The Olde House

Mary Hilton has lived at The Olde House (once Soame’s Grammar School) for the past eight years. She was born in Manchester and brought up in the north, but her father’s family originated from this area. Her great-grandfather ran the shop opposite the house (now Corner Cottage) as a drapers and general stores until he bought the house in 1885 from the Charities Commission. His father ran Rectory Farm, Gt. Bradley. The family bible goes back to 1692 with the family living in Gt. Bradley and East Green; the family name has changed through Orbells, Sparrows, Seeleys and Pettetts.

Mary retired in 1997 from teaching in Stowmarket. Her leisure pursuits include sewing, gardening, reading, walking and cooking. She has been a member of the parish council for the past six years.

The positive aspects of living in Thurlow are returning to live in a house and garden she always loved visiting. She enjoys living in the countryside, in a beautiful village, with plenty of opportunity to see wild life. She appreciates having really good friends and the peace and quiet.

Too much speeding traffic on occasion and the recent trend to infill all spaces with houses are the negative aspects of living in Thurlow.

When visiting as a child she remembers the eight cart horses from Manor Farm yard, galloping down the street to their field (where the school is now) and returning to the farmyard in the morning the same way. There was a shop and a post oYce in Little Thurlow. Later when her parents moved here in 1960 there was a butcher and baker calling three times a week and then a greengrocer/general shop once a week. “Mother used to remark on his frequent late arrival, after a liquid lunch!” The village shop in Gt. Thurlow delivered groceries.

“I remember walking to the Thurlow bakers with my great aunt to buy bread. The baker sometimes lifted a hen off the sack of ├żour before mixing more dough. I suspect one could find various foreign bodies in the bread, but it always tasted good.” The bakers was at the back of the cottage where Fred Lewington now lives, then moved across the road to the chapel house.