Late farm worker’s artefacts return to Elveden Estate

Lord Iveagh at the Elveden Inn where Betty Grundon, widow of the late Russell Grundon, gifted his co

Lord Iveagh at the Elveden Inn where Betty Grundon, widow of the late Russell Grundon, gifted his collection of artefacts to the Elveden Estate in the newly named Grundon Room. Lord Iveagh and Betty Grundon, daughter Valerie Oxborrow, and family members by Russell's flint findings now framed and exhibited in the Grundon Room PICTURE ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk farm worker's final wish to return artefacts he collected over a lifetime working on an historic estate to the place they were found was honoured this week.

Lord Iveagh at the Elveden Inn where Betty Grundon, widow of the late Russell Grundon, gifted his co

Lord Iveagh at the Elveden Inn where Betty Grundon, widow of the late Russell Grundon, gifted his collection of artefacts to the Elveden Estate in the newly named Grundon Room. PICTURE ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Russell Grundon, who worked on the Elveden Estate near Thetford from 1954 to 2000, became an avid collector of field finds, and these were duly catalogued by the county archaeologist before being returned to him.

They now form the centrepiece of the Grundon Room at the Elveden Inn, which was named in Russell's honour, and officially opened by estate owner Lord Iveagh at a ceremony on Thursday.

The carved stones have been mounted in an oak-framed display case and put on display in the new extension to the inn, which was once the terraced cottage where he lived with wife, Betty, now 83, who was at the ceremony and said it was an emotional occasion.

Betty, who now lives at Elmswell to be near her daughter, Valerie, said: 'He loved collecting, and when he brought them home he was so proud of them.

Lord Iveagh at the Elveden Inn where Betty Grundon, widow of the late Russell Grundon, gifted his co

Lord Iveagh at the Elveden Inn where Betty Grundon, widow of the late Russell Grundon, gifted his collection of artefacts to the Elveden Estate in the newly named Grundon Room. Russell Grundon and wife Betty on their 40th wedding anniversary PICTURE ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant


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'When he was very ill, he said to Valerie: 'Will you make sure they go back to the Elveden Estate?''

'When he was working on the field in the tea break and lunch break he was always looking - he had an eye to the ground,' said Valerie.

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'He had a leather briefcase and they all had their partitions where they were. They were his pride and joy.'

Lord Iveagh said: 'He obviously loved them and showed me them and showed my father them.

Lord Iveagh at the Elveden Inn where Betty Grundon, widow of the late Russell Grundon, gifted his co

Lord Iveagh at the Elveden Inn where Betty Grundon, widow of the late Russell Grundon, gifted his collection of artefacts to the Elveden Estate in the newly named Grundon Room. Lord Iveagh and Betty Grundon, daughter Valerie Oxborrow, family members and former work colleagues by Russell's flint findings now framed and exhibited in the Grundon Room PICTURE ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

'Betty suggested they ought to come back to the estate from whence they came. It's a lovely display. It's differing things from differing eras, so there are arrow heads, borers, scrapers, flints for early munitions.

'I was thrilled because we have always been proud to show artefacts found in the locality.'

He said he wanted to make sure the objects were appreciated and not stored away.

'Like a lot of custodians you are faced with what do you do with a lot of lovely things that are given back to the landlord. What do I do to make these things appreciated and relevant to Elveden?'

As Russell Grundon's cottage was being incorporated into a newly-extended Elveden Inn, he felt it was an appropriate home, he explained.

'We have got this extra space which is the latest part of the building to come live,' he said.

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