St Mary Church Flixton
There has been a church at Flixton since around 700, but the St Mary we see today was rebuilt in 1861 paid for by Hugh Adair, Lord Waveney-the owner of Flixton Hall. The original church steadily fell into disrepair after the Black Death in 1349.
There is still much discussion over the helm roof-of which only one authentic example, at Sompting, Sussex, exists in England. The original collapsed in 1835 and the debate centres on whether the tower was an accurate copy of what was there before- (Historic England say that a sketch of the building made by Isaac Johnson in 1818 does not support the assumption) or just a Victorian creation by the architect Anthony Salvin, who almost completely rebuilt the church leaving very few original features.
When the church was rebuilt, the motivating force seems to have been Theodosia Adair, Lady Waveney, and the octagonal, vaulted structure at the west end of the north aisle is her memorial chapel. It is a completely heathen structure, clear glass in the gothic windows illuminating her life-size statue, the work of John Bell- most famous for the work “Babes in the Wood”, which can be seen at Norwich Castle Museum.
The church is open to visitors every day. Why not combine a visit to the church with a visit to the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum
The man who became a verb! Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott
After retiring from the army, Boycott worked as a land agent for Lord Erne, one of the foremost landowners in County Mayo who lived off the steep rents he charged tenants. Boycott was responsible for many bloody evictions.
When Boycott tried evicting 11 tenants, the locals had had enough. The Mayo branch of the Irish Land League pressed Boycott’s employees to withdraw their labour and began a campaign to ostracise Boycott in the local community.
This campaign included shops refused to serve him, or provide services. Boycott found himself a marked man, not only fearing violence but even worse the scorn, silence, and contempt of everyone in the community.
He made a fatal mistake, by writing a letter to the London Times outlining his grievances:-
The following detail may be interesting to your readers as exemplifying the power of the Land League. On the 22nd September a process-server, escorted by a police force of seventeen men, retreated to my house for protection, followed by a howling mob of people, who yelled and hooted at the members of my family.
On the ensuing day, September 23rd, the people collected in crowds upon my farm, and some hundred or so came up to my house and ordered off, under threats of ulterior consequences, all my farm labourers, workmen, and stablemen, commanding them never to work for me again.
My herd has been frightened by them into giving up his employment, though he has refused to give up the house he held from me as part of his emolument. Another herd on an off farm has also been compelled to resign his situation.
My blacksmith has received a letter threatening him with murder if he does any more work for me, and my laundress has also been ordered to give up my washing. A little boy, twelve years of age, who carried my post-bag to and from the neighbouring town of Ballinrobe, was struck and threatened on 27th September, and ordered to desist from his work; since which time I have sent my little nephew for my letters and even he, on 2nd October, was stopped on the road and threatened if he continued to act as my messenger.
The shopkeepers have been warned to stop all supplies to my house, and I have just received a message from the postmistress to say that the telegraph messenger was stopped and threatened on the road when bringing out a message to me and that she does not think it safe to send any telegrams which may come for me in the future for fear they should be abstracted and the messenger injured. My farm is public property; the people wander over it with impunity. My crops are trampled upon, carried away in quantities, and destroyed wholesale.
The locks on my gates are smashed, the gates thrown open, the walls thrown down, and the stock driven out on the roads. I can get no workmen to do anything, and my ruin is openly avowed as the object of the Land League unless I throw up everything and leave the country. I say nothing about the danger to my own life, which is apparent to anybody who knows the country.”
– CHARLES C. BOYCOTT
Boycott left Ireland in 1880, a discredited and broken man-his name forever linked to a campaign to bring down tyrants. In 1886, he became a land agent for Hugh Adair’s Flixton estate in Suffolk. He died at the age of 65 in June 1897 in his home “The Hollows” (now known as The Priest House) in Flixton, after an illness earlier that year. His name lives on in infamy forever