Bulmer Then & Now -- Edited by Basil Slaughter

Bulmer then&now

This and all books listed can be purchased from good booksellers or by emailing info@bulmerhistory.co.uk

First edition published 1979 by the Bulmer branch of the W.E.A. Second edition published 1990 by Simon Harris

In 1934 the parson at Bulmer wrote to C.F.D. Sperling at Ballingdon Hall asking if the latter could help in the matter of Bulmer's history. The reply began as follows:
“Dear Pannell,
Happy is the place that has no history. In such a category you may place Bulmer...''
There the matter could have been left, but after W.E.A (Workers Education Association), talks on the area's soil, buildings, dialect, literature, art and, yes, local history, some of Bulmer's residents decided it was time to question the truth of this slighting dismissal from a neighbour. They always were a funny lot in Ballingdon. That's why they were put into Suffolk. What follows is the work of many hands. Sperling was right, but only to the extent that Bulmer had no written history.
This is Bulmer's attempt to give itself one.

In “Tulip’s” Time by Philip ‘Tulip’ Rowe

Tulip Rowe

A Bulmer Craftsman’s Memories - Edited by Robin Rowe
The writings of Philip ‘Tulip’ Rowe begin in 1828 as a descriptive perambulation around his home parish of Bulmer. As the journey progresses digressions in the form of anecdotal local history, his life working on the land, its natural history and Tulip’s family, spring from the pages. To make this miscellany of material more accessible to the reader, the editor has collected together passages relating to specific subjects and formed them into chapters resulting in a modest volume of rural life in a north Essex parish. The domestic processes of baking, brewing, the curing of hams and straw hat plaiting are intimately observed and indeed were practiced by Tulip. Like all Englishmen he talks of the weather and his recollections here are of severe instances of wind, rain, snow, frost and heat – a ‘Black Tuesday’ and ‘That Windy Friday’ were etched into the local psyche. The conflict between poacher and keeper is also lodged deep in the rural mind. It is not hard to decide which side Tulip is on, after all he had a great grandfather who was ‘a poacher of the Highest Class,’ and even his father, who had become a night ranger, because he was unable to carry out his farm working duties owing to a severe farm accident, made sufficient noise whilst on his rounds so that the would-be-poacher had the chance to get away. The day to day work of the farm labourer and craftsman is described and discussed from an intimate working knowledge of such activities as hedging, ditching, weeding, thatching and threshing, culminating in that highlight of the countryman’s year, the harvest. Tulip, a one time Lord of the Harvest, had many times lead his team scything barley and hay and in 1881, when a schoolboy, witnessed the first binding machine to be demonstrated in a Bulmer field and on one rare occasion had watched as wheat was harvested with sickles.

Pollards & People by Philip ‘Tulip’ Rowe


A landscape History of Bulmer, Essex - Edited by Robin Rowe
When writing the landscape history of an area there is no better placed person than the man-on-the-spot. Philip ‘Tulip’ Rowe was certainly that. He had explored Bulmer’s every corner, worked its soil, made intimate observations and, like any historian worth his salt, questioned all he saw. The result is a descriptive journey through narrow lanes, deep hollow ways, isolated hamlets and farmsteads and a patchwork of ancient enclosed fields strewn with long-neglected pollards – all crucial landscape features of the Essex Till. The inhabitants are not forgotten for they and their ancestors had shaped that landscape – over 260 names are indexed. The whole perambulation is illustrated with route-maps showing intricate field patterns, major agricultural sites, important buildings and references to textual anecdotes. Descriptions of and incidents relating to all manner of matters are included: farms and hamlets, church and chapel, school, police, country crafts and industries, fields, woods and pastures. Copious footnotes explaining and embellishing points of local history compliment the text. Written by a farm labourer-cum-country craftsman who had left school at the age of twelve, the whole is an amazing compilation, which inadvertently creates local and landscape history. Tulip was in his late fifties and sixties when he carried out the work to while away the time whilst unwell, but nevertheless always with a ‘reader’ in mind and perhaps, not doubting that one day it would be presented to a wider audience of those interested in such matters.

THE LONG FURROW:   ISBN 0900227-82-6  ‘Two thousand year of farming and rural history along the Suffolk-Essex border.' Including the memories of the horsemen, shepherds, drovers and threshing contractors of a bygone era.                                                              

HEART OF OUR HISTORY: ISBN 978-0-9524778-0-8  ‘500 years of village history.’ With research from sixty parishes and the memories of ninety local people                                                

THE KHYBER CONNECTION: ISBN 0 900 227-81-8‘ Historical links between the Sudbury-Halstead-Hadleigh area…and India.’ Based on the recollections of seventy local people. 

OUR MOTHER EARTH:  ISBN 978-0-9524778-2-2 ‘300 years of Countryside History.’ From local brickyards and potteries to windmills, Scottish immigrants, the Tithe War, Arthur Young, straw plaiting, farmers diaries and an eighteenth century Sudbury botanist.       

OUR LIVING PAST:  ISBN 0 952 4778 1 5 ‘Memories of Bulmer from Footpath and Field’ – a circular walk of about four miles.           

All these books can be obtained in all good bookshops or by contacting us at info@bulmerhistory.co.uk