Labour of love on tiny village
By John HowardA FORMER police officer has spent years producing a fascinating insight into the history of one of East Anglia's smallest villages.Mike Durrant, a former superintendent with Suffolk police who spent 30 years with the force, has just finished the 368-page book A History and Genealogy of Badley, Suffolk.
By John Howard
A FORMER police officer has spent years producing a fascinating insight into the history of one of East Anglia's smallest villages.
Mike Durrant, a former superintendent with Suffolk police who spent 30 years with the force, has just finished the 368-page book A History and Genealogy of Badley, Suffolk.
Mr Durrant's labour of love has ensured that the history of the village, which is near Stowmarket and is home to just 80 people, is not lost to future generations.
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He hoped it may also prove invaluable for people tracing their family histories if they have connections with Badley.
Published by the Suffolk Family History Society, the book gives an insight into village life through the years and Mr Durrant has drawn on sources such as parish registers and gravestones, police reports and university archives.
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It includes insights into St Mary's Church, historic parish buildings, the local Poley family, heraldry and genealogy, census returns from 1841 to 1901 and even wills.
Mr Durrant, 62, from Stowmarket, has been working on the book since the late 1990s.
“People ask me why I undertook this and I end up giving the mountaineer's reply - because it's there. But I really have a natural interest in history and when I visited the church at Badley, I was inspired,” he said.
“It's one of the smallest villages in Suffolk and I felt enormous satisfaction recording the history of the community, its buildings, church, the people.
“One of the things that really surprised me was the number of air crashes within the village - it's like there is a Badley triangle with crashes including an RAF Lancaster bomber in July 1944 and a United States Thunderbolt single-seater fighter plane in March 1945, to mention just two incidents.”
Mr Durrant has also worked on other books about Stowmarket, providing insights into the town's development through the years and now hopes to work recording fading inscriptions in the churchyard in Creeting St Peter.
n A History and Genealogy of Badley, Suffolk, is available from Mr Durrant on 01449 676045, priced £25.