Bawburgh Village

Characters of Bawburgh Past

There have been many iconic Bawburgh characters through the ages; some are still living here now! Many people have helped in the compilation of the information provided here. We would especially like to thank Betty Martins and to all those who have shared photos and memories. Do please keep them coming!

Over the coming year more information will be added to this section of the website, so 'Watch this Space!'

Allison Family

This photo, last shown in Bawburgh News November 2014, is with thanks to the Allison family and was taken prior to the First World War. It shows three sons lost in that War, Alphonso, Dan and (Horace) Albert, first, third and fifth in the back row. Also in back row are brothers Charlie and Fred. Seated: Eldest sister Daisy, Mother Maria, Father William and sister Hilda. Front row: the two youngest brothers Edward and Wallace.

More information on Alphonso, Dan and (Horace) Albert can be found by clicking here

Chambers Family

Photo with thanks to John Rickett. Ambrose Chambers, his maternal grandfather, taken in 1937 in Church Street. Shows Flint Cottages prior to restoration

Photo from Percy Garrod archives. Ambrose and Emily Chambers.

The Chambers spent their time before Bawburgh in Weston Longville and Marlingford. It is thanks to an article written by their daughter Kathleen, that there is a legacy of family history. Kathleen came to Bawburgh School, whilst living in Marlingford, when the Jacksons were in situ, and remembered the Rev. Gabriel Young at Church, and his daughters, Helen and Margery. They moved with their four children to keep the shop in Church Street in Bawburgh in the 1940s.

The shop (now Chapel View) had been the Post Office, when previously kept by Alice and Robert Brown, but this was transferred to Post Office Stores (New Road) in 1937. Ambrose and Emily lived at the shop with their four children: Christopher, William, Violet (John's mother) and Kathleen (his aunt who brought him up following Violet's death).

Their daughter Kathleen (married to Cyril) Browne continued Church Stores until it was sold to Roy Robinson in 1960, and it continued to be a grocery shop until 1979. In 1960 Kathleen moved to Stonelea, a bungalow in Harts Lane until she moved to Wymondham in 1976.

Ambrose died in 1948 aged 76, and Emily in 1952 aged 80 after suffering from dementia. She was nursed until her death by Kathleen.  

So whilst the Chambers were in Church Street, Eva Dobson and Basil Cannell shared the decade at the butcher's shop in Harts Lane, and Sydney Broughton delivered milk from Little Melton. Mary Harman was landlady at The Cock, and Billy Johnson at the Kings Head. Rev. Frost and Rev. Davies shared the decade at the Church, and Mr Jack Steed was Headmaster at the School.

John's story 'growing up in Bawburgh'

John Rickett, son of Violet brought up by Kathleen

My move to Bawburgh in 1953 was due to unfortunate circumstances. My father died in 1948 when I was only two years old and I carried on living with my mother Violet in Surrey until she also passed away in 1953. My mother had asked her sister Kathleen (nee Chambers) to look after me on her death. So at the age of 7 years, I moved into Church Stores, Bawburgh, to live with Aunt Kathleen and Cyril Browne (her husband). Aunt Kathleen had married quite late in life and Cyril was 12 years older than her so I think it was as traumatic for them to have a young boy in their lives as it was for me to lose my mother. My mother had worked in service and was a professional cook so I had been spoiled with regards to food. My first meal in Bawburgh was stewed hare.

On reflection, I believe that in 1953, I was seeing the end of old village life. The village had two shops: Church Stores and the Post Office which was a general store, a working mill and two public houses: The Cock and The King's Head. There was a village policeman, and a part-time fish and chip shop. I seem to remember the Hall was still occupied but in a poor state of repair. The Blacksmiths opposite the village green was busy and there was the egg packing station at the top of Harts Lane.

I went to Bawburgh School. My aunt was a friend of Mr Steed who was the Headmaster and it was fun to visit as they had a pet monkey who was very good at turning on the water taps to drink but did not have the inclination to turn them off! Mr Steed retired shortly after I arrived, which I hope I was not responsible for, and Miss Stannard replaced him. I only spent a short time at Bawburgh School before moving on to Langley but have fond memories.

Church stores only had an outside toilet and water came from a well with a hand pump in the kitchen with cooking done on a paraffin stove. Next door some of the houses in Child's terrace had a similar lack of facilities, and were without electricity or running water. We never had a television or telephone but did spend time listening to the radio. Aunt was very strict and Sundays was my worst day of the week. I had to wear my best clothes and often attended church twice. I was in the choir along with Terry Stephens, my best friend, and Jenny Seaman and Sylvia Ramsay. John Lofty was our organist. He was a very good musician and had his own band and also reared pigs. He was not the best of time keepers as we often were all dressed in our surplises and ready to march up the aisle but no organist had appeared! There would then be a loud squeal of brakes as John pulled up in his old Landrover and you could hear him running down the path in his wellies. He would burst into the church with the smell of pigs a few feet behind him as I started to pump the bellows and away we would go. Pumping was not without its hazards as one had to keep the brass weight below a mark. Should this not be achieved, the organ sounded a bit like a set of bagpipes with a puncture. At the end of the service, John would play a pop tune but in slow tempo. The vicar would often say he had not heard that hymn before. Perhaps Sundays was not so bad after all.

Aunt and Uncle retired in 1962, selling Church stores and purchasing a piece of land opposite the old Cock public House where they built a small bungalow and where I lived till I joined the Royal Navy.

The river played quite a big part in the life of us youngsters. Just about every boy fished, and if I caught anything big enough, it was eaten. In Summer, the village green would be busy and we all learnt to swim in the river, starting in the shallows and ending up in the mill pool with the bravest either jumping or diving off the bridge. Summer holidays were long and the sun always seemed to shine. We would bike for miles, leaving home early and not getting back until late evening.

As we got into our teens, we were all motor bike mad. Someone or other would obtain an old motorbike for a few pounds, which we would then wheel up to the showground track on the Marlingford Road and ride until it fell to pieces. I expect we were responsible for destroying many a British classic motorbike. Mr Wright, the village policeman, would keep a close eye on us and there was not much that escaped his attention.

In June of 1962, I joined the Royal Navy. I came back to the village to visit Aunt and Uncle when on leave and was married to Kathleen (another!) in the village church by Reverend Willson. We held our reception at the King's Head, managed by the Howletts.

My aunt passed away in 1995 and her husband, Cyril, had died earlier in 1972.

Young Family

Thanks to some notes, deposited in the Norfolk and Norwich Record Office by the late Miss Margaret Young, we can piece together the involvement of the Young family in Bawburgh village life during the first half of this century. 

The Rev. Gabriel Young was born in Ceylon on the 9th January 1845. He was the eldest son of Henry E. A. Young of Newara Ellaya, who was a tea planter. According to the Parson Daines Memorial sermon, his father had wanted Gabriel to go into the business, but Gabriel had his own calling to the Ministry. His father gave him £500 and said in effect - 'go your own way, this is all you will get from me'.  At some point between then and 1869 his family came to England, and Gabriel completed his priest's training at St. Aidan's in Birkenhead. He was ordained Deacon in the Cathedral church of Ripon on 19th September, 1869, afterwards holding a curacy in Ingrow, Yorkshire (1869-71), before being ordained priest in 1871.

His first link with East Anglia came shortly afterwards when he held curacies at Acle (1872-75), Coddenham, Suffolk (1874-87),  and then Acle again (1888-91). From there, he and his (by then) family came to Bawburgh. On the 7th February 1892, David William Child (Assistant Overseer) witnessed the Installation. He took over Bawburgh from the Rev. Hicks Thomas Deacle (1816-1891) who had been the vicar of St. Mary and St. Walstan for 31 years.

Restoration: The new young Vicar found the church in a deplorable state. As bad, perhaps, as during its decline in the 17th century, when the Dean and Chapter of Norwich ordered its restoration. This late 19th century dilapidation included half-decayed pews, bad flooring and a crumbling tower. The Rev. Young's task was immediately to set about restoration. The Dean and Chapter again contributed, and presented the old Cathedral Nave pulpit.

On the 3rd July, 1892, the church re-opened for worship and gradually, over the next few years, things improved apace. In 1905, the restored Screen was dedicated in the name of Mr. Charles E. Noverre.

In 1904, the Rev. Young suffered the tragic loss of his wife, Caroline. Only a year later, his youngest daughter, Agnes Millicent, died in Parish, aged 27. Parishioners restored the tower in Caroline's memory and the plaque to record the memory of Agnes can be seen in the church.

The Rev. Young's tenacity was rewarded in 1909 when he officiated at the churchyard extension consecration. The cleaned walls, the restored and furnished altar, showed to the best advantage the window lights; in 1892 pieces of the old stained glass were found and incorporated into the new windows. All this, and more, with the tireless Rev. Young as overseer.

Rev. Gabriel Young and his famous tricycle

Rev. Gabriel Young and his daughters
outside the rectory. The family loved their
pets and are often seen with 2 Jack
Russells; here with their cat as well.

Rev. Gabriel Young showing part of churchyard

'Young' sisters

The Rectory

The family lived in the Rectory, on the Watton road, now no longer lived in by the clergy; the last being Rev. Willson. While still at the big house, Gabriel bought the next door Babur Hill Cottage, where the family moved on his retirement in 1931, and where his daughter Margaret lived until her death in 1977.

Helena Mary Young, the eldest daughter, chose nursing as her career and extended this to work for the Red Cross. Both she and her sister Margaret (also known as Marjorie) were musical, and played the organ regularly in church. Margaret played also for the Meltons and gave music lessons. Helena is remembered for her great belief in the health-giving properties of onions, while Margaret was always giving out apples!

The Rev. Young himself was 'short, little man' and expected always to be addressed as 'Sir' by the children of the village. He made many visits to the school. The first, on the 11th March, 1892, is recorded in the school's Log Book thus: "The new vicar, the Rev. Gabriel Young, visited the school for the first time this morning and gave a scripture lesson."

The annual Sunday School treat saw the local children visiting the Rev. Young and his family at the Vicarage, eating quince jam sandwiches. No doubt Margaret's guides came in for some quince jam, as well as the apples, since there were plenty around in the garden.

Gabriel's son, Annesley, went to America and was a priest in Charge at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church in Croton, and the Church of the Divine Love in Montrose.

The Rev. Gabriel Young died, at home, on the 7th May 1934, in his ninetieth year. He, and his wife Caroline and daughter, Helena, are buried in Bawburgh churchyard. When Margaret died in 1977, parishioners commissioned the statue of St. Walstan as her memorial. It was dedicated by the Rev. Robert Loveless in 1981.

(Much of the information on the family is with thanks to Mrs. Ivy Lake)

Rev. Gabriel Young outside Bawburgh Church

Rev Gabriel Young in Bawburgh church

Based on the publication in Bawburgh News, October 1999:-

Homecoming of Annesley Thomas Young, outside the Rectory from left to right: Margaret, Isabel, (front) Anita, Rev Gabriel Young, Annesley, Helena (behind gatepost). Anita's sister, Marjorie, is on the Rev. Young's famous tricycle, but sadly obscured by the union flag. Photo taken at the old Vicarage, now Rectory House, Watton Road.


As shown in photo, the homecoming of the son of the Vicar, Gabriel Young, in 1913. Annesley Thomas Young was the second of the Vicar's children with Caroline Eliza Julia Young (nee Renouf), and was born 21st June 1873, two years after their marriage in 1871. He was licensed as a Lay Reader in 1894, when he was only 21, having attended Queen College, Newfoundland, and was later ordained deacon, in Milwaukee. He married Isabel Gertrude Stebbins, daughter of Major Stebbins of Barron, Wisconsin, in 1897 where Annesley had been responsible for the building of St. Marks Church. They had two daughters, Marjorie and Anita - the photograph shown on the left was found in Anita's scrapbook.

The School Logbook records their visit thus: "July 21st 1913: The Vicar's son, Rev. Young of Chicago and C.E. Noverre, visited school, and gave an interesting account of Red Indians!"

The photograph  and foregoing detail comes thanks to Tom Davis of Pennsylvania, Great-Grandson of Annesley Young, who visited Bawburgh in May 1998. Tom's mother, Dede, her cousin Tom  Smith and his wife, also visited Bawburgh a year later in 1999. When we reported upon these visits, Barbara Woodrow (nee Woods) remembered a photograph she had of a Marjorie Isabelle Young as a young woman - who indeed transpires to be the mother of Tom Smith (seen on left as a child). She also pointed out that, it was Helena Young, and not Marjorie Young who played the organ at Bawburgh Church. Barbara resurrected some detailed notes on Marjorie's illustrious musical career starting in Brighton,  and continuing at  the Norwich School of Music. She gained medals and qualifications for piano teaching and singing. She had become an established music teacher, when because of ill-health she returned to Bawburgh and launched an innovative venture providing music tuition by post as well as composing original works and inventing a musical game of "snap!" During her tuition of the choirs at Little and Great Melton churches, they became very successful at Music Festivals - a talented lady indeed! (Many thanks to Barbara Woodrow)

Published in Bawburgh News, October 1997:-

Marjorie Young's 90th Birthday


On the occasion of Marjorie Young's 90th Birthday, 3rd October 1974 - June Farrow does the honours of presenting a bouquet. Marjorie Young was daughter of the Rev. Gabriel Young, played  the organ in 4 churches in the area, and played in Bawburgh Church on her Birthday in 1974. The family arrived at the Vicarage on Watton Road (now Rectory House) in 1892, when Margaret, always known as Marjorie, was aged 16. She died on 17th February 1977, aged 94, still living next door to the Vicarage at Babur Hill Cottage.

With thanks to Ray Clare and acknowledgements to the EDP.

Further Note: Marjorie was born at Coddenham in 1884, one of 9 children, 2 died in infancy and one died when quite young. After the death of her mother, Marjorie moved back home to look after her father.

Helena Mary Young

Helena Mary Young was 20 years old, when her family arrived at the Vicarage in 1892. Her father, the Rev. Gabriel Young was Vicar of Bawburgh from that date, for 39 years. He died in 1934, aged 89. Helena, a nurse, died in 1940, aged 68. By this time, the family were living in Babur Cottage, next door to the Vicarage on Watton Road. Known as 'Nurse Young'  Helena worked for the Red Cross and attended many confinements in the village during the first four decades of the Century. Her sister, Margaret, known as Marjorie, was four years her junior, and died in 1977, aged 94. Helena played the organ in Church and organised the choir, whilst Marjorie was better known as Captain of the Girl Guides.

Bawburgh Girl Guides

Helena Young, Gabriel's eldest daughter chose nursing as a career