15th May 1944

Heavy rain this morning.  A quiet night here, but on the news we heard that there had been a heavy raid over the S. West counties, Plymouth and Bristol, I expect.  Fifteen planes were brought down in bad weather, so several hundred must have come over. 

Committee at Birch this afternoon.  The Chairman was very outspoken about Layer Breton Hall again, as he has discovered quite accidentally that a man called Eves, who is on the Executive Committee intends to go there to live in September.  Hundreds of pounds of public money have been spent, the occupiers have been evicted at great inconvenience to themselves, all to no useful purpose whatever.  Further talk about post-war housing in country districts.  The most fantastic schemes are now being put forward by various officials, concerning the formation of new “communities”, etc.

Before I came away from Birch I was allowed to see what remains of the Library, and found a copy of Morant’s 'Colchester' which belonged to James Round, but on searching it could find no trace of any drawings of the “Stonehouse”.  There was however an original letter from Morant to Charles Gray, dated from Lambeth of 1769, in which after mentioning various antiquarian matters, he says his daughter has just given birth to her third son, and that her husband, Mr Astle, being well satisfied with her condition, has gone off on a riding tour.  This son was I believe Philip, who took the name of Hills and inherited the Morant papers.

Sent off my letter to Lady Benham.

Called at Holly Trees, and mentioned to Poulter that Molly Blomfield had been ill again.  In the course of talking he mentioned quite casually that a few weeks ago a detective called to see him, making enquiries about her.  He said that he understood that the enquiries were in consequence of her having applied for some job, he did not know what, but this I do not believe.  It is possible that she has been found on military or RAF property in the course of her work [for the National Buildings Record], and they are checking up on her identity but it seems very curious.  Poulter saw nothing odd in it at all.  He made me very angry as he has thrown away nearly all the papers we got from Craske’s [Solicitor's] office, including the very interesting farm sale catalogue of 1820.  I was so furious I left at once.

More rain tonight.  Boxted at 9.  ‘Planes went out for 10 minutes soon after 11, droning horribly above the clouds.  Very cold.

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