The Orford Historian

The places we live are enriched by knowing something of their past. For those who love history, there’s no better place to live than beside the sea, where things wash up and human stories overlap.

A Local & Oral History in Coastal Suffolk

The Orford Historian is our updated version of the Orford & District Local History Bulletin and is an annual publication.  This is free with membership to Friends of Orford Museum or £5 to non-members.

We are always pleased to hear from members of the public who have ideas or suggestions for articles or, indeed, would like to write for us.   Please contact us at

The Orford Historian List of articles

Issue 01: Autumn 2022

  • Museum Piece by Stephen Mael
  • The Watch House by Howard Nash
  • The Train that never came by Bob Webb
  • Interview with Michael Cordle of Chantry Farm, Orford
  • A Tudor Clerical Mystery by Vic Harrup
  • Coralline Church by Simon Knott
  • Sketchbook:  A Cottage on Havergate Island

Orford & District Local History Bulletins

The following bulletins, the index and the list of articles are available to order by completing our enquiry form:

You can also download the index and the list of articles.

Orford & District Local History Bulletins

  • Consolidated issues 1-6 and 7-10 £10.00 each
  • Issue 23 (special WW I issue) £7.50
  • Issues 11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32 and 33 £5.00 each

The Orford & District Local History Bulletin List of articles

Consolidated issues 1-6

  • Invasion fever: a signal station at Orford Castle (part 1) by Margaret Poulter
  • John Green, Orford’s Arctic Hero by John Green
  • The Romans in Suffolk, a report on a WEA day course by Valerie Potter
  • Memories of Sudbourne Hall by Clement Cocker
  • Invasion Fever: a signal station at Orford Castle (part 2) by Margaret Poulter
  • Memories if Orford Castle. 3 August- 23 December 1943 by Robert Jones
  • Vandalism at Orford Castle, 1945 – a newspaper report
  • The Princess of Wales Visits Orford by Jane Allen
  • Butley Modern School Reunion by Paul Fincham
  • New light is shed on the Walls of Orford Castle by Michael Flint
  • Orford Museum – the story so far by Jane Allen
  • Some observations on Orford Castle by John Potter
  • Sailor, Verger and Friend – Gus Hacon (1857-1956) by Rosemary Unwin
  • The ‘Old Poor Law’ in Orford by Fiona Raiso
  • Ettie Partridge – an appreciation by Jane Allen
  • Chillesford Lodge: a nineteenth-century model farm by Edward Martin
  • Meet my ancestors – and others! by John Anderson
  • Orford Museum: recent acquisitions by Margaret Poulte
  • Captain’s Wood, Sudbourne by Vic Harrup
  • More memories of Sudbourne Hall by Phyllis Holton
  • The search for the Hospital of St Leonard by Jane Allen

Consolidated issues 7-10

  • Danger – River Ore! by John Anderson
  • The town centre properties of John Stile, son of Joan Richman of Gedgrave by Margaret Cronin
  • The Buckle family of Orford at a time of religious change by Vic Harrup
  • Some Orford characters by Doreen Longhurst
  • More Orford characters by John Anderson
  • Oyez! Oyez! Sam Smy, town crier by John Anderson
  • Recollections of Mrs H Smy of Orford by Jane Allen
  • The making of a gentleman: Richard Chaplin of Sudbourne by Vic Harrup
  • The Broom: rabbits and the loss of a sailors’ path by John Anderson
  • Lost opportunity or lucky escape: two Orford port schemes of 1813 and 1836 (part 1) by Margaret Poulter
  • A Land Girl at Garden House, Sudbourne Hall by Valerie Murrell
  • Castle House, Orford by Richard Roberts
  • The Orford Electric Light and Power Company Ltd by John Anderson
  • Elizabethan flood defences on Orford Ness by Valerie Fenwick
  • Polo at Chillesford by George Gardiner and John Anderson
  • Lost opportunity or lucky escape: two Orford port schemes of 1813 and 1836 (part 2) by Margaret Poulter


Issue 11 – special World War II issue: Autumn 2008

  • Teenage years in war-time Orford by Charlie Underwood
  • The evacuation of Sudbourne and Iken by Frank Waddell
  • Feathered combatants and other war-time memories by Doreen Longhurst
  • If the invader comes:  a message from the Parish Invasion Committee
  • A village goes to war by John Anderson
  • Recording Britain: artists around the Battle Area by Jane Allen
  • A year to remember by Brian Crowder
  • The Orford air raid by Charlie Underwood and a newspaper report
  • Castle cuisine by Richard Roberts
  • What went on in the Battle Area? by Jane Allen
  • The Italian job by John Anderson
  • Three tales of the Bailey bridge by Charlie Underwood, Doreen Longhurst and John Anderson
  • Halt, who goes there? by Jane Allen
  • Celebration! by Jane Allen

Issue 12: Summer 2009

  • Iken Pottery and the Chambers family by Gillian Bryant
  • Another Orford Wallace connection by Jane Allen
  • George Culham ‘the noted smuggler’ by Vic Harrup
  • Victory in 1945 by Jane Allen

Issue 13: Autumn 2009

  • The Atlantic Wall in Sudbourne by Brian Boulton
  • Journey to the edge in 1787 by Vic Harrup with a botanical note by Julian Potter
  • Growing up in Orford in the 40s and 50s by Sally Eke
  • Orford Museum: recent acquisitions by Margaret Poulter

Issue 14: Spring 2010

  • The battle of Newmouth and the lost Viking history of Sudbourne by Sam Newton
  • A vanished Tudor house at Butley by Valerie Fenwick
  • Sir Michael Stanhope’s manor house: the new stables by Vic Harrup
  • Sir Michael Stanhope’s manor house: an Italian masterpiece in the servants’ hall  by Jane Allen

Issue 15: Autumn 2010

  • The clergyman and the convict: the Revd Richard Cobbold’s History of Margaret Catchpole by Sally Harris

Issue 16: Spring 2011

  • The Sudbourne hatchments  by Jane Allen
  • The Suffolk Devereux: hopes dashed and lives cut short by Vic Harrup
  • The lost Hereford hatchments by Amanda Bettinson

Issue 17: Autumn 2011

  • Shops and businesses in Orford: introduction and map
  • A tour of Orford and its businesses in the 1930s by CharlieUnderwood
  • ‘Elliotts’ 1920-1983: a family business in Pump Street by Lindsay Carrier
  • Orford’s shops after World War II by Sally Eke
  • Homage to an Orford historian: R A Roberts 1851-1943 by Richard Roberts

Issue 18: Spring 2012

  • A plot of land in Orford by Valerie Potter
  • Medieval fraternities in the Peninsula by Vic Harrup
  • In the spacious days at Orford by R A Roberts

Issue 19: Autumn 2012

  • The Orford Ness story updated by Paddy Heazell
  • Emmeline Anna Rope – an obituary by Margaret Poulter
  • Medieval and later coins from near Orford Castle, Suffolk by Richard Kelleher

Issue 20: Spring 2013

  • A lost hamlet near Butley Priory and its thimbles by Valerie Fenwick
  • Memories of the floods of 1953 by John Anderson
  • When the floods came to Quay Street by Gwennie Marjoram
  • The will of Alice Bache, 1531, and a house called ‘Maltsters’ by Vic Harrup
  • An evacuee in Iken by Josephine Seath and Nicholas Turner

Issue 21: Winter 2013

  • Benjamin Britten and St Bartholomew’s Church by Jane Allen
  • The Pead family of Orford by Linda Tuffield and Jane Allen
  • Might it have been Iken Festival? By Nicholas Turner and Jane Allen
  • Orford Museum:  recent accessions by Jennifer Hall and Maggi Livingstone

Issue 22: Spring 2014

  • The mysterious mill and some Domesday anomalies resolved by Valerie Fenwick
  • Stock breeding on the Sudbourne Estate by Jane Allen
  • Diary of a trip to Australia and back by William Whayman

Issue 23 – special World War I issue: Summer 2014

  • World War I in the Orford area – setting the scene by Jane Allen
  • Defending Suffolk’s shores:  the 6th (Cyclist) Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment
  • By Colin Chamberlain
  • The village schools during the war by Maggi Livingstone
  • The Orfordness airfield and the Royal Flying Corps by David Goldin
  • In defence of the realm:  the first Battle of Britain by Jennifer Hall
  • Captain William Walden Hammond, pioneer aerial photographer by Vicky Gunnell
  • Strangers on and off the Island by Jane Allen
  • Naval Service in ‘The Great War’ by Richard Roberts
  • The Sudbourne and Orford Red Cross Detachment by Maggi Livingstone
  • Civilian life in a military stronghold by Jane Allen

Issue 24: Spring 2015

  • A childhood at Smoky House, Sudbourne by Phyllis Ellis
  • Piety and property in pre-reformation widow’s wills by Vic Harrup

Issue 25: Summer 2015

  • The Orfordness Lighthouse:  A Guiding Light by Jennifer Hall
  • Alde and Ore River Pilots in the Trinity House Archives by Mike Bradshaw
  • The River Pilots of Orford Haven by Sarah Margittai
  • Coastal Erosion at Orfordness Lighthouse by Stuart Bacon
  • Appendix:  A brief history and description of Orfordness Lighthouse

Issue 26: Spring 2016

  • John Green (1797 – 1892) – Orford’s Arctic Hero and Coaster Skipper by Brian Seward
  • Dr. Flint and Dr. Barron – the High House Doctors by Sally Harris (nee Flint) and Michael Flint
  • Lilian Lindsay (1871 – 1960):  Britain’s first woman dentist by Richard Quarrell
  • Dr. Montague Rendall – A Pilgrim Finds Rest by Vic Harrup
  • A Glimpse of Farming on the Butley Estate by Valerie Fenwick
  • ‘A generous and loving despot’:  Margery Spring-Rice at Iken Hall by Lucy Pollard

Issue 27: Autumn 2016

  • Suffolk Smacks and U Boats: “a tough old game” by Richard Roberts
  • On the Front Line of Conservation by Martin Fletcher
  • The Decline and Death of a Parliamentary Borough by Mike Bradshaw
  • Recollections of a Visiting School Boy by Les Peters (ed. by Vic Harrup)
  • For Train read Zoo by John Crowley
  • Butley Parish Council- Buggin’s Turn by Vic Harrup

Issue 28: Spring 2017

  • Highway Robbery – Clay, Butter and Bang – A Tragic Tale by Vic Harrup
  • Mapping Domesday by Valerie Fenwick
  • The Use of Boyton ‘white earth’ to produce Dutch Delft in the 17th Century
  • by Kate van Lookeren Campagne
  • Bede, Botolph, and Changing Beliefs:  The early church on the East Anglian Coast
  • By Richard Hoggett
  • The Brightlingsea Raids on the Orford Oyster Fishery by Mike Bradshaw
  • Medieval Floor Tiles from Butley Priory by Jennifer Hall
  • A Bryozoan Rock-Bed Walk:  Orford by Bob Markham

Issue 29: Autumn 2017

  • The Making of a Borough:  Orford and its Charter of 1579 by Margaret Poulter
  • Turmoil in a Tudor Town:  Orford and its Charter of 1579 by Vic Harrup
  • Perambulations with Norden by Vic Harrup
  • Restoring Orford’s Stocks by Jen Hall
  • An Orford Family and an Orford House by Valerie Potter
  • Fast Cars, Fast Planes and Deep Water by Stuart Bacon
  • Alan Geoffrey Calver by Jennifer Hall

Issue 30: Spring 2018

  • Orford Goes to War, Through the Eyes of a Schoolboy by John Anderson
  • The Wooing of Annie Sheringham by Theresa Curtis
  • Before the Victorians Got to Work by Vic Harrup
  • Eliza Crisp, Enterprising Wife, Mother and Business Woman by Doreen Bartlett
  • Aids to Running an Estate in the 16th Century by Valerie Fenwick
  • Notes & Queries by 0vic Harrup and Margaret Poulter

Issue 31: Autumn 2018

  • In Memoriam:  as selection of the biographies of the men of Orford who fell in WWI.
  • These were first exhibited in Orford Museum’s WWI exhibition in 2014:  compiled by
  • Brian Boulton.  
  • The Coastguard Cottages, Quay Street, Orford by Mike and Polly Sharkey
  • On the Butley Tiles by Kim Crowder
  • The Coroner’s Inquests by Vic Harrup
  • Oral History by Vic Harrup
  • Lost at Sea by Vic Harrup

Issue 32: Summer 2019

  • In Memoriam:  six more of the biographies of the men from each of the surrounding parishes who fell in WWI.   These were first exhibited in Orford Museum’s WWI exhibition in 2014:  compiled by Brian Boulton.
  • The Woodwoses of Suffolk by Matt Salusbury
  • A Portrait of the Artist:  J.M.W Turner in Orford by Dr. Richard Hoggett
  • Boats on Beeches by Kim Crowder
  • The Orford Craft Shop 1973 to 2016 by Stuart Bacon
  • A Story Prompted by a Teaspoon by Vic Harrup

Issue 33: Summer 2019

  • Epitaph for a Guiding Light by Jeannette Pearce MBE
  • The History of Creek Cottage, Orford by Jane Allen
  • History Hidden in Burnt House Field, Butley by Valerie Fenwick
  • Some Other Butley Tiles by Kim Crowder
  • Incarnations of Butley Abbey Refectory:  Boats in the Barn by Valerie Fenwick
  • Bronze Age Boatbuilding in Suffolk by Valerie Fenwick
  • Continuing the Story of Cowton House, Sudbourne by Simon Barrow
  • The Syred Family of Orford by Vic Harrup
  • Roy Collins:  an obituary by Valerie Fenwick