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Charlotte (Busky) Mary Laurie
1928 -2020


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, no cure)
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

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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 at Leavenheath
(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 by Nayland

From her Studio there, she exhibited at the 'Visions of Sudbury' at St Peter's church, Sudbury in 2007,
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 unmarried.


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 Bures.
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 at Butlers.

Busky, a truly wonderful lady who will be sorely missed - RIP
Alan Beales


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


Thorington Street
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 the farm.

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 numbers.
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 area.
Roger died in 2019

Photographs by Alan Beales
Published 02/09/21

Updated 05/09/2021
David Whymark with Leavenheath material