Jim is the son of Florence Radley (whose own memories were recorded by Ray High’s wife, Eileen). He is the grandson of James High and the great-grandson, on his mother’s side, of the famous marshman Gabriel Pigott.

to read Florence Radley's memoirs or some of the other stories from the book, which are made available here, click on 'Book Pages' top of this page

Jim's great-grandmother, Elizabeth, and great-grandfather, Gabriel Pigott
Jim, who was so enthusiastic about the Salthouse book, and provided so many of the photographs and so much of the information, died on 6th December 2002, just 7 months before it was published.

Jim Radley

  remembers Salthouse when he was a boy  

Jim Radley at the get-together Oct 2002 at the Manor














It was over towards the East Bank where Grandfather Gabriel used to get his shooting. He was also a Dyke Reeve and he was in charge of the sluices, to open them when the marsh flooded. Mother always said that Gabriel dug an urn up off one of the hills on the heath and that should be in Norwich museum. I don’t think Mother could remember much about my great-grandfather Gabriel, but my Aunt Alice who lived down the street from her, she was the older granddaughter and remembered him.
Of course they used muzzle-loading guns with loose shot and powder in those days, and I can remember Mother saying that Grandmother, if she wanted to clean the flues in the copper, would get a little bit of gun-powder and wrap it in a piece of paper, and stick it up the oven. She’d hold the door shut with the poker and that would go whoom and clean the flues out! My mother told me that her own mother, Grandmother High, used to do it.

Knowledge was very sparse you know, the only learning they had was from the Bible. My grandfather learnt to read and write from the Bible. They were so down-trodden. The Church and the State were all-powerful, and I think had it not been for the Methodist Chapel religion, there would have been a revolution—their fervour went into their preaching. That was waning a bit by my time, but Mother used to tell such tales about those prayer meetings!

As children we had no restrictions on us and that was lovely. We all walked to school—traffic was so slow then, it was the natural thing to do. In the past, when people were so poor, poaching was not seen as a crime amongst the village people but more a way of life for some people, and as boys we’d be looking for game on the way to school. If we spotted any partridges or pheasants over the hedge, one of us would go round and put them up while the rest sat behind the hedge, then we’d jump up when the covey flew over, trying to frighten them into the telegraph wires hoping to get one, but we never did!
One particular morning I was late going to school and I was on my own. Just before you get to the school there’s a road come down off the heath, Wood Lane we call it. There used to be a stack in the corner of the field there, and this particular morning there were some pheasants behind it. Of course we all carried catapults, and I crept in hoping perhaps I’d get a shot at one of them. Of course when I went round they’d all gone, but there was a heap of straw from the stack and I thought perhaps they were hiding in there.

Jim on the left and Gerald Cubitt on the right, in the garden of Pear Tree Cottage where Jim lived. Gerald lived at the top of Cross Street in Applewood Yard and they were inseparable.

I was kicking into this straw and suddenly an arm come out! . . . I can tell you my feet didn’t touch the ground from there to school . . . of course there was a tramp asleep in the straw and I’d woken him up poor chap.

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