DAYS OF KEMP THE CARRIER
Rabbit skins a penny each
For over 60 years William Kemp was the village
carrier for Ringstead. He is listed in both the 1900 and 1922 directories for
Earlier, in 1883 (according to White's Directory of that year), the courier was John Smith.
William Kemp and his wife, Emma, had three children: Edward (Teddy) who worked for local threshing contractors, Stella and Austin, who worked for his Dad as a driver. The "carriage" in question was a large green lorry which was kept in Chapel Lane where the family lived in the house next to the Methodist Chapel. Earlier it had been a horse-drawn van and William once confided he preferred those days when the pace was slower. None of the family were living in the village in 2004 but a daughter of William "Teddy " Kemp, Daphne (75) - who married Peter Bunting of Hunstanton in 1951 - could clearly recall her Grandad's trips to King's Lynn for Tuesday market. She and her sisters, Hazel (in 2004 aged 77, and living in Swaffham) and Sheila (70, Wisbech) would each be given a rabbit by their father which they would keep and later give to their Grandad to sell in Lynn.
"After collecting round the village Grandad would head off with his packages as well taking our rabbits for sale and people's shoes for repair that day," recalled Daphne, as her husband chuckled at the memory of old rabbit skins being sold to the head gamekeeper in Hunstanton Park for one penny each.
VILLAGE WAS ONCE A PORT
|The history of St Andrew's Church written in 1974 refers to Ringstead Downs as once being the estuary of a river, and says that - on a very old map - Port Ringsted is marked. History books at the local library, seen by the author, record that in 1580 Ringstead had in two ships over 16 tons.|
DAD'S ARMY AND A PRIVATE GODFREY
|Ringstead had a Home Guard during the second world war. The "army" was led by Lt. Walter Frammingham with Sgt. Stimson and Cpl. Crown. Other names included: Spurden, Cousons, Mattews, Butters, Matsell, Smith, Richardson, Langford, Bilham, Frary, Gooch, Maers, Collin, Rumbelow, Kemp, Jordon, Mann and - would you believe it - Private Godfrey! We are assured it was not he of television fame.|
CONSTERNATION AT THE WELL
A real village character in the 1950s was an old
naval type, Bob Allen who, at least temporarily, had charge of the Crown Inn.
A joker, on one occasion he left his clothing strewn on the ground near the well in The Big Yard at the back of Wards' Nurseries. He had flung his hat down the shaft and this was pulled up in the bucket. Bob was missing and villagers thought he had jumped in. A laughing Bob soon corrected them.
Charlie's family was the Salvation Army
Charlie's uncle was the Arthur Frammingham who used to keep
the old hand-operated petrol pumps in Ringstead from the early 1920s to the 1950s.
"Charlie" is Charles Frammingham and The Framminghams and Ringstead share a great deal of history. Charlie used to live where the late Tim Wayne resided, adjacent to the old Crown Inn. And the family were the local Salvation Army, each one of them playing an instrument in the local band.
Charlie's uncle used to have a little shop where he would mend bicycles, charge accumulators (for those in the village who enjoyed wireless) while his uncle's wife, Louise (known to all as Louie) kept a little hut shop on what is now a garden next to the Crown Inn which sold everything from paraffin and candles to a multitude of groceries.
At the age of 82, Charlie recalled how as a boy he would go to the shop for a bottle of raw vinegar and drink half of it on the way home. It had medicinal properties you understand! Even at the time I met him he avowed its wonderful healing properties.
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