|All rambles have a beginning|
Sunday in what now appears to be the dim distant past used to be a day of rest. I used to put a notice up on the board in the Australian Arms . Next to the board was the story I wrote about how the pub acquired it's name. Terry who had lived in the house that was what is now the back half the pub had explained to me one lunchtime how the pub came to be named. I used to pop into the pub on Tuesday (pension day) lunchtime during half term just to listen to the stories of old Haverhill.
I am technically a local first generation born although I was born in Newmarket. As were all people of may age from the town were as that was where the maternity hospital was situated (14 miles away) and home births weren't encouraged then.
On the Sunday mornings we would set of for a walk of between 3 and 5 miles. The footpaths as were surprisingly short in distance between town and villages than the roads. Haverhill is situated in a very ancient area of human habitation. According to the book Suffolk's Ancient Sites Historic places the town's name has it's origins as the "Billy Goat Hill". The first ramble I planned was across the hill to Kedington. The half way point was the Barnadiston Arms named after the local family of whom Nathanial Barnardiston, the original Roundhead of the English. Civil War, was a member. The medieval stone effigies of the Barnadistons can still be seen in Kedington Church which is built on the site of a Roman villa whose floor can seen by lifting a trapdoor halfway up the aisle. The village had the workhouse for the area which later became the local Hospital for psychiatric treatment.
Walking back over the hill past the British Legion you start to get an idea of how large Haverhill has become since the early 1960s (and still no railway ). Looking down the hill you can see the church. Dotted also around the town are a large number of non-conformist chapels. The Ward family sired a number of protestant preachers one of whom John Ward was the first preacher of Haverhill in the USA. Samuel Ward after whom the school I attended before University was named is another non-conformist. The school is one of two outstanding post 13 years soon to be post 11 years old institutions who can be viewed by clicking the links near title relating schools and academies.
As you get to know Haverhill more you find the reason that the locals do not talk much about much about the town to outsiders is that results in many areas of the towns endeavours are self evident if you only take the time to look.