Village Life

During the First World War commemoration years 2014-2018 NIBCHG undertook much research looking into life in the villages 100 years earlier.

Click on the links below to discover more.

Hoveton Hall Red Cross Auxiliary Hospital – where Annie Easton, an infant teacher at Neatishead School, worked as a nurse for six hours per week in addition to her teaching responsibilities.  Read about Annie and sixteen other ladies from the villages who also worked at Hoveton Hall.

Living off the Marshes – 100 years ago, and before that, the five main marshland crops in all larger Broadland parishes were marsh hay, reed, sedge, boulders and osiers.  With easy access to Barton Broad and the River Ant, Neatishead, Irstead and Barton Turf were no exception and many villagers earned their living from working on the marshes.

Food, Diet and Rationing 100 years ago.  In 1918 following the end of the WW1 the country was in a state of turmoil. Here in the parishes of Neatishead, Irstead and Barton Turf and the surrounding villages the residents found that there was a great shortage of food.  Bread was baked at home, vegetables grown in gardens.  Residents also kept their own pigs, rabbits and chickens. Men would shoot wild fowl and caught fish from the nearby rivers. Folk would go to the nearest farm for milk.  All this helped to feed the families.

Timeline of food shortages during WW1 taken from the Black Country Living Museum

Farming in Barton Turf 
At the time of WW1 many of the men who lived in Barton Turf were employed on one of the seven farms: Pennygate Farm, Berry Hall Farm, Hall Farm, Ikens Farm, Home Farm and Staithe Farm.

Barton School  was built on land given by the Preston Family.  Rev Poole took religious study here every morning.  Starting with slates and pencils the children learned to use a copybook style of writing.  The school leaving age was fourteen and all the children stayed at the school until that age.

Barton Methodist Chapel Sunday School Anniversaries
There was a good attendance at Sunday School and each year the Anniversary was held in the barn at nearby Home Farm in order to accommodate the congregation of both the afternoon and evening congregations.

Read about the shops and businesses in Barton at this time.  With little or no transport in the villages much of the food and necessities was provided by the nearby shops and businesses.

The five churches of Neatishead, Irstead and Barton Turf are marked on the map below.