Angel Voices

The Sounds of Glemsford

When I first moved to Glemsford, many years ago now, the first "local" person I met was a foreigner from Sudbury, who worked for the Electricity Board. He assured me, that as a man of Sudbury, he could tell a Glemsfordian purely by his voice.

Even after all this time, I would be hard-pressed to be sure of spotting the difference, but a visit to the Angel certainly offers you the opportunity to hear the Glemsford accent at work.

The Suffolk accent is notorious for the way it is so badly imitated. Glemsford's is harder than the average. When we bought our first house in the village, Marilyn was sure that Arnold, from whom we bought it, was a New Zealander; but no, he came from Hadleigh.

The best exponents of Glemsford-speak that we have met must be the Farrance family, who are genuine natives. Graham, and his brothers Ray and Wilf, are sometimes impenetrable, especially when they talk to each other. Put them alongside Ivan Pearson (who moved here in his early childhood), John Suttle and Eric Shinn, and you would have a wonderful exposition of the local twang.

Two things sadden me. Firstly, the BBC and other broadcasters seem incapable of finding actors who can "do" East Anglian, and nearly always resort to a bastardised "country" accent pitched somewhere between Cornwall and Herefordshire. Secondly, it is becoming increasingly hard to find younger people who have kept their local voice. Partly, it is the result of the influx of outsiders (like me, I suppose), with their featureless and ugly London monotone, and secondly, it is the result of the broadcasters, again, importing so much rubbish from the Antipodes and across the Atlantic, and encouraging the ghastly estuarine English of yoof-ful presenters, who nearly choke on their own glottal stops (if only ...).

There is hope, however, and there are notable exceptions. Jonathan Farrance (Graham's son) has maintained a rich accent, which often echoes round the hallowed portals. Long may he prosper.

Page maintained by Steve Clarke, 09 November 2005 Copyright(c) . Created: 24/05/98 Updated: 31/05/00