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Hethersett People

Below are details of people connected over the years with Hethersett. Some will be well remembered in the village, others virtually unheard of. I will be building this into a comprehensive database of people who have helped make our village what it is.


Julianna Ball Helping Children in Africa
Alan Brind Young Musician of the Year 1986
George W Bush President of the United States
George H W Bush President of the United States
Tony Curson Champion of the Village 
Hethersett Race Horse - Winner of English Classic
Peter Hoult Owner of Hethersett Tool Hire
Ralph Johnson Ginger Johnson - Norwich City Footballer
Caroline Lindley Educationalist and Benefactor
Nora Pearson Musician and teacher
Samuel Smith Influential Canadian Citizen
Fred Tuck Well known local Methodist
Elizabeth Watts Leading British Soprano


Julianna Ball


In 2007 at the age of 17 Julianna Ball spent some time in Uganda helping young children. To read how she got on click on the following links.

Julianna's Project

Julianna's Update

Julianna's Newsletter - Christmas 2007


Alan Brind


Top violinist Alan Brind was brought up in the village and won the 1986 Young Musician of the Year award at the age of 17.

After winning the competition, Alan studied at the Royal Academy of Music but for a short while stopped playing the violin in favour of snooker. 


He then returned to study with Viktoria Mullova and led the European Union Youth Orchestra. He has made several recordings including the work with which he won Young Musician of the Year, the Sibelius Violin Concerto, and a disc of Stravinsky Chamber works with Vladimir Ashkenazy. He is now an orchestral musician and for a time a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra.


George Walker Bush (descendants of)

It is a little known fact that the current President of the United States of America - George Walker Bush (born 6th July, 1946) and his father and former president - George Herbert Walker Bush (born 1924) - have descendants from Hethersett.

The 20th generation of the Bush family from George Walker Bush shows the name of Sibel Hethersett who was born in Hethersett and died about 1445 at Friars Preachers, England. She married John Pagrave.

The 21st generation shows Sibel Hethersett's father as William Hethersett. The name of his wife is not known.

The first mention of English ancestry in the Bush family appears to be in the seventh generation in the form of James Uncles who was born in Bradford on 5th August, 1794, and died on 25th January, 1835 in Columbus, Ohio. He married Elizabeth Criswell who came from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Going back to the 25th generation, a number of other Norfolk place names appear including Lynn (presumably King's Lynn), South Acre, Calthorp, Dalling (presumably Wood Dalling) and Great Carbroke.

TONY CURSON 1928-1999

Tony Curson was one of the best known residents of the village and totally immersed himself in school and village life. He was fully involved in parish church activities for about 50 years. He was a church warden for many years and treasurer and chairman of numerous church committees.

He was also a long standing parish councillor and vice-chairman at the time of his death.

Over the years he helped backstage with the annual village pantomime and was also involved with the Memorial Playing Field Committee, the parochial charity. He was a former chairman of the Middle School governing body and vice-chairman of Hethersett Choral Society.

Tony held just about every position within Hethersett Cricket Club having notched up over 22,000 runs, taken over 2,500 wickets and held nearly 700 catches.

He died whilst mowing the cricket square on May 10th, 1999.


Hethersett (the horse)

Hethersett was born in 1959 and was the European Champion three year old in 1962 when he won the St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster - one of the classic British flat races. Hethersett also won a number of other group one prestigious races including the Great Voltigeur Stakes, the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes, the Derby Trial Stakes. He also came second in the Champion Stakes, the Coronation Cup and the Jockey Club Stakes.

Peter Hoult

Peter is well known in the village as owner of the tool hire business in Great Melton Road.

He was educated at the William Lilley Infant School in Stapleford, Nottinghamshire (1954-1957), Fairfield County Primary School, Stapleford (1957-1961), Bramcote Hill Grammar School (1961-1965) and Beeston College of Further Education (1965-1966).

After a Merchant Navy induction course in London in late 1966, he joined Houlder Bros. & Co. Ltd., as a Navigating Apprentice. With the same company he obtained all his certificates of Competency up to Master (Foreign Going), which he gained in 1977.

Peter then served then served a further six years to the rank of Master in a Swedish, then American company, before finally deciding to make a break with the sea and start a home-based career. 

Instead, he entered the world of self-employment in 1984, operating an equipment hire business, and subsequently a machinery repair arm since 1989.

Peter's wife Jenny is equally well known in the village as Head Librarian at Hethersett Library.

Victor Ralph (Ginger) Johnson

Norwich City Footballer during the second world war. Ralph was born in Hethersett  on 15th April, 1922 and became a prolific scorer in wartime friendly matches. At the outbreak of war he was just 17 years of age and was denied playing competitive league football.

In wartime friendlies he scored an amazing 123 goals in 107 matches with five hat-tricks, two four goal hauls, two five goal hauls, and two double hat-tricks on November 11th, 1944 and 24th March, 1945 against the RAF and REME respectively. He once scored in 19 successive Norwich City games and in 24 out of 25 matches on another occasion including 13 goals in three consecutive games.

In his fleeting league career he netted in 10 seconds on 19th October, 1946 in a match against Orient. In 23 official league and cup games he scored 10 goals and would have had many more but for the war. His Norwich City league debut was against Ipswich Town on September 9th, 1946.

Today Ralph still lives in Hethersett at the age of 85. Ralph was interviewed for this web site and you can read the story of his career by clicking here.

Caroline Lindley

Caroline Lindley is a fascinating figure in the history of the village. A great educationalist and benefactor, her kindness and philanthropic outlook on life was a shining example of altruism.

Much of the credit for the building of the British School in the village must go to the efforts of Caroline Lindley who tirelessly raised money to provide education for both children and adults in the Great Melton district.  

The original benefactor of the British School was Edward Lombe of Great Melton Hall who financially supported the project but died in 1852 which is the point at which Caroline Lindley enters the story. 

She visited her brother Joseph who was the agent for Edward Lombe.  Caroline had a great interest in the provision of education for children and, although by this point in her 50s and living in London, she raised sufficient capital for the school to be established in Henstead Road. 

Caroline Lindley was a friend of London businessman William Ellis who, despite having no connections with Hethersett, was to play a major part in education in the village. 

Ellis was manager of the Indemnity Marine Assurance Company and had a reputation for integrity whilst being both successful and affluent.  He had little use for personal extravagance and devoted a large portion of his income to education throughout the country. 

His wishes were for children to study Social Economy alongside the 3 Rs.  This included the study of moral principles and behaviour 'leading to honest workmanship and reliable business dealings.'  Ellis believed these principles would lead to a happy and prosperous society full of industry, skill, economy, sobriety, honesty, punctuality, courage and fidelity. 

Ellis established schools in numerous parts of London including the Birkbeck School, London Mechanics (1848), the Finsbury Birkbeck School (1849), Paddington Birkbeck School (1850), Bethnal Green Birkbeck School (1851), Westminister Birkbeck School (1851) and Beckham Birkbeck School (1852).  The Birkbeck schools were named in memory of George Birkbeck a mechanics lecturer, scholar and philanthropist. 

Outside London he established schools in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leith, Manchester, Salford, Blandford, King’s Sambourne in Hampshire, Dunton Bassett in Leicestershire and of course Hethersett. 

When Caroline Lindley approached Ellis she found his heart as open as always and in her diary of 23 July 1853 notes: 

'Received Mr Ellis’ answer to my letter, overjoyed with it and school bought.' 

Ellis purchased the British School with money belonging to himself and vested the property in four trustees – himself, his son Edward, Joseph Lindley and Julian Hill.  The first management committee consisted of Caroline Lindley of London and William Buckingham, William Morton, Benjamin Baker and James Spurgeon of Hethersett.   

Ellis was obviously much taken with Caroline Lindley whom he described as: 

'Possessing feelings ever ready to melt at the sight of misery and an intelligence prepared to examine the various means suggested for its relief, and to seize and apply the real ones.'  

In commending Caroline’s efforts, Ellis said: 'To us be the delight of aiding her in her labour of love.' 

Obviously altruism ran in the Lindley family as Caroline’s sister Kate founded a school at Warmfield in Yorkshire.   

Today in the 21st century Caroline Lindley's name lives on in an Educational Foundation which exists to offer support to students from Hethersett going on to study at university, college or other Higher Education establishments. The trustees meet twice a year to make their awards.

The above information on Caroline Lindley is taken from a chapter on education in the village written for the book of Hethersett by Peter Steward. The full text of this is available by clicking here.

Nora Pearson

We were contacted by Keith Hobday who wanted to pay tribute and for us to remember Nora Pearson who was a noted local conservationist, artist, musician and teacher and who had a very close connection with Hethersett Methodist Church. Nora's memory lives on in many homes in the form of a 1997 diagram map of the parish. Keith had the following to say:

"She was my first violin teacher and had a huge influence on my life. She was an inspirational teacher who was just what a slightly difficult and stroppy teenage boy needed to realise his violin playing potential. My whole life revolves around music now and her patience, fortitude, resolve and perseverence with me, shaped my attitude and disposition towards music. I have founded a successful semi-pro orchestra in Norwich (Norwich Pops Orchestra), a blossoming Baroque Orchestra (Norwich Baroque) and continue to run a String Quarter. I would not have done any of these things if Miss Pearson had not stuck with me for those formative eight years. Interestingly, Norwich Pops Orchestra has managed to book another name on the remembrance list - Elizabeth Watts (Soprano) for our New Year's Day Concert 2010. This is a bit of a coup, as she is heading for stardom at the moment.

Samuel Hardman Smith

Samuel Hardman Smith was born at the Grange in Hethersett on July 22nd, 1868, the son of James and Sarah (nee Sunter) Smith. The family emigrated to the United States in 1880 where his father farmed at LeMars, Iowa.

Samuel attended high school in Iowa and farmed with his father until 1897 when he moved with his brother to Carberry, Manitoba, in Canada where he again engaged in farming and later real estate.

In 1901 he moved to Edmonton where he formed the Western Reality Company Ltd and had interests in coal mining and other industrial enterprises. He became vice-president of Western Clays Ltd and vice president of Sandeman and Cope Company Ltd. He served as an Alderman of Edmonton Council from 1906 to 1907 and was a member of the Edmonton Club. He married Florence White in 1907. No further details available.

Fred Tuck

Fred, who was an active Methodist and keen supporter of TOC H, died on April 7th, 2007 at the age of 96 after what was described as a "life of service."

Fred was born in September 1910 and  came to Norfolk with his family at the age of two, firstly to North Elmham and subsequently to Dereham. After leaving school he was employed in the accounts department of Hobbies and continued to live in Dereham when his parents moved to Wymondham. 

It was at Dereham that Fred became interested in the work of the local branch of TOC H – an organisation founded to provide respite care for servicemen during the First World War. 

“Fred always engendered the aims of TOCH which were fellowship, service, fair mindedness and a celebration of the kingdom of God. I have heard some lovely things said about a wonderful man. Fred was a man who loved and was loved dearly,” Rev Derek Grimshaw told a memorial service in the Methodist Church. 

Fred became secretary of the local branch of TOC H and in 1936 travelled to Great Yarmouth to hear the Rev Tubby Clayton speak about leper colonies in Nigeria. 

Fred’s nephew Richard Flower spoke of this meeting being a “defining moment in Fred’s life.” 

“Three weeks later he decided to work amongst the lepers and sailed from Liverpool to West Africa. He later said that going to Nigeria was the best thing he ever did,” Mr Flower said. 

Whilst in Nigeria Fred met and married his wife Edna and they were married for 54 years before Edna’s death in 1995. 

Fred and Edna returned to the United Kingdom in 1958 and Fred worked for eight years  for the Methodist Church in London and then for seven years at the Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest. He later worked for the justice department on the Isle of Wight before moving back to Norfolk to live in Hethersett in 1975. 

He became closely involved with the village Methodist Church and was also a founder member of Wymondham Probus Club. Fred was also a keen supporter of Norwich City Football Club and loved music, poetry and literature. 

“He had a mischevious sense of humour, but was a true gentleman,” Mr Flower added. The memorial service was preceded by cremation at St Faiths. The readings and hymns featured at both the crematorium and Hethersett were chosen by Fred himself.


Elizabeth Watts

Elizabeth grew up in Hethersett and was a girl chorister at Norwich Cathedral before moving to Sheffield to study at the University. Although reading archaeology, she became heavily involved in the musical life of the city and was singing tutor to the choristers of Sheffield Cathedral. She graduated in 2000 with first class honours and was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music in 2002.

An experienced performer in recital, opera, and oratorio, Elizabeth has sung Bach's Christmas Oratorio with Peter Schreier, Vivaldi's Gloria with the BT Scottish Ensemble and Mozart's Requiem with Sir David Willcocks. Future projects include Poppea in Handel's Agrippina and a performance of songs by Anthony Scott at the Wigmore Hall. In September she will take up a scholarship at the Benjamin Britten International Opera School.

In 2007 she was chosen to represent England in a major international contest in Cardiff. A special interview with Liz can be read by clicking here.