Social History...

Copy of a letter from Mr Wigby to Mr Ashby, owner of the converted Methodist Chapel in 2001.

“Dear Mr Ashby,
Thanks so much for your letter to hand this morning. I'm glad you love the hamlet of High Oak. I was born in the old farmhouse at High Oak farm on February 3rd 1913. My grandmother, Lois Ruth Pearce, lived in that old farmhouse for over sixty years and my grandfather farmed the land. Alas, its all gone now swallowed up in the motor works (Kemps, I believe it is called) My dad, John Lindsay Wigby took the farm over at Michelmass 1910, and as an army reservist, left the farm on August 4th 1914 to rejoin his regiment. Happily he returned from the war. I can just remember him coming home after 'demob'
Still, I'm wandering. Yes, the chapel. It was a Primitive Methodist Chapel attached to the Rockland Methodist Circuit and was served by local preacher and a Minister who lived at Rockland St Peter.
Later on the chief minister lived at Attleborough and then in 1906 ( I believe) the Methodist Chapel at Morley St Botolph was built. This caused a lot of confusion for visiting preachers because High Oak is in Wicklewood although Morley folk reckon it was originally part of Morley St. Botolph. As you know there is another Methodist chapel in Wicklewood High Street, near Wade's Windmill. Re the well. Yes we all had wells and the water works wasn't built then and in the great drought of 1921 all High Oak's six wells went dry and only the one at High Oak Farm was OK. So all High Oak came to our well for water with two pails on a yoke. The Goodings family bought the Chapel some years ago after all the Head family died, I believe the Methodists paid £2.00 per year rent and it was the only privately owned chapel in the Rockland Circuit. I remember Alan Goodings as a little boy and I played the organ in High Oak Chapel at his great-grandfather's funeral.
High Oak farmhouse was built of Norfolk flints and clay lump, the clay for the clay lump was dug out from the back of the house (near the stackyard) and was our duck-pond. Most of the High Oak houses were built of Norfolk clay lump - blocks of clay mixed with straw.
I only know of those clay holes which filled up with water and became duck-ponds (or pits, as Norfolk people say.)
Although we all helped each other at harvest time and with the cherry picking, I can't remember ever going into the two cottages adjoining the Chapel. You see, about the only time we went into each others houses was when somebody died and we went to give them the 'Last Look'
Cyril N. Wigby