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Village History

People have left their mark on the landscape and have shaped Bardwell village over thousands of years. There have been archeological finds in Bardwell dating from the Stone Age, Iron Age, Roman, Anglo Saxon and Medieval times. There are many old houses and buildings all with a history of their own and some very interesting people have lived in Bardwell.

This section is currently being researched, if you are able to contribute any material to this or any other area of the web site we are always open to suggestions. Please contact us about it here.



Bardwell in Pre-Roman Times
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Bardwell in Roman Times
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Bardwell in Saxon Times
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Bardwell in Norman Times
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Bardwell in the Middle Ages.
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Bardwell in the 16th Century
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Bardwell in the 17th Century
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Bardwell in the 18th Century.
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Bardwell in the 19th Century.

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Bardwell in the 20th Century
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A Historical Tour of Bardwell Highways and Byways
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Memories Bardwell Fair
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In Remembrance: The Bardwell Bugle
About ten years ago Peter Mitchell, a member of the PCC at that time, handed me a sad looking lack-lustre Bugle that he found at the back of a cupboard in the vestry of our Church.  Surprisingly, he could find no reference or clue in the Church records to substantiate its ownership but he was curious about its condition.
Removing surface dust from the instrument revealed the makers name, the date of manufacture 1915, and a tiny tell-tail arrow, hardly visible, stamped above the maker’s name. With that date, it seemed very likely the Bugle was used, in the Church on Remembrance Day, to salute those who gave their lives for our freedom during the First World War. The arrow stamp signified one thing – the Bugle was originally Government Property. The testing moment, after so many years hidden from view and use was amazing - the sound was rich and clear and, for me, a sound not destined for further obscurity.
 So! Was it possible that someone, still living in Bardwell Village, might know something about the provenance of this remarkable find?
The one person I knew who might have some answers was the late, “Gran” Aggie Ruffles, who died in December 2006 a few months before her hundredth birthday. However, we were neighbours for a number of years before this came about and, she was very much alive when we had our conversation about the Bugle.  
It seems that the Suffolk Regiment gifted the Bugle to the Church not long after the end of the First World War. Aggie could verify that the Bugle was indeed used for playing the Last Post in the Church on Remembrance Day; she also recalled how the Bugle was ceremoniously hung by its regimental lanyard on a hook in the wall directly above the War Memorial plaque. A cursory inspection of the wall confirms the existence of a hook, high enough to reach but affording some protection from the bugle being accidentally knocked or damaged in it’s suspended place of rest.
From those I have spoken to that knew her, Aggie was a devout member of the Church all her life, attending and serving the Church to the best of her ability. However, when she recounted the awful loss of so many lives (young men in the prime of life, gunned down, maimed or gassed) her voice faltered and tears came to her eyes.  Two of her brothers had served at the front; Walter, the eldest, was badly injured and died in a soldier’s home in Woodbridge. Victor, at just 16 years of age, joined the Suffolk Regiment as a drummer boy but sadly, became the victim of a gas attack that affected him for the rest of his life.

 When peace came, public anxieties about future hostilities of that magnitude were confidently brushes aside, ‘The Great War was the war to end all Wars’, and with assurance Aggie regularly attended Remembrance Day Services in Bardwell Church.
However, in 1939, contrary to her belief in the promises made in 1918, the country was now engaged in fighting a second World War. Aggie was so upset by this turn of events that she refused to attend another Remembrance Day service.
The Bugle- what happened to it after that?  No one knows for sure, rumour had it was stolen, but its presence at the back of a cupboard in the vestry suggests a different fate.
In conclusion; since the Bugle came back to life in 2004 it has acquired, as I understand it, a lanyard in keeping with the original green colour of the Suffolk Regiment - gifted by the Museum at Minden Barracks in Bury St. Edmunds.  
On every appropriate occasion since the Bugle’s discovery, the Last Post and Reveille has been sounded in Bardwell Church and beyond, including a dedication to the Shackleton Association Memorial at the National Arboretum in 2008.
 Unfortunately illness has prevented the use of this worthy piece of Church history and, for the years 2012 –2013 the sound was successfully replicated by a magnificent recording – mistakenly thought to have been my creation! In that vein, it is now my wish to finalise my association with the Bugle by playing it for the last time in Bardwell Church on Remembrance Day 2014, a year ahead of the Bugle’s centenary; our tribute to those who have laid down their lives that we may live in freedom and peace.  In my view the Bugle now deserves a fitting place to rest and to be seen as part of its legacy in serving our community in moments of sadness and thankfulness.
By Geoff Davies. 2/10/2014
Dedicated to all who have served to protect our way of life and to those who, through their efforts, have made Bardwell Church of St Peter and St Paul such a beautifully functional place of worship.  

Churchwardens Note   Thank you, Geoff, for researching and writing this fascinating account of the Bugle. The hook remains above the wall memorial – but not just for the Bugle to collect dust again! It can still be played in future years – please let us know of any possible players!
 
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