Social History...

Village life as remembered by some of the older inhabitants

During the First World War a British plane crashed in a cornfield and a bomb landed near St. George’s School. There were two brothers who made top quality boots, a baker, butcher, blacksmith and a carpenter. There was a post office in the village.

My grandfather went to live in Wicklewood when he was two years old, in 1907, and lived in a thatched cottage. In 1912 there was a bad flood and a boy and several cows were drowned. The first motor in the village was a privately owned bus and it provided the first service.

There were four public houses called The Wild Man, Kimberley Arms, Brickmakers’ Arms and the Cherry Tree. Only the last remains. The mill was worked by a father and two sons and the miller could be seen milling at night in his nightgown if the wind was strong! Anon (possibly Cyril Wigby)

Cissy Buck
We interviewed Cissy Buck who is 80 years old and has lived in Hackford for 75 years. She lives in a house, built in 1866, that used to be a shop until about 3 months ago. Cissy’s family had owned the shop for 80 years. In the past there was no electricity and they obtained water from a well in her garden. The roads were narrow and made of stone and earth. The first person to own a car was Mr. Watling. Work was associated with agriculture, such as horsemen and cowmen. There was also a blacksmith. She attended Wicklewood School which had strict teachers, and left at14 years of age. There were two public houses in the village called King’s Head and Red Lion. A bomb dropped near the church. War time evacuees left after the war.

Fred Wigby (See Grand old mardler)
His family had lived on Wicklewood Green since 1901 in what is now called ‘Oak Tree Cottage’ - where John and Katherine Gray now live. A plaque was unveiled by Fred in 1988 to mark where he lived. After a varied life as a stoker in the Royal Navy, a porter at the University of East Anglia, an author of three books and a Radio Norfolk personality – where he told yarns every Tuesday morning for several years – he finally retired to Drayton.

Leonard Breeze
was born in the village and came from a strong Methodist family. When the Chapel was pulled down in 1989, he became the organist at Wicklewood Church. Leonard’s father was vermin destroyer and mole catcher on the Kimberley Estate. He had three acres of allotment where he grew peas. Leonard and his brother and sister had to sort and grade these, after they had been winnowed with a flail and dried. They were then sold at sixpence a pint.

Basil Cook/William Cook
Took on the tenancy of Primrose Farm and farmed it for 40 years. At his death, during the agricultural slump of the 1930's, his widow, son Basil and two daughters were forced to move out, to Mere View, where Rosie was the home bird while Edith entered public life in a voluntary capacity, as a local councillor, organist, Sunday school teacher and a guardian of the House of Industry, (later to become the Workhouse) Meanwhile the Worman family took it over, as a dairy farm and now the McInnes Skinners own it, and breed horses and sheep.
Vicarage Farm was taken over by Leonard Cook, his wife and Basil, his son took over after Leonard's sudden death, when he, Basil was just sixteen years old
This was a mixed farm, farmed by him, with his mother and he acquired buildings in Hospital Road where he kept his cattle until specializing in farming became a necessity and he sold the site, on which three modern buildings were built. At Mrs. Cooke's death the house was used in a variety of ways, by St. George's school and the hospital till Anthony Cook, Basil’s son, married, moved in and modernized it.
When Basil Cook moved from Vicarage Farm, Rose Cottage became for sale and he moved across the road, leaving Mrs. Cook with the farmhouse. Mrs Cook played the organ at Crownthorpe church till it was closed.
Catherine has carried on the musical tradition, and runs the High Oak Music Group, of which her granddaughter Charlotte is a member, and showing signs of musical ability. John is an expert in computers etc.
One Cook, related to William Cook of Primrose Farm, turned his back on country life and took off to London. Starting out in a draper's shop ultimately his son bought and owned it, (Cook's of St. Paul's), married a Portuguese heiress, and ended up bequeathing his garden (in which he employed eighty to one hundred gardeners) to the Portuguese Government. It seems that they are not particularly grateful, and it is rather a wilderness, but it was mentioned on Gardeners' World that someone is going to restore it. That branch of the family were artists and had a big art collection, which was recently sold at auction. (No descendants had houses big enough to hang them.) Another descendant settled in Jersey and at his death, his widow bequeathed all his paintings to the island, which hang in a dis-used Methodist chapel, part of which is used by their government to store and restore archeological finds etc..
Basil became chairman of the parish council, churchwarden, J.P. and the first chairman of South Norfolk District Council. he was largely responsible for the building of the council offices at Long Stratton.
When the general public and the supermarkets demanded standardisation of their food, egg production of necessity had to conform and now there is an egg packing station (with egg round) on the site, the farming otherwise being wheat (for poultry food) and sugar beet plus a little oil seed rape. Police Station
In 1896, the policeman was Mr.Hembling. His wife Carolyn died in that year and the vicar wrote in the parish magazine of her " It may be truly said she looked well to the ways of her household, and eatheth not of the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praiseth her"

By 1908, Charles Lloyd was the constable. Village life as remembered by some of the older inhabitants

During the 1970's, the PC was Mr Massingham, who had a lot to do with setting up the bowls club. His wife died and when he moved away to live with his daughter, the police house was sold.