28th April 1940

Suddenly decided to go over to Hadleigh to see Dr Taylor’s Memorial, in order to obtain details for a story with I have had in mind for some time now, and which one day I might write. Cycled off towards Nayland, and on the Boxted Road came upon Page, of the Treasurer’s Office. He is now in the Territorials and is at Newmarket. He did not seem very happy.

Went on by Langham to Thorington Street, passed Thorington Hall, looking as lovely as ever, but all closed up and shuttered. There were 3 Suffolk horses standing in the stream nearby, and the sun shone brightly. The farms looked good and well ploughed. I wonder if Penrose [the owner of Thorington Hall] will ever see the old Hall again? On up the little valley passed the old mill and so through lovely country to Hadleigh, beginning to feel very tired indeed. Went up to see the Monument, and found it just as it is always shown in pictures, although a hedge boundary now runs near it, and all the land is ploughed. In a little farmyard next the Monument field, a group of men were trying a beautiful grey cob under saddle. Overhead RAF planes soared towards the coast.

Hadleigh town itself does not look very war-like. There are a few sandbags round the police station and the Territorial Army HQ, but nothing else. Many old houses have been demolished in the last few years, leaving unsightly gaps in the streets.

Hadleigh’s Rector, Dr Rowland Taylor, was a religious martyr, burnt at the stake for his Protestant faith at nearby Aldham Common in 1555 during the reign of Mary I. The people of Hadleigh lined the streets in support of Dr Taylor as he rode to the place of execution. A memorial stone, erected in 1818, marks the place where he was burnt at the stake.

Professor Lionel Penrose owned Thorington Hall and gave it to the National Trust in 1940 after he had taken up a medical appointment in Canada.


alice said...

thank you, whoever you are.. it's a real honour to have the opportunity to read this amazing journal. i found the blog by accident, and am going to read my way back through the older posts. He was obviously a lovely and erudite man. He has left such a wonderful legacy.

E J Rudsdale said...

Thanks Alice for your kind comments, they are much appreciated. It's so good to hear that you are enjoying the journal - do keep following the blog as the war is about to start having a serious impact on life in Essex. CP

Barbara Butler said...

Ann Gilbert, (born Taylor 1783) was co-author of Rhymes for the Nursery with her sister Jane. She lived as a child in Lavenham and then in Colchester with her parents and siblings who also took an interest in Roland Taylor's martyrdom. It is mentioned in her memoirs which can be read online "The Autobiography of Mrs Gilbert"

E J Rudsdale said...

Thanks Barbara for this very helpful information. Eric was very interested in the history of the Taylor sisters, so this is most relevant to his blog. I shall enjoy looking at Mrs Gilbert's Memoirs. CP