I lived in what was then known as Stud Farm next to the Folgate
cottages, but I now live in Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape Province
of South Africa.
I lived in North Runcton from about 1952 until my parents
moved, in about 1957. I attended the village school on the green
- the headmaster at the time was Mr Manning. The Rev Muzio was
the Rector, and I was in the church choir along with his son.
I am afraid that we used to play around during the sermons, which
led to the whole choir (adults and children) having to file down
and sit in the congregation during subsequent sermons.
There was a lot of social life around the church when I was
a lad in Runcton. The Rev Muzio organised, with the help of various
local people, the cubs, scouts and various other things for the
youngsters to do. I remember pushing an old barrel organ around
the streets - we knocked on each house and rattled our tins -
dressed in cub and scout uniforms with a bandana on our heads
to seem authentic. We went from the Rectory as far as the little
shop at the start of the common - an old lady ran it and I used
to go over the fields and fill my shirt up (the sleeves knotted)
with wild mushrooms, sell them to her and she would sell them
on to her customers.
Across the common were the old cottages as they appear in
your picture of the common. Just to the right of those cottages
was a large group of wild blackberry bushes and that's where
the village folk - including yours truly - would pick the blackberries
every year for the homemade blackberry and apple pies. Sometimes
there would be members of several families, either with latticed
"chips" or enamel bowls from the kitchen sink. The
crop was prolific - are those bushes still there I wonder?
I recollect there were four elm trees on the green in Rectory
Lane, planted as a square and close together. They stood in as
galleons, spaceships etc during many a game with the other village
kids. The pictures of the old Hall on the web site remind me
of the yearly village fetes held there - it was a lovely old
I found this picture of a North Runcton school trip to Whipsnade
Zoo in 1954.
back row from left to right:? ?, Clifford Winters or
Dixon, Michael Bray, Peter or Michael Bennet, Desmond Mallows,and
a lad who I seem to remember was called Keith...
front row from left to right: myself, Barbara Sayers,
?Gillian ? , Pamela Sayers, Delia Grey/Gray, I think the next
two girls were called Mary or Carol respectively, and finally
Peter (or Michael) Bennet
Sorry to be vague, and apologies for any mistaken or forgotten
names, but time plays a few tricks with the memory. This picture
was taken forty eight years ago so I guess I haven't done too
badly with the names.....
|John Dawson, Hullbridge,
"I was born in North Runcton in 1911, at the Foldgate
Row by the Common Gates. I remember the farmer who lived at Manor
Farm used to have a horse and trap, a gig. The children in Foldgate
Row used to wait for him to come and they'd open and shut the
gates and he'd throw them a ha'penny. They never got out of the
"When my brother, sister and I went to North Runcton
school, we used to walk there through the churchyard. At one
time we had been dressed in plastic mackintoshes in red, yellow,
blue and white. We decided they were too hideous and embarrassing
to wear to school, so we took them off at the church gate, and
hid them behind the wall there. Then we dashed across the green
in the rain. In the afternoon we collected them from behind the
wall and wore them home."
"I went to secondary school in King's Lynn during the
70s, which meant catching the service bus from the Hall gates
or the bus shelter on the green. If there was enough snow or
ice in winter the bus would skip North Runcton. On those days,
as we got more and more frozen and it got later and later, we
would realise that the bus wasn't coming. We then had to trudge
up to the A47 and wait there for one of the buses coming from
Norwich. The compensation was that, with a bit of luck, it might
be that we missed two or three lessons.
There was virtually nothing for us to do in the village at
that age. At times a few of us were tolerated at the Sports Club,
for which we were glad, and monopolised the bar football table.
We stacked up piles of coins - it was 2p a game. I can still
score goals from the back row, so it was obviously time well