A village with a big story
Little Holland cottages at top of Green no longer there
Claypits Pond with Horses 1905
Long Melford Coronation fancy dress competition at the British Legion in Cordell road1953
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Selected Biographies

Purdy, Frank William – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 1.4.1907.[1]  Parents: William James Purdy (Harness Maker) [see below for details] and Bessie Margaret [née Snell].  Family Connections: Brother-in-law of William George Youngs [b1898] and Frederik Thomas Hurrell [b1909].  Home: The Posting House, Hall Street, Long Melford (1911 to 1921), living with his in-laws at 11 New Street, Sudbury, Suffolk [1933], 41 King Harold Road, Shrub End, Colchester, Essex [1989].  Occupation: Saddler and Harness-Maker [1929].  Married: Florence Emily Griggs in 1931.  Service Record: Frank enlisted in November 1929 as Spr.1868356 with the Royal Engineers. He was posted to Egypt in 1933, sailing from Southampton aboard SS Largs Bay, returning to England in 1936 where he was placed on the Army Reserve.[2]  During the Second World War he held the rank of Sergeant in 232 Field Company, seeing action during in the North African Campaign, being listed as wounded on 11.7.1941. His service continued with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in Egypt, receiving his discharge in September 1945.[3]  Died: Shrub End, Colchester, Essex on 11.10.1989.[4]

Purdy, William James – Born: Cavendish, Suffolk on 1.6.1878.[5]  Parents: John James Frank Purdy of Aylsham, Norfolk (Clog Maker in Cavendish) and Mary Jane [née Murray].  Family Connections: Father to Frank William Purdy [b1907]; also, father-in-law of William George Youngs [b1898] and Frederik Thomas Hurrell [b1909], and brother-in-law of Thomas John Worrell [b1880].  Home: Chapel Street, Cavendish, Suffolk (1881 to 1901), The Posting House, Hall Street, Long Melford (1911 to 1939).  Occupation: Harness Maker (1901 to 1921), Master Saddler (1939).  Commercial Record: see article on The Posting House below.  Married: Bessie Margaret Snell in 1903.  Died: Long Melford, Suffolk in 1958.

Related Biographies

Hurrell, Frederick Thomas – Born: Glemsford, Suffolk on 8.7.1909.[6]  Parents: Thomas Nathan Hurrell (Agricultural Labourer) and Mary Jane [née Brown].  Family Connections: Son-in-law of William James Purdy [b1878] and brother-in-law of Frank William Purdy [b1907] of Long Melford.  Home: Station Road, Long Melford (1911), Church Row, Long Melford, Suffolk (1921), Westgate Street, Long Melford (1939), 4 Laurel Drive, Long Melford [1987].  Occupation: Maltster (1939).  Married: Mildred Florence Clover [d1966] in 1932 and to Bessie Margaret Purdy in 1968.  Service Record: Frederick was a member of ‘H’ Company, 10th Battalion, Suffolk Home Guard when it was formed in August 1942.  His name is recorded in the official tribute to the organization entitled The Lion Roared his Defiance, photographed in and around Long Melford in 1944.[7]  Died: Long Melford, Suffolk on 25.12.1986.[8]

Worrell, Thomas John – Born: Gosport, Hampshire on 19.5.1880.[9]  Parents: Stephen Henry Worrell (General Labourer) and Sarah Ann [née Wilson].  Family Connections: Brother-in-law of William James Purdy [b1878] of Long Melford.  Home: 18a Hobbs Yard, Alverstoke, Hampshire (1881), Sailors Rest, Devonport, Devon (1901), Royal Naval Dockyard, Chatham, Kent (1911), 53 Beresford Road, Gillingham, Kent (1921), 38 Stuart Road, Gillingham (1939) to [1967].  Occupation: Van Guard [1898], Sailor [1898 to 1945].  Married: 1908 to Sarah Lucy Purdy.  Service Record: Thomas enlisted in May 1898 as No.194558 with the Royal Navy, rising to the rank of Gunnery Petty Officer by 1911 aboard the First Class Armoured Cruiser HMS Indomitable, part of the Home Fleet’s First Cruiser Squadron.  The warship was in action at the Battle of Dogger Bank in 1915, where she sank the German battle cruiser SMS Blücher, and a year later at Battle of Jutland. Worrell’s service continued through to the Second World War, retiring in November 1945.[10]  Died: Gillingham, Kent on 12.7.1967.[11]

Youngs, Harold George – Born: Gimingham, Norfolk on 31.10.1898.[12]  Parents: Edward Percy Wilmot Youngs (Chauffeur) and Evangelina Rebecca Payne [née Copeman].  Family Connections: Son-in-law of William James Purdy [b1878] and brother-in-law of Frank William Purdy [b1907] of Long Melford.  Home: Quendon Street, Rickling, Essex (1901), 15 Laverstoke, Whitchurch, Hampshire (1911), 50 Melbourne Road, Ilford, Essex (1921), Anglia Cottages, Hall Street, Long Melford (1939) to [1981].  Occupation: Motor Mechanic for United Stores Delivery Company (1921), Proprietor of Youngs Garage in Hall Street, Long Melford (1939).  Married: Olive Mary Purdy of Long Melford in 1927.  Service Record: Harold was conscripted after 1915 as Pte.68812 with the Royal Army Medical Corps.[13]  During the Second World War he acted as Sub-Divisional Commander of the Special Constabulary in Long Melford.[14]  With the return of peace Harold took up a position on the Long Melford Parish Council.[15]  Died: Long Melford on 24.3.1981.[16]

Notes- [1] Date of birth from the Admissions Register of 24.4.1911 for St Catherines Infants’ School, Long Melford. [TNA – ABD 552/2/3].  [2] Ships Register SS Largs Bay 21 6.1933.  [3] British Army Casualty Lists 1939-1945 [WO 417/29] and British Army, Royal Engineers 1900-1949 Service Record.  [4] National Probate Calendar.  [5] 1939 Register.  [6] 1939 Register.  [7] Published by Marten & Son, Ltd., of Market Hill, Sudbury, Suffolk in 1946. [8] National Probate Calendar.  [9] Date of birth from his RN Record and the 1939 Register.  [10] Royal Navy Registers of Seaman’s Services [ADM 188/335 and Royal Navy Officers 1899-1919 [ADM 196/156].  [11] National Probate Calendar.  [12] 1939 Register.  [13] Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372]. [14] 1939 Register.  [15] Suffolk and Essex Free Press 17.5.1949.  [16] National Probate Calendar.

William’s father, John James Purdy [1852-1937] in retirement at the Posting House in the 1920s
Bessie & William James Purdy in the 1950s
William & Bessie Purdy with daughter Bessie in the garden of the Posting House in the 1950s
Family photograph celebrating Bessie and William’s Golden Wedding Anniversery in 1953 (Back L to R) Ernie Salter, Harold Youngs, Christine Fox, Bee Fox, Florence & Frank Purdy, ??, Bessie, Dilys & John Purdy, Bill Fox (Front L to R) Richard Fox, Noel Purdy, Mary Young, Olive Young, Bessie & William James Purdy, Mariane Cocksedge, Olive Cocksedge, Alan Cocksedge, Roger Purdy.

The Saddler’s and Harness Maker’s Shop at the Posting House in Hall Street, Long Melford

The fortunes of the Purdy family of Melford are inter-linked with those the Neave & Son whose predecessors had established thriving harness-making businesses along the Suffolk stretch of the Stour valley from Clare to Long Melford.  William Neave of Cavendish [1793-1866] had a workshop in Glelmsford from at least 1840, passing on his skills to his four surving sons, with his third son Thomas Neave [1829-1879], opening outlets in Clare, Cavendish and Long Melford, with the latter village becoming his home and base of operations from the 1850s.  Although no definitive record survives, William James Purdy [1878-1958] may have been apprenticed to Neave at his Cavendish workshop, where he is listed as a harness-maker on the 1901 Census.  By the summer of 1905 William Purdy appears to have moved his growing family to Long Melford as by 1911 he is living in The Posting House in Hall Street.[1]  Since the demise of Thomas Neave in 1879 the business had been run by his widow Elizabeth, trading as E. Neave and Sons, with Frederick Thomas Neave [1864-1903] as harness-maker, and William Allen Neave [1869-1926] as saddler and job-master.  Most probably occasioned by the death of Frederick Neave in 1903, William Purdy moved from Cavendish to Long Melford, taking up residence at The Posting House and the re-styling of the business as W. J. Purdy & Neave.[2]  William’s wife Bessie also saw commercial opportunity in their new home, opening first a sweet shop, then from the 1930s though into the 1950s Tea Rooms.

Notes – [1] See 1911 UK Census for Long Melford for details.  [2] Purdy’s daughter Bessie was born in Long Melford in 1905 and the family is recorded as resident on the 1911 Census.

The Shop in the 1890s
The Shop around the time of the Great War
William James Purdy with three full sets of draughthorse harness in the 1920s
The Posting House in the 1950s. No longer operating as a Saddlers and Harness-Maker’s Shop but still in business as a Tea Rooms

Genealogical Table

Research by David Gevaux MA © 2024
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