black and white photo of Len Richardson, owner of Valley Farm in the 1920s and 30s

Chronology

  • 1876 – Born Robert Leonard Richardson in Higham – his mother was called Emma and his father Edward was a thatcher.
  • 1880 – the family moved to a farm in Nayland and in 1891 his mother Emma took it over
  • 1901 Leonard took on Valley Farm as a tenant farmer – the owner was Charles Eley
  • 1902 – Leonard married Ada, Florence King in Hadleigh
  • 1903 – first child Kathleen Bessie born in Flatford
  • 1906 – first wife Ada died in childbirth along with the child
  • 1908 – Leonard married Louisa Mary Haylock from the Wangford (the Beccles area) in Wrentham
  • 1909 – daughter Sylvia Isabel born in Flatford
  • By 1920 – Leonard had bought Valley Farm from the owner Charles Eley
  • 1913 – daughter Margaret Emma bron in Flatford – known as ‘Gargie’
  • 1925 – wife Lousia Mary died (aged 40) in a motorbike accident at Burnt Oak Crossroads
  • 1930 – first daughter Kathleen married Reginald Lowe – they have a son Reginald in 1932
  • 1935 – Leonard sold Valley Farm to the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
  • 1946 – Leonard married his third wife, Phyllis Judd in Colchester
  • 1963 – Leonard Richardson died aged 87 leaving around £5311 – about £78,000 in today’s money
  • 1988 – daughter Kathleen died
  • 1999 – daughter Sylvia died
  • 2000 – daughter Margaret (Gargie) died

A keen ornithologist Len often brought home injured birds which he nursed back to health. His love of birds was inherited by daughters, Margaret and Sylvia and it was they who left what is now the Flatford Wildlife Garden to the RSPB.