Bi-Monthly Newsletters

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Interim Newsletter No 88
February, 2021.

Dear Member,
I write to you on behalf of the Society’s Steering Group in the hope that you have all managed to remain safe
and well through these most difficult of times. Following the presentation by the Prime Minister on Monday
evening, 22nd February, there now appears to be a prospect that we might be able to resume the Society’s
activities in the second half of the year. With this in mind, a conditional schedule of the two planned events is
set out below.
Thursday, 9th September. Afternoon visit and guided walk around Poringland with local historians,
Richard and Mike. Details to follow.
Tuesday, 23rd November. ‘History Beneath Your Feet’ – bringing the past to life with ancient artefacts – an
illustrated talk by Graeme Simmonds. Please bring along any relevant relics that may have come your way
for Graeme to examine and possibly adjudicate the item’s provenance.
On the administrative side of things, membership fees paid for 2020 will cover the remainder of this year.
Hopefully, we can all make a new start in January, 2022.
I can also confirm, for those of you who were concerned about the potential development in the grounds of
Cedar House, abutting Yelverton’s St. Mary’s churchyard, that the South Norfolk District Council’s Planning
Department did not approve the planning application to erect two houses in the garden of the former Rectory.
The majority of us did not have to experience the dreadful personal circumstances of the Second World War,
though we may have been well briefed on it by our parents and others who either took part in or suffered it at
home. The Cold War that followed often raised anxieties, particularly the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, but
nothing happened to curtail our (baby boomer) freedom in the way that the Covid pandemic has restrained us
to this day. Our hearts must go out, amongst others, to all students at school and university who have missed
the potential opportunities of learning. Time lost can rarely be regained. What we are living through now will
doubtless be the subject of historical accounts (and probably novels) by countless authors.
Historical records have detailed the epidemic that struck Athens in 430 BC and the Great Antonine Plague in
the Roman Empire of 165 AD together with the Justinian Plague of 541-42 AD. What has this to do with the
local History Society of Alpington and Yelverton you may well ask? Simply that the characteristics of the
latter Roman plague, which devastated the Byzantine Empire, did have similar symptoms to those of our
areas’s ‘Black Death’, which came to our region and country in 1348-49. At a stroke, up to one half of the
population of England died in less than two years. The Norman system of feudalism became unsustainable
and the lord of the manor’s difficulty in finding workers suddenly became the serf’s opportunity. The
Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 against the poll tax, which involved labourers from our area down to Suffolk,
Essex, Surrey and Kent could not have happened but for the dreadful consequences of the Black Death. Our
nation’s long journey to democracy had begun. We can only speculate on what social and economic changes
our post-covid future may bring, hoping, of course, for positives but fearing possible negatives.
It is with deep sorrow that I have to record the death of one of our dear Society members, Stephanie Crome,
who passed away in the early hours of Christmas morning after a long illness, bravely endured. Steph was, in
every way, a truly wonderful person and is greatly missed by all who knew her. Our thoughts are with her
family.
Nostalgia could be defined as a sentimental longing or a wistful affection for a period of the past. Perhaps in
our private moments we yearn to return to that period, that year in which we achieved or experienced
happiness and success – the Byronic ‘The years of our youth are the years of our glory!’ In Thomas Gray’s
‘Elegy written in a Country Churchyard’ he evokes the last chance to look back in the alliterative line ‘Nor
cast one longing lingering look behind’. I cannot feel that anyone would have the wish to look back to 2020
with anything other than heartbreak.
With best wishes,
Brian Bugg.

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