Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Woodbridge: Tributes paid to distinguished writer and historian Norman Scarfe who ‘lived and breathed Suffolk’

13:30 07 March 2014

Norman Scarfe, a distinguished local historian and writer.

Norman Scarfe, a distinguished local historian and writer.

Tributes have been paid to a distinguished writer and historian whose vast knowledge of Suffolk was said to be rivalled only by his generosity.


Norman Scarfe MBE FSA died in Ipswich Hospital on Sunday, aged 90.

His partner of almost 60 years, Paul Fincham, with whom he lived in Woodbridge, has spoken of Mr Scarfe’s love for Suffolk and the huge impact he had on all who knew him.

“He lived and breathed Suffolk – there was almost nothing about the county that he did not know,” said Mr Fincham.

“He was wonderfully helpful and kind to people who needed his assistance, sharing his knowledge – he was never too busy to help.”

Mr Scarfe’s literary career began in 1947 with Assault Division, a factual account of the Third Division’s role in the D-Day landings – an event he could recount first-hand, having fought with the Suffolk Regiment on Sword Beach in 1944.

After completing his first publication, Mr Scarfe returned to read history at Oxford’s Magdalen College before continuing his studies as a lecturer at the University of Leicester, where he met Mr Fincham, his student, in 1954.

In 1963 the two men moved to Shingle Street on the coast, where they both became active in local
societies including the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, the Suffolk Record Society and the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust.

They also were also heavily involved with the Aldeburgh Festival and Music in Country Churches.

An esteemed academic, Mr Scarfe published many papers and historical books, but was most widely known for the Shell guides to Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.

His other works included books on Suffolk in the Middle Ages, the county’s beautiful landscapes and A Frenchman’s Year In Suffolk – an account taken from the diaries of two young Gallic noblemen written during their 18th Century visits to East Anglia. Mr Fincham said it was his partner’s “proudest work”.

His academic renown was such that for his 80th birthday, a group of scholarly friends produced a collection of essays in his honour titled East Anglia’s History: Studies in Honour of Norman Scarfe.

But even among these intellectual acquaintances, Mr Scarfe is recalled as much for his kindness as his academic prowess.

“It was his humanity rather than his historic knowledge that made me so fond of him,” said Colin Richmond, a professor at Keel University who contributed to the collection.

“He had a great generosity of spirit, he was one of the least
mean-minded people I’ve ever come across.”



Concerns for police staff over jobs

Hundreds of Suffolk Constabulary civilian staff face an anxious wait this week to discover the impact of a multi-million pound cost-cutting programme.

Tim Holder, director of the Suffolk Community Foundation, with Surviving Winter supporter, former journalist and TV presenter Christine Webber

A campaign to combat fuel poverty in Suffolk has helped more than 100 people to stay warm this winter in the first three weeks since its launch.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A 20-year-old woman was given a six week prison sentence suspended for 12 months for stealing £10 from a resident of a care home where she worked.

Bad weather in Felixstowe.

Properties are at risk from flooding at Bawdsey Quay and Felixstowe Ferry, the Environment Agency has warned.

Former Ipswich Town manager Sir Bobby Robson

An online auction launched in memory of Ipswich Town and England legend Sir Bobby Robson has raised more than £160,000 for charity.

Ipswich Crown Court.

A 67-year-old west Suffolk garage owner who sexually assaulted and raped three schoolgirls more than 25 years ago has been jailed for 19 years.

A parade of puppets, live bands, fireworks and a packed Angel Hill, Abbey Gardens and town centre - the annual Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre

Tens of thousands of people swarmed to west Suffolk this weekend for what organisers expect to have been a record breaking Christmas Fayre.

Most read

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24