The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Do you remember the Attleborough Brethren?

Attleborough Brethren2UEA Masters student is appealing for help in her search for details of the former Brethren church in Attleborough and a church couple who used to live in two railway carriages.

Phyllida Scrivens studying at the UEA for an MA in Biography is researching the life of 89 year old Norwich resident Joe Stirling

To help her fill in background for an assignment about Joe’s life during the period 1940-1950, Phyllida is searching for anyone who may remember or know something of the history of the Brethren church in Attleborough.

Phyllida’s subject, Joe Stirling, is the son of a Jewish family who came to England in 1939 on a Kindertransport, a rescue mission that took place during the nine months prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.   

On May 21 1946 Joe married Jean Skitmore at the Parish Church in Attleborough (see picture).  Jean's parents were Ernest William Skitmore (1886-1955) and Lucy Skitmore (1889-1970) from Attleborough.  Phyllida said: “Joe described them as being 'Brethren', a very strict church and he remembers visiting their place of worship on one occasion but cannot remember where it was.”

Ernest and Lucy had four children together, Joan, Marjory, Jean and Gordon, all now deceased.  The family lived in two railway carriages in Leys Lane in Attleborough during the period 1940-1950. 

Phyllida said: “I currently have members of the family searching for photos of the railway carriages but so far with no luck!”  

“I would love to learn more from anyone who may know something of the history of the Brethren in Attleborough, how their lives would have been, tell me where the Meeting House would have been and even maybe show me photographs!  A tall order I know!”

If you can help Phyllida with any information that may help her with her current assignment, due in January, she would be delighted to hear from you on 01603 300212 or by email at

Photo: Wedding picture of Joe Stirling and Jean Skitmore both in Army uniform, May 21 1946.

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