Winter Floods - Plus ça change


As Christmas approaches, some residents of Forncett will undoubtedly be looking back to the terrible floods last Christmas Eve and hoping that we will not see similar weather conditions again this year. Of course, the topic of flooding in the Tas valley is not new, indeed it has been a topic of concern for well over a century, as evidenced by a meeting of Depwade Rural Council in November 1919.

Forncett floods - 24th December 2020

As we mentioned in last month's Flyer, our present village hall was once the primary school in Forncett St. Mary. That school closed in 1919 and children were forced to move to Forncett St. Peter school, but a number of parents refused to send their children there because of the regular flooding on Low Road. At Long Stratton Petty Sessions nine parents were ordered to ensure that their children attended Forncett St Peter school, if not they would be fined 1 shilling for each child failing to attend.

The situation was discussed by the Council and reported in the Diss Express on 28th November 1919:

"Mr. Alfred Salter (farmer at Old Hall Farm) remarked that last year the road that the children now had to travel along was three to six inches under water, and it would happen again as soon as there was any extra quantity of rain. He asked whether the Council could not do something to make the road passable, and he suggested that could be done if the river was cleaned out. - The Clerk said the trouble was that the Council had no power to clean out water courses."

Whether the problem was ever resolved is not reported but, a hundred years on, little seems to have changed!

Mike Merrick