General Interest items on Local History


We need local history items please. If you have any stories about people or places in the villages or if you know an elderly resident who has stories please send them in to:[email protected] We and the rest of the Parish would love to read them. If you have any pictures of the villages or villagers as they were please send them to us for the Photo Album page.

The villages of Ashwellthorpe and Fundenhall are interlinked not only by their adjacency but also by the manorial extent, land ownership, field boundaries and not least, from the 20th Century, by the Village Hall and Parish Council.  They have now, and have probably always had, a distinct character with people and events, societal structure and mobility shaping their individual histories.

This Local History page will cover memories, events and past history which intertwine. The individual village page will carry items of specific relevance to that village – click on the village name  – but if you’re not sure where your interest lies, browse through them all!  And add to them, amend them, comment on and discuss them – all contributions welcome.  Remember – yesterday is already history!

Do You Remember…………? It’s only FORTY years ago

With elections recently around – do you remember

Only three Wards in the Depwade Rural District Council area (the present South Norfolk District Council area) held contests in the May elections in 1960 (is the year right?) – nothing much has changed then this year! Unlike 2007, however, when we did have an election on 3 May to elect just one of two candidates, Ashwellthorpe and Fundenhall then had two seats available, with both candidates being returned unopposed – Mr Hubert Doubleday and Mrs Rosemary Tilbrook

Depwade Rural District Council By-election in 1965 for the Ashwellthorpe/Fundenhall Ward – George Edward Rider (Labour) elected with 103 votes; Arthur Kingett (Independent) 93 votes, not elected.  There was a 54% poll.

Other news around us from the 1960s –

Rupert Davies, the actor who played Maigret in the then extremely popular television  series, made a TV appeal in 1962 to raise funds for the Ashwellthorpe Hall Hotel – £3000 was raised and he officially opened the Hotel in 1963.  And Ruby Murray opened the Hall’s annual fete in June 1966. She was a very successful “pop” singer of the 1950s and early 1960s who, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, has held from 1955 onwards the record of having 5 “hits in the Top 20” in the same week – although the present Charts might have 5+ Arctic Monkeys’ hits?

A sale of work at Ashwellthorpe Village Hall raised £30 for Hall funds in June 1964

Red squirrels abounded, or at least bounded around, in 1964

Gibraltar Farm, New Road, Fundenhall (67 Acres) and Ashwellthorpe Grange, near Wreningham Toprow (220 Acres), changed hands in 1964 and 1965 respectively.  And The Rookery estate, Fundenhall, with 11 Acres was sold around the same time too.

Harvest still to be completed at the beginning of October 1965 in Ashwellthorpe, Fundenhall and the immediate vicinity because of waterlogged land from heavy localised storms.

A giant cucumber plant grew from a 6d. (2.5p) Woolworths’ packet of seeds in a greenhouse in Church Lane, Fundenhall.  It reached at least 3.5m (10ft) in height and had at least 100 cucumbers growing on it, some growing in groups like bunches of bananas.

There will be someone amongst our readers who can add to, or put right, some of the snippets about local happenings above by contacting us on email at

[email protected]

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