Badingham Men’s Club

A challenge kicks off the first blog post here this year (sorry I’ve been away…toddlers, who’d have ’em?).

I recently purchased this postcard, no obvious copyright, but a lovely clear title of “Badingham Mens’ Club Outing 1938” (sic).

Copyright untraced: no identifying marks.

What luck: there is an article in the Diss Express on Friday, 8 July that year describing the club’s annual outing:



Members of the Badingham Men’s Club held their annual outing on Saturday when close on 40 journeyed by road to Great Yarmouth. Messrs. J. Thrower and E. Dearing (hon. secretary and treasurer of the club) were responsible for the capital arrangements and an enjoyable time was spent.

Diss Express, Friday 8 July 1938, Page 3, Column 3.

So, readers, the challenge is this: can you put names to faces? Please comment below if you think so. It may be that some of these men did not return after the war and there could be families out there that would love to see this picture.

A list of men in the 1939 Register could be useful here so I shall revisit on a future occasion. For now, I have reason to believe that the men noted in the Diss Express article were John Thrower, born 27 September 1897, married to Jennie and gardener at the Old Rectory; and Ernest Dearing, born 21 June 1910, married to Florence and working as a farm horseman. Both were noted as ARP Wardens in the Register (ED TXAD, RD Blyth, RD&SD 216-1).

I daresay some of them are related to me – but which ones?

150 years ago Births, Marriages and Deaths People Uncategorized

150 Years Ago: John Etridge’s death

On 11 May, 1867, Mr John Etridge died in Badingham after a ‘long and painful affliction’. The Framlingham Weekly News reported his death on 18 May following. He was in the ’61st year of his age’.

The Suffolk Chronicle of the same date also carried a death announcement, noting that Mr Etridge was a pianoforte-maker, late of Euston Square, and respected by all who knew him.

The 1851 census finds John, transcribed as Etheridge in the enumeration book, at Wellesley Street, St Pancras. He was a 42 year old widower living with James Amis, a carpenter, John Addison, a French polisher, and Harriett Thompson, of no recorded occupation. James had been born in Middlesex, but the others were from ‘Windham, Norfolk’ and Woodbridge, Suffolk. John Etridge’s birthplace is given as Badingham, suggesting he left his home for London before returning at the end of his life. (1851 Census; St Pancras, Middlesex; HO107/1496)

Ten years earlier, he had been on the same street, and indeed ten years later, John Etheridge (sic) was still lodging there, although the makeup of the household changed over time. (1861 Census; Somers Town, St Pancras, Middlesex; ED 5, Page 44). 

John was buried at St John the Baptist, as were many of his siblings and his parents.

Births, Marriages and Deaths Resources Uncategorized

Suffolk probate downloads for Badingham

Suffolk Record Office have been busy digitising their original will collections and making them available for download at £6 from See my blog post here.

Where Badingham is concerned, to date, images available cover the wills of 33 people described as being ‘of Badingham’ in the index. These wills are dated between 1712 and 1766 and come from the Archdeaconry of Suffolk collections.

As explained on my personal blog, the system of ecclesiastical courts in operation prior to January 1858 meant that probate could be dealt with at various levels in a hierarchy of courts. Where Badingham was concerned, most would have been dealt with by the Archdeaconry Court of Suffolk (records at SRO), others – usually for a wealthier set, but not always – at the Consistory (Bishop’s) Court of Norwich (records at Norfolk Record Office), and others still – usually the highest in society, but again, not always! – at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (records at The National Archives). There are further complications in some cases and for some dates e.g. the Interregnum.

At the time of writing this post, Discovery includes nine Badingham wills from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (download there or view on Ancestry) as well as two other related records. The Norfolk Record Office catalogue includes nearly 100 probate records (covering wills, inventories, admons), those from 1800-1857 should be available for free at

Over time I aim to summarise probate records for Badingham residents through history in blog posts here, and transcribe a few inventories etc. Watch this space!

Births, Marriages and Deaths One Hundred Years Ago People Uncategorized

100 years ago today: Death of Mr Kersey

Mr Charles Barnes Kersey, farmer from Twin Oak Farm, died on 27 March, 1917, aged just 39. Born in Hull, his obituary in the Framlingham Weekly News stated that he had lived in the village eight years when he died (31 March 1917; Page 4).

The 1911 census showed him at home at Twin Oak Farm with his wife, Lillian, and their first daughter, also Lillian, who was just one at the time. (1911 Census; Badingham, Suffolk; ED 1; SN 141). Also in the household were his Aunt, a boarder, and a live-in servant.

By the time of his death, Charles had four young daughters (Margery, Joyce and Muriel later joined Lillian – see Birth Index; England and Wales; Hartismere RD). During his time in the village Charles and his wife had ‘made themselves deservedly popular among all classes of parishioners’. Charles was also a parish Overseer and a member of the Volunteer Force.

The Sunday after his death saw a memorial service at Badingham Church, attended by members of the Dennington and Badingham Volunteer Corps. After the service, the members filed past his grave, covered with wreaths left at his funeral the day before. (Framlingham Weekly News; 7 April 1917; Page 4; Nb initials given as ‘G R’ not ‘C B’.)

Resources Uncategorized

East Anglian Daily Times added to BNA

Recently published to my Norfolk/Suffolk research blog but worth a repost here due to its obvious relevance if you are researching Badingham:

Among a large selection of new titles added to the British Newspaper Archive in the last few days – the East Anglian Daily Timesone of the ‘most wanted’ newspapers for local research in this area.

The newspaper was first printed on 13 October 1874 and continues to the present day. Digitised copies amount to 2179 issues from the years 1876, 1878-81, 1884 and 1887 as of today, Saturday 11 March. Keep checking back to the link above to see progress with digitisation.

Check newsplan for details of where the newspaper is deposited outside the British Library, and for gaps in known collections.

If you are a Badingham researcher this is a great addition to local digitised newspapers, that sits alongside the Framlingham Weekly News as a key local source of accessible material on the British Newspaper Archive.

First World War One Hundred Years Ago People Uncategorized

100 years ago today: War Savings and Potatoes

On Thursday, 8 March 1917, the School Room played host to a meeting, the purpose of which was to start a War Savings Committee and organise the planting of village gardens and allotments with potatoes and other vegetables.

The main speaker at the event was Mr T H Bryant of Laxfield who spoke at length about the privilege of aiding the war effort, the benefits that could be had by investing in War Savings Certificates, management of gardens, and the necessity of all men joining the Volunteer Force.

Mr R Carley motioned a vote of thanks to Mr Bryant, and particulars of seed potatoes were then given. Mr J H King [John King, Wood Farm] was made honorary secretary and Mr R Carley [Richard Carley, The Red House] honorary treasurer. (Framlingham Weekly News; 10 March 1917; Page 4).

First World War One Hundred Years Ago People Uncategorized

100 years ago today: Decoration of Bessie Carley

On 3 March 1917, Miss Bessie Carley was decorated with the Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) by the King at Buckingham Palace in recognition of her work as a hospital nurse during the war.

Sister Carley was attached to Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service and portraits of her reportedly appeared in the Sketch and Mail. (Framlingham Weekly News; 10 March 1917; Page 4).

[Edit, May 2021. Months after I posted a much more detailed history about Bessie Carley I stumbled across a post in a history group and recognised Bessie’s face! The FWN reported her photograph was in the Sketch and Mail but searching there has so far been fruitless. However, her image was in The War Illustrated on 7 April 1917, Page 92. Please contact me if interested and I can forward a copy of the page.]

Also honoured was Miss Ada Smith, of High House, Parham.

Later, in 1919, she further received the Royal Red Cross, 1st Class.

On 26 April 1920, at the age of 38, Assistant Matron Bessie Carley, RRC [Royal Red Cross], died at Guy’s Hospital after a brief illness, never regaining consciousness after being taken ill. She lies under a CWGC headstone in the churchyard at Badingham, her name recently added to the war memorial.  (Framlingham Weekly News; 1 May 1920; Page 2).

The local news recorded her family’s sorrow, losing her at the ‘Zenith of her career’. Bessie had trained at Warneford Hospital, Warwickshire and was in charge of Dovercourt Nursing Home before war broke out. She subsequently saw active service in France after a time at the 1st Eastern Hospital in Cambridge. She was apparently frequently in the danger zone and even under bombardment. After the war she went to work at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital before moving to Streatham Hill Nursing Home as Matron.

Her funeral took place at Badingham Church on 1 May 1920 and was attended by a very many people. The Carley family were of course well known locally and were chief mourners. Also in attendance were people from villages all around, as well as former colleagues, one of whom, Miss Macdonald, from the Suffolk Convalescent Home, had been with her in France. (Framlingham Weekly News; 1 May 1920; Page 2).

Note: many further records of Bessie Carley, who was born in Badingham in 1881, can be found at the National Archives.


In-depth report: History

Archaeological finds in Badingham stretch from as long ago as the palaeolithic era. The parish has produced flint axes, part of a bronze-age blade, an iron-age silver coin, Roman brooches, medieval pottery, and much more.

Small amounts of ancient woodland are still in existence, although most of this has made way for enclosed agriculture, both arable and pasture, over many centuries. A village green (or rather, Badingham Green and Bowling Green) existed once, but were enclosed before the first OS map (see Hodskinson’s 1783 map).

Perhaps one of the best known historical features is a stretch of Roman Road – known to us as the ‘Badingham Straight’ (just occasionally, as the ‘Peasenhall Straight!’). If followed on a larger scale map, the course of the road can be seen far beyond Badingham.

Besides the church of St John the Baptist, which exhibits Norman remains but is a largely 13th Century structure, historic buildings (or indications of) include the site of a medieval, moated Badingham Hall and further moated buildings at Moat Farm, Okenhill Hall and Colston Hall. The village also boasts a number of listed buildings and timber framed barns.  The parish has a medieval windmill mound, as well as the site of the ‘New Mill’ which largely burnt down in 1916.

Three manors are listed on the Manorial Documents Register (now part of The National Archives’ Discovery catalogue): Oakenhill Hall Manor, Badingham Manor and Colston Manor. Known records are largely held at Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich.

More recent archaeology includes the old brickworks on Mill Road, Rooks Bridge, and a Royal Observatory Corps Monitoring Post.

For further information on Badingham’s historical finds and features, the Suffolk Heritage Explorer website is worth a visit. For more about the church, Simon Knott’s Suffolk Churches site is helpful. Photographs can be found in the Images of England archive.


100 years ago in Badingham: A ‘Scene’ between farmers…

Obscene language, fighting, threats, and bullocks.

Our story concerns two farmers – Johnson, a farmer from Framlingham, and Gray, a farmer from Badingham.

Gray, the complainant, summoned Johnson, the defendant, to Framlingham Police Court, for assault.

On January 13 that year, Gray had sold Johnson two bullocks. However, just before delivery, Gray changed his mind and told Johnson that he would keep the bullocks, and sell him a heifer in calf instead. Johnson then came to view the heifer, presumably in Badingham, on January 22.

The ‘scene’ occurred during that visit. Johnson told Gray that the price for the heifer was too high. Apparently, ‘without the slightest provocation’ Johnson then struck Gray on the shoulder with an ash stick and attempted to throttle him. A fight ensued and the pair ended up on the ground. Gray gained the upper hand and let Johnson go, but as soon as Johnson regained his feet, he attempted to pick up half a brick – which (perhaps luckily) turned out to be frozen to the ground. Gray then turned Johnson off his premises, leaving Johnson to throw ‘between 40 and 100 stones’ while ‘making use of the most obscene language’. None of the stones struck their mark.

There appears to have been rather more to it than livestock, however.

Johnson made his statement in defence. He said that Gray had accused him of trying to get him into the Army (Johnson died this). This led Gray to attack him and throw him off the farm before going to get his gun, and threatening to blow his brains out if he set foot on the premises again (Gray denied this). Johnson admitted to throwing a stone – just one. He also denied hitting Gray with a stick, saying he left it in his cart (Gray then acknowledged this to be the case).

The defendant, Johnson, was further charged with using obscene language on the highway. This was backed up with a further witness, Gray’s neighbour, Albert Clarke.

Johnson was fined 30s in each case and 10s expenses.

The article, which appeared in the Framlingham Weekly News on 17 February, 1917, ended by reporting that Johnson was overheard, leaving court, saying that he hoped the horse that brought his two accusers to court in Framlingham would be found dead on the return journey, and that they would break their necks.





In-depth report Population Uncategorized

In-depth report: Population

Vision of Britain is an amazing resource for statistics, and those for population are very useful here. The population in Badingham is graphed here between 1801 and 1961, using census figures. It shows a population of 607 in 1801, rising to a peak of 866 in 1831. The population rose particularly fast between 1811 and 1821, remaining stable 1831-41 before declining fairly steadily to 558 in 1911, and, overall, falling more gradually to reach 454 in 1951 and diving a little to 369 in 1961.

The Badingham Parish Plan Report of 2013 contains estimated population figures to 2011, and suggests that the population dip continued on into the 1980s. Since then, the population has gradually built up again, and the census of 2011 recorded 489 individuals. This means that the population had essentially reached the same level as in 1931, when 490 individuals were enumerated.

Estimates of population prior to the introduction of the decennial census in 1801 are more difficult to produce as even where documentation is available it tends to record heads of household. Looking back to Domesday, the village was already large, with 56 households – 23 villagers and 33 smallholders – although it had lost £5 in value since 1066. Further details can be found on At the time, East Anglia was one of the most densely populated parts of the country.

It seems likely that, like other medieval settlements, there was a 14th century population decline associated with the Black Death.

Further evidence will be sought through the course of this study to extrapolate population figures from taxation records, parish and manorial records etc.