WH Poulter
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Moulton in 1896, by W.H. Poulter

Kelly's Directory of Suffolk 1896 was of interest to me as I recollect from my childhood days some of the residents mentioned.

Mr Percy Holland I well remember. I believe Prince Soltykoff, for whom he was an agent, owned land adjoining the Kennett and Moulton road which is now a stud farm. Percy Holland lived at Kensington Cottage, Station Road, Kennett - the house more recently occupied by the late Mrs Frances Gill. He left Kennett to farm at Worlington in the early thirties. In the twenties he attended morning service in Kennett Church with my father accompanied by me. I well remember their conversations during these walks, shortly after the first world war. On one occasion they were bemoaning the state of the country (the country has always been going to the dogs !), and Mr. Holland attributed a portion of the blame on the fact that Members of Parliament were paid - the country had been in much better shape when public spirited men gave their services free of charge. 

He obviously believed that representation should be confined to the monied and leisured classes! Incidentally, payment of 400 per year was first introduced in 1912 as a result of Lloyd George's Budget. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Liberal Government at that time. Mention of Lloyd George brings to mind an amusing and reputedly true story of events at a chapel in North Wales which he was obliged to attend regularly when young. A friend of his Dr. Charles Williams, who died in 1927, was the visiting preacher, when the deacons informed him that they were most concerned that a fellow deacon had deserted his bride on the first night of their honeymoon and they were considering excommunicating him. Dr Williams was requested to approach the offending deacon, who explained to him that he had no idea that his bride had a wooden leg and discovered it on the first night. On reporting back to the deacons and advising no action to be taken, Dr Williams said "there is not one of you present who would not have found that out long before". After this diversion and returning to local concerns, I have pleasure in recollecting Mr William Jennings who had his butcher's shop at the rear of Moulton Post Office. He was most obliging and when a boy, living at Kennett, my mother used to give me a half-crown12.5p and send me cycling to Moulton along the unmettaled road to obtain " a nice joint of sirloin - Mr Jennings knows what I like." His sudden death in the early twenties came as a shock to me, and thereafter his son Mr Harold Jennings, continued in business.

I also remember Mr William Plummer, Carrier and Thatcher, who lived at Brookside, Moulton near the Packhorse Bridge. He occasionally brought my great aunts Maria and Polly Willis, regaled in bonnets and capes, to visit us at Kennett, in his waggonette and also met trains at Kennett station on request. My great Aunts lived in a thatched cottage (at the time Church Property) at Brookside next to the old school. Maria Willis suffered from asthma and seldom ventured out. Although Church of England, she prided herself at being "low church" and had in her younger days come under the influence of C.H.Spurgeon, the eminent Baptist divine. I think I was her 'blue-eyed boy' and she often quoted portions of his sermons to me and frightened me with references to hell fire. What she would have quoted to me had I not been 'blue-eyed' is too terrible to contemplate ! Although C.H.Spurgeon gained eminence in London, I believe he hailed from this area and baptised converts in a house which still stands at Teversham, near Cambridge. At Ivett & Reeds stonemason's office, Newmarket Road, Cambridge, there hangs a stone tablet which was removed from the Teversham house inscribed "In this room the Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon preached his first sermon in the winter of 1850-1851." Aunt Maria Willis, when suffering acute attacks of Asthma, was in the habit of inhaling the fumes from Potter & Clarkes Asthma cure - a powder which smouldered and emitted a pungent aroma which permeated the whole room. 

Mr Child, then Rector of Moulton, used to take the Reserved Sacrament to those parishioners who wished it and were unable to attend church. One day on calling on Aunt Maria with the Sacrament, he caught a whiff of the asthma cure and remarked "I see you have been resorting to incense again." Imagine her reaction as incense and "high church" were anathema to her. She read her bible daily and referring to past incidents in the village would relate them to the incumbent at the time - Mr Mortlock's time, Mr Josling's time or Mr Smith's time. I also well remember Mrs Mary Poulter, Blacksmith, who I believe married my father's uncle. I do not think she was ever an active blacksmith, but following her husband's death, took control, the actual work being done by her sons. She died shortly after the first world war. At her funeral I was deputed to toll the funeral bell. I recollect peeping out of the Moulton belfry door, looking down the slope to ascertain when the cortege entered the churchyard when I was told to quicken the peal. Browsing in David's Bookshop in Cambridge, I was interested to find a reference to a James Poulter who was blacksmith at Kentford in 1830, but I was unable to obtain further details.


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