Charlotte Mary Laurie, was born at Butlers Farm, Colne Road, Bures St
Mary, Suffolk on 28 December 1928, the daughter of Andrew James Innes
Laurie (23 February 1884-28 January 1969), a working farmer, and his
wife Charlotte Jessie Wyllie Rogers (20 April 1902- 2 April 1979), who
married at Frinton-on-sea in 1924.
They both stated married life in a farmhouse called "Beanlands"
in Tendring, but by the end of 1925 they had moved to Butlers Farm.
Andrew and Charlotte`s five children.
Mary Laurie - Oct 1924
- d unknown (Author and Nurse during WW2, finally moved to Hadleigh)
James Andrew Stewart Laurie 9/4/1926 ( Rev.James passed away on Sunday,
June 1, 2014, aged 88 years).
Charlotte Mary Laurie 28/12/1928 -8/7/2020
Ruth Laurie 26/5/1930 - d Jan 1945 aged 14 (due overactive thyroid,
Elizabeth Laurie 5/6/1932 - d unknown
Charlotte, or 'Busky'
as she was locally known, obviously had a farming background and studied
under artist Bernard Adams (1884-1965) in his Chelsea Studio in London.
She exhibited in London and the provinces, including with the Society
of Women Artists.
In 1980, her oils 'The Forge, Stoke by Nayland' dated 1960, was exhibited
at Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich.
Busky derived her nick-name
from Buskins which are Thick soled boots.
She was put in charge of all the "Horses Tack" at Butlers
Farm, hence the name which stayed her until she passed away
I cannot find a specific
date when Busky or the family moved from Butlers, but she seems to have
settled down at Leavenheath
(a) Possibly in the 1980`s
she lived in Black Cottage (Now Blackthorn Lodge) along the Stoke Rd
(b) Another mention was the Post Office and Store in Leavenheath, did
she work or live there ?
(c) There is a further report that
Charlotte lived in the Old Vicarage at Leavenheath with her mother.
(d) We know for certain, she finally relocated to Thorington St, Stoke
From her Studio there,
she exhibited at the 'Visions of Sudbury' at St Peter's church, Sudbury
Three of her oil paintings were on display, 'The Mill Hotel', 'Highland
Cattle and 'The Maldon Grey'.
She died at Waterfield Care House, Hadleigh on 8 July 2020, she was
How I first met Charlotte:-
Back in 2004, I was very intrigued with the numerous single way concrete
roads that were on land adjacent to Bakers Hall and Butlers Farm in
In one case to the rear of Butlers Farmhouse, one road was constructed
in a loop.
So, what was the purpose of them ?
I first contacted Gordon Webber, the owner of Bakers Hall who by now
had moved to a bungalow along the Colchester Rd in Bures.
He told me that he had signed the Official Secrets Act in 1941 and his
lips were sealed. He suggested that I contacted the Laurie family who
owned Butlers during the war.
Local enquiries revealed the Laurie`s vacated Butlers sometime during
the 1950/60`s, but there was a surviving daughter Charlotte, but she
was no longer living in the village.
An internet search revealed a "Charlotte Laurie, Artist" living
in Thorington St, Stoke by Nayland.
I telephoned Charlotte and arranged a visit a few days later.
On my arrival I knocked at the side door
to be greeted by "Charlotte". What struck me most, was the
large amount of oil paintings that were lying on the floor, table and
hanging on all the walls.
When I explained that I was researching the activities surrounding Butlers
Farm during the war years, she was eager to help me out.
I had struck gold, Busky knew all about the mysterious roads, informing
me they were constructed by the American Air Force during 1943 for the
storage of thousands of Bombs which were destined for the local airfields.
It was officially known as the "USAAF Station 526"
All the land owned by Butlers and Bakers was commandeered by the Airforce
with the exception of the two farmhouses, in which they were allowed
to continue living in.
Amazingly, Busky has kept a daily diary throughout the war years.
Subsequently I visited Busky on several occasions to make copious notes
and recordings from her memories of the War years.
I also had the pleasure of meeting James her brother on my visits to
Thorington St. He was a Vicar somewhere around the Bury St Edmunds area
After many more years of research the book "
USAAF Station 526" was eventually published in 2019. By now
Busky had vacated Thorington Street, but where was she now?
Through Facebook , I learn`t she was now at Waterfield House in Hadleigh.
I contacted the Care Home and explained how Busky was an inspiration
to a book I had just published. The Manager explained she was now suffering
from Dementia, but she was very keen for me to send them a copy, one
of the Voluntary staff would read and describe the book to Busky.
I sent a copy in addition to a printout of all the painting you see
on the next few pages.
Hopefully, this would stimulate Busky`s memories of her childhood time
Busky, a truly wonderful lady who will
be sorely missed - RIP
Acknowledgement to Beth Munnings-Winter for reproducing this Image
Beth was related to Sir Alfred Munnings, the renound equine artist.
Busky`s charcoal drawing of Butlers Farm
The extension to the rear was Busky`s Studio
Romany Caravan parked in Busky`s
garden at Thorington Street
Circa 1980 floods in Bures outside
The Swan Public House
Busky & Mary following her mother, making their way back to
Left to right
Busky, Ruth, Mary and Mother,
Busky was great friends with Roger
Clarke at Weylands Farm, only a short walk from Thorington Street.
Roger was a farrier and an outstanding
horseman. He had been involved with the Suffolk Horse Society,
which works with owners of the endangered breed, believed to be
the oldest heavy horse breed in Britain, to try to increase its
He was very active in the breeding of these magnificent horses.
Roger farmed in the old traditional
way, using his horses for all the work carried out on his farm
such as ploughing, threshing, carting etc
When you visited the farm it was like stepping back 100 years.
You could often see him at work in the fields, looking across
the valley along the Stoke to Higham Road
I met him on numerous occasions, when he was working in the local
Roger died in 2019
Photographs by Alan Beales
David Whymark with Leavenheath material