Interview With Joan Sculfor 17th July 2018

Written by Nancy Dunthorne

Joan has lived in Hapton since her marriage to Russell Sculfor in Sept 1967 – the following are some of her memories of events and people in the village.

Joan was a Forncett inhabitant and did nursing training at the Wayland hospital in Attleborough but had to stop due to her mother's health. Joan started visiting Hapton whilst courting Russell and was made very welcome by Russell's parents – Jack and Violet Sculfor who lived at 1 Council Houses. Joan visited for tea and at weekends.

Jack had spent 30 years in the Navy and would perform the sailors Hornpipe when a dance was held in the institute (the village Hall) dressed in full naval uniform and others joined in too. Whist drives were also held in the Hall. Violet had attended Hapton School.

Millie and Fred Lambert lived in the cottage next to 1 Council Houses. Millie was Violet's sister and had been a teacher at Hapton School.

Joan recalls the area between the School and the Shop (where farm buildings used to be and before houses were built) being known as the “Black pit”. Joan said the Canadians had Nissan huts there.

Joan's mother, Winnie Ward, told Joan that during the war the actor James Stewart had driven through Forncett and Hapton and had thrown sweets out for the local children , he had been at Tibenham airbase.

Russell told Joan the story of Dennis Albert Woods who, as his gravestone reads, had been in the 3rd Battalion Norfolk home Guard, and had accidently been killed whilst on duty on June 22 1941; He was 17 years of age. Russell and Dennis had both been in the Homeguard and Dennis had been delivering a message to Hapton from Fornbys farm along the A140 near Long Stratton . He had pulled out of the drive on his motorbike (Joan thinks it was a motorbike and not a bicycle) and been hit by a lorry which Joan thought was an army vehicle. Dennis was given a full military funeral at Hapton church and rifles were fired (with blanks) and there were representatives from the army. The Woods family ran the Hapton pub “The white Horse” at Hapton Hole.

Joan recalls a story Russell told her about Colonel Copeman who lived in the parsonage in Hapton. When Russell was a boy, he and a group of his friends helped themselves to apples from Mr Copeman's trees. The colonel and his dog went out to see what was going on and they hid up the tree but unfortunately Russell knocked an apple down and they had to flee out of the garden over a fence. Russell got stuck on the fence and his friend had to pull him over. Also Russell said the Colonel had buried his horse in the parsonage grounds.

Mrs Hopkins lived in Hapton House. Joan recalls she was petite and walked very rapidly around the village on her daily constitutional with her walking stick. She had grey hair which she wore in a bun.

Mrs Hales lived in the end Council House near Cow lane and Joan remembers she used to wear a bow or ribbon around her neck which looked like a cats ribbon!

Lucy Catchpole worked for the Dunthorne family at Hillside Farm and was a marvellous cook, especially her cakes. Russell was friends with “Keith” Dunthorne and they went to Hapton school together and Russell would go to Sunday tea at the farm and knew all the family. Queenie Gladys Dunthorne: Joan remembers going to Hillside Farm with Russell to look at an old china cabinet upstairs for sale. Joan found her very interesting to talk to and stayed two hours instead of ten minutes!

Thelma and Fred Drake lived in Yucca Cottage. Fred was very hard working and always in his old work clothes and very quiet. Thelma was always very busy too. She cleaned the church and the brasses, put out the different coloured altar cloths and did the flower rota. She organised events in the village.

The silver Jubilee party 1977 - Joan remembers this well. The police closed the village road at both ends and trellis tables were set up along the street. Children sat down first to eat, then older people and in the evening older children and villagers went to entertainment – music, food etc in the village hall. There was a fancy dress competition, throwing the wellie, etc. that day.

Joan said the Hapton village sign portrays a bicycle which was Thelma Drake's and the white horses on the sign represent the former White Horse pub. Horace Thorndyke, Russell and Joan were amongst the members of the Hapton village committee and the village sign committee. Joan said people in Hapton contributed towards the cost of the bench near the village sign.

Fred and Alice Barnes ran the shop in Hapton. Joan recalls Mrs Barnes as being quite a character. She had a cat which used to chew the joint of ham which was then sold to customers - Joan saw this happening one day and decided not to buy any ham that day! Joan ordered all her baby clothes from Mrs Barnes. “Tiny tots” was the brand and Joan still has an item to this day! Joan recalls Mrs Barnes wore glasses, a hairnet and gold sovereigns on a necklace. Fred Barnes – Joan recalls he removed a plaque from the stables at Hapton House which said Oliver Cromwell's horse had been stabled there.

Morris Cook lived in a house near the shop and was in the navy and luckily escaped being torpedoed on several ships he had served on. Sadly his son Michael died at a young age.

Mr Fisher provided a taxi service in the village and drove very slowly and apparently ignored red traffic lights! Mrs Greengrass lived in Lavander Cottage. Mr Lloyd did lots of odd jobs in the village and worked at Tharston mill and said he was a soldier in Egypt. He always had lots of stories to tell.

Joan did lots of cleaning jobs in the village and in her words she helped out in most of the houses! When she was working for one of the owners of Hapton House she experienced a haunting event; Joan was working alone upstairs and she heard footsteps along the passageway but when she looked out no-one was there. Suddenly the door slammed shut, then suddenly creaked open. Joan then left the door wide open then it slammed shut again. Joan said there was not a breeze or draughts that day. Also flowers would move around on shelves.

Also Joan cleaned at Tharston Mill for Mrs Duffield (who was a head teacher at Hapton school). Joan said Mrs Duffield informed her the mill was haunted. There was one stairwell where footsteps were heard which would stop outside the door and then the door would swing open.

Mrs Rush was also a teacher at Hapton school, who taught Russell and some of her children. Joan tells me when she first went to live in the Council Houses, she lived in number 6 and Mr and Mrs Watson lived in number 5. Joan looked after and nursed Mrs Watson until she died and then looked after Mr Watson until he went into a care home. Mr Watson baby-sat her children when she worked at the Mushroom Factory at Flordon and when Joan and Russell went to the Queens Head pub in Tharston for music evenings there. Joan and Russell eventually moved into number 5 since it had a bigger garden and this is where Joan now lives.

As recorded by Nancy Dunthorne.
Sally Dunthorne present at interview.

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