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Jeremiah

Buttle’s Diary

Jeremiah Francis Robert Buttle was born on
December 2nd 1872 at Brow of the Hill,
Leziate. He attended Ashwicken School and
married the love of his life, little Beth,
Elizabeth Gull. Jeremiah eventually moved
to Surrey and then retired to Devon where
he died in March 1961.

Jeremiah Buttle’s Diary – 1.Earliest Memories
Jeremiah Francis Robert Buttle was born on December 2nd 1872 at Brow of the Hill, Leziate. He
attended Ashwicken School and married the love of his life, little Beth, Elizabeth Gull. Jeremiah
eventually moved to Surrey and then retired to Devon where he died in March 1961.
Now whether by accident or otherwise, it transpired
that I was ushered into this world (very young) on
December 2nd 1872, at a small house in the parish of
Leziate, in the county of Norfolk, about 2 miles from
the town of King’s Lynn, or Lynn Regis.
My parents were very humble people (which accounts
for the humility with which I am blessed). My father
was, by trade, a brick maker and was born at
Rockland St. Mary, near Norwich in 1799. My mother
was the daughter of Thomas Mann, a shepherd and was born at Grimston in the same county.
Now what passed between the time I was born and the time I went to school, I have not the
slightest remembrance, but no doubt I was a funny little chap. I have been told that I used to be
wheeled about in a four wheel cart with a long handle, by which I was pulled as I never had a
cradle. I will therefore commence my little history from that time ie when I went to school.
I began going at the age of four and had over a mile to walk as the school was situate in the next
Parish (Ashwicken), the way lay over two fields through a wood, by another field and over another
and then across Church hill and down School Lane – indeed a very pretty walk, but the beauty of
it did not then trouble me. E’een now I see the old place standing a little back from the road,
surrounded by a thick thorn hedge, with a small plantation opposite the play – ground, in the latter
stood three fine old elms round the roots of which I have played many and many a time. But I
think they have since, with the plantation, been taken down. It was a very quiet spot, removed
from the busy haunts of men.
I had no school master, but a very energetic mistress, by name Miss Frances Saddler, she had as
far to walk to school as I had, but she would sacrifice anything for her scholars, and it is to her I
am greatly indebted for what education I have, as I was under her tuition about 7 years. She was
both kind, gentle and patient, and never punished us only when she was really forced to do so.
Of course, as is natural with a school boy, I too was full of mischief and I often had quarrels &c
with the other boys, one especially, with whom I used to quarrel (and also fight with) was a Walter
Adams, but it never lasted long, sometimes he would be the better & sometimes I would, & we
were always friends again directly it was over. I had a great many schoolboy friends among whom
were John Wales , James Baldry, James and George Suckling , Robert Watson, Walter Riches &
Robert Adams,(the latter is dead, having died of rheumatic fever at Wisbech in Cambridgeshire).
We also had a very good Rector, in the person of the Rev. A.J.Groom, who took a great interest in
us, both in week day and Sunday School, and often when we were busy at lessons he would walk
in, to give us a kind and encouraging word. He also with the aid of Mrs Groom, his wife, gave a
bountiful treat once or twice a year which just suited us. The Rector’s father Mr. John Groom and
his wife also took a lively interest in us. Mrs Groom Sen was a very nice old lady & very
hospitable, never was anyone in need or distress turned away from Ashwicken Hall (their
residence) without something for their bodily wants from the well-stocked pantry , and a kind word
from the dear old lady herself. Every year on the 14th February, St Valentine’s Day, all the school
children received a very large bun & a pint of nuts, from her bountiful hands.
Ashwicken school is the original school that was demolished in the 1970’s and was where Wicken
Oak Farm is now in Church Lane and Ashwicken Hall as he knew it was demolished in 1935.
© We are indebted to Marjorie Guy for permission to quote from these, her great uncle’s diaries. If you have anything you
can add, stories of people mentioned and especially photographs please contact Steve@venes.co.uk

Jeremiah Buttle’s Diary – 2. Misdeeds
Jeremiah Francis Robert Buttle was born on December 2nd 1872 at Brow of the Hill, Leziate. He
attended Ashwicken School and married the love of his life, little Beth, Elizabeth Gull. Jeremiah
eventually moved to Surrey and then retired to Devon where he died in March 1961.
I had been at school about 4 years, when John Wales and myself
were told by another boy (Herbert Drew) that we were allowed to
go into a part of Mrs Grooms’ garden, & get some fruit called
medlars, and so off we went, feeling quite sure we were doing
nothing wrong, arrived at the tree we soon commenced picking
the fruit & stuffing them into our pockets, little dreaming of
danger, when on turning around, our surprise may be better
imagined than described, at seeing the Rector himself with a very stern expression on his face,
which we so well knew the meaning of. Our first impulse was to bid a hasty retreat, but there
being no opening save in the direction of the Rector, we very reluctantly stood our ground with
heads down, like the culprits we were, & waited his approach. He came up looking very grave and
serious (& no wonder) saying as he did so “What are you boys doing here?” No need for such a
question had he noticed our bulky pockets, then very feebly came the answer – “Please Sir, we
were told we might get them” pointing to the medlars. “Who told you?” he demanded. “Herbert
Drew, Sir”. “He ought to have known better than to have told you & you ought to have known
better than to have come, or taken any notice of what he said.” Silence. “Empty your pockets” he
said. We did so deeply regretting the loss of so much fruit after the trouble it had caused us. “You”
he said “this is the first case of theft with imprisonment in the Parish, for at least 20 years. You can
return to school now”. We did so, not a little terrified as that word, prison, kept ringing in our ears
and we fully expected to be lodged there in a very short space of time. But happily we never heard
another word about it from that day to the present (which is 20 years) but we were very
uncomfortable for a few days.
A short time after the incident just recorded, four or five boys (including myself) secured, by some
means, a box of matches with which we were lighting small fires of dried grass all along School
Lane, quite ignorant of approaching danger. When to our great surprise & astonishment but who
should appear on scene but Mrs Groom, the Rector’s wife, she having been informed of our
doings by one of the other boys. We were all marched into school where a court martial was held
by Mrs Groom & the school mistress, when to our great & awful terror the door opened & in
walked a policeman. A gust of wind from a passing feather would have blown us all down, we
thought our time for the prison had come. We were all separately questioned, I tried to turn
Queen’s evidence by saying that I was putting the fires out after the others had lighted them, but
all to no purpose, I was considered to be as bad as the others, & no doubt I was, but the highest
pitch of terror was reached when, after all the evidence had been given, the policeman turned to
Mrs Groom & said, ”Shall I take them to prison?”. Oh how we looked at that lady, wondering what
her answer would be, & think we were never more grateful to anyone in or lives than to her when
she said “Not this time, if they will promise never to do such a thing again,. “ A promise that was
readily given (& what’s more, strictly kept). We were now allowed to depart, bail being allowed in
our own recognisance of a solemn promise.

© We are indebted to Marjorie Guy for permission to quote from these, her great uncle’s diaries. If you have anything you
can add, stories of people mentioned and especially photographs please contact Steve@venes.co.uk

Jeremiah Buttle’s Diary – 3. Poverty Row
Jeremiah Francis Robert Buttle was born on December 2nd 1872 at Brow of the Hill, Leziate. He
attended Ashwicken School and married the love of his life, little Beth, Elizabeth Gull. Jeremiah
eventually moved to Surrey and then retired to Devon where he died in March 1961.
Now for some more of my bad doings.
One evening I was going home from school, I fell in
with James Suckling at his home in Garden Row (or,
as it is generally & locally known, Poverty, so called
from its dilapidated appearance) & together we
commenced a raid at some quite young chickens
belonging to a Mrs Lambert. So interested were we in
running after & capturing them that we did not see anyone approaching or dream of danger being
near, when to my surprise & astonishment, I was seized from behind by the very woman herself.
James Suckling (or Leggy as we called him) having escaped, I was severely shaken & at the
same time asked what I was doing. I managed to stammer out, no-not-noth-nothing, which, of
course, was partly right and partly wrong, as I had been doing something, but it was Mrs Lambert
that was doing it all now. She said “Will you do it again?” still shaking me. ”No” I blurted out. “Are
you sure?” says she. “No” again I managed to say, thinking I was saying what was right, but I
found out afterwards I ought to have said yes. But, however, she gave me two or three
tremendous shakings & let me go, & I was very glad, but believe I was shaking all the way home
so severely had she handled me, thus ended that little incident.
Now I will just give a brief sketch of how I was once or twice treated by a Mrs Riches, with whom I
was on anything but friendly terms. One night I had been upsetting one of her children & throwing
a four legged stool at her, & she had gone home &, of course, told her mother, who at once made
it her business to come & chastise me, at least that was her idea, but I had taken a different view
of the situation &, seeing her coming, I made myself scarce & ran into an old shed & done up the
door inside. But unfortunately there was a chain on the outside as well. I had scarcely done up the
door when my pursuer was hammering on the outside demanding admittance, which I decided to
refuse. She therefore fastened up the outside chain & left me, as she thought, a prisoner, but not
for long. I examined the fastening & found it was only a nail to which the outside one was attached
& was not turned inside. I picked up a piece of iron and struck the point of the nail which
immediately gave way & the chain fell down & I was again free, & ran to the gate in time to see my
tormentor wending her way home.
But the trouble was not to end there as the next night I was again pursued by the same person,
but not liking my situation the previous night I ran a little faster this time, & got behind a
gooseberry bush & was un-noticed, yet I could plainly see my pursuer ( & not be seen) looking
everywhere but the right place for me. She even tried the old shed where I had taken refuge the
night before but all to no purpose, & at last I heard her say (she had an excellent pair of lungs)
“He saw me coming & has gone & hid up somewhere.” Quite true I had, who would not, and I
think that was the last time Mrs Riches ever chased me.
Poverty Row are the cottages that lie alone on the right hand side of East Winch Road and would
have been all fields behind before becoming the golf course and then the lake after sand
extraction.

© We are indebted to Marjorie Guy for permission to quote from these, her great uncle’s diaries. If you have anything you
can add, stories of people mentioned and especially photographs please contact Steve@venes.co.uk

Jeremiah Buttle’s Diary – 4. A nasty Fall
Jeremiah Francis Robert Buttle was born on December 2nd 1872 at Brow of the Hill, Leziate. He
attended Ashwicken School and married the love of his life, little Beth, Elizabeth Gull. Jeremiah
eventually moved to Surrey and then retired to Devon where he died in March 1961.
Now there was no delivery of letters in the village in which I
lived (there is now) so my mother sent me one morning to
the school (that is where they used to be left) to see if there
were any letters & then to return home, as she wanted me to
lend a hand with some work. As I have said before, to get to
the school we had to cross some fields, one of which was
known locally as the Flat Breck. On crossing this I fell in with
Herbert Lambert & Robert Crome (these had just left school
& were keeping sheep) & was told by them that if I returned
that way they would throw me into the dykes & drown me,
which greatly frightened me, so much so that I resolved to
return by another route. But when I reached school, I found that there were some letters &,
singularly enough, one for Mrs Lambert, Herbert’s mother, & his home lay in the same direction by
which I had come. What to do? I did not know. I dare not return by way of Flat Breck. Suddenly a
thought struck me, I would return home by way of the Hall & hide the letter against what was
called the Pump. I did so, thinking all would be well, but it was not as, a few days after, it was
found by Leggy (my mate in the chicken chase) & taken to the School mistress, who called me to
account for it and, of course, gave me the cane & a good talking to, & that was the only
punishment I received for that foolish freak. It might have been a very important letter, but whether
it was or not didn’t trouble me as I did not intend to go home the way I came for fear of being
thrown into the dykes &, after all, I generally managed to elude a very heavy punishment.
Now where is the schoolboy that does not look eagerly forward to the holidays. No matter how
often they come they are never long enough, I know it was so in my case. I used always to be
very pleased that I could run home & say “Mother, we have broken up tonight for a week “two,
four or six as the case might be. If it was a month Mother would say, “That’s four weeks too long”
but I know she didn’t mean it.
Well, it was during one of these holidays (the Whitsuntide one) that I was again sent for the letters
(this time at the Rectory as they were left there when the School was closed) & on my return I fell
in with Robert Watson (he was keeping sheep on the Flat Breck) & off we went together birds’
nesting. The first we saw was a wood pigeon. Up went Bob (as we used to call him) but when he
had early reached the nest he found there was a big gap in the boughs, he thereupon descended.
I went up & passed the gap in safety & reached the nest which, to my great dismay, I found was
an old one. I descended as far as the gap when crack, smash, swish, I had missed my footing &
down came cutting my way through the boughs till I came to a sudden stop by reaching the
ground. Not at all as I would have liked to have done, as I had never been trained in a feline
school I did not know the art of lighting on my feet, but came on to my shoulder instead with the
result that I dislocated my collar bone. I tried to lift my arm but found I was unable to do so, yet felt
no pain. I said nothing to Bob (or as we generally called him, Poke ) & went off home at once. My
mother examined me & then immediately took me off to the doctor’s at Gayton, which place was
just over 3 miles away.
Fortunately we hadn’t to wait long for Mr Austin (the Medico) who soon put it into its proper place
again, & there it has remained ever since. But I had to lie up three weeks over it.

© We are indebted to Marjorie Guy for permission to quote from these, her great uncle’s diaries. If you have anything you
can add, stories of people mentioned and especially photographs please contact Steve@venes.co.uk

Jeremiah Buttle’s Diary – 5. A Fishy Tale
Jeremiah Francis Robert Buttle was born on December 2nd 1872 at Brow of the Hill, Leziate. He
attended Ashwicken School and married the love of his life, little Beth, Elizabeth Gull. Jeremiah
eventually moved to Surrey and then retired to Devon where he died in March 1961.
One Sunday, I was walking with two of my
brothers, to get a bucket of water from a
spring in the brickyard, & walking close to
the edge of a fairly large hole with about
three feet of water in it, I overbalanced
myself & pitched into it without the slightest
warning. My brother pulled me out,
dripping with water and mud and marched
me home where Mother soon stripped me
and put me to bed.
But, as though not content with that, I was one day gathering some rushes in a pool of water
which was very deep, in another part of the brickyard, when I again toppled head - foremost into
the water, but managed to rise and grab the rushes on the side of the pool & call for help. This
time Mr Henry Abbey, one of the workmen in the yard, came and rescued me, thus I had two very
narrow escapes from drowning. I did not know at the time that I was born with a caul on or
perhaps I should have been less fearful, as it is stated that a person thus born never dies by
drowning.
My Father was foreman in the brickyard I have spoken of & he had a small patch of ground
thereon which he used to grow some barley & when it was ready to cut I was sent to keep the
birds off. But one day, instead of keeping the birds off I just lay down with the clappers in my hand
&, when Father & my younger brother came that way at dinnertime, I was entirely lost in slumber
& the birds were having a jolly time.
There is one little incident connected with this brickyard that I will record here. It was in the winter
& the frost was very severe, so much so that the pits were covered with very thick ice which was
so transparent that the bottom was distinctly visible, while walking on top my brother Tom & I
could see the fish quite plainly swimming about. We had no fish hooks but were inspired with a
desire to catch some of the fish I went & secured an axe, a long stick, a table fork & a pair of
tongs. With the former we made a hole in the ice then, by fastening the fork to the stick, we were
able to reach the bottom and stab the fish & draw them up & secure with the tongs (for fear of
touching these against the sides of the hole we had made & thus pull them off the fork) & land
them on terra firma. By these novel devices we caught either four or five fairly large fish, I have
never heard of anyone using such things for fishing purposes, really, necessity is the mother of
invention.
Well I think it is time I passed on as I now began to feel I ought to do something toward earning a
little & thus help my parents to keep me in food and clothing. I had passed into the fifth standard,
so there was nothing to prevent my leaving school, which I did at the age of ten years, yes at this
early age I left the training ground of my life, I left the dear old school with its familiar scenes &
faces, with its joys & sorrows, left as it were the sweetness & innocence of childhood, all these I
left never to return to them again. One chapter of my life had passed, the foundation for the future
had been laid, whether or not I have continued the building aright, God knows.

© We are indebted to Marjorie Guy for permission to quote from these, her great uncle’s diaries. If you have anything you
can add, stories of people mentioned and especially photographs please contact Steve@venes.co.uk

Jeremiah Buttle’s Diary – 6. Starting Work
Jeremiah Francis Robert Buttle was born on December 2nd 1872 at Brow of the Hill, Leziate. He
attended Ashwicken School and married the love of his life, little Beth, Elizabeth Gull. Jeremiah
eventually moved to Surrey and then retired to Devon where he died in March 1961.
At age 11, my first work was
crow scaring, which I did for
quite a long time belonging to
Mr W H Boyce. I felt quite a
man now that I was working
for my living. I had many ups
and downs when I first began
work. I remember one day as
I was crow scaring – on what
was known as Car Piece,
close to the cow pastures – I
had a great inclination to try
my hand at milking. It was no
sooner though than put into action. I managed to get a very quiet old cow in a corner near the
gate and, after much pressing & squeezing , I managed to exude a small quantity of milk. This
encouraged me to go on, which I did, not thinking of danger, when suddenly & without the
slightest warning I was aroused, & not a little frightened, to hear my master’s voice, ringing
through space into years. (he was walking along the railway) & demanding in angry tones to know
what I was doing. I said not a word but quickly bid a silent adieu to Mrs Cow & disappeared to my
field thinking it was all over. But it wasn’t, Mr Boyce went to my mother & told her what he had
seen.
I heard nothing more that night, but next morning brought with it punishment. While I was in bed
the door gently opened & entered mother with a strap. Oh, I thought, now for it &, before I had
time to consider my next move, the bed clothes were taken off & the strap began its work, whack,
whack, smack, crack, wallop down it came on my poor back & nothing was left for me to do but (I
won’t say cry) howl & howl I did to my heart’s content until told by mother If I didn’t stop that noise
I should get some more &, not by any means desiring more, I thought it best to dry up. I dressed
myself & went off to work, but all day I experienced a most uncomfortable feeling in the region of
my back & nether quarters – I can tell you I didn’t want to try milking again in a hurry.
I was while on the same field that one morning, just after breakfast, a boy by the name of George
Rye came to me & asked me to go to his house with him (which was the Public House, the Royal
Oak) & lend him a hand to cut some chaff. I hesitated, but eventually consented to accompany
him so off we went. While I was busy turning the handle of the machine George looked out toward
my field & to my fright exclaimed, “There’s Mr Boyce & Greeves (the latter was the farm bailiff) on
your field looking for, & calling you. I hardly knew what course to take, but decided to watch them
out of sight, which I did, then slipped out the back up the road & along the drive & into the field &
commenced shouting, but was too late. They had left the field en route for my mother & informed
her of my conduct, adding that I was to leave as I was never in the right place when wanted. I
went home that night in fear & trembling, but I heard no word of what happened so began to have
hope that all was well. But, alas, next morning brought quite a different state of things. While still
in my bed Mother entered with the strap as on the last occasion & gave me such a whacking as I
was not able to forget in a hurry, & made me go minus my breakfast.
The Royal Oak Inn, also known as The Eels Toe, was situated near Middleton Tower Railway
Station, the station crossing in Leziate.
© We are indebted to Marjorie Guy for permission to quote from these, her great uncle’s diaries. If you have anything you
can add, stories of people mentioned and especially photographs please contact Steve@venes.co.uk

Jeremiah Buttle’s Diary – 7. The Brickworks at Bawsey
Jeremiah Francis Robert Buttle was born on December 2nd 1872 at Brow of the Hill, Leziate. He
attended Ashwicken School and married the love of his life, little Beth, Elizabeth Gull. Jeremiah
eventually moved to Surrey and then retired to Devon where he died in March 1961.
I was put to some other kind of work in the fields & I stayed
this time about two years.
I was then idle for some time, when I was sent for by Mr
Walter Saddler (Foreman for Messrs W & I Bardell
Contractors &c) to go to work on the brickyard at Bawsey.
Of course I went. During the winter I worked there at the
wash mill (a place where the clay is washed to get rid of stones &c) as deputy engine driver under
a man with only one leg, by name Thomas Beales. The following summer, up to the time of
harvest, I worked about the yard, loading barrows for the kiln & sundry odd jobs. I went to harvest
at Major Groom’s, after which I returned to the brickyard at the same occupation as the previous
winter viz. deputy engine driver.
This man, Thomas Beales, was not one of the best to be under. My work really was to look to the
engine & stop & start in case anything went wrong outside (the engine was in a shed) while he
should have emptied the trucks (the clay was drawn from the pit on little trucks by means of a
rope, the engine doing this as well as washing the clay, which latter was done by means of two
large harrows). But after a few days he made me stop out in the cold & empty the trucks, while he
roasted himself by the engine fire. Not content with this he used to make me stop & run the engine
at night while he went for his tea, & then get there an hour earlier in the morning & get the fire &
run again.
I did it the first winter & part of the second & then I thought it was not quite right that I should be
out of doors all day & then favour his idleness to the extent of about three extra hours per day for
the modest sum of five shillings per week. So I refused to stop at night or to get there earlier in the
morning, with the result that he spoke of giving me the sack. I asked Mr Saddler if I was doing
right by not doing it & he said, “Quite right, he cannot give you the sack as he calls it.” This quite
satisfied me, but not Tom Beales, as he would do anything to get me to stop, hide up my clothes
or dinner bag. But I soon got as clever as he was. I have often kept my clothes on & hid up my
dinner bag in a sand heap. Then he began to speak of reducing my modest wage to 4/6 per week,
but I said no, if you stop any you may stop the lot & I shall approach Mr Saddler, which soon
checkmated that idea & he was forced to stoop to the inevitable.
I stayed at the wash mill that winter & I worked in the yard all the succeeding summer, running off
bricks for Mr William Franklin, for five shillings per week. A queer sort of chap was this Franklin, in
the winter he used to make hurdles &, in the summer, bricks. He very rarely got upset, was always
making fun of someone, especially at one of the other chaps who was brickmaking, Herbert
Riches (a son of the woman who chased me). We always used to call him rickety as he had such
a peculiar walk, but no matter how much we tried to make fun of Franklin (we used to call him Old
Dicky or the Old Fool) it always ended in failure as he was very slow to take offence.
While working with him I was known as Tittle & often he would be heard to shout out at the top of
his voice, Tittle – tittle,tittle, tittle tit-tle. But I bore it all in good part & got on through the summer
fairly well. When the winter approached it found me for the third & last time again at the wash mill.
The succeeding summer, until harvest time, I again worked with Mr Franklin, running off bricks. (
running off bricks is taking them away in a barrow as the maker marks them & putting them on
what is called a hale or tare ie A long row of about 500, then another row on top & another and so
on up to about six rows). They are left like that until they are dry, then put into a kiln & burned,
hence red, white &c. Bricks before they are burned, are called green brick.
© We are indebted to Marjorie Guy for permission to quote from these, her great uncle’s diaries. If you have anything you
can add, stories of people mentioned and especially photographs please contact Steve@venes.co.uk

Jeremiah Buttle’s Diary – 8. A sad end for little Jim.
Jeremiah Francis Robert Buttle was born on December 2nd 1872 at Brow of the Hill, Leziate. He
attended Ashwicken School and married the love of his life, little Beth, Elizabeth Gull. Jeremiah
eventually moved to Surrey and then retired to Devon where he died in March 1961.
Now I will give a very brief sketch of the death of my
younger brother. His death took place while I was working
for Mr Boyce. He was only eleven years of age & worked
with Mr Wales cow keeping at Holt House.
One morning as he was taking the cows to the field where
they used to feed, he noticed that one of the heifers which
had been left on the field had got away on to a field of Mr F
Hudson at Middleton. He therefore went back and told Mr
Wales who said “Alright Jim, I’ll be there in a minute.” So he returned to the field & while crossing
another field to get there (which made the third time he had crossed that morning) he was
attacked by a bull which was on the field and a man, by name Walter Dixon, was on the railway &
saw it all but did not attempt to rescue him, but called to a shepherd (Mr Merrison, who I have
previously mentioned) who came &, with the aid of his dog & crook, beat the bull off, but not till he
had gored Jim dreadfully.
Mr Wales was soon on the spot & took him off to King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Hospital, but while
passing over Hardwick Bridge, Jim asked for a little drink. Mr Wales gave him a few drops of
brandy which seemed to revive him but before he reached the hospital he had breathed his last,
he was dead, & if ever a lad was ready Jim was. He always seemed to live apart from the world.
Very quiet and very kind. Mr Wales left him at the hospital & I went & took his place at cow
keeping. The bull was killed immediately, but that could not save the life of my little Jim.
On the following Sunday morning he was brought home from the hospital & in the afternoon he
was laid to rest in the Churchyard at Ashwicken. There was nearly a yard full of people, as Jim
was well known & a great favourite. The school children sang that sweet hymn, ”Gentle Saviour
thou has stilled now thy little lambs long bleating” and , as it was wafted on the gentle air, it was
most impressive. Everything seemed to blend in harmony, the sighing of the air in the trees
above, the tolling of the solitary bell & the voices of the children, all united in one solemn funeral
Requiem, even the song of the birds seemed hushed.
My dear mother, I shall never forget her, she would not leave the grave until compelled to do so,
so great is a mother’s love.
My poor father, I shall never forget the words he said to me as I came home from Chilver House,
to go to the Holt House to take Jim’s place. (I did not know that he was dead, nor did I know until
quite late in the day, I knew he had been attacked). Father met me at the gate, with trembling gait,
& tears in his eyes. “Frank”, he said “something has happened to that boy, he has been tackled by
a bull. I hope he is not hurt too much & every minute he would wander to the gate & look up the
road to see if mother was coming as he was anxious to know the worst.
Poor old man, when he did know he mourned sadly for his boy, moaning & saying “ My boy killed,
my boy killed” It was indeed a sad blow to us all. Every morning as we went to work, Mother would
come to the gate & look after us until we disappeared round the corner. This particular morning
she said to herself, how silly of me, what do I want to run to the gate for, he is alright. But she had
to go & when she got there he had turned the corner & had gone, thus when he left the door was
the last time she, or any of us, ever saw him again.
Did mother complain? No, she hugged her trouble to herself, seeking help from that never failing
source, God helped her in her time of trouble, as he does & will, everyone who asks him.
© We are indebted to Marjorie Guy for permission to quote from these, her great uncle’s diaries. If you have anything you
can add, stories of people mentioned and especially photographs please contact Steve@venes.co.uk

Jeremiah Buttle’s Diary – 9. Church

Jeremiah Francis Robert Buttle was born on December 2nd 1872 at Brow of the Hill, Leziate. He
attended Ashwicken School and married the love of his life, little Beth, Elizabeth Gull. Jeremiah
eventually moved to Surrey and then retired to Devon where he died in March 1961.
I have now to record a sorrowful event, viz. the death of my dear
father. It was during the summer that I was with Mr Franklin on
Whitsunday. It was a holiday in the brickyard, owing to the
Anniversary of the Shepherds Club in Gayton, in which many
were interested. My brother Tom and myself, instead of going to
the Club Feast (as it was called) went to Lynn & on our way back
from Middleton station (where we had taken train from Lynn) we
were met by my older brother, William and his wife. We had no idea anything was the matter. We
greeted them as usual in a smiling & joking way, but they did not respond. So Tom said “What’s
the matter?”, then they told us Father was dead. “What” we said in chorus, Father dead, we could
not take it all in. We thought there must have been some horrible mistake as we left him so well &
hearty in the morning. But alas it was only too true, he had died while we were in Lynn. My mother
was away from home at the time, at Mrs Boyce’s Chilver House & father was at home with my
youngest sister. My brother Williams was on his way to Gayton with his wife when he said “I’ll just
drop in and see how father is”,(as he lived only a little farther up the hill) & as he was going to the
door, my sister called to him from the garden. He went up to her & there found my father had
fallen down, & my sister was supporting his head on her arm. He immediately procured assistance
& removed him to the house & sent at once for my mother & the doctor. Mother arrived just before
he died, the doctor not till after. From the time he was taken ill till the time he died was not more
than an hour.
He was very old but not so infirm as might be expected as he used to work in the gardens & feed
the pigs &c. He always used to shave himself. In fact, he was working in the garden when he was
taken ill.
My father’s death, as I have stated, was on the Tuesday, on Saturday he was laid to rest in
Ashwicken Churchyard by the side of my dear brother James.
After the funeral, which was most solemn, we returned home fatherless. We now knew what it
was to be without a father. It took a long time to get used to the empty chair, often we fancied we
could hear his step on the bricks outside but, alas, he was not.
Mr Groom (the Rector) used to conduct bible classes in the Mission Room every Wednesday
night during the winter months. I always managed to attend these meetings, although I was by no
means a Christian or a follower of the Divine Saviour. But something seemed to draw me there.
Soon after I had entered on the side of right, I thought I would go one Sunday to the Wesleyan
Chapel in Gayton, about three miles distant. So, in company with Mr Robert Adams Sen, I went &
I always remember that sermon (which was preached by a Mr Beeley), not from the good I
derived from it, but from the peculiar view of a future destiny taken by the preacher, namely he
contended, that all went to Heaven, even the most hardened sinner was saved at the last
moment, not occasionally, but in every individual case. I don’t want anyone to think I am at all
opinionated, but I must say such a view is, to my mind, entirely wrong. If such was the case would
there be any need for us trying to live God-like lives. No, I think it ought not to be for a person to
stand up in front of a congregation and preach such doctrine, as I am inclined to think many of
that congregation would go away & say there is no need for me to bother about Christianity, as
the preacher said all would be saved at the last, so I am going to enjoy myself while I can.
Ashwicken Church in around 1820. Before restoration in 1860. The Mission Room (now a private
house) was on Brow of the Hill opposite where the Leziate Park Club.
© We are indebted to Marjorie Guy for permission to quote from these, her great uncle’s diaries. If you have anything you
can add, stories of people mentioned and especially photographs please contact Steve@venes.co.uk

Jeremiah Buttle’s Diary – 10. The Watch
Jeremiah Francis Robert Buttle was born on December 2nd 1872 at Brow of the Hill, Leziate. He
attended Ashwicken School and married the love of his life, little Beth, Elizabeth Gull. Jeremiah
eventually moved to Surrey and then retired to Devon where he died in March 1961.
I stayed with Mr Franklin till harvest, when again I
went to Major Groom’s. Harvest over, I enquired
whether work could be found for me on the farm. Mr
Bannell, the bailiff, found me employment for about
a month, then either work or money became
scarce, so I had to leave & seek fresh fields.
I tried two or three places, but without effect, then I
heard that Mr Bradfield (a farmer at Bawsey) wanted someone so I made up my mind to go there
early one morning. But, just as I was on the point of starting, Mr Wilson’s bailiff came for me to go
there instead. (Mr Wilson was a farmer & merchant, who resided at Chilver House, Leziate. His
bailiff’s name was Ephraim Stubbings). Of course I gladly accepted the offer & went. I occupied
the position as under-groom & yardman, ie I had to do a little of each. After I had been there about
six months I was made head groom (simply because there was no other kept) & looked after the
calves &c.
I had three horses, one that Mr Wilson used to hunt, & once during the time I was there he
entered him in the West Norfolk Hunt Steeple chases held at East Winch, his name being The
Lamb. He was ridden by Mr Frank Beck of West Newton (now agent for H.M. the King) & ran third.
I held the post just mentioned about 12 months, making in all 18 months. I had many ups & downs
during that time. I will record a few of these.
One day, as I was in the stables, a man came along & wanted to know if I was in need of a really
good watch. I said “No” but he said “I can sell you a really good one cheap that will keep correct
time.” “Well” I said, ”How much do you want for it?” “Now” he said “as it is you I will sell it for 12/6.”
Of course that was far beyond my means & I told him so. “Well” he said “I’ll take 12/-“. Again I said
no, &, after enlarging on the merits of the watch, he said” Give me 11/6”. Again No, he said “Well
how much will you give me for it?” I told him I did not want it & could not afford to buy it, but if he
would come with me I would try & sell it for him. So we went to George Smith (an old friend of
mine) who was doing something to his sheep close by, he was shepherd to Mr Wilson. He
persuaded me to buy it, I said I could not at the price so he dropped it to 10/-. I said no, & by very
slow degrees he dropped it to 6/-, where upon I borrowed 5/- from George & the rest off the
servants, (as I had not a cent in my pocket or, for a matter of fact, anywhere else). Having bought
it, of course I had to take it home, * I got it hot in the way of a severe tongue whipping which,
however, broke no bones.
My brother gave me the money to pay what I had borrowed. Sometime afterwards I tried to raffle it
for 8/- but failed to get the quantity of members. Then my brother offered to exchange a crook (as
used by members of the Shepherds Club, value 7/6) for it, which I very willingly agreed to. (By
some means or other I broke off one of the hands & Tom put on a leather hand & it went for
weeks & weeks like that). Sometime afterwards, while I was out of work, Tom gave me the watch
back again to make what I could of it, I sold it to Thomas Beales for 3/- & there must leave it to
fight its way through the world as best it can.
Jeremiah went on to work at the Royal Stud at Wolferton and met Little Beth, who was in service.
Climbing the hill out of East Winch towards Kings Lynn, as you reach the Blackborough End turn
to the left, look to your right and there in the dip was the race course.
© We are indebted to Marjorie Guy for permission to quote from these, her great uncle’s diaries. If you have anything you
can add, stories of people mentioned and especially photographs please contact Steve@venes.co.uk

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