Friday, 7 October 2011

Stondon Massey: After Dinner Anecdotes

An introduction to a new booklet now available, price £2, from Stondon Massey Church.

In 1881 Edward Henry Lisle Reeve (known as Lisle to his family) had just completed his University studies to become a Minister of Religion in the Church of England.  He was 23 years of age, born into a well-to-do family, whose father was Rector of Stondon Massey.  Lisle became the parish’s rector in 1893.  His late grandfather, Edward Reeve (known in the family as “the Captain”), had served in the West Suffolk Militia.  Having then been a gentleman farmer in Dedham, in 1849 he purchased the Rectory and advowson of Stondon moving into retirement and appointing his son as the incumbent.

The following sequence of posts is edited from a manuscript in Lisle’s hand entitled ‘Jottings’ dated 1881, and relates specifically to Stondon Massey.  In Lisle’s words:

“My father you know is always telling us the same old stories, and then he will turn to me and ask ‘if I remember that’.

“Well, I should say you have no doubts how to answer that question.  If he were to ask you whether you had forgotten it, it might create a difficulty.

“Most of these little heirlooms we are indebted to the Captain who took a burning interest in all that related to his ancestors”.

‘Jottings’ is a family book which came into my possession via a relative of the Reeve family.  It casts light on the ordinary lives of the privileged classes in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  In short, it is a fascinating social history.

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