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Dersingham Folk
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Site by Mike Strange
Alfred Firth - The Schoolmaster
Mike Strange and Elizabeth Fiddick ©
Acknowledging newspaper cuttings from Charles Firth
Note To enlarge images use the mouse cursor and scroll wheel to adjust magnification or tap on a touch screen at fixed zoom.

Alfred Firth was to become the headmaster of the Dersingham School but I want to talk about his origins first as there is quite a complicated story I had to unravel.

The problem starts with trying to establish Alfred's birthplace. In the 1851 census records Alfred is recorded with his parents,  Richard (Bricklayer) and Eliza (nee Jessup), aged 10 months. He was the youngest of six children and living at Banham Road, Kenninghall, Norfolk. His siblings were William, Margaret, Sophia, Eliza and Mary A with ages from 15 to 3. Birthplaces were given as King's Lynn for Richard, Eliza at Banham and all the children as King's Lynn except for Alfred who was born in Kenninghall. Note that Kenninghall and Banham are within 3 miles of each other so one can speculate that Eliza may well have wanted to have some parental support (Jonathan and Sophia) as she was almost 40 at the time of Alfred's birth which was registered in the second quarter of 1850 in the Registration District of Guiltcross; this includes Banham, Kenninghall and 18 more parishes.

Looking at census records the first complexity showed itself as, in 1851, 61, 71 and 81 Alfred's birthplace was shown as Kenninghall. However, in 1891he decided he would prefer it to be Wisbech, Cambridgeshire! I can only speculate that he preferred to have a place that everyone knew and where his parents had, by this time. moved to.

The second mystery was where was Alfred baptised; not where the rest of the children had been that's for sure? Close inspection of parish registers and Bishops Transcripts showed nothing for Kenninghall, Banham or indeed Wisbech.  What did appear was a baptism in King's Lynn, St Margaret on 28th August 1850 but the parents were a William (a boatwright) and Ann instead of Richard and Eliza.  It was a bit of a collective event as two other Firth children were baptised at the same time to William and Ann; they were Catherine Esther, Frederick as well as Alfred. I studied the birth registration records and found that our Alfred was the only one registered in 1850. I could see that my investigation was becoming deeper than perhaps I wanted but it had to be done!  The obvious question was were William and Richard related? Sure enough, they were brothers born in 1806 and 1808 in King's Lynn to Richard Snr and Ann Potter. So we are now left with the puzzle as to why Alfred was baptised with two of his cousins and showing his uncle and aunt as parents; I have no answer just several speculative possibilities!

I am satisfied that Alfred's true birthplace was Kenninghall and he was baptised in King's Lynn, St Margaret on 28th August 1850.
1851 - Banham Road, Kenninghall
Richard FIRTH, Head, M, 40, Bricklayer (Journeyman), Lynn
Eliza FIRTH, Wife, M, 40, Banham
William, Son, 15, Bricklayer's Labourer, Lynn
Margaret, Dau, 9, Scholar, Lynn
Sophia, Dau, 7, Scholar, Lynn
Eliza, Dau, 5, Lynn
Mary Ann, Dau, 3, Lynn
Alfred, Son, 10mo, Kenninghall

1861 - 7 Agenoria Street ( Roman goddess of activity, now St Augustine's Road), Wisbech St Peter
Richard FIRTH, Head, M, 51, Bricklayer (Journeyman), Lynn
Eliza FIRTH, Wife, M, 50, Banham
William (not here)
Margaret, Dau, 18, Cotton Winder, Lynn
Sophia (not here)
Eliza, Dau, 15, General Servant, Lynn
Mary Ann, Dau, 12, Scholar, Lynn
Alfred, Son, 11, Scholar, Kenninghall
Emma, Dau, 8, Scholar, Kenninghall

1871- 7 Agenoria Street
Richard FIRTH, Head, M, 61, Bricklayer, Lynn
Eliza FIRTH, Wife, M, 60, Banham
William (not here)
Margaret, (not here)
Sophia (not here)
Eliza, (not here)
Mary Ann (not here)
Alfred, Son, 20, Schoolmaster and Organist, Kenninghall
Emma, Dau, 18, Dressmaker, Kenninghall

1871 - Castle Rising Alfred Firth Appointment (The Norwich Mercury 22 July)
Mr Alfred Firth, Assistant Master of the National School, and organist and choir-master of St Augustine's, Wisbech has received the appointment of school master, organist and choir-master of Castle Rising. Two of Mr Firth's predecessors held this appointment over 50 years. Mr Firth will be accompanied with the good wishes of many in Wisbech to his new appointment, while considerable regret will be felt by those who are losing his services. As a teacher ha was much liked, while the care and skill which he has brought to bear upon the choir of St. Augustine's are said to be highly creditable.

1874 August 4 - Alfred Firth Marriage (The Lynn Advertiser and Norfolk & Cambridge Herald 8 Aug)
Alfred Firth (of Castle Rising) and Susannah Pett (of St Augustine's married at St Augustine's , Wisbech
The ceremony was conducted by the Revd. A. J. Perry
[Note that Susannah varies in the use of an 'h' on the end of her name].

1881 Monumental Inscription No A75 Record
(not found in the graveyard)
Mary, daughter of Alfred and Susanna Firth
Died February 1st 1881 in her 3rd year
Also of Charles her brother Who died in infancy
"Suffer little children to come unto me".

1881 - Dersingham (following Alfred from here) "The school House"
Alfred FIRTH, Head, M, 30, Certificated School Master, Kenninghall
Susannah FIRTH, Wife, M, 33, Walpole
Alfred Richard, Son, 5, Castle Rising
   [Please see his own page Alfred Richard Firth]
Fred Garland, Son, 1, Dersingham
Emma Firth, Sister, 28, Kenninghall
Thomas Cole, Nephew, 16, Pupil Teacher, London
They have one servant and a lodger .

1891 - "The Shrubbery", Dersingham  on what is now known as Manor Road; then Sandringham Road.
Alfred FIRTH, Head, M, 40, Certificated School Master, Cambs, Wisbech
[Note: This is where Alfred suddenly decides to say he was born in Wisbech rather than Kenninghall]
Susanna FIRTH, Wife, M, 43, Walpole
Alfred Richard, Son, 15, Castle Rising
Fred Garland, Son, 11, Dersingham
Harry, Son, 7, Dersingham
They have with them:
Lodger Thomas Cole, 36, Assistant School Master, from London
Live-in General Servant , Rachael Nurse, 15, born in Dersingham.

1896 July 22nd - Mr and Mrs Firth are Invited by the Prince and Princess of Wales to Dinner to Celebrate the Wedding of The Princess Maud of Wales and His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Denmark
1896 November - Fred Garland Firth presented by Prince of Wales (The Norwich Mercury 11 Nov)
Latest Intelligence,

The Prince of Wales celebrated his 55th birthday at Sandringham on Monday. All the members of the Prince and Princess' family were assembled at Sandringham, and the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was also among the guests. The weather was very  fine. and driving, cycling, other out-door pastimes were engaged in by members of the Royal party. The Prince of Wales received  a number of birthday presents. In the evening 200 labourers on the estate assembled in the large coach-house and were entertained at dinner. The toast of "Our Royal Master was drunk with enthusiasm. Several members of the Royal Family, attended by General Sir Dighton Probyn, paid a visit to the coach-house and were enthusiastically cheered. At Lynn and elsewhere in the district the  inhabitants marked the occasion with displays of flags and other decorations.

On Saturday afternoon the Prince of Wales received the Rev. Walter Boyce, headmaster of King's Lynn Grammar School and Master Fred Garland Firth, the pupil of  that who has shown the greatest general proficiency during the year. The Prince of Wales presented Firth with gold medal, and congratulated him on his success. The recipient is the son of Mr. Alfred Firth, headmaster of Dersingham School, on the Royal estate His elder brother
obtained the medal two years ago.

At Windsor and in London the birthday was observed in the customary manner.

1897 June 22nd - Mr and Mrs Firth are Invited by the Prince and Princess of Wales to Celebrate the Diamond Jubilee Her Majesty's Reign

1901 - Sandringham Road, Dersingham (probably at "The Shrubbery")

Alfred FIRTH, Head, M, 50, School Master, Cambs, Wisbech
Susannah FIRTH, Wife, M, 52, Walpole
Alfred Richard (not here)
Fred Garland, Son, 21, Undergraduate, Dersingham
Harry, Son, 17, Undergraduate, Dersingham
Eliza, Sister, Unm, 50, Cambs, Wisbech
Rachael Pett, Niece, Unm, 16 Pupil Teacher, Poplar, London
They have a lodger one Alfred Harrison, 36, School Master, from Walpole
and a live-in General Servant , Anna Nurse, 18, born in Dersingham.
This is "The Shrubbery" probably taken around 1900 so the two ladies may have been Alfred Firth's wife Susannah and his spinster sister Eliza Firth.
1902 June 26 - Invited to dinner with the King and Queen

1902 November 10 - Invited by the King and Queen to Tree Planting at the Ailesway Clump
1902 December - Boy Decorated
"An interesting little ceremony took place at Sandringham on Saturday when the King presented the gold medal to Harry Firth, Head Boy of the year at King's Lynn King Edward VII Grammar School. The gold medal, which is for general proficiency, was presented annually by the King when Prince of Wales but this was the first occasion when the medal had been awarded as the King's Prize. The boy was presented to his majesty by the Rev. Walter Boyce, headmaster of the school, General Sir Dighton Probyn and the Rev. Cannon Hervey being in attendance. The Court Circular  records, The King today presented the gold medal  for general proficiency (annually given to King Edward VII school by his Majesty, to Mr Harry Firth, late head boy, who is the son of Mr. Alfred Firth, master of Dersingham School, and it is the third of that family to receive this honour."

The three awards are still displayed today in the King's Lynn King Edward VII School with Alfred Richard receiving it in 1894, Fred Garland in 1896 and Harry in 1902.
1904 October - Alfred Firth retires as Organist at Dersingham Church
"In recognition of his 29 years' service in the Church Alfred Firth, who recently resigned the post of organist, has been presented by the vicar with a silver inkstand on behalf of himself and members of the choir." ["The Norfolk News", 15th October 1904]

1904 November - Alfred Firth at  Meeting to Discuss Centre Vale Path
Alfred Firth was Chairman of the Parish Council when they held a meeting in Foresters Hall to discuss the Local Government Board's refusal to allow them to lay a 4-ft macadamised path in Centre Vale ["The Norfolk News", 19th November 1904].

1904 November/December - Alfred Firth Receives a Gift from the Church
On Saturday evening, at the schoolroom, a presentation was made by members of the congregation of the parish church to Mr Alfred Firth, on his retirement from the position of organist which he had held for the past twenty three years (or 29 above?), of a handsome writing table and chair. The desk bore the inscription, "Presented to Mr Alfred Firth on his retirement as organist at St Nicholas Church, Dersingham by members of the congregation, November, 1904." [see the photograph of the inscribed plate below].  Among those present were Rev. J.W. Cobould Warren (vicar), Mrs Cobould Warren, Mr. and Mrs. E. Tingey, Mr and Mrs W.T. Parker, Captain Brown, Messrs. J.G. Ranson and J.G. Walden, Mrs J.G. Smith, Mrs W. Tupper, Mrs J.G. Mann and the Misses Wells and Kendall. The presentation was made on behalf of the subscribers by Mr Tingey who eulogised the work done by Mr Firth and expressed the great regret felt by the congregation on his resignation. Mr Firth thanked the subscribers warmly for their kind gift and explained he had acted as organist at Dersingham and elsewhere for some forty years and now found he had reached a time of life when it was desirable to somewhat limit his sphere of activity.  A presentation was also made to Mr Firth by members of church choir a few weeks ago." [ Eastern Daily Press, Thursday December 15, 1904].

1911 - "The Shrubbery", Dersingham
Alfred FIRTH, Head, M, 60, Head Teacher, Cambs, Wisbech
Susannah FIRTH, Wife, M, 63, Walpole
(note they had five children but two had died Richard Alfred and Mary)
Alfred Richard, Son, Unm, 35, Consular Assistant
Fred Garland (living in London, married, Assistant School Master)
Harry (living in Barnes, Surrey, married, Clerk )
They a live-in General Servant , Dorothy Maud Keeley, 15, born in Dersingham.
[This date is handwritten from a cutting, he would have been in his 65th year]
Mr. Alfred Firth, who recently retired from the headmastership of Dersingham school served 42 years as a teacher, 44 of those as head.

Arduous work fell on teachers in his young time. He had to attend lectures, in company with others of different grades of apprenticeship from 6.15 to 7.45 in the morning, then teach six or more hours a day, with long preparation of lessons in the evening. And there were no bank holidays and no lessons off. He worked in three schools before coming into Norfolk and then was at Castle Rising 1871-1875 (where he also was organist at the church) before taking the Dersingham school in 1875. For some years Castle Rising was the only school in the near neighbourhood under a master and big boys walked there from Sandringham, West Newton, Dersingham, Babingley, Wolferton, North and South Wootton, Roydon and Hillington, and they were generally quite punctual too! Occasionally one of the boys, a farmer's son, commandeered from home a small tumbril with a pony and then the loading up after school was rare fun especially when the vehicle was invaded by locals, the throwing out being accomplished by such expressions "Coom! coom! yer not all going my way sure-ly."
Evening classes were well attended for a number of years and Ald. Richard Green, of Lynn, was one of the old students.

Dersingham children have figured largely in the Norfolk County Council scholarship examinations, about fourty successes appearing in the honours list hanging in the school. On three occasions local pupils have been at the top of the county examination and four ex-scholars have gained the gold medal presented by King Edward to the head boy of Lynn Grammar School. They with many others now occupy good positions, the latest success being the appointment of Miss Winifred Linnell, B.Sc.
London as lady principal of Rocklands Girls High school at Crudock, South Africa.

In Sunday school labours Mr. Firth also has had a big experience. He has assisted with this work at Wisbech, Castle Rising and Dersingham, being superintendent of the school at Dersingham for 25 years.

Mr. Firth was the first organist of St. Augustin's church, Wisbech, having had previous experience as deputy organist at the parish church under the late Mr. F.A. Mann, an elder Brother of Dr. Mann of Cambridge. He also had the honour of presiding at the opening of Dersingham church organ in 1884, where the service was attended by King Edward, Queen Alexandra and all the royal children from Sandringham.

He has been clerk to the trustees of Dersingham United Charities since 1895 and was chairman of the parish council for the first thirteen years of its existence.

Mr. Firth has seen many changes in methods and subjects of popular education, some of them in his opinion being very doubtful improvements. Progress in church services and congregations has been most striking in his experience, the slack old days, with the three-decker pulpit, not being quite over in his early life, when too often: -
"Sweet sleep enjoyed the Curate in his desk
The tedious Rector drawling o'er his head,
and sweet the Clerk below".

With few to disturb them. Churchwardens had various functions in those days, one of them being to act as trustees of Common lands, and so the choice of people's warden often turned on quite outside questions. One year the election of a candidate took the form "You put me on and I'll keep the donkeys off your gardens." He was elected, but being a strong Dissenter, retired at the end of the year after making the Common fences secure and thus freeing the gardens from four-legged raiders.

Mr. Firth's has been a strenuous life. It is almost a trite saying that he carries with him into his retirement the universal respect and good wishes of his neighbours, a large proportion of whom are "old boys." Some of Mr. Firth's characteristics call to mind Goldsmith's Schoolmaster, but not all. For instance, an equable temperament is one of his most prominent traits: no Dersingham boy has ever had to fear his "morning face"' more than his features at any other hour. We are certain that his learned acquirements stretch far beyond the limits which Goldsmith assigned, whether or no he can "take offsets", but the kindness of his heart, the gentleness and generosity of his nature, his skill in "raising the wretched", his sympathy with those in distress are all typical of the poet's fine creation.

Some years ago our friend and his help-meet were struck a grievous blow by the loss of their son Dick, who had made a brilliant entry into the British Consular Service. After that most sad event. life could never again contain so much of joy and promise to the father and mother; it would be idle to write as though it could. But this at least we know: the sympathy which, in full measure was extended to them in their bereavement will now take the form of neighbourly congratulations to they lay down the irksome routine of life for its more gracious duties. May both have health and strength to enjoy for many years the glow of evening brightening in the west.

[From a newspaper clipping, source unknown]
After he retired he continued to pursue an active life in the village. As well as serving as chairman of the Parish Council he was President of the Football Club and the Cricket club for many years.
1916-  Living at "The Shrubbery" (Kelly's Trade Directory)

1920 December 10 - Alfred's wife Susanna  died
Her probate is recorded as £317 12a 5d, executors were her husband Alfred and William Theodoric Parker.
Mrs Susanna Firth Obituary

(Alfred's first wife, Susannah Firth died 10 December 1920)
Death of Mrs. FIRTH. Widespread sympathy is felt in the village and a Large District with Mr. Alfred Firth whose wife passed away on Tuesday at The Shrubberies (*sic), Manor-rd., after a long illness, at the age of 73.
Mrs. Firth, who in company with her husband enjoyed the affectionate esteem of everyone, suffered a severe blow some eight year ago when their brilliant son Richard, vice-consul at Kobe, Japan, was cut off at the very beginning of what would surely have been a distinguished career; a memorial window was inserted at the  parish church by the inhabitants in July, 1913. Mrs Firth was a daughter of the Elite Mr. Pett, farmer of Walpole.
She and her husband came to Dersingham from Castle Rising as far back as 1877 when Mr. Firth became headmaster of the village school, a position from which a few years ago.
The steady and constant zeal with which Mr. Firth has, for many years has discharged many and varied public duties and work connected with the church is well known to the parishioners and in all these varied responsibilities he had the sympathetic interest of a devoted wife.
Mrs. Firth was not herself a prominent public w worker though she was especially ready to assist in her pleasant and unobtrusive fashion in church enterprises. For several years too she was president of the local branch of Queen Mary's Needlework Guild. Her name will live in Dersingham and in the memory of the present writer as that of a gentle, kindly little lady, with a friendly motherly smile — of late years it often seemed tired and wistful — with a good word for everyone, and with a lofty yet simple appreciation of all that is best and noblest in English domestic life.
Two sons survive of a family of five to mourn the loss of a good mother: Fred holds a position in a London Grammar School; Harry a post in the offices of the London County Council. Three sons were sometime Gold Medallists at Lynn Grammar School.
The funeral will take place to-morrow (Saturday) afternoon in Dersingham churchyard.
[* It should read The Shrubbery]
[From a 'Lynn News' newspaper clipping]
Mrs Susannah Firth Funeral

(Alfred's first wife, Mary Elizabeth Firth died 10 December 1920)
The Late Mrs. FIRTH. — The funeral of the late Mrs. Susannah Firth, wife of Mr. Alfred Firth, of The Shrubberies [sic], Manor-rd., whose death at the age of 73 was recorded in last week's Lynn News, took place on Saturday in the village churchyard. Mrs. Firth and her husband came to reside at Dersingham in 1875, before the restoration of the parish church, and she and her family always occupied, whenever they could get to church, the same pew as was allotted to them by the churchwardens on the re-opening of the sacred building.
The first part of the funeral service took place in the parish church, the vicar (Rev. R.W.M. Lewis) officiating. A full, robed choir was in attendance and Mr. E. Rye was at the organ. Psalm xc was chanted and the hymn "They whose course on earth is o'er" was sung. The coffin, of plain oak, bore a brass plate, inscribed "Susannah Firth, died at Dersingham, Dec 14 aged 73."
The family mourners were Mr. A. Firth, husband: Messrs. F.G. and H. Firth, sons; Mrs. H. Firth, daughter-in-law.
Among a large and representative number of people present were: Mrs. Knight, Mrs. Tingey Mrs. Reudi, Mrs. Woodward, Mr. Tansley, Mr, and Mrs. A. J. Chilvers, Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Parker, Mrs. R.W. Lewis, Capt. Brown, Miss Balfour, Mrs. J. Jarvis, Mr and Mrs. Linford, Supt. and Mrs. W. Maries, Mr. Jones (West Newton), Mr. and March, Mr. Bland (Sandringham), Mrs. Emma Lines, Mr. and Mrs. Stanton, Mrs Richard Stanton, Mrs. W.H. Smith, Mrs. Langley, Mrs. Downing, Mr. R. Painter and Miss Painter, Mr. James Chambers, Miss H. Chambers, Mr. Jabez Chambers, Mr. H. and Mrs. Walden, Miss Walden, Miss Mann, Mrs, Cross, Mr. Harrison (Wolferton), Mr. Rainbow (Sandringham), Mr. A.L. Tuck, Mr. J. Emmerson and many from Sandringham, West Newton and surrounding villages who desired to pay their last tribute of respect to a very dear and kind friend. As the coffin was borne from the church the Nunc Dimittis was sung. The interment was in a grave adjacent to those of Mr Firth’s son and daughter.
There were floral remembrances from husband, Fred and Nell, Buff and Aileen, little Pat, M.S. and E. Pett and family, Mrs Shanley and family, Miss Lillie Wright, Mr. and Mrs. Harrison, Mary Harrison, Mr. and Mrs. Parker, Mrs. Smith, Capt. Brown and Miss Balfour, Mr. Harry Walden, Mr. and Mrs. Jannoch and family, Mrs. Langley and Mr. and Mrs. Prike, Mrs. Rutland and Mr. H. D. Parker, Mr. and Mrs. Woodward, Mr. and Mrs, Wheeler, Mrs. Mann and Alice, Mrs. Finch, Mrs. Lucy Bunn, Mr. and Mrs. R. Daniels, Alice Savory, Violet Daniels.
[From a 'Lynn News' newspaper clipping ]
1920 Monumental Inscription Record No A74
In Loving Memory of Susanna, wife of Alfred Firth
Died 14th December 1920 aged 73 years
Lord in thy mercy grant her safe lodging
At holy rest and peace at the last.

In Memorium

The whole village mourns with Mr Firth the death of Mrs Firth after a long illness. By her gentleness and warm-heartedness she won the affection with all who came into contact. We believe her influence for the good will still be by us from her resting place in Paradise. [From handwritten notes for the Parish Magazine; January 1921]
1922 - Alfred marries Mary Elizabeth Woodward in Dersingham
In 1911 Mary Elizabeth, spinster aged 41 and 20 years younger than Alfred, was living in a house on Sandringham Hill, Dersingham, with her mother, widowed Agnes Georgina Woodward. They had no employment so must have been living on own means.

1932 August 10 - Alfred Firth died
His probate was £4117 13s 5d, his executors were his second wife Mary Elizabeth Firth, his son Fred Garland Firth, schoolmaster and George Archibald Mackenzie, solicitor.

Obituaries and Funeral reports originating from unknown sources:

On Saturday a large number of people assembled at the church to pay their last tribute of respect to Mr. Alfred Firth who came to Dersingham 57 years ago to be the first master of the village school; and who died on Aug. 10 at the age of 82. For many years he was & leading figure in the life of the village. He was organist and choirmaster of the parish church for 29 years, and for the greater part of that time superintendent of the Sunday school. He was the first chairman of the parish council and treasurer to the charity trustees up to the time of his death. But it will be as their school master that he will he remembered by generations of village and others now living far afield. When county scholarships first were awarded in 1891, two of his pupils were successful, and since that date the school has never looked back, the good work being carried on by his successor. Mr. Firth's three sons gained the King's gold medal at Lynn Grammar School, but the eldest. after entering His Majesty's Consular Service as a Student Interpreter, died at Kobe in Japan in 1912, and a brilliant career was cut short at the age of 36.

The funeral service of Mr. Alfred Firth was conducted by the Rev. R. L. B. Oliver, vicar, assisted by the Rev. C. H. Crossley, who formerly was vicar of St: Augustine's, Wisbech, where Mr. was the first organist. A full choir was present and sang two hymns, and Psalm 23 to his favourite chant. Mr. E. W. Rye, at the organ. played Mendelssohn's "O rest in the Lord" and Chopin's Marche Funebre.

The family mourners present were the Widow; Mr. F. G. Firth, son; Mr. H. Firth, son; and Mr. J. A. P. Firth, grandson.

Among those present were Mrs. C. W. Asker, Mrs. T. A. Bunn, Mrs. F. Beck, Miss M. Beck, Miss Beckett, Mrs. Bowman, Mr. G. Battberbee, Mrs. H. Bunn, Mrs. Seymour Cockran, Mr. and Mrs. Jabez Chambers, Mr. J. W. W. Chambers, Miss Coe, Mrs. and Miss Cook, Mr. Arthur G. Dow, Mr. and Mrs. J. Daw, Mr. H. F. Elworthy, Mr. J. E. Emmerson, Mr. J. J. Fenton, Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Finch, Mrs. Hanmmond, Mr. G. D. Harris, Mrs. Howell, Mr. and Mrs. A. Harrison; Mr H. Jarvis, Mr. J. W. Jones (West Newton), Mr. A. J. Mason-Jones, Mrs. J. Jackson, jun., Mrs. Knight, Mr. W. H. Lines, Mr. and Mrs. F. Linford, Mrs. F. Lines, Mr. and Mrs A. Lee, Mr. R. Linford, Mr. and

Mrs. J. W. March, Mrs. Murray. Mrs. G. Melton, Mr. W. H. Norwood, Mr. and Mrs. Pain, Mrs. E. F. Parker, Mrs. Pither, Mr, J. C. Reynolds, Mrs. Reed, Mrs. E. W. Rye, Mrs. W. H. Smith, Mr. R. H. Stanton, Miss Stanton ( West Newton), Mrs. Tingey. Miss T. [?], Mr. W. Twite, Mrs. A. L. Tuck, Mr. F. R. Terrington, Mr. E. C. Taylor, Mr. W. Tansley, Mr. G. Wells, Miss Bessie Wells, Mr. E. E. O. Wheeler, Mr. H. Walden and others.

Mr. Alfred Firth passed to his rest on Wednesday, August 10th at the age of 82 years. He came to Dersingham in 1875 as the first master of the school and so began for the village a life of service. His work in the school was most successful and from the time he came he impressed the mark of his own character on those he taught and he began that long series of successes in
gaining scholarships for which the school has become well-known. Mr. Firth was not only a great school-master, doing his own professional work well, but he was also a great churchman. For 29 years he was organist and choirmaster and for many years also Superintendent of the Sunday School.
He shewed great interest in the affairs of the village. The Charities were his especial care and for many years he was Clerk and Treasurer to the Charity Trustees.

The funeral took place on August 13th when he was laid in the grave in the churchyard of the church he loved so well. The service was conducted by the Vicar assisted by the Rev. C. H. Crossley, formerly Vicar of St. Augustine's, Wisbech (where Mr. Firth had been organist). A large choir sang two hymns and Psalm 23 to his favourite chant. Mr. Rye played Mendelssohn's "O rest in the Lord" and Chopin's "Marche Funebre." The whole tone of the service was of thanksgiving for &
life well lived rather than of sadness.

So there passed from our sight an upright and a good man, one whose thought was always of service for others rather than for self and the whole village mourns his loss and offers sympathy to' his loved ones while thanking God for a long life well lived in the service of God and his neighbours."
1932 - Monumental Inscription Record No A73
In Loving Memory Of Alfred Firth
Died August 10th 1932 Aged 82 years
What doth the Lord require of Thee,
But to do justly and to love mercy
And to walk homely with thy God.
Micah Vl.8.

[Noted that a slate top ornament is missing ,leaving this short stub]
1936 December - Application to Insert a Window in Alfred Firth's Memory
Application before Norwich Consistory Court ["The Journal", 1936 December 5th]

1937 - The Woodward Window in St Nicholas Church
This window is shown as being presented by Mary's late parents; Edwin, a General Practitioner, and Agnes Georgina Woodward. He died in 1882 while she passed in 1937.

1959 March 23 - Mary Elizabeth, wife of the late Alfred Firth, died
Her probate record from the Calendar of Wills reads, "FIRTH Mary Elizabeth of Kendall Manor Road Dersingham Norfolk widow died 23 March 1959 at Brendon Stuart Nursing Home Goodwins Road Kings Lynn Norfolk probate Norwich 2 June to Wilfred Robert Wilbur solicitors managing clerk and Harry Graven solicitors accountant cashier. Effects £2906 38. 10d." So she was no longer living at "The Shrubbery" but at a property called "Kendall".

1959 - Monumental Inscription Record No B9
Mary Elizabeth Firth
The wife of the Late
Alfred Firth.
Mrs. M. E. Firth

(Alfred's second wife, Mary Elizabeth Firth died 23 March 1959)
The death occurred at the Brendon Stuart Nursing Home of Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Firth who was in her 90th year. She was a granddaughter of the late Dr. Kendal, surgeon to the Royal Household at Sandringham, daughter of the late Dr. Woodward, of Lynn, and widow of Mr Alfred Firth, for many years headmaster of Dersingham Primary School.

Mrs. Firth was a life-long member of Dersingham parish church, having been a Sunday school teacher, member of the Mothers' Union and keenly interested in moral welfare work in the deanery. She had also served on the church council.

Two of the stained glass windows in the church were donated by her. She had also been a past member of the Women's Institute and a supporter. of the cricket club.

The funeral service at Dersingham parish church was conducted by the Rev. P. T. Ashton with Mrs. Meek at the organ and a robed choir.

The mourners were Mrs. Hall, Miss N. Marriner, Mr. F. Firth and Mr. J.A.P. Firth.

Others present were Mrs. W. Senter Mrs. Dawes, Mrs. J. Nurse (rep. Mrs. Mann), Miss E. Waller, Mrs. Hunter, Mr. and Mrs. G. Lee (rep. Mrs. Witley), Mrs. Bowman (rep. Mothers' Union), Mrs. Sims, Miss C. Stanton, Mrs. Starling, Miss Leonard, Mr. L. Tuck, Miss Buckham, Mrs. Allen, Mrs. Harrison (rep. Mrs. Dorman), Miss Starling, Mrs. Coe Fring (rep. Mrs, Yaxley), Mrs. Hillen, Mrs. Woods, Mrs. M. Senter (rep. Miss Read), Mr. and Mrs. H. Emmerson, Mr. J. Emmerson, Mrs. R. Terrington, Mrs. A. Reed.

Mrs. Jolley (rep. Dr. Jolley), Mrs. R.R. Stanton (rep. Mr. R.R. Stanton and Mrs. Telford Martin), Mrs. Warren (rep. Lt. Warren), Miss J. Warren, Mr. and Mrs. Bunting, Mr. Wildbur, Mrs. Ransome, Mrs. F. Eastwick, Mr. and Mrs. A. Chilvers (rep. Miss Lash), Miss Lines, Mrs. Ferrier, Miss M. Back, Mrs. Isherwood, Mrs. F. Wells, Mr. Ebberson, Mr. and Mrs. E. Parker, Mrs. W. Walden, Mrs. Catchpole, Miss Higgs, Mrs. A. Nurse, Mr. Dawbarn, Mr. A. Bell and Mr. R. Linford.

Among floral tributes were those from the Mothers' Union. primary school and cricket club.

[From a newspaper clipping source unknown]
This is where we conclude the story of the Firth family in Dersingham
What an inspiration Alfred Firth must have been for the village.