Mount Bures Community Web Site
Ida McMaster 1918 - 2014

Ida was a fountain of knowledge concerning the history of Mount Bures from the Saxons to the present day.
She was not only the local historian, but her talents extended to amassing a considerable aerial photographic collection of crop circles around North East Essex.

1996 saw the culmination of decades of her work being published in the book, "Mount Bures its Lands and its People".
This was in partnership with her very close friend Kathleen Evans, Ida was the source of the historical material while Kathleen was the typist and proof reader.
Ida always insisted that if I ever quoted the book in any of my publications, I was to make certain that her friend Kathleen was also mentioned as the co-author. She was adamant that the book was a joint venture and not just an Ida McMaster publication.

She subsequently told me that when she received the initial print run of 500 copies back from the printers, she made a personal visit to everyone in the village "suggesting" they purchase a copy.
Obviously with this "formidable sales technique" the book was soon on its way to becoming a Mount Bures best seller.

Ida was also a founder member of this web site.

I recall visiting her back in 2000 with some trepidation and explained her my project was too set up a joint web site incorporating Bures Hamlet, Bures St Mary and Mount Bures.
With Mount Bures being predominately a farming community, I had a serious lack of material to get this launched with any degree of professionalism.
Ida informed me with no hesitation to make use of her book, as it seemed a good partnership to keep Mount Bures in the news.

Consequently she provided me with a wealth of material, in order for the web site to be launched the following year in 2001.
With her book publicised on the web site, it immediately had a resurgence in its demand and we received numerous requests to purchase a copy

Only two years later in 2003, the Mount Bures part of the Bures trio, grew so much that I decided it was time that the village had its own dedicated a web site.
This phenomenal two year growth of material and especially visitors to the site was all down the Ida`s input and enthusiasm.

Ida then continued to be a very active supporter, answering any enquiries relating to Mount Bures whether it be genealogy or archaeological.
She would endeavor to find the answers to any enquiries that confronted her, spending ages trawling through her vast collection of notes and numerous local phone calls.

Today Ida`s book is very difficult to locate and can occasionally be found on Ebay. The original selling price was £8.50 but if you can find one today, the asking price could well be be in the region of £25.
A few years ago, I informed Ida of these prices and she was absolutely astounded that her book now demanded such a premium.

In her younger days, she frequently flew from Ipswich airport as a passenger in a light aircraft, armed with her camera scouring the countryside for these circular markings in the fields.

In 2007, she was recognised for this work by the Queen, awarding her an MBE for her services to history and archaeology.


<<Ida outside Buckingham Palace
see full report

In 2009, the Dedham Vale AONB had been granted £1m by the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project "Managing a Masterpiece" to help preserve and celebrate the areas importance.

One of the projects was to excavate the summit of the Mount, to confirm Ida`s theory that it dated back to the Norman era.
Although now confined to a wheelchair it did not stop her enthusiasm to reach the summit and see for herself the excavations.

She was carried to the top with the aid of three soldiers from Colchester Barracks, then to receive a rapturous round of applause on her arrival.
see full report


<<<Carenza Lewis of the C4 Time Team talking to Ida.

With Ida no longer with us, the days of answering these most difficult questions has sadly come to an end.

Ida was a great friend to me over the past fourteen years and will be sadly missed,




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Alan Beales webmaster 28/11/2014