adjacent to Old Buckenham Village Hall. Change of use from agricultural to playing field and creation of car park.
For reasons that are obvious the Parish Council raised no objections.
Planning decisions by Breckland. Mr and Mrs J Germany, Thistledome, Crown Road. Replacement of conservatory. Permission given at Breckland
District Councillor’s report. Adrian Joel said that Breckland’s share of the Council Tax will increase by 3.35%. A Band D property will be charged at £64.05 (an increase of £2.07 per year). Breckland have also agreed a charter for a Cleaner, Safer and Greener District, working with other partners.
Additional Site Specific proposals as part of the Local Development Plan will be consulted on from the middle of February for a six week period.
Breckland residents will be able to vote for their favourite independent store. There will be a prize for the best village shop.
Councillors’ reports. Denise Ziman reported on the Allotment to Former Highways Surveyor’s Charity. The Parish Council is now in dialogue with the Charity Commission regarding the 2008 return and changing the payment arrangements. When the matter has been resolved Joan Jenkins, secretary to the general Eleemosynary Charity, will be consulted.
Vandalism had occurred (principally outside the post office) on the evening of Friday 30 January. There is a possibility that some students from the High School were involved and the head teacher, in conjunction with the police, is looking into this and no doubt the Parish Council will receive a report.
Work at Stone Cottage, Fen Street, appears to be proceeding in spite of a planning permission refusal for part of the redevelopment. The clerk was asked to make enquiries.
The matter concerning grant funding for the village hall is not at an end. A suggestion was made by Gerald Norton that a leaflet be sent out to solicit the villagers’ support for the kitchen improvements.
Tim Ing made the comment that a member of the public had suggested that the report of parish council meetings that is published in the village newsletter could be worded a little more sensitively. It didn’t seem to portray how the parish councillors are performing and failed to tell the parishioners how the people they had voted for are dealing with progressing projects and day-to-day problems. It comes across that a lot of responsibilities are falling on the shoulders of the clerk. It needs to reflect how both parties need to support each other and that the councillors accept their share of the workload. The terminology used in the minutes is of the utmost importance. It needs a subtle change of emphasis to avoid any misunderstandings as to how the public perceives the decisions that the parish council makes.
It appears that the Pilgrim pig processors’ lorries are in breach of the 7.5 tonne limit weight restriction on commercial vehicles. However, it is the understanding of the parish council that Pilgrim has an exemption certificate. This will need to be looked into.
Clerk’s report. One parishioner has requested consideration as a co-opted parish councillor. The closing date for applications was Wednesday 11 February. A decision has to be made as to whether the Parish Council needs a new member at present. The Parish Council was awaiting any further applications. The question of appointing a new member was discussed and it was proposed to go ahead (9 voted in favour with 1 against).
The clerk’s position as Chairman of the Green Rights Proprietors was discussed. He was asked to leave the room and a short discussion ensued. The Parish Council decided that they would not hold Mike Read to his undertaking not to stand for re-election as the Green Rights Proprietors' chairman on the understanding that, if re-elected, the matter would be reviewed before the Proprietors’ 2010 AGM.
Trevor Crook is drawing up plans of the second footpath on the Green for submission to three contractors.
The Hall is booked for a Flexi-bus public meeting on Wednesday 25 February at 7.30pm. Help is requested in providing light refreshments for those attending.
Highways. The Parish Council has had an undertaking from the County Council Highways that the lay-bys outside the village shop will be improved when the weather gets warmer. Another Highways inspection is called for.
Correspondence. The council considered Mike Bartlett’s letter to Mott MacDonald concerning the controversy over the footpaths on the Green.
A change of Green Rights has been notified to the Parish Council. Johannes Lindenmayer has sold two rights to Mrs Gulcheher Phillips and one to Matthew Phillips.
The Parish Council has received a reply from the Attleborough Town Clerk about the state of the Banham Poultry site in Attleborough. Because of financial constraints she does not feel that any action will be taken at this time.
The next meeting of the Breckland Town and Parish Council Forum is scheduled for Thursday 19 March at Dereham.
The next meeting of Old Buckenham Parish Council will be at 7.30pm on Thursday 5 March.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

It's out and about

March newsletter now available

Thirty-two pages of news, views and, of course, advertisements. Pick up your copy at the village shop now.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Snapshots of the past

Princely family at the Hall
An album has recently been discovered by a London historian of an Old Buckenham family, dating around 1900/10. The album belonged to a family who were in the service of Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, the famous Royal resident at Old Buckenham Hall between 1897 and 1906. The album contains some great early photos of the old Hall and its gardens with a few of the Prince’s siblings, whilst the rest are of the family and friends of the Hall’s employees and the person believed to have originally compiled the album.
Prince Frederick was the second son of Maharajah Duleep Singh, the King of the Punjab. As a minor, the Maharajah was deposed by the British Empire and brought to England in 1854 where he fathered six children. Prince Frederick was amongst the most prominent of his children and had a love for Norfolk, and this is where he spent his whole life. He purchased the Georgian country house, Old Buckenham Hall, in 1897 and extended it considerably. The 340-acre ground came complete with a well-timbered park, commodious stabling, gardens with pleasure grounds and shrubberies. It also included four farms with homesteads, cottages and other small holdings, all of which the Prince tenanted. He had a small sporting ground and often hired adjoining shootings for his personal use. It was the Prince’s custom to hold an annual dinner party for all the estate tenants and from those whom he hired the shootings. He also had a cricket ground built to the rear of the Hall. Although he transformed the grounds into a formal garden he showed great dissatisfaction with his efforts. "Nothing goes right, the garden is a is disgusting...peoples' borders are gorgeous - mine are in swarms" he wrote in his diary entry for 9 October 1904. In 1906 he was house hunting again, putting the Old Buckenham estate on the market advertising it as a ‘A Miniature Mansion in a Miniature Park’. The Prince took temporary residence at Breckles Cottage in the summer of 1906 as a tenant of Charles Bateman Hanbury, and renamed it ‘Breckles House'. It was a modest house compared to the grandeur which he was more used to, situated in the tiny Norfolk village near Attleborough. His final home was the 16th century moated Blo Norton Hall, situated off the main road from Thetford to Diss, where he died in 1926.
As for Old Buckenham Hall, it was purchased by the wealthy broker Lionel Robinson who demolished the old building and rebuilt it on a grander scale. It was later converted to a Preparatory School, but a fire in 1952 put an end to the school and to the building. Old Buckenham Hall was again rebuilt as the present country house.
Peter Bance has traced the album back to a Diss saleroom, where it was sold some years ago by an elderly lady whose family had been employed by the Prince at the turn of the century at Old Buckenham, but has not been able to establish the name of this family. Nothing more is known about the album’s compiler or original owner nor the many people contained in its pages. It is hoped that publishing some of the photos in the newsletter and the newsletter blog will jog some memories.
Some of the images from the album are included with this post in the hope of identifying the family and finding out more about their time with Prince Frederick Duleep Singh at Old Buckenham Hall.
Some of the names mentioned in the album are: Fred Chapman, Daisy, Ted, Sasy, Lucy, Franny, Mary Jones, Annie Jones, Herbert Minck/Mitter, Kathleen Ryan, the King family and Babs. The names may be other employees at the Hall or local villagers of the time.
Any information and memories will be most appreciated by Peter Bance who can be contacted on 020 8509 2406 or sent to him at Coronet House, PO Box 64026, London, E17 0GY. If you prefer they can be emailed to

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Who paid for the teaching?

Early schooling
Maureen of Badsey, Worcestershire (formerly of Bradwell near Great Yarmouth) has contacted the newsletter editor asking if anyone can help provide her with information.
Her ancestors, the Robinsons (no relation to the Lionel Robinson of Old Buckenham Hall), lived in Old Buckenham from the end of the 18th century to the latter part of the 19th century. She has compiled their history and has photos of her great-great-grandparents' grave (James and Sarah Robinson) which she took on a visit to Old Buckenham a number of years ago.
Also in her possession is an old postcard which shows a picture of the church and school. She has noted from this website that the old school now seems to be used as church rooms and wonders if anyone in the village is able to tell her the following:
When was the school in the picture built?
When did the school close?
Does anyone know when the postcard photo was taken? (she has others in the series showing Old Buckenham Hall; the church; the abbey).
As her great-grandmother, Ruth Robinson (1850-1938), was able to read and write, she assumes that the school was in existence before compulsory education started in 1870.
It seems the school appears to have been built in 1865. Her great-grandmother, Ruth Robinson, was born in 1850, the youngest of ten children of James and Sarah Robinson. Ruth was able to read and write, but was obviously born too early to have gone to the school which is now the Church Rooms.
Does anyone know what educational provision was available for the children prior to 1865? White's Gazetteer of 1854 says, "Mr Sturdivant, in 1604, left £100 for schooling poor children, which was laid out in 16a. 15p. of land, now let for £28, which is paid for instructing 10 boys and 10 girls." Was this the only education available? As far as she is aware, even though James was just a corn merchant's labourer, working for the Burlinghams who owned the mills, all his ten children (born between 1826 and 1850) were educated. Indeed, at the time of the 1851 census, one of the girls, 14-year-old Lois, was described as "Infant School Assistant Teacher". So does anyone know where the children in mid -19th century Old Buckenham went to school?
She is looking forward to someone being able to assist with her enquiries. Please pass on information via the newsletter editor by emailing him on

Monday, 23 February 2009

Your hall needs you

Village Hall AGM
If you care about our village hall then you should make an effort to go along to the AGM on Wednesday 1 April. It will start at 7.30pm in the Memorial Room at the hall and all Old Buckenham residents over 18 are entitled to attend.
The management committee are still looking for someone to take on the job of booking clerk. Please contact Dennis Packham for further information if you think you could help.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Places to rent

News of Cotman houses
Breckland Council have given planning permission to Cotman Housing Association for the erection of 14 rented dwellings in St Andrews Close. Three of the dwellings are 3-bedroom bungalows and eleven are houses ranging in size from 1-bedroom to 5-bedroom.
As these dwelling are outside the Settlement Boundary, they will come under the "Local Connections Scheme" for local people. Further details will follow in due course.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Additional sites for development?

Breckland Council Site Specific consultation
During the summer of 2008, Breckland residents were asked to comment on hundreds of sites which might potentially see development as part of the District’s Local Development Framework. During the following consultation, around 200 further sites were submitted to the Council, three of which are within the Parish of Old Buckenham. One is in Stacksford, another at the junction of Ragmere Road and Cake Street and the third in an area behind the village shop. A copy of the map showing the location of these sites in more detail will be printed in the March issue of the village newsletter. The opinion of local residents is being sought on these three sites.
Old Buckenham has been indentified as a “Local Service Centre” but has not been recommended for any further growth, just protection of the existing services in the village. As no new growth is proposed in Old Buckenham, the additional sites submitted to the Council have been classified as “Non-conforming” or “Unreasonable”. The chance to comment on these sites opened on Monday 16 February and goes on until Monday 30 March. More details on the consultation, as well as the document and maps for the entire district are available on The consultation document will also be available from the Parish Clerk (Mike Read on 01953 860920) and the District Councillor (Adrian Joel on 01953 860663).
Should you wish to make any observations, you can complete a comments form on line, or obtain printed copies from either Mike or Adrian.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The story behind the stamps

Magical stories from envelopes
Those attending the February meeting of the Old Buckenham Social and Wine Circle were treated to a look at the detailed life of a stamp collector and the stories behind his collections. The speaker, Tony Blackburn from Diss, explained how he had specialised in stamps from the period of the Spanish Civil War. Because there was no opportunity to print new stamps, those from areas controlled by Franco had overprinted the existing Republican stamps with various slogans. Even when the Nationalists could print their own postage stamps they continued to overprint them with messages. This subject had provided a fertile area for specialised collecting and Tony already had several hundred of his pages acquired by the British Library with even more to be passed on later.
Members had the opportunity to see a very small part of his collection before the second part of his talk. Several of the envelopes (covers) that Tony had obtained were from, or addressed to, the same person, an engineer on the motor vessels Palayo or Pinto. This led to what is known as “social philately”, trying to find out about the lives and people who were writing these letters just before the second World War. More covers were obtained and part of the life of A W Thompson was slowly uncovered from his time regularly sailing from Liverpool to the Mediterranean area with a variety of cargo to the Pinto being a ‘rescue ship’ accompanying convoys during the war and being torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat. Help in uncovering this story came from all over the world, mainly by chance conversations, from newspaper articles and the remaining members of A W Thompson’s family.
The next Social and Wine meeting will be on Thursday 12 March in the Church Rooms when Quinton Spratt will be talking about peacocks. All are welcome to come along to hear this talk.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Time to ask questions

Annual Parish Meeting
The annual Old Buckenham Parish Meeting will be held at 7.30pm on Friday 20 March in the Village Hall.
This is not a Parish Council meeting so all electors have the right to speak and vote. Members of the public or press representatives are also welcome to attend and observe. This is your chance to question the parish council members on the decisions that they have made during the last year. You can also check up on why progress on some matters has not been as fast as you might have hoped.
Should any elector wish to have an item included on the agenda please contact the parish clerk on 01953 860920 before Friday 6 March as the agenda will be published then.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Another blooming meeting

Film titles in flowers
Members of the Breckland Flower and Garden Club braved the elements to attend the February meeting in the village hall when Julie Woods from Cambridge demonstrated her title 'Pass the Popcorn'. Her six arrangements depicted film titles including ‘South Pacific’ and ‘Pretty Woman’ and her flowers included orchids, anthuriums, mimosa and red roses.
The competition subject was 'Crazy Love' and the results were: New Hands - first Margaret Smith, second Norma Howes and third Janet Skidmore. Old Hands - Ursula Jackson, Shirley Penfold and Trish Barton tied for first place and Marion Beasley came second. Ursula Jackson was awarded the Christine HewsonTrophy for Best Exhibit.
Next month's meeting will be held at Old Buckenham Village Hall starting at 2pm on Thursday 12 March. The AGM will be followed by a practical exercise for all - making a pressed-flower bookmark. Please bring along any pressed flowers that you have.
The competition title is 'Spring has arrived' and the best exhibit including spring flowers will be awarded the Joy Tunmore Trophy.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Start taking them now

The Bucks Photoshow 2009
Two years ago there was a successful display of photographs by local people over one weekend in New Buckenham.

Did you exhibit your photos before? Did you visit and decide you would like to participate in future?

Now there is going to be another Photoshow in New Buckenham village hall during the last weekend in May and they’ll be asking for exhibitors. More details later but meanwhile just keep your cameras busy.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Remembering those no longer with us

Easter lilies
On Easter Day each year All Saints, Old Buckenham, commemorates the lives of loved ones who have died and they will continue the tradition this year. Flower arrangements in the church at Easter will comprise of lilies each in memory of departed relatives or friends.
It is estimated that each lily will cost in the region of £3 and any additional monies received will go towards a lasting memorial for use in the Church.
If you would like to contribute to this event could you please provide your donation by Wednesday 1 April together with the name of the person to be remembered. If you have not subscribed before please also advise year of birth and date of death.
If you wish to contribute please send a cheque made out to Old Buckenham PCC with details of the deceased to Revd Alistair Monkhouse, Wildwood, Mill Road, Old Buckenham, Norfolk, NR17 1SG.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Lots of winners

Numbers Club
The winners in the village hall Numbers Club for January were Malcolm Wade, Gerald Norton, the Breckland Flower Club, Mike Read, Sandra Jones, P Large and Alan Staniforth. Winners for February were Peter Warren, Peter Rhodes, Dave Jones, Fresia Coad, Tim Edwards, Carol Brinded and Peggy Eke.

February Crib
Although numbers were down, not only because of the weather but also family commitments, the hardy few carried on playing crib at the February drive. The winners were Mary Parker, Joyce Goodey, Richard Cockrill, Helga Baggs and Bev McAnulty.
In March the format of the evening will change slightly as the tea break is being done away with thus enabling the players to have ten games instead of eight.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Sounds interesting

Youthful music
As part of the promotion of Norfolk County Youth Orchestra’s concert in Attleborough Church on Saturday 28 March, David O’Neale of Norfolk Music Service is leading workshops in a number of schools including Old Buckenham Primary and High Schools.
At Old Buckenham Primary he is working with Year 5 on listening to, and pupils playing, excerpts from the concert programme. They will also compose their own piece based on one of the ideas in the concert (for instance as in Smetana’s Vltava which tracks the river from its source to the open sea or Grieg’s Homage March to a hero). The pupils will also devise art work on the trolls attacking Peer Gynt in the hall of the mountain king. This will be on display at the concert.
At Old Buckenham High School, as well as listening to the concert items, members of the wind band will play some of the easier excerpts from the concert programme. They may also provide an informative display on the friends of Elgar portrayed in his Enigma Variations.

If you are interested in going to the concert, the details are:
conducted by Sarah Coleman
at St Mary’s Church ATTLEBOROUGH
on Saturday 28 March
starting at7.30pm.
Tickets are £8 (£4 for senior citizens) with free admission for accompanied children.
The programme includes:
Smetana: Vltava
Elgar: Enigma Variations
Grieg: In the hall of the Mountain King
Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel overture
Why not go along and support Norfolk's talented young musicians. Tickets may be pre-ordered on 01953 718266 or by emailing

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Monday, 2 February 2009

They are out there somewhere...

Looking for aliens
Invasive non-native plants and animals can have a serious impact on native wildlife. Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) is working with the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership to support their major new initiative to monitor the impact of invasive non-native species that are already established in the county.
As part of its Natural Connections project, NWT is running a survey to map the distribution of five key non-native species: Muntjac, American mink, Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and giant hogweed. Their aim is to engage the general public in helping to find out where these species are found in Norfolk and help discover what impact they are having on Norfolk’s countryside.
There are plenty of the muntjac deer out and about in Old Buckenham and perhaps some readers of this blog will report back their sightings to support this survey. They may also know the whereabouts of some of the plants too.
The survey runs from February till October and can be done online or with a Freepost survey card. If you would like to take part or just want some further information, phone 01603 598333 or visit You can also take a look at the Norfolk Non-native Species Initiative webpage which is the ‘one-stop shop’ for information on invasive non-native species in Norfolk. The site can be found through the NBP website