The sense of foreboding as the year opened proved only too tangible as “austerity” began to bite. The Vat increase in early January, from 17.5% to 20%, set the scene and had an immediate impact. Cuts in public spending were widely anticipated and duly came to pass but people were taken aback by swingeing price increases for everyday goods and services, not least for energy. Despite marginal tax rates for the poor exceeding those of the rich (– an article in the Telegraph referring to it as the age of “post-human politics” -), interest rates at an all-time low, high inflation along with rising unemployment, pay freezes and cuts, people in Kirton, as for the most part in the rest of the country, gritted their teeth and tried to live as normal a life as possible.

DEVELOPMENT – there were no big schemes in the Village in 2011 – most applications were for extensions, porches and similar small-scale initiatives. The sense, however, that this was the lull before the storm was reinforced by Developers’ aspirations outside the Village, led by Trinity College with its now-standard stance that as a charity they have to make the most from their assets not least their land-holdings. Prospective schemes in the Trimleys and Walton were often in the news. The most serious threat to Kirton still hung in the air – that of a major port-related development involving new roads, railway marshalling yards, warehouses and container storage on the land south of Innocence Lane.
On the Housing front, Developers on the Peninsula continued with their clever wheezes. These included getting Planning Permission only to alter the scheme later either to include more houses or to reduce the number of “affordable” properties in some cases even to none. With the Bartlet Hospital in Felixstowe, even the Primary Care Trust is trying to adopt the same tactics crying “non-viability” unless the “affordable” element is dropped. The PCT also resorted to blackmail saying that new premises for the Felixstowe Central Surgery, where many Kirton people have their GP, depend on the successful sale of the Bartlet.

2011 CENSUS – this, possibly the last in its current format, was taken on 27th March. The option to fill the form in on-line has allowed a blank paper copy of the form to be retained for the Village Archive. Maybe the new-borns will live to see the full details.

LOCAL ELECTIONS – these were held on 5th May along with a referendum on the “Alternative Vote”. The latter failed to cause any excitement but the outcome of the election was a good one for Kirton in that Susan Harvey came top of the poll in our Ward, her vote exceeding that of her long-standing colleagues. She will be our first District Councillor since Jean Metcalfe stood down several years ago. Having served as a very active parish councillor for many years, Susan’s energy and commitment is already proving a great boon for Kirton at District level. Associated literature has been retained.

THE METHODISTS’ PLANT SALE – was held at the Chapel on 21st May – a key event in the Village calendar.

THE FETE – after sadly missing a year in 2010, the Fete was held on 11th June and for many it was pure delight for it to be back at the Old Rectory, courtesy of the Garnham family. Around £5,800 was raised.

THE WI – around thirty ladies celebrated their 90th Anniversary at the Village Hall in October.


  • after media coverage for many months the well-paid Chief Executive of SCC, Andrea Hill, departed
  • the new Felixstowe Dock Spur Roundabout opened
  • the new “shared space” scheme in Hamilton Road was launched; the new pavilion on the Triangle .
  • several shops in Felixstowe closed – Magpie Books, Bonnet’s Cafe, Wilf’s Clothing, Candler’s Furniture
  • the Evening Star went on sale in the mornings
  • the EU banned 60w tungsten light-bulbs
  • the TV digital switch-over

Those who passed away included May Copping, Beattie Pepper, Les Leggett, Gladys Lloyd, Mick Doggett, Robin Dickerson, Tom Mellors, Daphne Hurren, Chas Lenton , Kay Feaviour & Iris Hanton. Under her “Memories” project, Jane Bradburn had recorded the reminiscences of May Copping and Les Leggett.

KIRTON POLICE STATION – 1915 – an excellent photographic postcard was secured on eBay of the house still standing at 2 Park Lane with a notice attached to it saying “Police Station”. The photo also shows for the first time an extension with its own gable roof, long removed, at the south end of the house. Lengthy research to establish whether Police records for the Kirton station may be still in existence somewhere proved fruitless. In subsequent years the Police Station moved first to the corner of Park Lane at Blue Barn – we have reminiscences from WWII – and then further north up the Bucklesham Road, until a local presence was ended.

A LOST DOMESDAY HAMLET FOUND IN KIRTON? – A major research exercise was launched after a simple enquiry on the part of Stephen Harvey regarding rumours of a tunnel near Falkenham Church led to a visit to the Church and a tour led by Charles Posford. Casual mention by Charles of the fact that the parish used to be called “Falkenham Dodnash” led to some random “googling” whereby a book was stumbled upon entitled “The Cartulary of Dodnash Priory” by Prof. Christopher Harper-Bill of the UEA. Extracts from the 1997 book were shown on-line – one referring to the author’s theory that the lost Domesday hamlet of Thurstanestuna (modern “Thurston”), previously thought to be in Trimley St Mary, was in fact in Kirton. Thurston would be Kirton’s fourth lost settlement alongside Guston, Struston and Croxton . A copy of the book from the Library afforded in-depth analysis. If the theory is correct, then Kirton can be linked back to a charter dated 1188. This led on eventually to a meeting arranged and hosted by Stephen with Rev Chris Leffler of Trimley St Mary who was working on a history of that parish. Amongst other sources, Chris had access to the papers of a local antiquarian, H. G. Murton, including his map of “Earl Bigot’s Weye” which clearly depicted “Thurstanestuna” to the east of Hill House, Walton. Unfortunately we were unable to establish the original source which informed Murton’s thinking. A copy of a paper on the subject was sent to the Prof. Harper-Bill who is now retired. He very kindly responded but was unable to throw any further light on the debate.

STONE SHIELDS ON FALKENHAM CHURCH – we then looked into the shields/badges above the doorway. Two are for the Mowbrays and the Beauchamp earls of Warwick. Further research ensued linking Thomas Brotherton of the Dodnash charter, son of Edward I and Margaret of France, who took over from the Bigods to the Beauchamp, Warwick and Neville families – very local links to Kings and Lords.

THE FRIENDS OF KIRTON CHURCH – at the AGM in August Roy Tricker gave members a very interesting conducted tour. This was to prove very useful later in the year when the University of the Third Age – the U3A – were looking for someone to host a visit by one of their several “Church Crawlers” groups to both Kirton and Falkenham. I obliged for Kirton as did Charles Posford for Falkenham.

“BOGLE” BODIE – A WWII RAF ACE FROM KIRTON – the leader of the U3A group was Rosemary Grayston. On a recce before their visit, she had stumbled upon a gravestone for John Grayston and his wife Rebecca both of whom died in 1874. The stone beautifully depicts a horse with its head lowered apparently in sorrow at the demise of the blacksmith. I undertook some research on the family from the local records. On a vist to discuss our findings, Rosemary’s husband said he was very interested in a Kirton man named Crelin Arthur Walford Bodie – a WWII ace credited with seven aerial victories who tragically died at the age of 21 in a flying accident in Northern Ireland. This was the first mention of him over the 24 years I have been the Recorder.

THE FAMILY OF A VICTIM OF THE WHITLEY BOMBER CRASH – visited Kirton for the first time on Remembrance Sunday. Along with his wife, Daphne, Roy Walker, a cousin of Alec Jaggers who died in the crash in Rectory Lane on 3rd September 1941 attended the service at the Church leaving an excellent photograph of Alec in his flying gear.. They came on to our house to say hello – previous contact being by email.

– Adrian Bardwell, our postman for many years moved on – missed by his friends both human & canine.
– “Kevin” setting up a bike sales, maintenance and repair business.
– Kirton Kestrels looking for more under 13 players.
– the Todd family were involved in another Art on the Prom and Mike held his first exhibition.
– Carolyn Wiffen opening a shop in Walton for her business, East Coast Quilting – previously only on-line.
– Georgia Rowland, 16, winning an RAF scholarship.
– Tackle Up fishing – continuing to offer fishing at the Kirton Reservoir.
– Kris Richardson who tracked down his mother’s stolen mobile using GPS.

Len Lanigan phone: 01394 448568
Kirton Local History Recorder email:


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