The Foxearth and District Local History Society

The Hysterical Hystorian

For occasional articles, snippets and announcements by the Resident Historians.These articles are presented in date order, but if you explore the back-catalogue, you may find much of interest. Historical information doesn't really go out of date! Any member of the F&DLHS may add an entry or make a comment to an existing entry once they have got their userID and password from the Webmaster.

If you'd like to publish any interesting material about the history of East Anglia on the site, then please send an email to the Resident Historians at and we'll add it.

Family Historians have their own area on the site, so look there if your main interest is in tracing your family history.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Battle of Fornham Heath

GH has now finished trawling through the early papers of the Ipswich Gazette of the 1740s, and, for a change, has started looking through a previously overlooked paper, the Bury Free Press. To celebrate the start of a new series, we reproduce here an example of the entertainment to be found in the pages of this paper.

September 20th 1856

Colchester. On Sunday evening a body of Wesleyans held their annual camp on Fornham Heath, Colchester, which was attended by a large concourse of people, and a corporal and a private of the British German Legion quartered at Colchester.
After the service, from some reason unknown without the slightest provocation, the labourers commenced a wanton and furious attack on the soldiers with stones and sticks.
The latter took off their belts and used them about the heads and faces of the foolish assailants, a regular melee ensued with sticks, belts and hillaahs were wielded with obstinancy on both sides assuming the aspect of some Irish factor fight "Town or Gown" row,
At length the soldiers beat a hasty retreat before superior forces. p.c. Maguire made his appearance and advised the Germans to return home to their quarters, the soldiers took the advice but one labourer struck the officer twice in the face and will be brought before the magistrates on Saturday.


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