Bid to uncover bible's hidden history

A FORMER painter and decorator is on mission today to reunite a bible with its owner's family - 54 years after discovering it in a house clearance.

A FORMER painter and decorator is on mission today to reunite a bible with its owner's family - 54 years after discovering it in a house clearance.

Fred Girling, 73, uncovered the tiny book while working during his five years as an apprentice for A.E. Blasby of Ipswich - the company hired to clear the contents of Pettistree Lodge, near Ufford, in 1954.

A 16-year-old Mr Girling and his workmates were called in by new owners Lord and Lady Entwistle and while clearing the house he made an interesting discovery.

Mr Girling, who went on to fulfil a varied career as a policeman, a driving instructor and a transport controller for Total Oil, has been in possession of the bible ever since.


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He said: “My mum had bought me a lunchbox when I started work and it has been in there all these years.

“I've always been fascinated by it and would like to find out the history of the thing and return it to the descendants of its owner.

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“It's a bit careworn and the back of the bible has always been missing. I think I probably look older than it now though!”

The inside cover of the bible reads: “JC Coldbeck - Whitehaven, Cumberland, England. February 15, 1875.

Little is known by Mr Gilrling about the bible's history, apart from it being more than 130 years old, but he suspects it has humble origins.

He said: “Being the type of house it was, I thought the former owners must have employed servants, so I wonder if it belonged to one of them.

“My impression of the bible and its history makes me think it could have belonged to a maid employed by a previous owner of this very grand house, but it could have been anyone.”

The Evening Star has joined Mr Girling in his search for members of the Coldbeck family. If you can help piece together the mystery or have made an interesting discovery yourself, write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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