Research group produces village history books

Quatrefoil members Di Maywhort, Sarah Doig, Jean Sheehan, Charles Greenhough and Sue Emerson
Quatrefoil members Di Maywhort, Sarah Doig, Jean Sheehan, Charles Greenhough and Sue Emerson
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Quatrefoil, a group researching the history of Botesdale, Redgrave and The Rickinghalls, has produced its first three local history books.

The group received money for the project from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Its chairman, Sarah Doig, said: “The grant was essential because we wanted to make our research widely available, principally by publishing affordable books.”

The Lottery grant should allow six more books to be produced – to include histories of local rectors, schools, Botesdale’s medieval market and guide books – and, by charging modestly for the books, Quatrefoil will be able to continue publishing after the grant money is used up.

From 10am-4pm next Sunday (Sept 15) there will be an opportunity to buy the books at Rickinghall Village Hall, as well as meet the authors, browse displays of photographs, maps and documents and listen to a range of talks, from the history of local schools and rectors to village defences in the Second World War.

There will also be a talk on Samuel Speare, whose story is told in full in the first of the three new books. Born in 1853 the son of a poor Rickinghall family, he became a missionary in Zanzibar.

The second book is a guide to Botesdale, written by Di Maywhort, the History Recorder for Rickinghall. In her book she focuses on the individual houses.

She said: “Over the years, I have discovered a great deal about their history – much of it from local people. This guide book is a great way to give something back.”

The third book is a guide to Rickinghall Inferior church, written by Jean Sheehan, Recorder for Redgrave. For her, writing about a place she finds particularly peaceful and friendly was a labour of love.

She said: “While it is a place of worship, I also want to recall the craftsmen whose hands have made the building what it is today.”

The Rickinghall event is one of many taking place around the country as part of Heritage Open Days, which runs from Monday to Sunday. Botesdale’s Chapel of Ease will be open, as will both Rickinghall’s churches, Inferior and Superior.