Village Sport

These days, those who don’t jog or cycle along the lanes might first think of the village playing field in connection with local sport and recreation.

The playing field originally belonged to the church. There is a document from 1961 showing three quarters of an acre being rented by the school for the relatively modest sum of £4 per year.

In the early 1980s the rectory was sold by the church to become a private residence; the playing field changed ownership, too. It was bought by the parish council to become a permanent playing field and was now twice the size it had been in 1961. The story of the playing field acquisition is told here.

Over a much longer period, a range of sports have been played in the village – involving a variety of locations. The principal ones are described below.

The photograph is of a 1950s football team where we know the identities of nearly everyone. We have another image showing a 1914 “Wreningham Rovers” team, on an old postcard. Sadly, there is no record (that we know about) identifying anyone from the earlier set of players.

Local press reports from the second half of the 1900s often seemed dismissive of the efforts of Wreningham football teams. Were they that bad – or did the journalists simply favour the other teams?

Football and Cycling

The darts team were often a force to be reckoned with in the local Steward and Patteson league The Shield is being presented to Leonard Lawn, captain of the Bird in Hand team (early 1950s) by the wife of Donald Steward, representing the brewery.

Others in the photo: George Lawn, Bob Ireland, Sam Harvey, A Bailey, A Howlett, Simeon Howlett, Terry Lawn, Bob Hunt and Bill Bailey.

These tennis players were competing at the rectory in the 1950’s.

According to R D Day’s ledger, in May 1902, rector Canon Fardell bought a book on the rules of lawn tennis for 2s 6d. A tennis court was duly set out on the rectory lawn.

A couple of years before, he had funded a similar rules book about croquet. Photographs from that period show the rectory lawn configured for each.

Close examination of this photograph (outside the Reading Room in the 1930s) shows the three standing on the right are wearing boxing gloves.

We have yet to come across any other references to boxing in the village. Was the Reading Room the venue for boxing or did it take place elsewhere?

Any thoughts on the identities of the participants would be gratefully received.

Bowls at the Bird in Hand

Bowls at the Bird in Hand in the late 1950s, and all in formal attire. The newly constructed Tacolneston transmitter can be just made out in the background.

Gerald Spratt is smoking a pipe whilst Charles Spratt is centre left in the hat. Sam Harvey is rear right, wearing a cap and with his hands in his pockets.

We understand there was a women’s bowls team in the late 1970s. Does anyone have more information?

We note that on 12th March 1897 Canon Fardell had paid Robert D Day 2s 6d to print (multiple?) copies of “cricket club rules”. At the time, he had only been rector for about 6 months. Perhaps he started something?

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