The mid-1850s was a time of rapid change in the countryside. 'Improvement' was the watchword and this was reflected not only in manufacturing and travel, but also in self-improvement through literacy and study. The men of Linstead responded to the spirit of the age by establishing the Linstead Institute. This was an association devoted to improving their knowledge of the rapidly changing world, with a special emphasis on letter writing for networking with family members who for the first time in history were scattering far and wide from their heartland.

Linstead Schoolhouse: probably originally the building purpose-built as the Literary Institute
The formation of Linstead's Institute in 1852 was no doubt stimulated by the Mechanics Institutes, which were were educational establishments being set up throughout the land in towns and villages to provide adult education particularly in technical subjects, to working men. As such, they were often funded by local industrialists, for example the Smyth drill-makers of Peasenhall, on the grounds that they would ultimately benefit from having more knowledgeable and skilled employees. The Mechanics' Institutes were also used as 'libraries' for the adult working class, and provided them with an alternative pastime to gambling and drinking in pubs. However, the institute in Linstead was different. Although the initiative came from their vicar (Rev. Turner), it seems to have been maintained by the enthusiastic weekly involvement of local village labourers as a 'literary institute'. The members actually contrasted it with the Mechanics Institute in Halesworth. Halesworth was a top down creation managed by the town's great and good, and because of this it did not seem to be relevant to young men of the town. In particular, it did not overcome the attraction of the beer houses. In contrast, Linstead was run by the members who were benefiting from its activities. It did not have a technical bias and thereby, as a free-ranging, semi-academic affair, it had a greater relevance and impact on a community thirsty for education in its widest sense.

The Linstead Institute was funded by a monthly subscription, which went towards the cost of purchasing books. Initially, the men met regularly in a cottage in the village, where the library was kept.

Another special feature of the Linstead membership was that, as a follow up to their instruction in writing, each year every member was asked to submit an open letter to the institute on a topic of their own choosing. These letters have survived and provide a unique set of personal windows revealing the local impact of contemporary social and political events. For example, one letter refers to the joy of making a day trip to Norwich on the newly opened railway through Halesworth. Another member, picking up the theme of the speed of economic change, wondered where Linstead would be in ten years time, imagining that his village would be unrecognisable! Letters addressed to family members abroad commented on political and military relations with Russia, India and Africa, and enquired about people and landscapes in these far off places.

Many letters bubble with the joys of self-education and make contrasts with the negligible educational impact of their childhood in village 'dame schools'. This highlights the value of the Linstead letters because some of them are personal biographies, which provide insights into the daily lives and aspirations of ordinary people of the mid-19th century that generally have gone unrecorded.

The letters also cast light on the running of the institute. For example, one member expresses his concerns about the institute coming under the control of people from other villages who do not turn up to the meetings. He recommends a system of black-balling to counter this potentially destructive situation. The same member also suggests the village should 'think big' and launch a project to raise £100 to establish their own building. This actually appears to have happened in 1859.

(there is no 'official' time-line and therefore questions remain about places, people and dates)

1852: Founding of the Institute.
From a letter written February 2nd. 1852 by D. Hammond, parish clerk.
The Institute was established in 1852. The following names were entered.
Mr. Robert Short, Mr. Thomas Bryant, Daniel Hammond, W. Chipperfield, and John Fiske. Mr. Short was chairman for the year 1852, Mr. Thomas Bryant secretary and after a time Mr. Chipperfield was treasurer.

1855: A letter written by Joseph Cutts states that the Institute was held 'at Mr Daniel Hammond's every Monday at 7.30. Rev Turner instructs, young Thomas Bryant, Mr Short, N Stagoll give instuction as far as they are able'.

1859-60: Major building work on 'Institute'
There is an account book of Robert Cady of Linstead, who was a member of the Institute, recording building work he carried out on the Institute in 1859-60. The work was done for the Rev.Turner and records major construction jobs on the walls and roof, and other processes that could have been associated with finishing a building.

1860: List of subscribers who funded the building a reading room and 'of those who rendered Assistance by their Labour in the Erection of the same'.

1885: White’s Directory for Linstead Parva says:
'Here is a National School, established in 1885, and attended by about 30 children, held in a building formerly the Literary Institution, which was built in 1852 by local efforts'
The date of 1852 for the erection of a special building for the Institute is incompatible with Hammond's letter and the later proposal to raise money for a purpose-built building.

By the 1870s the 'letter-writers' of the Linstead Institute fade into history.

The premises used by the Institute were taken over by the National School.

1884: A 'school' is marked on the first edition of the OS map (1884).

1901: A plan of proposed alterations to the village school has survived which seems to represent the building in the above photograph. It is a one-roomed (single storey) building with a porch/cloakroom at one end and a fireplace and chimney at the other.

1914: A new school was built in Chediston for children of Chediston and Linstead.

1916: 29th June
Petition by Isaac John Taylor clerk, vicar of Linstead.
'It is proposed to dilapidate and remove an old disused building on the glebe of his benefice. The said building was erected many years ago by parishioners and used as a room for recreation and improvement. Since then it has been used as a school, but now scholars go to a Council School and the said building no longer serves any useful purpose'. FC193/E6/1

The following is a brief selection of letters that have been transcribed as they were written.

George Chambers

Linstead Institute, March 21st 1860

In the Parish of St James South Elmham in the County of Suffolk, I George Chambers was born on the 16th Day of February 1833 the sixth son of Samuel and Elizabeth Chambers My Farther was the eldest son of the late Mr Samuel Chambers of St James, farmer when he was a boy he went to live with his uncle Charles Mathews farmer who lived at Ubbeston A farmer where he lived until he grew up and here he became acquainted with Elizabeth Lay of the same place and her he married after then he hired a farm at St James, which brought him back to his native place again there he lived some years, but I do not know how long when he lived there Mr Mathews hired a farm at St Nicholas adjoining parish to St James and there his uncle come to live Mr Mathews did not live long after he come there after his death my Farther looked after the Farm for his Aunt Mathews Mother and us lived in a Cottage by the side of St James Green and on this green I and my Brothers have spent many happy hours a playing on the annt heaps for they where so thick that we might hop off one on to another but since then the Green is taken in and a new Farm house and buildings stand on the middle of it which belong to Sir Shafto Adair and all the goings that belonged to his Farms around there, which is about 50 acres which is Farmed by Mr Roberson of St Cross the first place that I went to school was with Mrs Ling of St Jamses and there I went till my mother died which was in December 1842 and left my Farther with nine children, 8 Boys and a Girl the youngest was a boy about six weeks old Mrs Buggs of the same place took him and brought him up till he was seven years old my other Brothers and Sister were taken to St Nicholas where my Farther was to Aunt Mathews and I went to live with my Uncle John Briggs a shoemaker at Kelsale near Saxmundham where I was about a year he put me to school with Mr Wattling of the same place I went there with the intention of been a shoemaker but the trade I was not very found of so I come home to live with my Aunt at St Nicholas with the rest and then I and another Brother where put so school with Mr King of Homersfield where I did not go long before I was taken away from there and sent to Rumburgh with Mr John Blowers and there we done as we liked almost except once I remember it quite well as I was going to school one morning I got a nice grown ash stick as I thought but I did not like it so well afterwards for my master took a fancy to it and I gave it to him I had not been there long before I done something wrong and he give me such a dressing with this stick which made me remember carring a stick to school I did not carry any more ground ashes to school and here I finished up schooling in August 1847 Aunt Mathews died who was another mother to us after her death my Farther took the Farm on his own account in 1849 I was put apprentice to Mr William Howard of St Lawrence to learn the wheelwrighting business I went six weeks upon liken and on the 27th November I was bound at Mr Basses of Halesworth which cost £1s 10s My master had 15 I was bound for five years my partners where John Hufflett Samuel Bull and William Farrow my Farther paid 8s when I was bound and the remainder was paid when my time was half out my master gave me sixpence a week for seeing after his poney the first year I was prentice I wrought in a shop by myself 9th July 1850 my Farther died and him I knew the want on more for the part than I did when my mother died for I was young then After my father’s death my uncles took pitty on us and hired the Farm for us to be carryed on till the youngest came of age for the benefit of the family and promised to see after it for us on the 27th April 1851 my eldest Brother died at Halesworth who kept shop there and travelled with tea my master did not understand the trade much his self but still he treated me very well and so did my Mistress after the remainder of the money was paid my master give me 10s and Mr Hufflett I had to depend on for he was very kind in telling me anything I wanted so I have to thank him for what little of my trade I do know My master had a shop at Bungay so he was obliged to go there three or four days a week I remember one night his comming home and after I had taken the poney out I did not stop long enough with it to his liken I suppose I was ancous to get away to have some game and for that he gave me a scolding he say you young raskel I will put you to Beccles jail and that was the most he said to me all the time I was with him part of the last year of my prentice he give me a shilling a week and after my time come out I wrought journeyman with him and he give me 12s 6d per week I stoped with him till the harvest twelvemonth over A year and a half and then I went and hoped my Brothers to get in the harvest and after we had done harvest I got work at Rushal near Harleston Norfolk, I forget the man’s name he promised me constant work so on the Monday morning of I goes and when I got there he appeared as though he could not give above three months work and I did not know what so I looked around and I did not much like the look of the place so I would not stay on the Saturday following I set upon tramp went to Laxfield to Mr Flatmen where I got the promise of constant work and there I went to wrought for him seven weeks and then I left there and come to work for Mr Shorts which was in November 1856 and in March 1857 I became a member of this Institute October 1858 my Brother James died the 5th son my oldest Brother is living at the White Hart in Halesworth Edmund is living at Norwich Sam Frederick Francis and Sister is living at St Nicholas and after this brief acount of my life and a part of my friends as far as my memory will alough me the end

Yours etc George Chambers
Linstead Parva

W. Chipperfield

The Biography of W. Chipperfield,
Born January 5 1808

In giving you a short history of my life an looking back to my ancestors I find my Grandfather Chipperfield was a Tailor back in Linstead Parva my Grandmother Chipperfield was a Tallent of Cheddiston they both died & left a family my fathers name was John he was put prentice to a Mr. Fisk of Heaveningham a Tailor Mr Fisk was a Clerk to the Clergyman of the Parrish he died an old man a few years since verry suddenly if my memory serve me right it was when he was performing his part in the ceremony of marrage to a Lady & Gent in Heaveningham Church after a few years of prenticeship my Father removed to Lowestoft at the time he was their he formed an acquaintance with a Miss Ann Fisk of Kertly with her he was united in marriage and set up his business at Linstead Parva in the County of Suffolk my grandmother Fisk was a Miss Chason of Lowestoft I have heard my mother say her Grandmother Chason said now is the time to marry if you can live now you can live at any time I wonder what they would think now my Grandfather Fisk left Kertly bought a farm at Holton came their to live their and their they Both died I well remember my Grandfather Fisk comeing to our house in his market cart as handsome as a muck cart and almost as heavy a smart one in that day no doubt my Father and Mother had Four Daughters and six Sons I was the fourth Son a delicate little boy the old woman said they could put me in a quart pot but I grew to be a fine boy after that time I went to school with an old woman by the name of Rackham their I learnt the first rudiments of Education first she learnt us to wipe our feet then to make a nice bow on entering their to sit on a low form to learn the most difficulty of all the art of sitting still she punished the Boys by making them sit on a stool with the feet through the top from their i come home to school my mother kept school learnt some to sow some to knit the largest ones to write a bit from their I was sent to school with a Mr Balls of Cheddiston learnt a little more about ciphering & writeing from their to a Mr Samson of Walpole a lame man we called him Step and fetched from their to a Mr Haxill of Halesworth getting a big boy I was taken on the board with a Promise of more schoolin afterwards I had two Brothers left home so I was obliged to stick to the board I was like the boy I could not stand sitting I had a stif neck my back and legs did not like it but I got over all that my father was a good tradesman had a great deal of work sometimes & sometimes 7 men at work my father joined the Huntingfield Volunteers had to go their to learn his duty he had fifty suits to make for his past my father grew hemp mostly on some of his land men wore hemp shirts that time a day and hemp was used for sheets also I remember a man from Bungay came to Linstead once a month to bring tow and to take home the thread the women in the parishes round here spun for him with their spinning weels my father Died May 17 1848 my mother is still living at Snape her age is I think 83 my father was 77 when he died do not think I shall hold out so long a time as that after working at home some few years I took a walk to Gt Yarmouth to see my Eldest Brother their I worked at my Trad until work got short for us all as their was eleven on the board so I returned homeward stoped at Gillingham near Beccles a few weeks at work for a Mr King Returned home for a short time then took a trip to London had a fever their my father sent for me to come home was glad of that for London smoke did not agree with me I begun to work a little for myself a few years and for my father to, my father getting old the customer thought I had better take the trade I formed an acquaintance with a young woman I thought would suit me as a wife and after about 5 years what some people call courtship we were married at Linstead Chappell By the Revd Day of Holton it was a verry wet day and the waters verry high on the road we were obliged to ride the chappell in a high cart came home and set to work next day set of for Ipswich stayed a few days then returned home my wife is the eldest Daughter of Mr R Dalby of Yoxford Blacksmith our family is two children daughter and son to perpetuate the name that have already been of Long standing in the Village I live in the house were my father lived over 50 years we are now a scattered family my Oldest Brother lives at Yarmouth Norfolk he have four Children one Son & 3 daughters next oldest John is in America Joseph Died left no children George younger than me is in America my Oldest sister Mary Ann is living at Tuddenham Suffolk with her Husband L Robinson Hannah Chenery is married live at Snape mill at the Top of the Hill Elizabeth is married to a Mr Clark lives at Australia their was a Hannah Died and a James also so if my Mother after having ten Children She have only six Grandchildren

W Chipperfield
Linstead Parva
Aged 52

Jonathan Stagoll

To the Members of the Linstead Parva Institute. 1855

As the mumbers o’this Institute ha’been call’d upon by their Patron to write somethin’ i’ the shape of a lutter, and bein’ myself one o’ that number, I tho’t I cou’n’t employ myself butter than writin’ a few words of advice to my fullow mumbers, and if any o’ the hints that I ha’ given, should turn out to be o’the lessest service to any one on ye, or be the means o’stirrin’ on ye up to fresh exertions, I shall be right well paid for my trouble.

Havin’ been bred and born in Suffolk, and havin’ spent most o’ my time there, and much o’that amongst what are call’d the lower and middle classes o’, the people, I ha’ had a good opportunity o’larnin’ the dialect o’ my native County; and I pride myself in bein’ able to speak it a good tidily kind o’ and ther’for’ think I’d butter use it for this lutter, as I don’t wish to make use of a word or synnable, but sich as all on ye perfectly understand.

I’m wery pleased to find yer leisure time is occupied in tryin’ to improve yerselves, yow must keep on and nut flag, for I a’nt avised of any plan whereby yow can get any amount o’larnin without hard study; ther’for’ I’d persuade ‘achon on ye to use all the means he can to put hisself for’ard, and you moi depend upon’t, you’ll never ha’no reason to repent for spendin’ yer time so bad.

There’s a sort o’ things that yow must ha’ some knowledge on afore yow can expect to butter yer condition, yow ought to be able to read reasonable, to write plain, to spell correct, and to du a little summin’, and yow’d find English Grammar a deal more use than yow think tis, for ta fare impossible to speak right without it, and t’in’t so hard to learn rather as yow make fear for; yow must also strive hard to gain a pleasin’ address and behaviour, for without these you’ll ha’ no chance o’ getting’ into a butter situation.

I’ll jest suppose that a Gentleman wernt a farm bailiff and that three men should apply for the situation. The first when introduced to the gentleman should come in very slovenly dress his neck handkercher tied all on the hoh, and a dirty short pipe stickin’ half out of his pocket, the wuscoat itself havin’ three buttons to spare o’ one side at the bottom and three button holes to spare o’ the other side at the top, and should make his manners by a nod or rather a jerk of the head and sa’ morning master, I hear yer o’d man Harry Pilfer is got into jail for robbin’ye, and as everybody sa’tis an ill wind that blow nobody good, I tho’t I’d come and ask for the place; my name is Robin Roughhead, I ha’ been at work for o’d farmer Overnice, but we cou’nt set our horses together any longer, so I ha’ left him. I expect I can du anything you want to ha’ done; and if we can make a bargain for wages, I think we can get on very well. ---The second when admitted, should look more like a gentleman’s servant than a farm man, wearin’ a white cravat, an open wuscoat, wi’ shirt bosom plaited, and turn-down boots, shined till ye might see yerself in ‘em, and should make sich a low bow till his face a’most touch his knees, and address the Gentleman in this wa’.”Yer humble servant yer honour, I’ve been creditably informed that your farmin’ baily Henry Pilfer, was convicted for purtainin’ some of your magazine beans and tantaro oats, and is now goin’ under punishment for his crimein the brid’ell; in consequence, I come to solicit the situation, I’m brought up very respectable, and had a hedication, and thinks I’m quite responsible for the hoffice, my name is Thomas Verygood, I’m at work recently with Mr Farmwell, drivin’ the manure cart, but thinks I’m legible for a more higher pursition; and if pervidin’ we can agree for the communeration, I’m sure we shall be mutually satisfied. –

But the third when he appear before the gentleman be homely, but tidily clad, wearin’ breeches, highlows and leather buskins, lookin’ like a workin’ man and should make a respectful bow and speak to the gentleman thus”good mornin’tu ye sir, havin heard that yow want a man to act as farmin’ bailiff kind o’, I come to apply for the place; my name is William Trueman, I ha’ worked for Mr Looksharp for several years, and we’ve allos fadged very well together; and I think he’ll gi’ me a decent chara’ter; I ha’ been a good deal among stock i’ my time, I’ve had some practice in haymakin’ and the general work on a farm; I’ve learnt myself to read and write a little, and can keep small accounts; and I think with a little more practice, I shall be able to make myself useful in that wa’; I on’t sa’ nothin’ about wages at present but perhaps you’ll be good enough to try me a month or so, and find out whuther I shall be likely to suit ye or nut; arter that time, if you think proper to keep me on, I’ll promise to do the best I can to please ye. ----Now I can fancy that the Gentleman arter these men ha’ left ‘im, would sa’ to hisself, “well, I think I shall have no difficulty in selecting from these men the one who would be most likely to suit me best. The first is evidently an uncouth unmannerly and untidy fellow, equally devoid of sense and feeling, or he would not so coarsely have alluded to the faults of my old servant; I dare not engage with him.-

The second I can clearly see is no better in principle than the first, besides ho fancies himself so exceedingly clever, when at the same time he makes quite a Jackanapes of himself; I am quite sure he will not suit me. But the third appears to be a straight forward and an intelligent, though unassuming fellow, and is in all probability a good servant; I like his manners and though he speaks in his native dialect, he uses it very intelligibly so as to be easily understood; and I think I can’t do better than to secure his services at once. Thus you see the man that ha’ the most respectful manners and makes use o’ the best language, is sure to stand the best chance o’ getting’ a situation; ‘specially if his chara’ter ill bear lookin’ into—I’d persuade yow to imitate anything ta’s worth imitatin’; but pra’ don’t les hear any frimicatin’; I mean squeezing and mincin’ yer words as though ta’ wa’n’t decent to call things by their right names, and don’t make use o’hard words, unless yow well know the sound and meanin on ‘em,
for I think nothin’ can be more distasteful to a Gentleman than to hear his servants apin’ their superiors; if you know what ridiculous blunders sick people make, I’m sure and certain you’d never try to follow their example, you can allos find words enow for what ye want, that ye du understand; then why should ye malehack them that ye know nothin’ about?

If any on yehappen to be in company with others, try to keep up a conservation and don’t sit like “Numb Chance”, as though ye cou’nt sa’ bo to a goose: and if a question be asked ye, don’t stan’ gapin’ like a choked turkey, but give an answer readily; but mind ye don’t go too far t’other wa’ and allos keep jabberin’ and pratin’, as though nobody in the company knew anything but yerself; my poor o’d Granny would ha’ sa’ to sich a one, “there, there, stop yer jaw; yer tongue run like a beggar’s clapper dish; there’s no ho nor stow in it.

Your Library now contain a wery nice selection o’ books, sufficient to give all the information you require at present; and in addition to this, you have several fullow mumbers that are able and willin’ to give ye a helpin’ hand when yow need it: to this I can only sa’ oh! that I ‘ad had sich a chance when I was young.

I will now conclude by callin. the attention of ‘achon on ye to the followin’ lines.

Whate’er thy calling in this life may be,
Do thou therein endeavour to excel,
And never let another thee surpass,
In all the various ways of doing well.
Nevertheless, let others merits have
The due degree of praise which they will bear
Nor envy them, but carefully improve,
The talents God committed to thy care.

Wishing you all by study, may become wiser and butter men;
I remain,
Very sincerely your’s
a Suffolker
Jno. Stagoll

Lionel Hammond

Linstead Parva
February 1855

Dear Cousin
I have not hard from you for a veary long time, therefore I now take greate pleasure in addressing you, with a few lines hopeing they will find you well, as they leave me at this present time, thanks be to God for it. Dear Cousin I suppose you have found the weather lately to have been rather unfavourable for your branch of trade, but this has not stoped ours although it has sometimes reandeared it rather unpleasant, but we must expect to have winter in its season, for we are promised that as long as the world stand, that seed time and harvest summer and winter day and night shall not cease. Dear Cousin since I saw you last we have got an Institute in our parish which our minister, the Reverend Turner, and several other kind friends have raised, it is heald at a cottage and we have a great many very nice and useful books in it. We go every Monday evening, and we always take home with us a book, to improve ourselves within the course of the week, and besides this we have everything tried to draw us to learn, for our minister is so kind that he is always thinking of something fresh, for not longago he brought us a number of wrighting books, and offered to give a prise to the one that should do it best. I wish that every parish wore blessed with as kind and thoughtful a Minister as we are, and I am shure that there would be a great many deeds of charity done, that I am sorry to say are now left undone, neither would there be so many hours spent in idleness as there now are, for I could neither write nor sipher at all till I went there, but now I am improving in both. Dear Cousin I have full pleasure in stating to you the benefit that I have received from this institute I hope that you will be able to send me word back of some improvement that has been made in your parish since I saw you last. I hope that I shall hear that you are a member of the same society. Dear Cousin please to favour me with a few lines at your leasure, wich I shall feel much pleasure in receiveing,

I remain your well wisher and effectionate cousin

He that is down, needs fear no fall;
He that is low, no pride;
He that is humble ever shall
Have God to be his guide.

Lionel Hammond

James Hawood

Linstead Jan 5th 1857
Dear Friend
I now take the pleasure of writing once more to you hopeing it will meet you all in good health as it leaves me at this time thank God for it that a lone is a great blessing to us all it is a long time since I hard from you I have often thought about you and wonder how you are geating on in that part of the world I should very much like to see you all but I desay I never shall for I am geating old and wearing up I shall soon be like an old hors turned out but that we cannot help. I will now tell you a little about this part, things ar very deer in England and have been for a long time flour is two shillings and six pence per stone butter one shilling eight pence per pint pork eight shillings and sixpence per stone pigs such as we formerly give ten shillings for ar now warth a seven and every thing in prarporting labourers ar now getting ten shillings par week that you will think is low. your old partner keeps his place of work he have aded to his family two Children since you left. he send his best respects to you all and would like to be with you but he cannot he reach so far not yet I suppose you have hard that David Reder is gon to the salt leak and all his family. they still hold that thay cannot be sure without going their. Nat Hammond still hold the sam faith he have taken the weekmans place at Mr F C Reads he is getting a large family about him that i hope will keep him from going their. but there is one thing in our little parish that I value more than mormanism that is a Institute not to me a lone but to many others I hope is upwards of thirty members old and young rich and poor there is a meeting every Monday evening an there is always some thing to be learnt. we have friends meet to instruct. an old saying of a friend in need is a friend indeed if we make use of them. In reading an writing an ciphering and that we aught to be very thankful for to think about it wat a poor lot of un larnt folks we were when this Institute began. I am glad to inform you that Linstead is quite a diferent place to wat that was when you and I wear boys instead of gameing such as jumping and camping and crickett playen as you and I have don often times till our sharts have been as wet as ever thay wear in the harvest field. our time is taken up in larning I may say for one that when this Institute began I could read a little but writing and ciphering I new nothing about it the first thing I larnt was numeration and now the rule of three began to puzl me as I am getting old and my eyesite failing but I hope our young friends will get on the new ladder to learning and get up steap by steap will be a pleasur to me to see them getting up. Not to keep from the Institute because thay do not now their lesons but wark their heads as well as their hands so that if thay should have a letter from a friend thay can read it and return it again so I must conclude with kind Respects to you all I remain your cincer Friend and well wisher James Hawood

Daniel Hammond (parish clerk)

Robert Cady

Chediston February 6th 1857
Dear Brother
I take the pleasure in writing to you trusting to find you in good health as thank God it leaves me at this time.
Dear Brother I have done my endeavour in answering of your letter that you sent me to the last month. I have sent you word about what you wish’d me to do that is how times are in Suffolk now.
Dear Brother labourers wages is 10d a week now and Flour is 2s.2d a stone and Meat is very dear now Beef is 8d a pound, Mutton is 8d a pound. Pork is
7 and a half d a pound and all other things are very dear. Cheese is from 8 to 9d a pound Butter is 1s.5d a pint and Clothing is very dear also. So Dear Brother I think I may say you did right by leaving Suffolk when you did for I think I may say you have got a good place and are getting good wages to that is much better and working on the land. For if you had been in Suffolk to this day you would never have done as you have done now.
And now Dear Brother I have told you a little about the price of things I will tell you a little about what is going on at Linstead since you left Suffolk that is a society call’d the Linstead Institute that is for lending Books and giving Lectures and other instruction for its Members it is kept up by paying 3d a Month which is spent in Books and other things that are wanted. I now tell you I am one of the Members and I wish I had been one 20 years ago, and then I think I should have writen a better letter to you. So I hope you will look over all mistakes and excuse me, so I must Conclude I remain your loving Brother Robert Cady.


A List of Subscribers to the Fund raised for the purpose of building a R E A D I NG R O O M in the Parish of Linstead Parva, Suffolk

And also Of those who rendered Assistance by their Labour in the Erection of the same


The Dowager Lady Huntingfield

The Dowager Lady Buxton

Bryant Thomas, Senr.

Ingate Charles, Senr.

Bryant Thomas, Junr.

Ingate Charles, Junr.

Balls John

Johnson Mrs.

Balls Robert, Junr.

Jeffries Samuel

Baker William

Jeffries John

Baxter Charles

Lee Robert B.

Baxter John

Morris James

Boast William

Philpot Samuel

Boast John

Read James

Brown Allen

Read Thomas C.

Bryant William

Read Mrs. Alfred

Cutts William

Read Mrs. Stephen

Chambers George

Reeve James

Cook John

Reeve Thomas

Cady Robert, Senr.

Scrivener P. Esq.

Chipperfield William

Short Robert

Cornish Charles

Stagoll John

Cutts Joseph

Stone William

Day Miss

Turner Doctor

Davey H. Esq.

Turner Revd. S. B.

Ferguson E. Esq.

Turner Mrs.

Ferguson Miss

Turner T. D.

Hammond Daniel

Turner Colonel

Harper Charles

Turner Miss G.

Hart Anthony

Turner, The Misses

Hart James

Taylor Charles

Hurren William

White James

White John

May 24th 1859-60 'Building and finishing off the Institute'

Parts of account books of Robert Cady for work done (courtesy of Douglas Cady, 2008)



Map showing position of Linstead Parva School in the 1880s

Plan of the school (1901)