Chance to investigate house history

PUBLISHED: 16:16 03 July 2008 | UPDATED: 07:29 01 August 2010

IF you want to find out more about the history of your house in Beccles, who lived there in the past and when it was built, then Beccles Museum is offering the chance next weekend.

IF you want to find out more about the history of your house in Beccles, who lived there in the past and when it was built, then Beccles Museum is offering the chance next weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday July 12-13, from 2.30-5pm each day, at the museum in Ballygate you can also find out about any of your ancestors who have lived in Beccles in the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, or early 20th centuries - it could provide that vital link you have been looking for in your family tree, or give you a start on researching your ancestors.

David Lindley, who will be attempting to answer the questions, has been researching the history of Beccles, its people and its buildings for nearly 20 years and over this period has amassed a large amount of information about the town. He has been studying the local newspapers from the middle of the nineteenth century on and putting extracts on computer, with the names, activities and exploits of many of the people who lived at the time.

He was also given the notes relating to Beccles, which Ted Goodwyn made years ago from the Norwich newspapers from 1707 onwards. There are also the poor rate books and ordinary rate books from the 17th century onwards, the registers of births marriages and burials since the Great Fire of Beccles in 1586, which the Suffolk Family History Association has generously given him access to, the lists of people from the Suffolk Directories and the lists of all the householders in Beccles from 1902 onwards with their addresses from the Lowestoft and Beccles Directories.

There are the lists of those who were in the Volunteers in the late 19th century and those who fought in the First World War and the Second World War, including those who were killed or died in the conflicts.

More obscure documents such as the Manor of Beccles records which begin in 1630, the records of the Beccles Feoffees (which have been photocopied by them) starting a little earlier, the Minutes of the Corporation of Beccles Fen, the records of St Michael's Church, Endgate Church, the Congregational Church, the Catholic Church and the Quakers, are also there.

There are some things in Beccles history which Mr Lindley would like to know more about. Where were the air raid shelters, the anti-tank defences and the air raid sirens in the town in the Second World War? Did the Nazi Foreign Minister Ribbentrop really stay at Ashman's Hall (he was then the German Ambassador to Britain) and was he related to either Mr or Mrs Scott who owned the house at the time? Does anyone know what happened to the records of Beccles College?

If anyone knows the answers to these questions he would be pleased to meet them at the Museum during that weekend, or leave their telephone number at the Museum.

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