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The Fellinghams of Bressingham – By Marsha Bell, Aylsham, Norfolk

My grandfather, Frederick (‘Fred’) Fellingham was born in Bressingham on 7 December 1893, the fourth of six children of William Fellingham and his wife Sarah, née Kerry. Sarah came from Fersfield. The 1911 census states that there were two more children who did not survive childhood.  When he was young the family moved to  Brook Farm in Pooley Street which is just over the border in South Lopham. Fred’s eldest brother William married Phoebe Shepherd and they had four children: Alan James (Jim), Charles (Charlie), Mary and Hilda. In 1935 William Jnr purchased Three Gates Farm in Fen Street, Bressingham. The family lived there for many years, farming in the traditional way, including milking the cows by hand. The last member of the Fellingham family to live there was Hilda who passed away in 1997.

William Fellingham

My grandfather, Frederick (‘Fred’) Fellingham was born in Bressingham on 7 December 1893, the fourth of six children of William Fellingham and his wife Sarah, née Kerry. Sarah came from Fersfield. The 1911 census states that there were two more children who did not survive childhood.  When he was young the family moved to  Brook Farm in Pooley Street which is just over the border in South Lopham. Fred’s eldest brother William married Phoebe Shepherd and they had four children: Alan James (Jim), Charles (Charlie), Mary and Hilda. In 1935 William Jnr purchased Three Gates Farm in Fen Street, Bressingham. The family lived there for many years, farming in the traditional way, including milking the cows by hand. The last member of the Fellingham family to live there was Hilda who passed away in 1997.

(Left: William Fellingham (1854-19)

Fred Fellingham horse at Brook Farm
Frederick Fellingham with horse at Brook Farm, South Lopham
Fred Fellingham in Norfolk Regiment WWI Uniform

Both William Snr and his son Fred worked as carters at nearby Burroughs’ Mill. In fact when Fred enlisted in the Norfolk regiment in World War 1 he was quickly transferred to the Army Service Corps because of his experience with horses. He was posted to the supply line in Egypt and spent some time in Cairo. His medal card states that he was a driver, indicating that as the war progressed, mechanical transport in the army was increasing so he was taught how to drive. Indeed after the war he was one of the first car owners in Rickinghall where he lived.
Whilst in Egypt he was very impressed with General Allenby who had taken charge of the allied forces there. As a result of this, his brother Allen decided to name his son Allenby Fellingham, after the great commander.

(Left: Fred Fellingham in Norfolk Regiment WWI Uniform)

Sarah Fellingham née Kerry (1856-1932)

In January 1923 Fred married Rosetta Musk. The marriage took place in Bressingham church with the reception at Poultry Farm in Fen Street Redgrave, the home of Rosetta’s brother Arthur Musk. They spent the first few years of married life living in a cottage on the Low Common, South Lopham but then moved to Rickinghall where Rosetta ran a sweet and tobacconist shop. Fred used the old outhouses at the back of the shop to run a small poultry business. During World War 2 he served in the Royal Observer Corps, on the Botesdale post, having attended the inaugural meeting in the village. Interestingly the Fellinghams are distantly related to the Bloom family of Bressingham as they share a common ancestor in William Harnwell (1739-1806) who married Mary Knott in 1761.  His granddaughter Sarah Harnwell married Robert Hart and their daughter Mahala (aka Alice) Hart, born on 28th January 1825 and baptised at Roydon in 1827, was Fred’s paternal grandmother. The above William Harnwell was descended from linen weavers in Bressingham back to the 1500s.

(Left: Sarah Fellingham née Kerry (1856-1932))

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