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My parents  Ernest and Lilian Dale were relatively new comers to the village, taking up residence as licensees of the Walpole Arms in 1931. Ernest and Lilian Dale had six children, Doris, Ralph, Stanley, Leonard (Nobby), Bevra and George. I have photographs of my family during their period of residence in the Walpole Arms.  
Bevra Menlove - 8th August 2011

Ernie Dale c.1932
Lilian, Stanley & George Dale 1943
Ernie Dale c.1932

Both my parents Ernest and Lilian Dale were Norfolk people, my father originated from the Norwich area and my mother from Northrepps. Her maiden name, Reynolds. They met and married before the 1st World War, when dad was in the army and mum was cook to Lady Hoare. Just after they were married dad was sent overseas and my sister born just after he left. After the war they settled down in Bintry and dad took up farm labouring with a man by the name of Prince. (I never knew his given name). Prince lived with us from then on, he was like a part of our family. My 3 brothers, Ralph, Stanley and Leonard (Nobby),who I will now refer to as Nobby, because Leonard, nobody would know who I was talking about. He acquired this nickname when a toddler when somebody said, what a knobby little fella he is, from then on this is the name he was known by, were born in Bintry as I was. I was 1 year old when dad took over the licensee of the Walpole Arms in 1931 George was born in 1937.
Bevra Menlove - 24th August 2011

Doris and Ralph Dale 1923 Ralph and Betty Dale
Doris and Ralph Dale 1923
Ralph and wife, Betty Dale

There is on record Mr Dale being fined a shilling in 1934 for allowing gaming on the premises. This “Gaming” consisted of paying a penny for guessing the number of pips in a pumpkin. The proceeds to help fund a dinner put on by mum and dad for their regulars, held in the big club room upstairs, that ran the whole length at the front of the house. This was also a lovely play room for the Dale children and all their friends. We did have a gramophone that wound up with a handle. When the spring broke we would twist yards of string around the spindle, one of the boys would then race up the other end of the room pulling the string to turn the turntable, playing a record. Not very successful but a lot of fun.
Bevra Menlove - 24th August 2011

Stanley Dale c.1933 Stanley 'Nobby' Dale
Stanley Dale c.1933
Stanley 'Nobby' Dale

From the very beginning this home was never a one family home. Mum and dad were always fostering children. People working in the area at various times, for instance lumber jacks during the logging season who would arrive at only a few hours notice, wanting accommodation from Monday to Friday for at least 2 – 3 weeks

My mothers day started at around 5 a.m. until at least 11 p.m. The flag stone floor of the public bar was scrubbed every morning on hands and knees. Mum and dad could not afford to employ staff so everything in the house was done by mum. All the cleaning, cooking, washing etc. Baking day was Friday from early morning to late in the afternoon, using the big wall oven in the kitchen. Mum was a wonderful cook. Christmas time mum always had to make at least 6 big Christmas puddings, these were always cooked in the big copper that mum used to boil the clothes in. When these were served on Christmas Day, mum would slide a silver threepenny piece under each slice. We pretended we didn't notice and acted so surprised when we found it. These were given back to mum to buy a bottle of lemonade. I still have some of these coins.

Because we were always such a big family, Sunday lunch, our main meal would have to wait until the bar closed at 2.00 p.m. We would all then queue with plates, knives and forks in hand and mum would serve up the roast dinner from the big kitchen table as we all filed by. From there we all retired to the public bar where there were 2 long tables to be seated. The rest of the week we all ate at different times.
Bevra Menlove - 24th August 2011

Ernie and Bevra Dale c.1933 Bevra, George and Leonard 'Nobby' Dale
Ernie and Bevra Dale c.1933
Bevra, George and Leonard 'Nobby' Dale

There was approximately 2 – 3 acres of garden which my father cultivated with every known vegetable plus rows of strawberry beds, gooseberries and rhubarb. Planting all done by hand except for the ploughing which he employed the next door farmer to do. Also there was a large orchard with numerous types of apple trees. Dad had regular customers for his vegetables in the Mile Cross area of Norwich, where he made deliveries twice a week, his transport a car with a trailer attached. The tropical fruit bought from a supplier. After the Dales left, this land was taken over by the Fowels and incorporated in their farm, but not for vegetables.

From the 30's we always had a car. The first a rather large Citroen with various other makes to follow. The Citroen had a rack on the back where my dad fitted a wooden box for the purpose of transporting potatoes. This box came in very handy sometimes on a Sunday when dad piled about 12 – 13 children in the back of the car but usually there were some left over so 2 and sometimes 3 boys would sit in the box, we always took some of the children from the village with us and off we would go for a trip to Cromer. Dad was in the RAC so always got a salute from the mobile RAC mechanic who traveled the roads on a motor bike and sidecar.

Mum and dad annually organized a day trip for the regular customers. One being a coach ride to Coltishall and from there a river trip to Yarmouth. Mum and dad always supplied the food and drinks which they would take with them. The draught beer in I believe big stone flagons and possibly a couple of crates of bottled ale or such. Each man had a button hole from the Passion flower that grew on the climber just outside the kitchen door.

One year the river Bure froze over and when the thaw set in, great lumps of ice would float downstream. The boys, including my brothers would jump from the bank on to a floating block of ice, unfortunately Francis Titchely (Driddle) as he was known landed too heavy and his foot went through, consequently a wet foot. The pub kitchen was always a great place for us to congregate in bad weather and this was a perfect occasion to play cards while Driddles sock dried hanging on the door of the big range fire. Sometime later, the smell of burning wool brought to their attention, one burnt sock minus foot.

Bevra Menlove - 24th August 2011

Village children
Bevra Dale on right; George Dale front row with curly hair
with other village children; two boys on back row evacuees

During the 2nd World War there was a lot more activity in the village. Mainly due to all the service personnel stationed in the area. There was the Matlaske fighter drome one side and Oulton bomber drome in the opposite direction. As stated earlier the officers from Matlaske were billetted at the newly renovated mill. The officers at Oulton based at Blickling Hall. A number of evacuees from London were sent to country areas to escape the bombing and Itteringham had their share.Mum billeted 3 boys, but the evacuees did not stay until the end of the war.

After they left 3 families arrived on the doorstep in the early hours of one morning. Relatives we had never met also from London escaping the blitz They did stay for quite some time. It was then the club room as such was partitioned off to make 3 more bedrooms to accommodate all the visitors.

Dad, along with my brothers dug a big pit to serve as an air raid shelter. Fortunately we did not have to use it because at the first down pour of rain it filled with water. Anyway, we only had 2 bombs dropped and they were on one of Archie Wrights fields and killed a rabbit. The worst experience were having to test the gas masks we were all supplied with and the van that was filled with tear gas came to the village. A number of children at a time were told to enter and walk around in the van but the problem was when you came out and took of the mask the gas was still on the clothes so many sore and watery eyes.

Dad worked on the Matlaske aerodrome. My brother told me dad had a little van taking round tea to the workers. I guess you could say, the first mobile tea lady. He also worked at the cooks quarters at Blickling Hall I believe keeping the boilers working. There were mainly WAAFS whose quarters were built just inside the gates of Blickling woods. The girls didn't believe that Ernie had a pub so one evening they decided to check it out. They became regular customers. It was then my brother Ralph met his wife Betty and Stanley his wife Pat.

Bevra Menlove - 24th August 2011

George Dale Leonard 'Nobby' Dale
George Dale
Leonard 'Nobby' Dale
meeting the Queen Mother at Sennowe Park

All the Dale children attended the Methodist Sunday School where Mr. And Mrs. Hannant were the Ministers. Before each Harvest Festival the children would call on every household in the village collecting home grown fruit, vegetables and preserves to decorate the chapel.

The river Bure was regularly cleared of reeds carried out by Lou Regis in a flat bottom boat. His area reached from Itteringham to Blickling Mill. I was rather disappointed when returning to Itteringham in 1976 to see that reeds had completely covered the river. There were beautiful trout and eels in the river but you had to have a licence to fish. This did not deter Nobby, mum only had to mention she would love a trout for her Sunday breakfast and Nobby would be up at the crack of dawn, to the river, standing in the water with both hands under the bank. When he felt a nice fish he would gently rub its underside and suddenly with both hands the fish would land on the bank. No rod or line involved. One morning he was caught by the game warden, which normally would have involved a large fine but on this occasion he asked Nobby to give him a couple of fish, but there was no way Nobby was going to agree. So the warden offered to pay which was O.K., because what he offered was nearly as much as Nobby earned in wages. Mum did still get her trout for breakfast.

Aylsham would hold a fancy dress parade each year and mum entered Ralph and Nobby as cowboys. They had a small cart, covered like a covered wagon with a donkey in the harness. Ralph lead the donkey while Nobby sat inside the wagon playing cowboy songs on his mouth organ. Unfortunately right in the middle of the parade the donkey refused to move but eventually Ralph got it going again. I think they won a prize but I could be wrong.

Bevra Menlove - 24th August 2011

Bevra Dale
Bevra Dale aged 16

Both Ralph and Stanley were in the navy at this time. Nobby later joined the Marines. He married my girl friend Joyce. All their babies were born at the Walpole Arms.

George and I (Bevra) were the only members of the family that moved away from Norfolk. George to the London area when he joined the Metropolitan Police and there he met his wife Joan. Myself to Bedfordshire where my husband Alan came from ( I met him when he was stationed at Wolterton Park) Ralph and Betty now live in Marsham, Stanley and Pat in Aylsham where Stanley has his barber shop, but has now handed over to his son James. I do believe that Stanley still gives a few haircuts. Nobby and Joyce are in Great Ryburgh.

Ernie and Lilian Dale are buried side by side in Itteringham church yard along with grandfather Dale.

Bevra Menlove - 24th August 2011

Being brought up in a pub made me see the other side of drinking, although I did get drunk at 15.  I used to play the piano in the public bar in the evening as entertainment.  It was a great honky tonk machine.   Of course customers used to buy me drinks, unfortunately mum or dad didn't know who they were for and at one stage I had a few glasses lined up along the top of the piano and me being the person I am took advantage of the situation.  Later when it was turning out time, I wasn't feeling good on my feet, it was then my dad realised I was a bit worse for wear and he had to carry me up to bed.   The bad head I had in the morning was not one I wanted to experience again and when I eventually went into mum and dads bedroom  early the next morning  the only cure dad knew was a small glass of beer.  That, in my opinion was the last thing I wanted but I took it anyway.   Now it might be an old wives tale, I don't know whether it was mind over matter, but it worked.   I can assure you this little episode was never repeated again.

Bevra Menlove née Dale, Melbourne, Australia - 30th August 2011

I spent summer holidays at the Walpole Arms with my grandmother from 1945 to 1947.
Ernest & Lil were my uncle & aunt. Ernest was the brother of my grandfather.
George & I went swimming in the river at the mill pond. I learnt to ride a bike and we would ride around the country lanes and up to the village shop for sweets. Another great summer activity was when the corn was being reaped we would catch the rabbits with a big stick as they ran from the harvester.
There was an old wreck of a car by the pig shed that we played in, probably the one that Bevra mentioned. When I was there they had a Woolsey which we were picked up in by Nobby from the station when we arrived. I don't remember trout but I do remember them getting fresh mushrooms for breakfast picked from the local fields. My first taste of mushrooms -  I was not impressed. I also remember playing in the bar when it was raining which it seem to do regularly.

Brian Dale - 17th October 2011

I was reminiscing again the other day, back to a time when I went to Aylsham market with my dad - not sure why we went, but the trailer was on the back of the car.   Anyway, we were coming home travelling down the railway hill just outside Aylsham, I am sure you will remember which one I mean - when all of a sudden a wheel went sailing past us,   "Wonder where that came from" says father.   Well we soon found out it was the outside wheel of the trailer.   Father was never known for his speeding, even a wheel on its own passsed us.   I was only about 10 or 11 at the time but still remember it vividly.
I was also wondering if the gypsies, in their brightly painted horse drawn caravans still paid their annual visit.   They always camped on the Common.  One of the women would go door to door with a basket, like the bakers used - with all colours of cotton, shoe laces, tape, sewing needles, clothes pegs (these made by the men from boughs of wood split in half, shaped and attached with pieces of metal round the top and many other small items.  The pegs lasted for years and years and fitted perfectly over the thick clothes lines of that era.  Mum always bought something and invited the lady in for a cup of tea and cake.   It was a wonderful time to be young. 

Bevra Menlove née Dale, Melbourne, Australia - 24th October 2011

The Dales certainly made an impression during their time in Itteringham and that's why I wanted to have our name on record.  You know you would have liked my mum and dad, they were highly respected in the villages around.  Mother was the one who laid the law down if any trouble with any customers.  Not that there was much of that.   I can only remember it happening twice and that was during the war when 2 of the soldiers from Wolterton camp started to have an argument in the bar and were about ready to enter into fisty cuffs.   Mother marched in between the 2 of them, grapped them each by an ear and twisted it, marched them outside and said - "If you want to fight do it out there" We never saw them again. My mother was not very big but a force to be reckoned with.  
My husband, who was stationed at Wolterton camp at the time said my mother was known as "The Sergeant Major"  She would stand at the entrance to the bar with arms crossed and you could hear a pin drop. But underneath this facade she was a real softie and so many people would take her into their confidence,  asking advice of a personal nature knowing it would stay in confidence.  
We were never allowed to use any swear words or to talk about anybody.  I think the only time I did use a swear word, although I cannot remember as I was only about 3 years old I believe.
Mum had a beautiful big bed of dahlias in the centre of the lawn in the front garden and it was one day when one of the gentry, who came regularly for a weekend of fishing stood at the front door with mother when he noticed me in the middle of the flower bed.   "What a beautiful little butterfly you have in among your dahlias Mrs. Dale.   Well, as all proud parents are, mother called me over to meet this gentleman - which I did, only to look up and say, "You old bugger you"  I never did hear the end of that story, only to say, it is a wonder I am still alive today. 

Bevra Menlove née Dale, Melbourne, Australia - 26th October 2011

Talking about the Sovereigns...  One of my memories of that hill was one Saturday evening when Joyce and I were cycling to Aylsham to the cinema and my chain repeatedly came off the sprocket.  After about the 5th time and hands covered in oil I gave the bike an almighty kick and said a very bad word.   Joyce just looked at me in horror and she still refers to that paticular episode whenever we start talking about our teenage years.   Mind you, they say that swearing doesn't help, well it did this time cos the chain didn't come off again and we were able to continue without a hitch.  Now you will be thinking I am quite an unsavoury character but honestly except for the 3 year old and the 16 year, only twice did I resort to any bad language. Honest.

Bevra Menlove née Dale, Melbourne, Australia - 27th October 2011

If you have any memories, anecdotes or photos please let us know and we may be able to use them to update the site. By all means telephone 07836 675369 or

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