What Does Hadleigh Castle Mean To You?

A survey by the Community Archive - part of Hadleigh Art Trail, October 2011

Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive has an office in Hadleigh Old Fire Station (HOFS) Studio 13. As HOFS was going to be one of the venues for the Hadleigh Art Trail, we thought it would be good to get involved, so we opened our office to the general public during the Open Studios weekend, 8th-9th October.

Archive display to help survey opinion on Hadleigh Castle

We also created a display in the Appliance Bay to stimulate opinion on “What does Hadleigh Castle means to you?”    

To encourage people to think about the landmark we are all familiar with, we posed the following questions:

Do you see it as a symbol of strength?

Do you react to it emotionally?

Does it give you a feeling of home or place, a familiar backdrop?

Do you see it as an image that represents Hadleigh to the wider world?

Does it provide a focal point for nature’s changing scene?

As I collected the thoughts of people of all ages, on behalf of the Community Archive, I was impressed by just how immediate the responses were; everyone had an opinion or a tale to tell.

Below are the thoughts of children from Westwood Primary School, Hadleigh, who enjoyed an art workshop led by Marie Antoniou, at HOFS, on the afternoon of 7th October:

  • I think it is really tall – Hollie
  • Fascinating! It helps you know what castles looked like –    Megan
  • It’s cool. It’s the history of Hadleigh, and it was built on clay – Louis O
  • Interesting because it’s old – Florence
  • It’s sad. It is a memory of the past and it fell down – Kori
  • It’s windy up there! – Abby
  • It’s very delicate – Alex
  • It’s broken – Jack C
  • You can see it from a distance – Freddie
  • The area is factual. It tells you where everything used to be – Tommy O

Val Jackson from the Archive Group chatting to Mr and Mrs Guy in Studio 13, Open Studios weekend

Here are some of the views expressed by visitors to our office at HOFS, during the Open Studios weekend:

  • It clears my mind and makes me feel calm and refreshed – Lesley, London
  • It’s about time they rebuilt it! – June, Eastwood
  • Walking the dog and walks when courting – Joan Guy
  • Enjoying the landscape. Imagining defensive positions at time castle was built. Losing myself in the sky – Emma Blakemore
  • It gives Hadleigh a unique identity – far more than just a suburb of Southend! Love it. It’s beautiful – A Foreman
  • A lovely place to walk, sit, look out over the estuary, play ball, fly kites, play hide-and-seek, have a picnic etc – Glenis Summers
  • Without the castle, Hadleigh would not be such a special place to live with such a depth of history – Jamie Spracklen
  • The castle is enjoyed by many families, on a windy day for kites and warm days for picnics. Sunrise Service on Easter morning. Great place! – Hazel Bolton
  • A sense of place, of history, of clarity – a great place to clear the cobwebs of your mind – Alison, Hadleigh
  • Hadleigh Castle is very special to me. My family lived very close to it in the 1840s. A lovely place – Brenda Hopkins

View more children’s views on Hadleigh Castle.

See what guests at the Hadleigh Old Fire Station Open Studios launch on 6th October thought of the local landmark.

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  • I agree with most if not all of the comments made by children and adults alike! Hadleigh Castle was my second home as a young child and teenager. From climbing onto and jumping off the ‘Devil’s Armchair’ pretending to be paratroopers, to seeing who was brave (or foolhardy) enough to climb the highest up the ‘Sheeps Back’ and careering down to the ‘Bomb Crater’ (just beyond the castle’s southern boundary) on our sledges during the snowy winter of ’63, we did it all! The Castle also crept into my dreams in my early twenties in which I learnt to fly under my own power by sprinting along the main grassed area and once airborne continued to flap my arms and glided bit by bit until I reached the top of the main tower. Once there I enjoyed a breather and the hitherto unseen view, before returning to my new found joy of flying. Hadleigh just wouldn’t be Hadleigh without it’s castle! Oh! and I also agree with one of the children who suggested it should be re-built!

    By Patrick Iredale (10/09/2013)

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