Ruth Fisher is the second daughter
of Stanley Isaac Fisher and Agnes May (nee Horne).
||Stanley and Agnes owned and ran
the village butchers on Norwich Road. They were both descendants
of prominent Mattishall business families,who are on record,
dating back to the mid 1700's.
Ruth was born at Moat Farm, Dereham
Road, Mattishall in 1923. She has many memories of Mattishall
and village life and fortunately for us she has also been a collector
of all sorts of material concerning her family, her church (of
which she is a loyal servant) and our village. You will also notice
she has contributed greatly to the content of this Web-site.
Part of Ruth's collection are two
letters sent to her by Florence George (nee Green) (nee Purple)
in 1996, Florence was then in her early 90's. The content of the
letters paint a marvelous picture of how life was in Mattishall
when Florence was a young girl. A very long way form how we know
13th February, 1996
I had a letter from Heather, said
she met up with you in Mattishall and said you were writing a
book about the village. As I have now passed my 90th birthday
I thought you would be interested about some of the events and
people in 1915 onwards as I don't think there are many of my age
living there now, so I will pass on my Knowledge to you. I was
born in East Dereham in 1905, and my parents Mr and Mrs Jack Purple
moved by horse and cart to Mattishall in 1908 to a house in Mill
Road (until he died occupied by Mr Womack). I lived in that house
until I married Fred Green in 1927.
||My memory goes back to when I
started at Mattishall School in 1910, I was 5 years of age.
Miss Johnson was the headmistress, a very severe person dressed
in black, I was terrified of her, she was very handy with
the cane and kept every one in order. There was Mrs Polly
White who taught
Standard 1 and Miss Bushell whom us younger ones loved.
When Miss Johnson retired Mr Fred
Braily took over, I was very much in awe of him when he first
came, I was unable to understand his Yorkshire brogue and have
never forgotten the day he threw a piece of chalk at me because
I laughed out loudly when he started to sing, I ended up in tears.
By the time I left school we were good friends.
In those days once a year we had,
what was called, a Cookery Van parked on a meadow by the side
of the school. 12 girls over the age of 12 were picked to attend
the lessons, one week, cookery, second week, housewifery, third
week housewifery. I remember washing week, we all had to bring
our own garments. Hilda Gunton brought a red petticoat and boiled
it with the whites and everything came out a blushing pink. We
girls enjoyed those weeks away from ordinary lessons.
The Chapel anniversaries were a
great event. I was not allowed to go on my own, my people being
strict Church but Elsie Lodge was a friend of mine and I was invited
to her house those special Sundays so I went with her. The platform
was erected in Neve's Meadow, how I prayed for a fine day. All
who could afford it had something new to wear. Recitations, songs
and short readings were all enjoyed by the congregation. Some
of the younger ones could not stand all the excitement and burst
into tears, but that made the event more eventful. The following
Tuesday a treat was held on Marshall Cole's Meadow in Welgate
|All who belonged to the Chapel
had a tea, after tea games were played and it went on till
dark. There was much laughter and fun, the most popular game
was Kiss-in-the-ring, everyone joined in.
of the Horne sisters at the Chapel Fete
If you did not belong to Chapel Sunday
School you were allowed in the meadow by paying 3d, a princely
price in those days. One summer a treat was organised to go to
Ringland Hills.A steam engine was hired from Farrows, the engine
driver was Chris Orton (senior). We loaded up at Mattishall Church
and away down the Norwich Road we went.We sat on bales of straw
but it was a bumpy ride. Unfortunately the wind blew the wrong
way and we all got covered with smuts. 1 recall it was a lovely
day climbing and rolling down those fern covered hills. One summer
we all went to Yarmouth for the day, it was organised for Farrow's
employees and some friends. What I remember about that; Billie
Edwards, a rather simple man, came and when it was time to return
he was missing so we had to leave him behind. He got home in time
to blow the church organ the next day having walked the 21 miles
Mildred Edwards was the school teacher
for many years as you will remember a well respected lady. The
three Miss Watson's lived at the Cedars with their brother George
who married Nancy Gresion (Fred Braily's wife's sister). There
were lots of characters in the village in the 1930s. There was
Fred Juby known as the worker's friend who sorted out the village
problems. He always wore a black bowler hat when he cycled around.
In my school days I remember going past the vicarage, an opening
by the end of the house was called The Cut and went out at Back
Lane. On this day there was a big white notice out on the wall
by Mr. Juby "Cut Closed, Plight of Vicar" a maid at the
vicarage had emptied a chamber pot down the wall, she slept at
the top of the house. Fred thought the villagers should be warned.
Jack Drew a dealer in anything, had two brothers both deaf and
dumb. Tom Beckett the cobbler who sat on the floor and most people
took their footwear to him to be repaired.
Horne (right) and her niece Lillian Horne
out side her shop which is the cottage next
to what is now Mattishall News
Emily Horne who sold haberdashery
in her front room, she lived next to Ivy Cottage, lived in by
Bert Clarke who drove a covered wagon around Mattishall and surrounding
villages for Bert Neve's shop. He was accompanied by a man called
Monkey Godfrey. The butchers were Gerald Hewitt and Stanley Fisher.
Lottie Palmer kept a small shop next to Miss Horne's. Bert Leveridge
had a general shop at the beginning of Welgate Road. Opposite
was Hurrens cycle repair shop, Frank Norton had a general shop
by the church. Eddie Cole had the Post Office at the beginning
of Cemetery Road, opposite the Odd fellows Hall where all the
village events took place, whist drives, dances, concerts etc.
Miss Hunt and her brother Malcolm lived at the Hall, she was a
great animal lover.
Norwich Road to Burgh Lane
Electric Cinema on the left to be replaced by Odd fellows
Hall in 1920
Post off ice on the opposite corner. You can just see the
post box in the wall.
Dr. Griffith Williams was the local
doctor, Nurse Ford was the midwife and was driven around in a
horse and trap to assist women when expecting babies. Mrs. Parnell
the working woman's midwife, she had an upright bicycle and attended
to them, a friendly person and well liked. The Reverend Madoc
was vicar until the 1930s, on his death his place was taken by
Rev. David Graham, he was not very well received in the village,
the village folk did not take to what they called foreigners.
Mrs. Neve (Bert Neve the grocer's mother) another well known person,
anyone who was ill and in need of help, she went to their aid,
a kind and respected lady. Mrs. Richmond was called on to lay
out any one who died, a very good hearted woman. Another character
was a man called Jampot Savory, he made a jampot with a candle
fixed inside on tallow, string made into a handle round the rim,
which hung on his handlebars when he went out in the dark. Mr.
Howe's was the carrier, every Saturday he drove a covered-in cart
seating six people to Norwich, you booked your seat during the
week and paid 2 shillings for the journey. The first bus to travel
through Mattishall was in 1924 from Dereham to Norwich. We girls
around that age all walked to Dereham Road turn and paid Id bus
fare for a ride on the top deck as far as the church.
In 1912 there were Maltings opposite
the church, these were demolished in the 1920s and Reynold's shop
and house were built on the site. In the 1930s I moved to Mill
Street into the house vacated by Arthur Home and his family, I
lived there until I moved to Norwich in 1950.
||In the 1930s when I lived in
Mill Street Dolton Turner was my milkman. He cycled round
the village with the milk chum on his handlebars came round
to the door with can and dipper the price was 2d per pint.
Brian Youngs as a boy
George Randal was parish clerk, lived
nearby as did Tailor Home, further along was Dick Norton's bakery.
In my childhood days 1 lived down Mill Road, your grandfather
and grandmother lived further up the road in the next house, I
went to their house daily for a pint of milk. Your grandfather
Isaac Fisher had a shop at the bottom of their yard, it was the
ground floor of the mill 1 suspect that is how Mill Road was named.
I don't recall going there to buy meat, but 1 remember your Aunt
Elsie (Mrs. Arthur Home) taking me for a ride in her horse and
trap when she drove round the surrounding villages delivering
meat to customers. No motor vehicles on the roads then. I think
Luke Harrison was the first man to have a car in Mattishall.
Your father Stanley was a few years
my senior so I did not see much of him. Wilfred was a shy boy
who married an older friend of mine (Eva Bingham), Russell I seem
to know much better. I remember being invited to a Christmas party
at their house. I knew Russell better when he married Edie Horne
and they lived at South Green.
Lusher's greenhouses were in Mill
Road. We went there to buy our tomatoes and cucumbers. Blackberrying
time lots of the women and children picked blackberries, took
them to be weighed at Wesley Lusher's Barn, we were paid 1d for
every pound. Lusher's then sent them to a Norwich jam factory.
In those days Mattishall had lots of blackberry brambles: and
a nice amount of money could be earned. Holly wreaths were made
in the greenhouse for Xmas sale.
In the late 1930 Bert Bell opened
a barber's -shop in Frank Norton's yard and the local boys went
to have their haircut for 2d. Mr. Skinner drove a donkey cart
and it contained a ice cream chum., his 1d and 2d wafers and cornets
were very popular, he stayed outside the school and was welcomed
by the children who had a copper to spend.
It is over 40 years since I lived
in Mill Street Mattishall so the places I knew and the people
have gone - time marches on. When I left Mattishall in 1951 I
lived in Norwich, 10 years later I moved to Gt. Yarmouth. I remarried
and when my husband died I decided to move to Devon. My daughter
Phyllis was living here with her two daughters, I went into Abbeyfield
House and was quite happy there. I moved to Sandpipers retirement
home 2 years ago, its a very nice place, I have a lovely large
room looking out over the sea, at the side a little park filled
with flowers in the various seasons, a tennis court and bowling
green so plenty to see if I don't want to go outdoors. The staff
are very caring, the food good so I feel I am very fortunate.
Seaton is a small lovely little seaside town. Most days when the
weather is good 1 walk along the prom as it is only a few minutes
from the house. Red sand and white cliffs make it very picturesque.
Phyl lives at Sidmouth a short distance along the coast also my
granddaughter and her children so I see them most weeks. I now
have 8 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren and 3.great great
Do hope you will enjoy this letter
and the contents will be helpful in your book writing. Don't hesitate
to write if you think I could be of help and able to supply any
Florence George (nee Green)(nee Purple)
PS....... A few more items I have
recalled - Farmers who lived in Mattishall in the 1920, Luke Harrison,
Tom Lusher, Herbert Wier, Charles Grix, Reg Gay, John Norton,
Herbert Savory, E. Allenden, Bill Fendick, Osborne, Wyatt, Edgar
Fish, Ambrose Fish, H.Williamson, F.Faircloth and Talbot Hill.
Public houses were The Eight Ringers
(Mr Batson) The Swan (Earl) The White House (Mr Pignal) Crown
& Anchor (Frank Edwards (closed around 1911) Cross Keys (John
Reeve). Tradesmen were Dobbs brothers wheelwrights and farriers,
Lebell King carpenter and coffin maker, A. Reeve painter and decorator,
D.Howard carpenter, W & R. Norton bakers, Horne tailor, Ina High
knitter and dressmaker. Policemen were William Powell followed
by P.C. Nightingale. Mr. Bowers was the man from the Prudential
he cycled round the village and collected their insurance payments
weekly. He was known locally as "Old Wish Me Dead".
8th April, 1996
Thank you for sending me Mattishall
Society News. I was very pleased with all the news and it gave
me great pleasure to catch up on all the activities taking place
there. Since I last wrote I recalled a few more memories which
will probably interest some members. I was interested in "Where
is the lane known as" No Road" I think I am not sure but it was
on Norwich Road, past the church on the left side and led to Nowhere,
in the early 1930s the first Mattishall council houses were built
a short distance on. Mattishall Burgh started at the end of Cemetery
Road at the top of Back Lane opposite the then Cross Keys. The
west side of Mattishall started at the end of Mill Road where
on the left is a lane (called Lusher's Lane) so named because
Daddy Lusher had some greenhouses a short way down. The lane carries
on to an open space, which was called Peewep so called because
a large number of birds called Peeweps made their home there and
made a penetrating weeping noise. Carrying on to the end of this
field you came to an adjoining lane which came out by the side
of the Stone Road Bridge opposite Old Moor Chapel. There was an
unbridged ford at the end of Mattishall Burgh leading on to the
North Tuddenham Road.
I have good cause to remember this
ford, as when I was 8 years old my mother hired a donkey cart
and took my brother and I to visit an uncle who lived at Hoe,
4 miles away. When we came to the ford the donkey refused to go
through the water, along came two men in a horse and cart, they
tried to get the donkey to go but no success so they drove through
the little stream, took off their boots and socks, took the laces
out of their boots, waded through the water to us and tied the
donkey's front and hind legs with the laces and carried the donkey
across the stream, came back pulled us over in the cart, re-harnessed
the donkey and we carried on our journey. My mother was very grateful
to the men who were Mr. Lebel King and his assistant, the Mattishall
undertaker. I recall him saying "it's all right missus Farmer
Savory died last night, we're off to measure him for his coffin".
I remember we went home via Dereham to avoid any trouble.
Fred Horne outside
his tailor's shop in Mill Street
Tailor Horn lived in Mill Street,
he did his work in a top room of a little 2 roomed house, the
top window faced South Green and could be seen sewing away at
his garments. Ina Gap (late Mrs. George High) was the village
hand knitter and dress maker. The Odd fellows Hall was built in
the early 1920s, was used for all the village meetings, we had
whist drives and dances, the music was supplied by Mr. Ladbroke,
he played his dulcimer, Mrs. Ladbroke played the piano. They lived
at Hockering and travelled by motor bike and side-car. They were
a bit overcrowded as Mrs. Ladbroke sat in the side-car with the
dulcimer, and then daughter Ula on the back. Ula later married
Ted Youngs and their son Brian still lives in Back Lane where
Ula and Ted lived all their lives.
Another memory is of the l9l4-18
war. It was a bright moonlit night and a loud buzzing noise was
heard in the distance and came over the village. It was a German
Zeppelin, it looked like a huge silver cigar and was flying very
low. On its side painted in huge black letters R.101. It dropped
a bomb in a field near Edgar Fish's house, except broken windows
no damage. This was around 1916. In the 1920s Dick Norton kept
the bakery (and 1 hear his son Dick still carries on the business).
When Dick's father died Mrs. Adde
Norton still carried on assisted over the years by Ben High, Phyl
Dye and Tom Fulcher. Dan, Charles, John and Dick, the 4 sons,
all friends of the passed years.
My love and best wishes,
PS...... Mattishall Heath commenced
at the bottom of Old Hall Road, passed Luke Harrison's Farm, it
went through to Welbome Road. It was well known for the large
amount of mushrooms that grew there in September.
Edith Bear collected subscriptions
for the Scripture Union. Roper Land (so called because he toiled
the death bell), he was also caretaker of the Church. During the
winter Sundays he lit the Church furnace which was under the middle
and had an iron grating over it to let the heat through. To my
memory it gave out very little heat but filled the Church with
what we called Holy Smoke.
Hope this will interest some people.
It's Mattishall memories at the beginning of the century
Just to finish off.....
below is a little article that Ruth has written.
the times when the Americans visited
Mattishall in Norfolk: 1943-4
I remember the day we had an American
air force man visit our home. We were returning home after the
afternoon service in our Methodist Chapel and there was an American
sitting on his bike against the church wall. He looked alone and
homesick, my dad invited him home for tea. This turned out to
be the first of many happy encounters.
||Johnny was a friendly boy, he
was the Chaplains assistant on the camp and it was not long
before he brought others to our chapel and they visited the
homes of other relatives.
One day I remember particularly several from the camp came
to the Evening Service at the chapel, we were crowded into
the Schoolroom because of blackout regulation, and the service
men had cleaned their uniforms before coming out, and the
fumes from the cleaning fluid became stronger as the room
became warmer, some of the older members thought we were going
to go up in flames.
One evening Dad came cycling home
from a preaching appointment ten miles distant and when he opened
the back door to come in, he stopped in amazement, the Chaplain
and his boys thought they would repay in some measure the hospitality
they had received from us and they brought from the camp Mince
Beef, Onions, Cooking Oil and chunks of bread. They were making
Hamburgers for our family and themselves. We never had any cooking
done on a Sunday in those days. We always had cold meat and pickles
I think Dad thought he had come home
to the wrong house, we thoroughly enjoyed our first ‘Burgers’.
We also had a Christmas party at
the Church when they were visiting and again the Chaplain brought
a Cooked turkey for us all to enjoy. During the evening we played
the usual old time British party games. I well remember that when
charades were being acted in one scene a wedding was acted and
one of the boys was nervous of acting as a bride groom because
he thought it might be taken as legal if the wedding words were
repeated. Their weddings being held in any hall or building and
not just in front of an altar, with a priest officiating.
A carol party was thoroughly enjoyed
too, we had two American lorries and we traveled to several nearby
villages, we learned the chorus to Jingle Bells, and Joy to the
world the Lord has come.
I still have two or three of the
service Hymn Books that Chaplain Durban left for the Sunday School.
We still have contact with one of
the boys and he and his wife have visited several times and members
of my family also cousins have visited America.
They were stationed at the airfield
we called Weston but I believe some called it Attlebridge it was
linked I believe with other camps in the area, as in the mornings
planes would take off from several points and circle round until
all were in formation and high up in the sky and away they would
go with their dreadful bombs.
We belong to a pacifist family and
we felt, for those that were on the receiving end, as well as
for the boys going up to face the dangers.
German prisoners were later living
in part of the camp that the Americans left and they were also
welcomed to our home and Church.
These thank you's were written in Ruth's
Autograph book by some of the American Service Men:-
“Best Wishes to
a very nice girl – the first English girl I
have had the pleasure of meeting”…….
Richard R. Lawrence.
December 26, 1943
“I shall never
forget the time I spent at your home. Through the
trails and tribulations of life in the future I hope
that your every step is one of happiness”…..
Roland G. Rakel: 48 East Mitchell
St Bernard: Ohio
Best wishes and happiness
always. May God bless and keep you….. Chuck…..
Charles H. Kaylor: 3940 Utah Street:
San Diago: California:
Air Marshall Wray Schayler Virginia
“And His name
shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Prince of Peace”…… Will you forsake
all and follow him ?.… Laird….
Sgt Laird Simons Jnr: 3417 Race Street:
Philadelphia; 4: Pennsylvania: USA:
26/12/1943 (Boxing Day)
Dear Ruth…. “
Words cannot express how greatly we have enjoyed being
in your home. The Christian Fellowship has been very
fine, and we shall remember our very many nice visits
to your home and church and when we return to the
U.S. your Christian mark is a great blessing to this
community and other places were you visit. We would
love you to come to our country some-time and make
us a nice visit. The Lord bless you and make a great
worker for him”……
Your friend…. C. C. Durbin (Chaplain)…..
February 2nd 1944