EDitorial ± 28-Jan-2002

Family Matters (Part 2)

Last time round I was recounting how Bridget the archivist had traced the Freston family all the way back to the mid-1700s (and still going). She'd also mentioned that the roots seemed to lead towards an area on the Suffolk/Norfolk border, in particular Harleston, Redenhall and Mendham.

Now those aren't places I'm familiar with. But this past weekend the Broom nuclear family (60% of whom weren't well) were guests at the in-laws, who happen to live on that very county border. Listening to the story so far, abstemious father-in-law Geoffrey pulled out a copy of The King's England, Suffolk, written in the 1940s by Arthur Mee. Lo & behold the entry for Mendham talked of the church being home to the Freston brasses. No prizes for guessing where we headed on Saturday afternoon.

To Redenhall first, parking outside the imposing church. Nearly the first gravestone we looked at was one John Freston, died 1838 aged 66 and his wife Mary, died 1852 aged 77. Ten minutes later we'd also located:

  1. Charles Freston, died June 1881 aged 75
  2. and his wife Emily, died October 1893 aged 83
  3. Henry Freston, died February 1899 aged 85
  4. and his wife Mary Ann, died November 1881 aged 70
Cross-checking these against Bridget's family tree, it transpires that Charles and Henry were brothers of John, my great great great grandfather. This was fantastic, but the best was yet to come.

Plaque in Mendham church

With the light beginning to die, we did the short drive to Mendham. Luckily for us, the church was open. There in the nave (if that's the right word), on the wall, was a memorial reading:

Beneath this Monument
Lyeth Interred the Body of
EDWARD FRESTON Gent: youngest
of Mendham in the County of
Norfolk Esq and BRIDGETT his
Wife Daughter of HENRY COKE
of Thorington in the
County of Suffolk Esq. He Died
the 28th Day of December 1708
Anno Aetatis 43.
As also the Body of ELIZABETH ye
Daughtor of JOHN SAYER of Pulham
St Mary ye Virgin in ye County
of Norfolk Gent: She Died ye 25th
Day of Sep:1727 Anno Aetatis 55.

Right next to this was another memorial, this time in Latin, for Richard Freston Armigeri, died 1722. On the opposite wall were two further memorials, one very long one appearing to give the pedigree of Freston. Shame that the light was such that we couldn't get the details.

Looking up at these wonders, already suffocating in Frestons, I realised that we were standing on the Freston brasses! There's around five of these inlaid in the floor, each the size of a small table. The inscriptions mention:

  • Penelope Smith, daughter of Anthony Freston, died June 1681
  • Ledia Freston, died March 1651
  • Richard Freston, died November 1616
  • Cecilia Freston, died September 1615
  • etc.
I've never seen so many people called Freston in my life. Course, I don't yet know if I'm related to any of this lot, but fingers crossed.

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 21-Jan-2002

Family Matters

Bridget, top archivist person that she is, gave me a novel birthday present a little while back - a voucher reading as follows:
This entitles Ed Broom to two hours family history research at the Ipswich branch of the Suffolk Record Office
She was aware that I'd been spending some lunchtimes scrabbling around in old Kelly's directories and electoral rolls in a quest for two family names:
  1. Broom: my dad, his dad, etc.
  2. Freston: my dad's mum's maiden name

While I'd done reasonably well with the Brooms, I was keen to know more about the Freston side, it being my middle name and all. So I gave Bridget what I'd already learned and left her to it.

Edward Freston in 1891 census: head of family aged 52, carter & contractor, born Mendham, Norfolk

Well, the lady did good. Briefly, here's where we are:

— Ivy Freston, my grandmother
born 1902, daughter of...
— Frederick Freston, my great grandfather
born 1871 in Ipswich, son of...
— Edward Freston, my great great grandfather
born 1838 in Mendham, son of...
— John Freston, my great great great grandfather
born 1810 in Harleston, son of...
— William Freston, my great great great great grandfather
born 1777, son of...
— William Freston, my great great great great great grandfather
birthdate currently unknown

So those Freston menfolk already go back around 250 years to the Norfolk/Suffolk border. And that's an awfully long time.

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

  • learn a trade: lot of shoemakers in the Freston family, so I'm told
  • lay some roots: clan haven't moved a long way
  • bide your time: 1901 census should be back online soon

Be seeing you! And big thanks to Bridget for the work so far!


EDitorial ± 14-Jan-2002

Retro Blaster

Playstation 2? Pah! In my day (sucks pipe, reaches for Werther's Originals) we didn't have no 128 bit graphics or polygon engines. Instead we had a bleeding edge powerhouse boasting 4k of ROM and 128 bytes (count 'em!) of RAM.

One fantastic Christmas day, around 20 years ago kids, me & big brother came downstairs to find the present of our dreams: one six-switch woodgrain effect Atari 2600, c/w joysticks, paddles, power supply and the ubiquitous Combat cartridge. Cool. It ruled the roost for a year or two before things, as they do, moved on, and we sold the lot to help finance our first home computer, an Oric. That story can wait.

I'm wallowing in nostalgia now having bought not one but two Atari consoles in the last month. One went to my mum (by the way, Happy Birthday!) for Christmas, since she always enjoyed a good shoot-em-up, then I decided I had to have one too.

Atari 2600 Jr.

Two televisual happenings late last year conspired to persuade me to dip into ebay:

  1. Thom Yorke, Radiohead's front man, sporting an Atari logo T-shirt on their Later With Jools Holland appearance
  2. in BBC2's Attachments, the site of Brandon, king of the geeks, playing Pac-Man in bed on an old 2600

I set up my Atari 2600 Jr (a later model - those woodgrains cost a fortune these days) on Friday evening for the first time, and engaged in some serious tank-on-tank action with all-comers. My six-year old opponent never stood a chance. Three hours and two pizzas later we were whacked.

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

  • it's gameplay that matters, not graphics
  • best carts in an online poll:
    1. Adventure
    2. Solaris
    3. Yar's Revenge
    4. Asteroids
    5. River Raid
  • now what did we do with the old Intellivision?

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 7-Jan-2002

Out With The Old

Maybe it was the pickled onion (sliced) in my Saturday lunchtime sarnie that did it? Either way, I'd advise that this week's EDitorial be skipped by those of a delicate constitution.

Let's go back to Thursday evening, and lounging very contentedly on the sofa in front of Channel 4's terrific drama, Shackleton. We'd got to part two, the Endurance was well & truly stuck, and the real heroics were about to unfold.

Cue a commercial break, so made for the kitchen in search of coffee and the remnants of the Christmas confectionery. En route, in the hallway, heard a commotion upstairs, swiftly followed by appearance of four-year-old: "I've been sick in my bed!", she wailed.

Not pleasant. Bedding off. Change of PJs. Tried to clean her hair. Eugh! Back downstairs, washing-up bowl close to hand, asking her if she's OK every minute.

Essential for parents

Half-an-hour later, trying to catch up on the adventures of Sir Ernest, thought I detected more noise on high (six-year-old had had a temperature during the day). Through the stairgates, disturbance instead from bedroom of eighteen-month-old. Light on. Found him standing in cot. Also been sick. Very unpleasant. More de-bedding and general hosing down. And so the two of them continued, taking turns until 1am.

Thoughtfully I waited until late Saturday afternoon when they'd largely recovered before catching it myself, being prostrate at the porcelain as Ipswich went 3-1 up against Dagenham & Redbridge. Thankfully the 24-hour bug's now moved on in search of new victims. I only hope that Shackleton made it back.

Be seeing you!