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Transcript of Mr. Henry Chapman 

Born 18th March 1922 in Norfolk. Now living at Windmill Cottages in Cavenham

01'00 Moved into the village 1954 Initially lived at Lark Hall, then moved to number 6 on retirement and then moved to current house in about 1994

02'17 I was the working foreman for Mr. Rutterford. He sold the farm after about 8 years, and some people from Essex bought it. I was Lark Hall Farm manager until I retired.

03'10 Lark Hall employed 5 people from Cavenham and 1 person from Tuddenham. Lark Hall Farm used to be part of the Cavenham Estate, Mr. Rutterford married the then Mr. Gough's daughter when he took over Lark Hall Farm.

04'20 The Suffolk Show was held at Lark Hall in 1954. It was all organised by the Suffolk agricultural association. I had to supply men. Some of them had to cart water around on tanks for the cattle and so forth. In the evening when the show was 05'00 over they'd then cart straw to bed the cattle down and so forth.

I myself kept the artesian well or pump going. There was a kerosene driven pump or engine which drove the pump which supplied water for the show ground. Now that pump or well had been sunk in the war years. I think that there were troops around in some of the woods and they sunk all that to supply them with water, and after the war it went as part and parcel of 06'00 the farm. The water then supplied the farm buildings.

The day prior to the show Mr. Rutterford came and saw me and said that he thought the men's toilets were inadequate. There were not enough of them. So could I organise 2 men to go and dig some more near the wood. Well it's very light stony soil over there and of course in June the ground is a bit hard and they started digging and then they came onto chalk and this was late in the afternoon and they were no where as deep as they ought to be. Mr. Gough senior came round to see us all sweating 08'00' never say die' he said and that was the year that Lestor Pigott won the Derby on Never Say Die the horse.

Eventually they got these toilets finished but they'd never be allowed these days - for the men you see they were a Heath Robinson affair. They'd have a piece of tin which was 8ft long which was on a bit of an incline so that all the water ran down it. It was surrounded with some hessian sacks that's all that it was. I mean it would never be allowed today. That was 1954.

Not so many attended the Suffolk Show as nowadays as many 0900 of the farm workers didn't even have a car, they came on cycles one or 2 of them in horse and carts and so forth.

In those days it moved around the county. They used to have it one year to the east of the county one year to the west. Mr. Gough offered it to them I suppose. On the opposite side of the road to where the show was on that's where the car park was. Obviously in those days there weren't the number of cars to come.

10'00 You know from Cavenham crossroads going towards Higham. Turn right at the crossroads and follow that road along the woods, you know the track that leads to Lark Hall , you carry on about 100yards and thats the field on the left.

11'30 I remember the show being in Rougham and various other places. They were all much the same size in those days. I mean today it is a commercial entertainment. You get a lot of horse jumping etc besides the agricultural.

12'00 Do you have any memories of Lark Hall that particularly stick in your mind?

There was a fire down there once a lot of straw and so forth had been set on fire. Apparently 2/3 youngsters who lived adjacent to the cottage I was in had been playing with matches - like boys do and they'd set fire to some straw. It didn't do excessive damage anyhow.

13'00 In the village we used to have a fete and a flower and vegetable show. Greene King in those days used to let us have a marquee and people in the village would exhibit who had the best cabbage, potatoes, onions, flowers and all such things as that. Craft as well. The youngsters would do crayoning and painting and things. There would be embroidery and knitting and that sort of stuff.

Some years there would be a fancy dress parade - Mary had a little lamb, Mrs Gough gave Grace 1st prize for that.

In the park we'd have races for the children and there would be a tug of war between Lackford and Cavenham. Cavenham and Lackford were virtually one village. More so than they are now, all the land in Lackford and Cavenham came under the estate and there used to be a bit of rivalry between the two. For 15'00 one or two years the horticultural show used to be held in Lackford.

The fetes were annual affairs but they stopped due to a lack of support. It must have stopped 20 years ago. The people who 16'00started the horticultural show were the WI. There wasCavenham and Lackford WI. They initiated the show and it escalated. The womens institute has gone in any case.

There also used to be a trip to the seaside for the youngsters financed by the club. That was virtually a Cavenham and 17'13 Lackford working mans club, now its allcomers. Very very rare that I go in to support it. I used to go in a bit, but not to say that I was a regular.

The Plough was still going when I moved here. That was a traditional village pub. The chap who ran the Plough worked on the estate.

Was Lark Hall predominantly arable?

Oh yes, barley, wheat, sugar beet, never any dairy. In later 19'00years Mr Tinney had sheep in Cavenham, which as far as I know they still do.

(Grace - Harry's wife) I used to be mum to the sheep. All apart from one and she had horns, she knew what she wanted that one.

20'00 Talking about the Plough again

It closed down about 15/16 years ago, several local pubs closed down around the same time.

I remember there being a cricket club. It used to be in the park. You've got the Lodge, it used to be in there. There always used be a match on Easter Monday between Cavenham and Ampton. Some of Cavenhams better cricketers came from other villages actually.

I know a little bit more about the golf course because it was on Lark Hall 22'00 The road way on the left to Lark Hall used to be a 8 hole course. There was an old boy who lived in Cavenham who remembered it when it was a golf course. In those days collecting the sugar beet there used to be no mechanisation, it was all done by hand 23'00and you would occasionally find the golf balls.

25'00 When I first came here everybody in the village worked in the farm, well Lark Hall and the main estate. You see that was a relatively big farming estate and when the chaps used to single the sugar beet - all done with a hand hoe. You would get 20+ people hoeing this beet and there were several fields of brussel sprouts. They were set by hand and the young plants were gathered in by hand in frosty weather. In fact when Mr Rutterford had the farm we used to grow 20 acres and the crop went to the London Market. The trouble was that we were the 27'00lorrys last pick up and sometimes it wouldn't turn up until 10 o'clock at night and if it was freezing they would be stiff like boards. Still I was young and didn't mind.

When Mr Rutterford came we were a bit ahead of the small farmers in Tuddenham. We had a combine when a lot of people hadn't got one and a John Deere tractor which instead of hoeing between rows of beet with horses there were implement bars attached to the tractor.

28'00 Mr Rutterford was a get ahead sort of chap. I have seen many changes, whether they have been for the better and all that. Everything used to be quiet and peaceful and no hurry or nothing. Now there's no pride in the work today. I mean a chap would go to plough a field, he'd have to have that field dead straight. Not any more I mean its a case of getting it over in the minimum of time, speed is everything.

29'00 Only two years ago this field was sugar beet. Chap went a long way round to get across that field. I was speaking to the last old chap to retire from Mr Gough. I said what ever would Freddie Borham think if he saw that.

It used to be a skill and a pride. Get it done nowadays. We at Lark Hall had really good work men. If they did a job they did it well.

31'00 Today farming must be a very lonely job, one man stuck out on a field all on his own all day.

Although not many fields have been altered at Lark Hall a lot of people have put 3 or 4 into 1. It is isolation and that.

In fact I was told that the tractor driver would go to his tractor in the morning and inside there would be a computer chip, and all 32'00the information what field he had got to go on, what chemical had got to go on would be on that tractor, his orders waiting for him. These tractor drivers will go out on some of these fields and apart from passers by on the road they won't see anybody or have any conversation they just get on with the job in question.

In my day the tractors were slower, the implements smaller so where they can now plough a field in a day or two that would be 33'003 or 4 days work then.

When I first went to Lark Hall there were 7 people including myself and 1 or 2 casuals. Today there are 3 including the chap who took over from me.

And there are a few more acres now.

Do you feel that Cavenham has changed now that it is no longer an estate village as such?

34'00 Well you've got so many - well you're one of them- so many newcomers. I was then trying to think if there were ever any farm workers in your cottages - yes there used to be one, but he was in the far end. This chap Gooch, he used to work for Mr Gough and do the horse jobs. Carting things around. He didn't stay on for Mr Rutterford, he stayed on the estate until he retired. John Eleys father worked on the estate.

35'00 These 4 cottages here that you referred to as Teapot cottages, they were a farm workers in them. The opposite side of the road where there is a newish one now, there used to be an old house on the side of the road, the people in there used to (work on the estate). The chap who ran the plough used to . Where Mr Goughs swimming pool is the farm manager used to live there.

Track 2: Mr Ford used to take Cavenham children to Higham school. He used to be the taxi man in the village. When he gave it up a chap from Higham used to take Cavenham children via a Rolls Royce. He was a coal merchant in Higham. I don't know what year it was.

Interview 2000. Camilla

A Forest Heath District Council (Suffolk) Project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Millennium Festival 2000 Designed by ArtAtac