PC William Bailey(1864-1929) and the Hoxne Police

William Bailey

PC William Bailey

William Bailey died on the 3rd April 1929 aged 65 and was buried at Hoxne Church with his funeral service being officiated over by the Reverend Claude De La Bere. William had been a policeman for 30 years with the East Suffolk Police Force having served at Orford and Trimley before coming to Hoxne in 1902 and being the village policeman for 12 years. In 1914 he retired and took over as the landlord of the Grapes in Cross Street. William was married and was the father of two sons William Thomas and Walter James and three daughters Mrs Maud [nee Bailey] Jackson, Miss Ada Bailey and Mrs Florence Andrews.

The polished oak coffin was carried and escorted to the grave by the bearers Police Sergeant Riseborough and Police Constables, Johnson, Claxton, Southgate, Culpeck, Chapman, Sherwood and Moore. Apart from family and friends the funeral was also attended by Mr C Fisher [ex-Superintendent] and Mr J Webb [ex –Sergeant of police].

The East Suffolk Police Force had been established in 1869 with borough forces at Lowestoft, Eye, Beccles, Dunwich, Orford and Southwold. During the late 1890s and early 1900s the village policeman was to be seen on duty in the village walking his beat or travelling around the village on his bicycle. He would report on criminal activities to the Police Station at Eye and issue and check firearm licences. He would also be seen at village events and at the local petty session's court at Stradbroke [Queen’s Head] and at Eye [White Lion] if this was necessary.

Poaching and petty thefts were the bread and butter of the policeman's work during the 1900s and into the 1920s and 1930s. The Police Station at Hoxne was situated within a thatched house adjoining the Doctors Surgery in Low Street. The cellar to this property was used as a lock up. The policeman would carry a truncheon, notebook and whistle and at night time a carbide lamp.

By 1938 a new police station had been built on the Syleham Road on outskirts of the village.

William [Bill] Bailey played cricket and umpired for Hoxne, he was also a member of the Swan Bowls Club and the Vicarage Bowls Club until it was disbanded. He was the landlord of the Grapes Inn at Cross Street from 1914 and was about to retire from the public house in June 1929. He led a busy life and had six grandchildren to be proud of Joan, George, Harry, Billy, Florence and Herbert.

The Bailey Family at The Grapes

The Bailey Family at The Grapes

The Hoxne Police Beat comprised the parish of Hoxne, Denham and Syleham and came into operation during the early 1900s and continued until 1977/8. Until 1938 the resident police Constable occupied a cottage in Low Street.

The Police Station on the Syleham Road comprised of a dwelling house and an office. The first occupier was PC Valentine Brewer who had come to Hoxne in 1933 and remained until 1942. PC Brewer and his wife had a large family and retired in 1942. PC Joseph Cooper was the next village policeman to take over the Hoxne Beat in 1942, but due to ill health left and went to Eye and sadly died in 1955.

The next resident policeman who came to Hoxne in July 1951 was PC Alan King who stayed until August 1956 when PC Barker took over. PC Barker remained at Hoxne until 1960 when he was transferred to Halesworth.

Article and Pictures provided by Stephen Govier