The Museum received this e mail from Jon Dudley who recalls an interesting journey made by his grandfather and Fred from Kent to Hallaton.
My great uncle was Fred Hawke, and his sister Winifred married Stephen Dann after she had left Hallaton to work as cook in a large country house near Penshurst in Kent. We have pictures of her wedding in Hallaton which are wonderful, no doubt the photographer was Fred. There was quite a bit of visiting by Fred down to Kent and return visits to the village by all sorts of mechanical contrivances as Fred was quite an engineer……on one occasion, Fred and my grandfather rigged up a motorcycle alongside a pushbike, somehow locked the steering together and both rode back to Hallaton from Kent with whoever was riding the bicycle giving pedal assistance in hilly country!
Hallaton in the Great War – Tales of the Unexpected
The Great War Research Group is thrilled to have been declared the winner in the category “Projects on a limited budget” in the prestigious Heritage + Media Awards 2017.
Particularly as the others shortlisted were:- University of Oxford Gardens, Libraries and Museums Group Kettering Museum and Art Gallery National Trust – Clumber Park Ridgewell Airfield Commemorative Association
We were really up against the Big Boys!
We are particularly proud of the judge’s comments:- “The very essence of a great community project, personalised, moving and locally relevant”.
A great thank you to all who lent us so many precious items and supported in so many ways.
From a mysterious Viking bone dug up by a boy in his garden, to a stuffed crocodile smuggled in a kitbag from South America, from a 22 piece dolls house set to a fossilised mammoth tooth…..These are just some of the fascinating treasures on display at Hallaton Museum for our 2015 exhibition.
On 2nd May at twelve noon the museum opened its doors to the 2015 exhibition ‘Hallaton’s Cabinet of Curiosity’. Performing the opening ceremony and cutting the ribbon was 7 year old Alexander Smith from Horninghod who found a human bone in his neighbours garden.
An Open weekend was held when villagers were invited to bring forward their interesting treasures
for display. Most are identified with handy catalogues available, some are ‘guess what they are’ items, some are ‘hands-on’ and there is a ‘knocker quiz’ for the children. Come along and be curious.
We are open from 2.30 to 5.00 pm every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays until the end of
The 2015 ‘Hallaton’s Cabinet of Curiosities’ was opened by 7 year old Hallaton School pupil,
Alexander Smith. Last Autumn, aged 6, Alex made an exciting discovery – here is the story in his own words:
When I was in my next door neighbour’s garden I found a bone. I took it to my mum. I thought it was a dinosaur bone. Mum is a doctor and she told me that the bone was a femur from a human. A policeman came to look at it. It was very exciting! My sister Lara and I got to sit in his car.
The bone was sent to some scientists in England and America. They examined the bone and told me that it was a Viking or Saxon bone. This made me feel very excited.
Alexander William Smith
PS When I grow up I want to be an explorer.
When found in Autumn 2014 the bone was the subject of a Police murder enquiry. The Police paid for the carbon and radioactive-ratio analyses and the human bone was certified by carbon and radioactive-ratio analysis to be 1220+/-30 years BP-before present, so being from about 750 AD.
This corresponds with Viking and Saxon populations in this area, and was about 300 years before Norman occupation, from when many local churches were built. The certification can be seen, with the bone, in the 2015 exhibition.
As owners of the land we were thankfully freed from suspicion when the age was found! Archaeological investigation is planned with the local field-working group and Leicester University – so watch this space.
John and Mary Twidell
Tom Elliott, who died in May, worked tirelessly as Treasurer on the Hallaton Museum committee for many years. Always amusing and witty at committee meetings he kept the finances completely in order such that there was never a question posed when the auditor was called in at the end of every year.
Ever practical and meticulous, when new exhibitions were mounted Tom would appear together
with tool kit and take on board any task, however ridiculous. For the railway exhibition ‘Before Beeching’ Tom made a complicated and exact model of Hallaton Station coal-yard. When completed and put on display Tom was heard to say ‘I think the weighbridge should have been a quarter of an inch to the left’.
Tom retired from the Museum committee some years ago but always came to encourage us at every event. He is greatly missed by us all.
Pictured: the coal-yard model and Tom at the opening of the railway exhibition.
The Rev Richard Coles, a parish priest in Northamptonshire and a regular host of BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live, is the only vicar in Britain to have a Number One hit single. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” remained at the top of the charts for four weeks and was the biggest selling single of its year.
Richard Coles was head chorister at school, then discovering a love for the saxophone his musical career took off, but it wasn’t until 1990 that he “found God” and so his life changed direction, to the Christian faith.
He went to Mass at St Alban’s, Holborn and describes in his book a Damascene conversion in which, when a chime rang out: “I was pierced to the soul at that moment… a shutter was flung open, and light flooded in and I could see.”
And so Rev Richard (the inspiration for the television sitcom “Rev”) was invited by the Museum to come and talk to a capacity crowd in the Stenning Hall about his pilgrimage from the rock and roll life of pop music to a life devoted to God and Christianity. He spoke openly about his colourful life and signed copies of his book.
He was funny, witty and at times shocking but very honest and entertaining.
The Grococks were a well-established Hallaton family and Charles Henry and Emma Grocock produced a large family of seven children one of whom was Alice. Henry was a carpenter and coffin maker as was his grandfather Richard. This is the story of Alice’s daughter Constance and a chance encounter in Hallaton as told by her daughter Gill Regan who lives in New Zealand.
“My Grandparents Alice nee Grocock (Hallaton ) and Jesse Lowe lived from the early 1930’s in Southall Middlesex. We all eventually lived together due to the war until my brother and I moved away. I came to New Zealand and my brother Michael to Australia. As a family we had had no contact with Hallaton as the Grocock ‘girls’ had all moved away by about 1934 and the only son, Henry aka Harry had moved to Auckland, New Zealand in 1920. Constance moved to New Zealand, aged 76 after my father died in 1987.
My brother on a trip back to UK 1986 took my mother back to Hallaton. She was by this time getting interested in her family history as her Aunt Mabel Thorne nee Grocock had written up some information on the family.
Taking photographs around the village church and cemetery, just before they were leaving they discovered the film was not in the camera correctly. My brother rushed around repeating the photographs and left my mother in the village.
It would have been at that time that she must have visited the museum and got talking to the person there. It would have been then that she left her address that David Griffiths of Belton found later when visiting the Museum. David and I share a Great Great Great Grandfather William Grocock born about 1783, died 1848 and is buried in Hallaton Cemetery and a carpenter living in Church Street 0n the 1841 census. David must have written to my mother before she moved to New Zealand. She later moved to Brisbane Australia about 1992 where she and David corresponded regularly until she died in 2011 aged 99. By this time I had taken over the role of family historian and have contacted David and his sister Pru and last year I visited Hallaton and met up with them.”
Harry Grocock mentioned above who served in WWI is the subject of the WWI research currently taking place in Hallaton and his story gives a fascinating insight into this well respected Hallaton family.
Hallaton Museum, bringing people together – come and join us – you never know who you might find!