The Foxearth and District Local History Society

The Hysterical Hystorian

For occasional articles, snippets and announcements by the Resident Historians. (Andrew Clarke and GH) 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 Historical information doesn't really go out of date!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 Andrew.Clarke@Foxearth.org.uk 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, January 07, 2007

The Bodies by the Bridge

in December 1850, some men who were employed employed in raising stone in a field farmed by Corbin (or Corben) Morley near Glemsford County bridge found the bones of two human bodies two feet down below the surface, a short distance from the hedge.

It was investigated by a local man, Mr Boutell who reported that the skeletons were a male amd young female. They ranged side by side, with the male on the right side, with no vestige of a coffin. They were laid east to west, suggesting that it was a Christian burial. This was further implied by the finding of a crude crucifix, consisting of two sticks laid across them. According to local tradition, there was supposed to be an ancient site of a monastery in that field (there is no record of any ecclesiastical building there). However, old ploughmen spoke of having felt the plough 'jump' over foundations. There was also a spring, a hundred yards away, from which poured clear pure cold water, and known as 'Holy Water'. At that time, thirsty labourers would go half way across the field for draughts of this cold sweet water from this spring.

The men who had been employed in 'raising stones' by the farmer struck the foundations of a wall 6-7 feet below the surface, the stones appeared to be about 4lbs in weight and of regular size. For the farmer to have found it worthwhile employing men to dig to that depth, there must have been a number of good stones around.

Two coins were found. The first coin was a penny piece of the reign of Henry the 3rd (1216 till 1272) The second was a silver two penny piece from the reign of Charles 1st (1625 till 1649). A copper token was found of Thomas Reynolds of the Star Inn and Huckster.

This remains one of those frustrating stories where one would like to know so much more. Where was the spot? One assumes that the bridge was the one that took the main road to Long Melford over the Glem, but the fact that it was called the 'County' bridge implies that it was the bridge over the river to Foxearth in the next county. Unfortunately, there were two bridges here, (sometimes just one bridge and a ford). As the bodies were buried at the edge of the parish, one wonders if they were suicides.

However, the idea of a young couple buried together near the ruins of a monastery must have fired the imagination of the people of Glemsford, and it is not much later that the daughters of the nearby rectory, Henry Bull, concocted the fantastic legends of the nun and monk escaping from the monastery at Borley , and being captured and killed. (the nun walled up alive).

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