Six Strange Tales from Moulton
Robert Thomas and Mrs Fairs
Robert Thomas and Mrs Fairs lived together at No 2 The Street, overlooking the cross-roads. Like many people in those days, they kept a pig, what made it unusual, their pig was kept in the front room. Robert, who walked with the aid of a stick, liked to spend an evening at the Shepherd and Dog. If it got to late Mrs Fairs would come looking for him carrying an oil lamp, "Robert where ever have you been, I have been looking everywhere" she would say, on entering the pub. When Robert died, Mrs Fairs called out, from the window to the men going to work at Moulton Paddocks, that Robert was dead. Strangely she died the same day. Their funerals could not take place as planned as their burial certificates had not arrived, so after several hours delay they were buried that night, these events happened in about 1900.
The Village Bookmaker
The local bookmaker had his office in Kentford, he would travel between pubs collecting bets, which would be left with the licensee. He was fond of a drink and as there were several stops on his round, sometimes he would have just one to many. It was a sure sign that he was under the weather, if when he arrived in Moulton, which was his last stop before home, he would ask for a lemonade. His habits were well known, as was his habit of having a sleep in a hedge before he got home. Knowing he would still be there after the racing results had become known, some unscrupulous local punters have been known to put betting slips into his pocket as he peacefully slept.
Driving a Car Over the Packhorse Bridge
Looking at the Packhorse bridge today you would not think it possible to drive a car over it. But if you look at a 1938 Austin Seven, you realise it could just be done. During the 1930's and 40's, one of the locals had such a car. It seems he and his friends when in the Kings Head would somehow steer some poor stranger into betting them that it could not be done. It seem the trick worked on several occasions.
Bussy Foremans Lucky Day
Bussey Foreman lived and worked at Moulton Paddocks, he had formerly lived in Newmarket, but had obtained accommodation in a stable block, which had all the necessary living facilities, in 12 Box Road. He would walk to Newmarket for his shopping and was to all that knew him a conscientious worker, he was not married. It was during 1940, on the day in question it had rained hard all morning, and it was decided that there was no point in continuing lifting sugar beet at Well Bottom, the workers were therefore sent home. Bussey decided to spent the afternoon at the races. On arriving in Newmarket, he made his way down the High Street. It was just as he was passing the Rutland Arms that he saw on the pavement a large wad of notes and as nobody seemed interested, took charge of it. He would never say how much there was, only that "it put me on my feet for life", Bussey must have been aged about 60 at the time. Bussey continued to live at Moulton Paddocks after his retirement, and he died there in 1960. I have heard this story from various sources, all of which confirm its authenticity. I can only say, (putting aside the moral implications), that it couldn't have happened to a more deserving man.
The Day the Bread Cart Fell into the River
Although Moulton had a bakers, the baker from Gazeley had several customers in the village. His bakery was close to the mill, on Kentford Rd. He would delivered to the surrounding villages in his horse drawn van. On the day in question, after he had finished delivering in Moulton, he decided to visit the Kings Head for refreshment, parking his van outside The company must have been good, because he stayed longer than usual, and emerged in no condition to drive home. It probably would have been alright, as the horse knew its way, if the river hadn't been in flood. Going through the ford the van ran up the bank at the other side, tipping it over, pinning the horse under water. Help was at hand to hold the horse’s head above water, until its harness could be cut away. What bread and flour was left floated down the river, people retrieved what they could, to feed their chickens. Another item lost was the receipt book, without which George did not know who had had what, so most people had a free week. This story was told to me by Gilbert Vincent, who witnessed the event which took place in about 1915.
The Burial of Miss Wilson
The sister of the Rev E Wilson, survived him by 20 years. "John Bull" of 4th February, 1843 records that, " the remains of Miss Wilson aged 91, were carried a few days ago, back to their resting place at Moulton, near Newmarket, by eight of the oldest women in the Parish, whose combined ages amounted to nearly five hundred years".
©John Gunson, Village Recorder May 2000.
A Forest Heath District Council (Suffolk) Project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Millennium Festival ©2000 Designed by ArtAtac