Jean's Story ~ A Chance Meeting at Windsor
Royal Maundy, the giving of Alms and washing of feet is a tradition that takes place on the Thursday of Holy Week. This ancient tradition can be traced back to King John in 1210 with continuous records from Edward 1 to the present day.
It was as a result of my being selected to be a Recipient of Royal Maundy that my grandson and I went up to St. George's Chapel Windsor for this memorable service. The service was full of colourful pageantry overlaid with rich symbolism which was very impressive and, together with the glorious singing and organ music, was also very moving. Her Majesty the Queen presented Royal Maundy purses to each and every one of the Recipients; it was a great honour.
A Luncheon Reception followed on from the Service, coaches ferried us to Windsor Castle where we left our coats and climbed stairs to the magnificently restored St. George's Hall where the Reception was held. On entering we were immediately met by a handsome Military Knight of Windsor resplendent in scarlet with gold braid who courteously offered to find me a chair - chairs were few and far between - he stayed a while to chat with us about the Service and other things and, during the course of our conversation to our great surprise,we discovered that not only did he know the Norfolk Broads intimately but he actually knew where Clippesby was! He used to spend his Easter and Summer school holidays here with his family who owned a cottage in the village. It was an extraordinary coincidence! We were both so amazed.
I asked him if he had any photos that we could share on our church website and would he be prepared to write some reminiscences of his times in Clippesby, he kindly agreed to do so and what follows is his, Jolyon's, story.
(There is a brief account of the Royal Maundy Service here)
Military Knights of Windsor
Jolyon (L) and Lt.Col Ray Giles (81)
Leading the procession on Garter Day 2013
It was an amazing coincidence to speak with you at the reception after that magnificent Royal Maundy service.
You asked for my reminiscences of those days between 1953 - 1961 when my father used to bring the family every Easter and summer holidays to stay in the little flint cottage.
I think Dad bought the cottage for £300 and sold it for the same price some 7 years later.
Through the front door (now sealed and replaced by a small window) you entered the kitchen, uneven stone floor, narrow staircase to bedroom upstairs. Hand pump over kitchen sink, no hot water. There was an electric Burco boiler and a metal tub for anyone wanting a bath on that kitchen floor. The 'facility' was an Elsan toilet in a privy in the back garden. The chemical fluid in the base of the pan happened to be flammable as we discovered when Dad emptied his pipe in it and the next visitor found the place full of smoke and thought it to be the normal waste disposal system! (Memories!) there was an electricity meter fed by one shilling coins.
Turning left through that front door led to a small room just big enough for a dining table. Beyond that was a sitting room, where Dad's bed was the sofa. A boxed in back staircase led up to a second bedroom for mother and one daughter. My other sister and I slept on camp beds under the sloping roof which was above the dining room.
I seem to recall that there was at least one old car on the far side of the neighbour's house and they seem to have multiplied over the years!
Just up the road towards Clippesby either just before the old wriggly tinned small church was another bungalow, also with wriggly tin in which an old couple, a Mr and Mrs Parker (I think) lived. It was he who referred to dogems (?) as slugs in the garden and whose wife would keep an eye on the cottage in our absence. That little church is still there according o Google Earth.
Each morning we drove to sail a half decker named Albatross rented from Martham Boat yard. My mother never sailed but drove to meet us with a picnic lunch at whatever was the chosen destination. No mobile phones but she was happy to read a book and to wait.
In the summer there was the annual treat to go to the Great Yarmouth Fun Fair.
I could mention roller skating along that quiet byroad on the way to Billockby Church or the "Muck, Fleet and Fleg" refuse wagon coming each week ( or was that more often?) but that gives a flavour of very happy holidays every Easter and summer (Dad was a House master at Rugby School - hence why we had long holidays.)
Before closing I must mention my old Rolls Royce!
For at least two years until 1956 Dad had owned that Rolls pictured in front of the cottage, with a smaller more versatile Morris alongside. In the trailer were our provisions for the holiday and that is me, aged 12, standing at the back. Dad had the Rolls for three years. It was already 20 years old. I traced it and bought it back in 2015. In the meantime it had been painted cream and used for weddings. It is a 1935 20/25. I would love to bring it over to Norfolk and to photo it again where it was parked 60 years ago but have yet to persuade Bibi! I show another photo of the car parked outside our houses with St George's Chapel in the background.
Jean, how much of this is of interest if any I don't know. But if there is anything you need to paraphrase and use in your Clippesby and Countryside website please feel free,
Thank you for acknowledging my previous email. I will send you another email with the photos I refer to.
From a Cottage to a Castle
Jolyon's father's Rolls at its new home outside Windsor Castle. Who knows? Perhaps one day it may revisit its old haunts in Clippesby and the Norfolk Broads