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 Historical information doesn't really go out of date!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.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Lucie Kay, 'Mrs Meeker'

Anyone who follows the amazing story of the supposed haunting of Borley Rectory will have been surprised by the continuing facts being ferreted out by the indefatigable Richard Morris.

At the time I write, I hear that the book's launch is likely to be around Christmas time, so it is possible that this book, and the Bones of Borley will be published at around the same time.

After the new biography of Harry Price is published, there will, sadly, be little left of the reputatiuon of a man once greatly admired and respected.

A vampish Lucy Kay standing on the front
step of the offices of the London
Spiritualist Alliance, soon after being
seduced by Harry Price

Even now, new snippets are coming to light. A photograph of Kucie Kaye, who bore an illegitimate child by Harry Price during one of Harry Price's extra-marital affairs, has come to light. Written on the back of the photograph is the inscription 'First day at the ghost factory. Photo taken by HP.'. Lucie Kaye, who was german by birth, was usually introduced to all as his 'secretary' and she plays a big part in the initial 'haunting; of Borley Rectory. She turns out to be by far the most colourful player in the Borley Rectory saga, far more so even than Marianne Foyster. She had contacts high up in the Nazi party, which Harry Price used on several occasions to try to sell his book collection to the Nazi regime. She remained touchingly loyal to Harry Price throughout their lives.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Little World.....

I was reading the introduction to 'The Little World of Don Camillo', a book I must have read at least five times over, when I came across the following words in the introduction, words written by Giovanni Guareschi in 1951, which seem astonishingly modern in their sentiments

Men do not make history: they endure it as they endure geography. And history, anyhow, is all a matter of geography.

Men try to change geography. They bore through mountains and change the course of rivers, and in so doing imagine they change history; but they change absolutely nothing because, sooner or later, everything will go to rack and ruin. Water will engulf their bridges, destroy their dams and fill their mines; everything will collapse, from the most miserable dwellings to the grandest palaces, and then grass will grow on the ruins and all will once again be earth. The survivors will find themselves with stones as their only weapons against animals, and history will repeat itself.

And it will be the same old history,

Then, three thousand years later someone will find, buried deep in the mud, a drinking-water tap and perhaps a lathe made by Breda at Sesto San Giovanni, and in amazement will exclaim: "Just look at this!"

And they will set to work to achieve the same stupidities as their ancestors. Because men are hopelessly condemned to follow progress, which leads irrevocably to a substitution of the Almighty of olden times by the newest chemical formulae. And so, in the end, the Almighty is wearied, moves the tip of the little finger of His left hand a fraction of an inch, and the world is blown sky-high,

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Flooding of Cavendish in 1881

A short while ago, I asked in the local paper if anyone had any memories of the flooding of Cavendish 1n 1968. Nobody had. I seem to remember reading the account of the 1967 flooding in an old copy of the local paper, in which an old chap said there had been nothing seen like it since the 1880s. At last, we've come across an account of this flood. From the concentration of the account on the congregational chapel, it would seem as if it was a cloudburst over the north of the village that flooded the tributary that runs past Blacklands. The Chapel would have caught the full force as it swept over, and round the side of the road bridge that used to take the Lower Road over the tributary

December 24th 1881

Floods at Cavendish. The parishioners in this village suffered on Sunday a great inconvenience caused by the floods on the road and several cottages being inundated, the water in some places was 3ft or 4ft deep, several occupants had to escape by means of a scaffold while others could not get out and had to have provisions taken by a man on horseback, the Congregational Chapel suffered from the effects that the service had to be held at the Lecture Hall, Mr J.S.Garret was very considerate and kind to those who suffered from the flooding and sent them a quantity of coals while Mr and Mrs Green supplied soup to the suffering poor which was thankfully received.

Monday, May 08, 2006

William BlackMore and his 'dull and heavie ministry'

In December 1645, the parish of Pentlow received a new Rector, William Blackmore. Blackmore (1616-1684) owed this appointment to the ejection of the previous minister, Edward Alston by the parliamentarian committee for plundered ministers. He was well qualified, though, being an Oxford MA. He spent less than a year in the parish but then went on to become our most famous rector.

Blackmore was already well-known for his rigid presbyterian beliefs and put into effect the regime of ruling elders at his next parish, St Peter's in Cornhill, London. He was, evidently, particularly strict in catechizing the young of the parish, but was constantly under pressure from the elders to institute reforms, and imposed what some of his congregation later described as a ‘dull and heavie ministry’.

Blackmore's progress was rapid and he became a power in the governing synod of London's ramshackle presbyterian system, serving in 1648 as its scribe and later on its ruling grand committee.

In the complex struggles between the radical church and parliament, Blackmore's name keeps appearing. Gradiually, he became a key part of the struggle of the presbyterians against parliament's tolerance of religious free-thinking, and emerged as an important influence with Sion College, the religious club of civil-war presbyterianism, being elected junior dean in 1658–9 and senior dean in 1660. He also was influential in the attempts to halt the political crisis of 1648–9, and in the attempts to put a stop to the king's trial.

After the execution of Charles I he became involved in the City presbyterian plot to restore Charles II to the throne. He was implicated with Christopher Love, who was later condemned and executed for treason, and was suspended by the Commonwealth regime from his post at St Peter's.

His years as a presbyterian fiebrand had been profitable for him and he was eventually able to reture to Hornchurch, in Essex to a comfortable estate. He died at Hare Street, Essex, in 1684 and on 18 July was buried at Romford in the same county.