Dorothy selling Nicholas a jar of her marmalade at the Church Fete

Dorothy at 'The Greens' with money she collected to sponsor a friend in the annual bicycle ride for the church.

 Dorothy with Adam and Bronwen and friends on her last visit to Australia


I first came to Salthouse on Whit Monday 1960 and I loved it right away. We came for all the Easter and summer holidays until our children left school. We were soon able to buy ‘The Greens’ and we immediately started work on the garden. The vegetable garden had been home to a pony belonging to the then owners of the post office—no wonder it has done so well! The post office stores stocked only a limited variety of goods in those days and we had to go to Holt to shop, but with the arrival of the McInnes and Robertson family this all changed and a tea room filled the back half of the shop. Up until the Gulf War, we could even buy petrol there.
During my first August, Joan Haward introduced me to the church and from then it became a part of my life. I was enrolled on the list of helpers to decorate the church at Easter, Christmas and harvest. In my first years, older members, led by Mrs Neden of ‘Springholes’, were well organised and I was permitted at Easter to put violets and primroses in the gap in the lectern—and then I was given the windows of the north aisle to decorate. Later, I was also asked to distribute fruit, flowers and eggs to older parishioners, and I enjoyed these visits. Those I particularly remember are: Betsy Lynn, the two Hawley sisters, Jasper Woodhouse’s mother Alice Holman, Fred Woodhouse’s wife, and Alice Graveling and her sister.
Mrs Graveling, in my earliest days, was the churchwarden and the oval brass flower-arranger in the church was given in her memory. She was succeeded by Mr Holland from ‘The Cottage’, Grout’s Lane. He used to give classical recordings in the church on warmer Sunday evenings with his posh ‘black box’ gramophone.
Mrs Graveling, at one time the backbone of the church, told me that she was born in ‘The Greens’. She was one of 7 children whose father died, and their widowed mother kept them on vegetables and eggs, the proceeds of the garden. Her own son was tragically killed in the Korean war.
After an interregnum, Michael Sellors was appointed rector and I became churchwarden and, when the Holland family left the village in 1980, I was the only one. This changed my life, because I then drove to Salthouse from London almost every weekend, until I moved in permanently, and I spent all my free time here. Sadly I have seen the congregations dwindle, but because of the concerts and exhibitions, and the inclusion in Simon Jenkins’ book (‘The 1,000 Best Churches’), visitors to our church have increased.

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Val Fiddian 2007