In writing this history of Orford I am endeavouring to convey to the reader my own views and feelings about the village and some of the characters I have known in my lifetime. Orford's history has been written in the past by historians much better qualified than me, for I am just an Orford man, son of a farm worker and proud of it. My education was gained at Orford School between 1929 and 1939 when I left at the age fifteen with no academic qualifications.
So I leave the earlier history of Orford to the more highly qualified historians like the late Mr R A Roberts, Barrister-at-Law,Hon VPR. Hist Soc. who, in 1931, wrote "The Borough Business of a Suffolk Town (1559-1660)", and in 1933 wrote "The Story of Orford Castle."
However, I have not lived in Orford all my life without discovering something of its history, which dates back to the 12th century when it was a bustling port trading with a wide variety of goods. Going through the old Borough records which are stored at the Suffolk Record Office at Gatacre Road, Ipswich, one comes across names no longer in use. In fact there are so many imponderables when researching the history of Orford that it would take a lifetime to find the answers.
I would like, however, to put on record some of the things I have found interesting. I hope the following pages will provide the reader with sufficient information to enable him or her to understand something of village life as it used to be when Orford was a self contained community and did not have to rely on the super-market for survival. Orford has a long and varied history. It has had its triumphs and its disasters in peacetime and in wartime and after each one it has emerged a stronger community. I hope that the community spirit will continue to gain in strength long after old natives like me are dead and gone.
Charlie Underwood M.B.E.