A new trail showing the impact of World War One on the families connected with Ickworth House was unveiled on Thursday, the 102nd anniversary of the declaration of war.
Funded by a £10,000 Heritage Lottery fund grant, it is the result of 18 months’ research in national, local and family archives by a team of volunteers and staff, inspired the discovery there of a disc commemorating the first shooting down of a Zeppelin.
Members of some of the families represented on the trail will be at the launch.
The trail follows what happened to the house’s Marquess and Marchioness of Bristol, their two daughters and five key families who lived or worked at Ickworth.
There are six interpretive panels in the parkland and a recreation of a 1919 ‘peace dinner’ in the Rotunda Dining Room.
The team came upon many poignant stories of families on the estate and in Horringer village.
For example, Ickworth coachman Charles William Kitcatt joined the 9th Btn, Suffolk Regiment, in September 1914 and was killed in September 1916 on the Somme, aged 30. He was awarded the British Medal for bravery and is listed in the 72,000 dead on the Thiepval Memorial.
Of the 188 men of Ickworth and Horringer who enlisted, 39 died, included three of five sons of gardener John Crack.
There were many stories of ordinary men at the front, whether winning medals for bravery or quirky tales, like ‘Scribbling Billy’ Rowles, who still wrote horticultural articles for newspapers while in the trenches.
Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, East of England, Robyn Llewellyn, said: “This exciting project is another way of bringing the past of the Ickworth Estate to life by investigating the lives of the many people connected with Ickworth Estate during the First World War.”