David Horne has kindly given me access to some records that he has obtained. The first is his transcription from a document in the Lambeth Palace Library. Click here to view. The second is from Lowestoft Records Office. Click here to view.
Detail of painting by Marc Brown
The red cars always seem to be there! A near neighbour reminisced about Easton Bavents and, in a lifetime, 40 houses have been lost to the sea together with an isolation hospital (or a hospital for infectious diseases). This is marked on a 1937 map of the area. It is south of Cox's Farm. Also the map shows a rifle range or 'The Butts'.
The lookout post from the war is long gone but the concrete roof can sometimes be seen at very low tide. In 1982 it was 30 yards from the cliff edge. Coastal erosion is very prevalent. An indication of the rates of erosion is provided on page 17 of this interesting archaeological survey.
Another neighbour recalls "my great grandfather who was a skipper of a steam drifter lived in a little cottage at Covehithe, which is about half a mile out to sea now. It was washed away long before I was born. But I do remember rooting around the old observers post at the top of the cliff at Easton Bavents. I remember particularly well being scared !*%#less when we lifted the hatch which was aided by some weighted mechanism. It felt just like somebody was opening it from the inside...!"
There was a church, St Nicholas, at Easton Bavents but it is now a mile and a half out to sea. This can be seen in the 1610 Speede map of Suffolk.
Another visitor to the website, David, wrote:
There is a piece I found from the "Suffolk Chronicle and Mercury" from 1934 about South Cove parish which sums it up for me :
"There is little to attract the attention but the fields, the marshes, the winding lanes, the pleasant countryside. Yet permeating this countryside, adding to its wholesome, healthy aspect, is the freshness of the nearby sea, so that everywhere there is the fragrance and the attraction that only the ocean and the countryside combined can provide, and which in themselves possess an atmosphere definitely invigorating, and most certainly appealing".
It's a pity but the photos from late 60s/70s don't give enough reference points to show how much of the cliff has gone - its a staggering amount though. We were told that it was a nursing home that went over the cliff and the late Mrs Ethel and Mr Ted Warnes of Easton Lane used to say that when the nursing home wanted the doctor at night they would have to leave all the lights on and the curtains open!
David also has a copy of the parish summary for Easton Bavents from the Lowestoft Archives. The Parish records show there was a Church of St Nicholas "in existence until circa 1666 when it disappeared into the sea". They also refer to a Chapel of St Margaret that stood to the west of the church and was said to have held a special relic and as a place of pilgrimage. The remains stood as a barn until 1748 apparently.
David H wrote to me recently.
'I guess you have seen the piece in the EDP about the knocking down of the semi-detached houses at Easton Bavents. The house referred to in the story is the left hand (inland side). We used to stay at Weatherly (owned by Mr and Mrs Tony Westlake). From family photos, it would have been 80 yds to the cliff edge around 1970.
We were in Southwold in February and compared photos from 1970 to now. The past is, as they say, a foreign country!'