Theresa and I were delighted that we included Yaxley on our itinerary. We met Margaret Long, a wonderful lady, in her home and she made us very welcome. We discussed the Dodson family over tea and she was able to provide a copy of the photograph, taken c1900, of the Blue Bell Inn (Landlord George Dodson c1860-1895). Also a map of Yaxley c1904 showing the various pubs and a copy of the liquour licences issued in 1878. Also an extract from George Dodson’s grand- father’s will (also George Dodson) made on 16th Oct 1826. We discovered that Margaret and Eric Day had co-authored a beautiful pictorial history of Yaxley entitled ‘Portrait of Yaxley’ which was now out of print but she had a copy which she showed me.
Margaret brought us to St Peter’s Church where we met Church Warden Stephen who gave us an expert insight into the history of this fine building. We viewed the baptismal font where so many Dodson children were baptised over a period of a hundred years. When we left Margaret it was with regret and with an invitation to come and visit us in Ireland. We will meet again.
We then had an opportunity to see the present house formerly the Blue Bell Inn situated on The Hill beside The Green. I walked around the area and took some photographs and thought that I must be walking the same paths as George Dodson’s family including Florence my great grand- mother over a century ago. I will visit Yaxley again next year.
FOOTNOTE: I received a phone call from Margaret when we were back in Ireland to say that she had sourced a copy of the book ‘Portrait of Yaxley’ for me and that made the whole trip worthwhile.