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Haverhill family's 157-year-old bible is returned to the town, creating further intrigue

A 157-year-old copy of the Bible has been handed in to Haverhill Library, igniting an appeal to trace not just descendants of its owner but also a photograph of a soldier who died in World War One.

The Bible is inscribed on the inside cover ‘Mary Peck, Haverhill, 1862’ and elsewhere with entries about many family members.

It will be on display at the library on Saturday when the Haverhill Family History Group (HFHG) holds an open day from 10am to 3pm and they hope its appearance will lead to it being reclaimed by the Peck family.

Patricia Curran with the edition of the bible from 1862
Patricia Curran with the edition of the bible from 1862

The group had already heard of Mary Peck’s grandson, Reginald Peck, as he was one of the town’s World War One casualties, aged just 20 years and is named on the war memorial and his parents’ gravestone in Haverhill Cemetery.

They are hoping this new appeal will not only see the Bible returned to the Peck family but also produce a photograph of Reginald to complete his story on the town’s First World War roll of honour.

Brian Thompson, chairman of the HFHG said: “We are hoping that any relative may come along and see it’s there so we can hand it back.

“It’s quite a family heirloom and we are hoping that someone can come up with a photo of the soldier who died during the First World War.”

The book was handed in to the library by Northamptonshire-based dedicated family historian Patricia Curran.

Patricia, who studied at Edinburgh University and researched her own Scottish family back to Tudor times, now continues her interest in family history by tracing families and reuniting them with ‘lost’ family memorabilia.

Often these are postcards or letters from World War One soldiers, but this was a weightier challenge.

Patricia came across the Bible, which apparently had been bought as a part of a large ‘job lot’ from Suffolk, on aNorthampton Facebook site,.

Unable to trace members of the Peck family, Patricia spotted that Haverhill Family History Group holds help sessions at the library every Wednesday afternoon and decided to visit the town and seek its help.

Plenty of researchers will be on hand at the open day to help visitors who are hoping to delve into their family. history.

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