I have already published my sister’s account of walks round the village called Exploring Framingham Earl. She was clerk to the Parish Council for a number of years in the 21st century. These are my personal memories of the village and some of its inhabitants. Although it was never my home it was close to where I lived for the first 37 years of my life.
Eddie Cogman was a builder and he lived in large house he had built in Long Lane in Framingham Earl. As a prominent local Methodist he also built the extension to the local Methodist chapel in Pigot Lane. I remember going into his house during the Suez crisis of 1956. Those parents who regularly drove from the Poringland area to school in Bungay arranged to take their children in turn to save petrol. These included Eddie and my father; Eddie’s daughter went to St Mary’s School and so did I, although in a more junior class. I was very impressed by the oak panelling in his living room I remember. His father had been the blacksmith in Caistor.
Richard Hardesty lived about 10 houses along from me on the Poringland side of the Norwich Road. The acquaintance was arranged by my mother, who thought that I must be rather lonely at home with no friends. My school was ten miles away, and my school friends were left behind in Bungay at the end of the school day. Richard went to the local primary school in Framingham Earl and no doubt had plenty of local friends of his own. Nevertheless he played with me for a year or two, on and off. I haven’t seen him for over 50 years but there is still a Richard Hardesty of the right age living in Poringland according to the internet, and I’m sure it must be him.
Richard was an accomplished egg collector, but these expeditions he did on his own, although he would sometimes share the results of his labours with me. I refer of course to the eggs he abstracted from the nests he found. What I remember of our joint enterprises was our clambering over the building site where the Framingham Earl Secondary Modern School was being erected. Hiding behind piles of bricks while a huge grader levelled out the school playing field was a dangerous form of amusement, but in those days nobody had heard of Health and Safety.
Poringland Post Office was a mile away near the church but Framingham Earl contained our nearest Post Office. The PO that I first remember was in a bungalow constructed of concrete blocks just beyond Framing Earl Primary school. In those days that was where Long Lane met the Norwich Road, although now the school has moved into Poringland. That Post Office was succeeded by one set up in a farmhouse rather closer to our home, on the site of the current Post Office. The farmhouse itself was demolished over 45 years ago. Whereas the old PO merely sold stamps from a counter in the front room the new one became an increasingly busy general stores. The fact that the adjacent meadow with a central oak tree became a small housing estate (Oaklands) must have helped to boost trade. The village sign stands where the meadow once was.
I played badminton for a time in the gym of Framingham Earl High School. This was an evening class held once a week in the late 1970s. There were at least 8 of us and we played mixed doubles in turn. Among the female contingent was a young married woman from Germany and another was a keen member of the Bystanders, an amateur theatrical group in the city. From 1968 until the mid 90s it had a base in Thorpe Road. Although still in existence it now only operates on an ad hoc basis.
I was never a regular at the Railway, Framingham Earl’s only pub. I did call in on the odd occasion however. Eddy Blanchflower was the publican for all the time I lived in Norwich Road until 1978, and before that it had been held by his father. I remember him from his final years at the pub when the only thing he himself could drink was a glass of hot water. Poor Eddy; it was a sad end for the seller of mugs of ale.
All the time I lived just opposite Poringland wood the gate was padlocked. Timothy Colman on whose estate it was kept his gamekeeper busy protecting the young game birds there and at Arminghall wood just down the road. Very occasionally when the gate was left open I would creep in with my dog Fido, but we both felt very daring as we surreptitiously explored the undergrowth. Shortly after I left to get married Poringland Wood was opened up as a leisure facility, complete with car park. Although called Poringland wood it is in fact in Framingham Earl.
The bus stop was very conveniently placed for our home – just opposite the font gate for the bus to Bungay and only a few yards away for getting off on the return journey. This bus stop had the added advantage of having the local post box on the adjoining telephone pole, a facility it retained when the phone wires were placed underground. Although the post box was in Poringland as was one of these two bus stops, the other one was in Framingham Earl. I lived that close to the parish boundary.