My Ancestor was Hanged at Bury St, Edmunds

Monday 18th September

Di Mann with the Kersey Constable’s truncheon

After a pause in August, the Group’s next meeting will take place at Leiston United Reformed Church at 7.30 p.m. on Monday, 18th September, when the Group’s Chairman, Di Mann, will present ‘My Ancestor was Hanged at Bury St, Edmunds’.

Her talk has been created using the extensive archive of documents discovered relating to her 1st cousin four times removed, John Mann, who was executed in 1825 for assaulting and robbing John Raynham of Hadleigh, Suffolk. Ironically, John Mann’s father was Constable of Kersey, and Di is pictured below holding the Kersey constable’s truncheon.

Di’s fascination with family history began in the 1960's, sparked by discussions with her Great Aunt, who was in possession of old family photographs and documents concerning her mother's family. The fascination has grown and continued throughout the years. Di was a founding member of the Alde Valley Suffolk Family History Group, formed in 2008, and today is pleased to be its chairwoman.

Visitors are reminded that the entrance to the church is along the left-hand side as you face the building.  Parking is available in the adjacent Co-op/Solar car park, but you must register your vehicle at the tills in the supermarket or possibly face a £100 fine.  Anyone with an interest in family or local history is welcome; admission is £1 for members, £3 for non-members, and includes tea/coffee.

Ups & Downs: Barnardo's Foster Children in Suffolk 1890-1950 - a talk by Peter Davidson

Monday 16th October

The October meeting of the Alde Valley Suffolk Family History Group will be a talk by Peter Davidson entitled "Ups & Downs: Barnardo's Foster Children in Suffolk 1890-1950.”

It’s a little known fact that over this sixty year period thousands of children from Dr Barnardo’s Homes were boarded out with families in rural East Anglia. The talk explores the stories of these children, some of whom ended up a long way from Suffolk, while others still live close to where they were brought up.

Peter Davidson is Chairman of Wickham Skeith History Group as well as History Recorder for the village. After a career in the chemical industry he studied History at the University of East Anglia. He has particular interests in family & local history and has been researching the subject of this talk for around 5 years. Whilst much of his research has concerned Wickham Skeith it has expanded into other areas of Suffolk including Leiston & the surrounding area. There were a lot of children from Barnardo’s boarded out in the Wickham Market area.

The meeting will be held at 7.30pm on Monday 16th October at Leiston United Church (URC/Methodist), High Street, Leiston, IP16 4EL.  Entrance is not at the front of the church, but on the left hand side as you face the building.  Parking is available in the Co-op/Solar car park which adjoins it, but you must sign your vehicle in at the tills in the supermarket or face a charge of £100. Visitors welcome. Admission: members £1, visitors £3, incl tea/coffee.


20 Nov - “History of the Leiston Quakers” - Ruth Hawthorne & Seija Tattersall - at 2.30pm at Aldeburgh Community Centre


The Family History Research Centre in the Leiston Council offices will now be open to all, free of charge, from 10am to 12noon on the first and third Saturday morning of each month, and it will now only open on Wednesdays by prior appointment. If you wish to request an appointment, please contact Maggie Strutt on 01728 602298 or

The Research Centre contains much local information which is not available online, including graveyard catalogues for Benhall, Saxmundham, Leiston, Eastbridge, Aldringham and Sutton, censuses, directories, information on local war memorials, books, and historic maps. We have recently acquired a large number of CDs and microfiches of local interest. The research centre has computers with Internet, printer, and a scanner. There is also WiFi Internet access if you wish to bring your own laptop or tablet. Experienced family history researchers are present to give assistance if required. 

The Research Centre is upstairs in the old Council Offices in Main Street, Leiston, IP16 4ER, in the same building as and to the right of the Library, opposite the Long Shop Museum. Please note that access is by a steep staircase. You can park outside free of charge for one hour, or there’s an “unlimited” free car park in Valley Road – go straight on past Barclay’s Bank and it’s on the right.

Contact Angela Skelcher on 01728 830949

The AVSFHG is looking for speakers for our Monday talks. If you are a historian interested in giving a talk, please contact our Secretary.

Visitors are always most welcome.