The Norris Museum and Library

A slow start after a poor night and a tiring day yesterday but then a drive along the historic coaching route through Papworth to St Ives where the curator of The Norris was ready with more information on Little Paxton including a good display of the research of Inskip Ladds. He had surveyed the memorials of St James Church and Churchyard and it was notable that Elizabeth Hedding claimed ancestral rights to Little Paxton Manor for 450-odd years. Then home to get the Christmas Decorations down from the loft with Daniel’s help and to learn of Thatcher backing down on the rights of Neil Kinnock to be briefed on security matters and of a teacher’s rally in Edinburgh and a one-day strike throughout Scotland

A rather poor night. It was milder than of late and also Daniella woke up in the middle of it, as lively as she could be, and then came to us crying for some reason. Was awoken on time, but did not really recover with my morning tea, as I was sporting a headache from yesterday’s energetic work and the buffeting from the wind. Breakfast with the family and it was then Daniel deciding to be awkward. Eventually the children went off to school and I settled down with the morning paper, waiting for the post. Not much of interest when it did arrive, but a letter from Peter Smith of Kode wanting my signature on another document that they have just discovered. By 9.00am, I was ready to go out and, with Diana setting off to St Neots Market, I drove towards St Ives, taking a route via the A45 towards Cambridge and then turning off north on the old coaching road through Papworth. Parked in the market car park, then had a coffee, before walking along to the Norris Museum and Library to arrive after 10.00am.

The Little Paxton file and photographs were still out on the desk as the Curator had been expecting me sooner or later. I finished the list of Little Paxton photographs before lunch and then walked along to the cafe for a beef pie, then mince pie and custard after. Was a little early for the Norris to re-open after lunch and so walked around the back streets of St Ives for a while, admiring some of the streets of cottages and old buildings. This afternoon transcribing more of Inskip Ladds notes on Little Paxton – this time his survey, taken a year ago, of the family memorials and tombstones in church and graveyard. I had completed the Pickerings, the Throckmartins and the Heddings by the time I had to leave at 4.00pm, the time they shut during the winter. The Curator had set up a good display on the work of Inskip Ladds, with nice cards and materials explaining his impact on the area as a historian and church architect. The drive home in failing light and then to go out in the dark with the torch to feed and put away the ducks before tea. A meal of more salad. This evening I studied my notes and documents on Little Paxton, with particular reference to the Heddings. Though they seemed (according to the VCH) to hold one moiety of Moynes Manor and claimed Lordship rights at the time of the enclosures, they did not seem to receive any additional awards in the allotments, other than their own ancient enclosures (1 to Elizabeth Haynes Hedding, one to William Hedding). I cannot see how Elizabeth can claim in her memorial window (in St James Church) that her ancestors held Little Paxton Manor for 450-odd years. No time or energy to type in any more information and so there remained a backlog still to do. Daniel helped me get down the Christmas decorations from the loft and then bring in the Christmas tree and put it into the lounge. Now the girls can decorate it at the weekend. The news today was of the Prime Minister coming under intense pressure to state that Lord Rothschild was not once a Russian spy. He had written to the Daily Telegraph asking for his name to be cleared. Thatcher backed down on another issue and it seems that she will still brief Neil Kinnock on security matters, as is conventional with the leader of the opposition. With the appeal now scheduled in the Australian MI5 case in a week’s time, Sir Robert Armstrong can come home for a few days. One of Reagan’s close advisors, is Larry Speakes, the White House Chief Spokesman. There has been a teachers rally in Edinburgh and a one day strike throughout Scotland. The Gas share price has plunged on the ‘grey’ market, as the application sums are worked out, prior to the official listing of the shares.