I have always had an interest in the village of Easton in Suffolk being closely located to Framlingham and my One Place Study village of Parham and also due to the fact that my mum was brought up in the village after being adopted in London.
Easton is a small pretty village in Suffolk, as the following postcards show:
I was therefore pleased to find and recently buy an old postcard entitled Red X Socy. Fete, Easton Park, 18th May 1912, as I knew Easton Park and the Mansion House in the village (which is no longer sadly there, as only the crinkly wall that surrounded it remains) played an important part during World War 1, as a Red Cross Hospital.
The former estate village of Easton in England is situated on the River Deben around three miles (5 km) south of Framlingham. Following the end of the World War 1 the British government imposed super taxes on the rich to help defray the cost of the war. Faced with these taxes and with the cost of restoring Easton Mansion from it use as a Red Cross Hospital during the war the Duchess of Hamilton and her husband, Lord James Graham decided to sell the estate.
The land was divided into 137 lots and sold by auction in 1919. The sale attracted a great deal of attention and raised £58000 (£4.6 million today) but the Mansion and its 150-acre (0.61 km2) parkland remained unsold. It was sold privately for £11,278 (£900,000 today) and the parkland was transferred to Martley Hall. With very little land the Mansions fate was sealed and in December 1924 demolition began. Some of the artifacts were removed and incorporated into Martley Hall and other local houses.
As the Framlingham Weekly News newspapers have recently been digitised and are now available to view online I wanted to see if I could find mention of the specific Fete, as mentioned and dated on my postcard, which I did as below:
Framlingham Weekly News Saturday 18th May 1912
I then decided to research these old newspapers further to see if I could specific mention of the Mansion in use as a Red Cross Hospital between 1914 and 1918 and possibly mention of specific nurses or soldiers:
The first article I have found is from the Framlingham Weekly News dated Saturday 7th November 1914 and is entitled:
A Talk with the Wounded – Progress of the War Patients at Easton
Bearing in mind that we were only a few months into the War in November 1914, the article reports the following:
“A Framlingham resident constantly in touch with the Red Cross Hospital at Easton Mansion has furnished us with interesting particulars relating to the fifteen British and Belgian wounded soldiers now undergoing treatment there for wounds received in the War.
There are ten British and five Belgians and the former represent the following Regiments:
2nd Life Guards
Shropshire Light Infantry
King’s Own Scottish Borderers (2)
Yorkshire Light Infantry
Royal Scots Guards
Durham Light Infantry
They all received their wounds in the Armentieres and Lille regions, and our readers will be delighted to know that they and their Belgian comrades, who were incapacitated at Ypres and Dixmude, are making splendid progress.
The wounds are chiefly from shrapnel, and the worst of the fifteen cases is that of Appleby, of the 1st Devons, whose knee was so terribly shattered that his life was despaired of: the wound has however yielded to treatment and there is every prospect of his life and limb being saved.”
I now intend to research in more detail the use of Easton Mansion as a World War 1 Red Cross Hospital and if anyone has any knowledge or knows of any soldiers that were treated at the Hospital or nurses who worked there, I would be very pleased to hear from you – I will post regular updates of interesting stories and articles that I can find.