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Historic farm tumbrel 
goes up for sale in aid of church building project

PUBLISHED: 16:00 29 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:09 29 November 2017

Peter Trent and Anne Prentis with the restored farm tumbril at Great Ryburgh. Picture: Ian Burt

Peter Trent and Anne Prentis with the restored farm tumbril at Great Ryburgh. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

With its shiny red paintwork it looks as good as when it first rolled off the production line at the Great Ryburgh Farmers Foundry many years ago.

The Great Ryburgh Farmers Foundry tumbrel before restoration. Picture: Peter TrentThe Great Ryburgh Farmers Foundry tumbrel before restoration. Picture: Peter Trent

But this farm tumbrel is now set to make an important contribution to the village where it was made.

Restored by craftsman Peter Trent it is being put up for sale to raise money for St Andrews church’s latest building project.

In order to make the church, in the village near Fakenham, as accessible as possible a fundraising campaign was launched to restore the old gas house and to build new toilet and storage facilities.

With around £70,000 already raised of the estimated £112,000 cost of the build, and village residents donating bricks and tiles and other materials, it is hoped that the sale of the tumbrel will go a long way to achieving the total.

A restored farm tumbril is going up for auction to raise money for the St Andrews Church building project, at Great Ryburgh. Picture: Ian BurtA restored farm tumbril is going up for auction to raise money for the St Andrews Church building project, at Great Ryburgh. Picture: Ian Burt

Churchwarden Anne Prentis said they needed to start the build by April. “We really need the new toilet because the church is so active,” she said. “Elderly visitors want reassurance that there are facilities available. We have had a lot of visitors from all over the world for First World War commemorations and we also have a lot of pilgrims stop here on the way to Walsingham. At the moment we only have a portable toilet to offer.”

Now in has stepped Mr Trent who spent 18 months restoring the tumbrel with the help of carpenter Terry Yarham from Little Ryburgh and blacksmith Nigel Barnett from Fransham.

As with another recently restored tumbrel owned by the Butler-Stoneys from Mileham which was featured in this newspaper, this tip trailer also uses different woods - oak for the cart bed, pitch pine for the sides, ash for the mouldings and curved yoke and elm for the boarding.

“I’m not sure how old it is,” said Mr Trent. “There was not enough left of the shafts to know if it was originally built for a horse or to go behind a tractor. It has pneumatic tyres but they might have been a later addition, we just don’t know. I imagine it is pre-war at least.

A restored farm tumbril is going up for auction to raise money for the St Andrews Church building project, at Great Ryburgh. Picture: Ian BurtA restored farm tumbril is going up for auction to raise money for the St Andrews Church building project, at Great Ryburgh. Picture: Ian Burt

“In my heart of hearts I don’t really want to sell it but if someone makes me an offer I can’t refuse then it will go for the church. It needs to be loved and put to good use.”

To make an offer for the tumbrel go to the contact page on the website www.standrewsgreatryburgh.org.uk or call Mrs Prentis on 01328 829413.

Great Ryburgh Farmers Foundry

Peter Trent with the restored farm tumbril that is going up for auction to raise money for the St Andrews Church building project, at Great Ryburgh. Picture: Ian BurtPeter Trent with the restored farm tumbril that is going up for auction to raise money for the St Andrews Church building project, at Great Ryburgh. Picture: Ian Burt

The early history of the foundry is a little sketchy but Peter Trent has discovered evidence to suggest it was first established in the late 19th century by inventor and engineer Percival Everitt.

Among such useful agricultural inventions as the turnip thinner, chaff cutter and ploughing engine under the name of Everitt, Adams & Co, he was also responsible for the first penny slot machines, patenting the first practical vending machine in the early 1880s.

But he did not live long enough to fully benefit from the success of his many and varied inventions.

His obituary following his death in 1893 read: “He started making agricultural machinery at Ryburgh about 1872, and at his father’s death Everitt went to London with his first novelty, the “Rock” skate. Unfortunately our climate is so fickle that skates per se are not calculated to enrich an inventor, and skimmers o’er the ice have had peculiarly brief sport for many seasons past.

“But Mr Everitt is best known to fame through his patent automatic machinery for supplying the public with all sorts of daily necessities by “putting a penny in the slot.” First came postcards and envelopes, then sweetmeats, cigarettes, and scents, and finally your height, weight, and strength, as all know, may be ascertained while waiting for a train. These familiar machines proved such a “boom” that companies were speedily formed for carrying out the enormous business with all its ramifications that resulted; royalties were granted, and the ingenious novelties started up at railway stations and points of vantage all over the world, bringing prosperity to the inventor and employment to thousands.

“The deceased gentleman had other important developments in hand when death stepped in and cut him off in the very prime of life.”

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