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Golding family held nearly all the estate under the Dean and Chapter.
John Golding, Esq., of the Hall and of Halstead, was one of the auditors
of the Exchequer about 1527, and, with other laymen and priests in the
county, was very active in the apprehension and examination of " heretics,"
who (as Strype tells us) were numerous in the diocese of London, and
especially about Colchester and other parts of Essex, and whose principal
heresy consisted in their being diligent readers of Tindal's New Testament,
and who held secret meetings, " w^herein they instructed one another out
of the same." Sir Thomas Golding was one of the commissioners for
taking account of the charity lands in Essex, and it is alleged that he
did not fail to improve the opportunity this commission offered of securing
a considerable fortune. A Margaret Golding was married to John de
Vere, the sixteenth Earl of Oxford, and there is an ancient slab in the
chancel with well preserved brasses, a central knight in armour, sur-
rounded by effigies and groups of children, &c., and an inscription in
black letters to the memory of the wife of William Golding, who died
May 20th, 1591 . There was formerly a chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity,
with a field of two acres, on Cole Green, in the parish, where a large cattle
fair is now held in December (the natives call it " Cold Green," on account
of the weather at the time of the fair) . The Dean and Chapter of St .
Paul's are, as stated, appropriators of the rectory, and patrons of the
vicarage, valued in the King's books at £14, and in 1831 at £247. The
glebe is eighty acres, and the tithes were commuted in 1840 — the vicarial
for £200, and the rectorial for £288; the latter are held by lessees.
The acreage of the parish is 2557, and the population 832.

The Church consists of tower, nave, chancel, north and chancel aisles
(the latter recently built), and south porch. There is a w^ell-kept large
churchyard, and a spacious green in front. A large and handsome
farmhouse adjoins the churchyard, and is the residence of Mr. Eagle, one
of the churchwardens. The sacred edifice, like many others all over the



362 HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

coiintiy, had been much neglected and injured by ill-advised alterations —
the floors were uneven^ roofs dilapidated, and partly ceiled, the area
blocked up by irregular pews and many other enormities. All these have
now been removed, and the entire building has received the most careful
attention. The only portion of the building that on some future occasion
will require attention is the south wall of the nave, which declines out-
ward considerably from the perpendicular, although it is quite safe, as
there are strong buttresses outside. These are of brick, and very ugly,
and spoil the appearance of the south elevation of the building.

The folloAving comprise the principal works of restoration that have
been thoroughly carried out during the last twelve months. All the walls,
Ijotli internal and external, have been stripped of plaster and cleaned of
whitewash; the rubble has been cleaned, and the flint was fresh pointed.
The stonework of the arcades, windows, &c., has been restored and
cleaned down. The earth was excavated under the old floors to the depth
of eighteen inches, the floors paved with tiles — Peak^s being used in the
nave and aisles, and Minton^s in the chancel and sacrarium. The old
roofs have been opened out and cleaned, and the timbers oiled, and new
roofs have been erected in the chancel, chancel aisle, and part of the
north aisle. The chancel aisle is entirely new ; it is seated for the school
children, who assist in the singing, and a small portion at the upper end
is screened oft' by a curtain as a sacristy. Altogether the alterations
reflect great credit on the architect, A. W. Blomfield, Esq., of London,
and the contractors, Mr. D. Theobald, of Long Melford, and Mr.
Runnacles, builder, of Halstead, who have so well carried out his designs.
The expenses incurred up to the beginning of June, 1872, amounted to
£1180, towards which £1071 15s. 8d. had been contributed — a large sum
for a thinly-populated parish. There are schools in all the three parishes
of Belchamp, proving that in this district at least the farmers are not
averse to the education of the poor.

MELFOED (holy TRINITY),

A parish, formerly a market town, in the Hundred of Babergh, Western
Division of Suffolk, twenty-two miles (west) from Ipswich. The parish
comprises 5185a. Or. 4p., and is pleasantly situated on a branch of the
river Stour in one of the most fertile parts of the country, and is sur-
rounded by beautiful and richly-diversified scenery. Melford Hall, for-
merly a country house of the Abbots of Bury, the seat of Sir William
Parker, is a noble mansion in the Elizabethan style. The Hall was built
by Sir William Cordell, and contains some curious portraits of that
family.

Kentwell Hall, the seat of Capt. E. R. S. Bence, built by the Cloptons,



A DESCRIPTION OF ?!TTPFOT.K. 363

is approached by an avenue of lime trees nearly a mile in length. At
Melford Place, the residence of H. Westropp, Esq., are some remains of
the old chapel of the mansion of the Martins. The two first seats are
situated in beautifully-timbered parks, which gi-eatly enhance the pictu-
resqueness of the village and neighbourhood. The living is a rectory,
valued in the King's books at £28 2s. 6d.; patron, J. Cobbold, Esq. The
Church is a spacious and interesting structure, chiefly in the later English
.style, with a lofty embattled tower, and at the east end there is a Lady
Chapel of a very beautiful character.



A borough and market town and the head of a Union, locally in the
Hundred of Babergh, Western Division of the County of Suffolk, twenty-
two miles (west by south) from Ipswich, and fifty-six (north-east by
north) from London.

This place, which was originally called South Burgh, is of great an-
tiquity, and at the period of the Norman survey was of considerable im-
portance, having a market and a mint. A colony of the Flemings, who
were introduced into this countiy by Ed^vard III., for the purpose of
establishing the manufacture of woollen cloth, settled here, and that
branch of trade continued to flourish for some, time, but at length fell to
decay. The town is situated on the river Stour, which is crossed by a
bridge leading into Essex. For some time after the loss of the woollen
trade it possessed few attractions, and the houses belonged principally to
decayed manufacturers ; but of late years it has greatly improved, being-
paved and lighted in 1825, and some good houses have been built. The
Town Hall, erected by the Corporation in the Grecian style, is a great
ornament to the town, in which is also a neat theatre. The trade princi-
pally consists in the manufacture of silk, crape, and bunting for ships'
flags, of which that of silk was introduced by manufactui*ers fi*om Spital-
fields, in consequence of disputes with their workmen; and about 1500
persons are now engaged in the silk and 400 in the crape and bunting
business. The river Stour, navigable hence to Manningtree, affords a
facility for the transmission of coal, chalk, lime, and agricultural produce.
The statute market is on Saturday and the corn market on Thursday.
Fairs are held on March 12th and July 10th, principally for earthenware,
glass, and toys. The first charter of incorporation was granted by Queen
Mary in 1554, and confirmed by Elizabeth in 1550 ; another was given by
Oliver Cromwell ; but that under which the Corporation derived its power
was bestowed by Charles II. The government is now vested in a Mayor,
four aldermen, and twelve councillors, under the Act of the 5th and Gth
of William IV., cap. 76 ; and the number of magistrates is five. The



364 HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

freedom is obtained by bii-th or apprenticesMp. The borougli, wliicli
comprises 1685 acres^ first sent members to Parliament in the commence-
ment of the reign of Elizabeth^ and continued to exercise that privilege
till the year 1842, when the inhabitants were disfranchised by a special
Act of Parliament. The recorder holds courts of quarter session, and a
coiu't of record occurs every Monday for the recovery of debts to the
amount of £20.

Sudbury comprises the parish of All Saints, St. Gregorj^, and St.
Peter. The living of All Samts is a discharged vicarage, valued in the
King's books at £4 lis. o^d. ; net income, £160; patrons and impro-
priators, Simeon's trustees. The churches are of considerable anti-
quity, and are spacious and handsome structures, mostly in the later
English style, of which they present some fine specimens, though gene-
rally much defaced. In that of All Saints is a curious monument to the
Eden family, whose j)edigree is painted on the walls. St. Gregory's,
which is the most ancient, was formerly collegiate, until Henry YIII.
granted its site and other jDossessions, for the sum of £1280, to Sir
T. Paston, Knight. The font is very magnificent, and in a niche of
the wall of the vestry room, enclosed with an iron gloating, is a head
supposed to be that of Symon de Theobald, or de Sudbury, Archbishop
of Canterbur}'^ in the time of Richard II., a native of this town, who was
beheaded by the mob in Wat Tyler's rebellion. The Free Grammar
School was instituted in 1491, under the will of William Wood, warden
of Sudbury CoUege, who endowed it with a farm worth about £100 per
annum ; and there is also a National School with a i^mall endowment.
The hospital of St. Leonard, for lepers, was founded by .John Colneys,
and endowed by Simon Theobald de Sudbury with about five acres of
land, a chapel, and a dwelling-house. It is now in the possession of the
corporation of the poor, and is applied towards their maintenance. From
a bequest by Thomas Carter in 1706, fifty men receive coats, and fifty
women gowns, on St. Thomas's day, and there are several smaller
charities for the benefit of the indigent. The Poor-La w Union of
Sudbury comprises forty-two parishes or places, twenty -four of which are
in the County of Sufiblk, and eighteen in that of Essex.

The College of St. Gregory, for secular priests, established by Simon
de Theobald, was richly endowed, and was valued at the period of the dis-
solution at £122 18s. 3d. per annum. Its only remains are the gateway,
and portions of a wall now forming a part of the Workhouse. A gateway
which is a portion of a monastery of Augustine Friars, standing in Friars'
Street, yet exists ; an hospital was founded here in the reign of King
.John, by Amicia, Countess of Clare, which was afterwards given to the
monks of Stoke; and there was also a Benedictine cell to the Abbey of



A DESCKli'TIUN OF SUFFOLK. :i(-)5

Westminster^ instituted in the reign of Henry 11. xibuut luilt' a mile
from tlie town is a spring of pure water, which, from its supposed
ofScacy in curing many diseases, is called by the inhabitants '^ Holy
Water." Sudbury is the birthplace of Gainsborough, the celebrated
painter, who depicted so many bright sunny landscapes. No doubt he
saw many all around his native place. He used to amuse himself by
rambling in the woods and sketching the scenery around, but attracting
some attention, he was sent to London, where he married a woman with
some little property, and removed to settle at Ipswich, where he resided
some years. He soon rose into high reputation as a portrait painter. He
died in 1788, and is buried at Kew.

LAVENHAM (ST. PETEK AND .ST. PAUL),

A market town and parish in the Union of Cosford, Hundred of
Babergh, Western Division of the County of Suffolk, eighteen and a-half
miles (west-by-north) from Ipswich, and sixty-one (north-east) from
London. The town is remarkably healthy, and occupies the declivities of
two hills rising gradually from the river Brett, and consists of several
small streets ; the houses are in general of mean appeai'ance ; the inhabi-
tants are well supplied with water. The manufacture of blue cloth
formerly flourished here, under the dii-ection of several guilds, each of
which had its separate hall ; at present wool combing and spinning, but
only on a small scale, are carried on ; and the women and children are
employed in plaiting straw for bonnets. The market, now abnost disused,
is on Tuesday ; the Market-place is a spacious area, containing a stone
cross. Fairs are held for horses and cattle, on Shrove Tuesday, and
October 11th, 12th, and 13th; the former is well attended, and a good
business is done in cattle and horses ; but the October fair, which was
formerly for the sale of butter and cheese and the hiring of servants, is
no longer held. Lavenliam was formerly governed by six capital bur-
gesses, styled headboroughs, elected for the last time in 1775. Courts
leet and baron are held at the will of the lord of the manor ; and the
town is a polling-place for the western division of the county.

The living is a rectory, valued in the King's books at £20 2s. lid.;
net income, £658 ; patrons. Masters and Fellows of Caius College,
Cambridge. The Church was rebuilt in the reign of Henry VI., partly
by the De Veres, Earls of Oxford, who formerly resided here, and jjartly
by the family of Spring, wealthy clothiers. It is an eminently beautiful
structure, in the later English style; the body of the Church is of
I'ich workmanship, having a most beautiful and elaborate open-worked
parapet, and the tower is of massive construction. The entrance is by a
porch, supposed to have been erected by John, fourteenth Earl of Oxford,



366 HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLANl).

aud euriched with the most elaborate embellishments ; over the arch is a
richly-sculptured double niche, and on each side of the niche three
escutcheons, each bearing quartered coats of the arms ot the De Vere
family. In the Church,, there is a curious mural monument to Allaine
Lister, a Avealthy clothier of the town, and another of alabaster and
marble to the Eev. Mr. Copinger. There are places of worship for
Independents and Wesleyans. The Free School was founded in 1647 by
Richard Peacock, Esq., with an endowment of £5 per annum, augmented
in 1699 by Edward Colman, Esq., with £16 per annum. A National
School is supported by the proceeds of a bequest of £2000 Three per
Cent. Consols, by Henry Steward in 1806 ; and some almshouses, rebuilt
in 1836, are inhabited by forty aged persons. The Rev. George Ruggle,
author of a Latin comedy entitled " Ignoramus," and other di'amatic
pieces, was bom here in 1575 ; and Sir Thomas Cooke, Lord Mayor of
London in 1462, was also a native.

A considerable trade is done here in wool, corn, malt, and seeds.
Horse-hair seating and cocoa-fibre matting are produced here, and large
quantities of straw plait are made by the women and children. Mr.
Duncan, sugar refiner, has recently established a factory for making
sugar from beetroot, which gives work to large numbers of people during
the season.

BRADPIELD COMBUST (aLL SAINTS),

A parish in the Hundred of Thedwastry, six miles (south-south-east) from
Bury, in the Western Divison of the county. The parish comprises 886
acres. The living is a discharged rectory, in the patronage of the Rev.
H. J. Halstead. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of
£230. This was the birthplace and residence of Arthur Young, the
celebrated wi-iter on agriculture in the last century. It is a place which
should be interesting to farmers, for its quiet churchyard contains the
remains of the farmer^s friend, who by his works originated such im-
provements in agriculture as entitle him to rank as a public benefactor.

The ancient farm-houses have not yet disappeared. Some of them
stand amid gardens inclosed on two or three sides by a moat, a remnant of
the feudal times. The houses look picturesque, with gray thatch and
frequent gables ; and the walls, as clean as whitewash can make them,
testify to the prevalence of a wholesome virtue. Brettenham, one of the
villages on the route, is supposed by some antiquaries to occupy the site
of ancient Combretonium — a supposition favoured by the identity of the
second syllable with the name of the little river Bret. Bradfield St.
Clair, Bradfield St. George, and Hitcham are adjoining parishes.

Hitcham was one of the most benighted parishes in Suffolk forty years



A DESCRli'TlUN OF SUiTOLK. o67

ago. The populutiou then numbered lOOO, and the poor-rate amounted to
27s. a year for each person. The fact alone implies little morality. The
ignorance of the rustic population was a disgrace to the inhabitants, and
an opprobrium to Christianity. They had no recreations, and in their
relations with the farmers they were little better than serfs. The
laborers had to content themselves with the public-house, and the farmers
with the annual tithe dinner, with its drunken bout of twenty-four hours
duration. In 1839 the Rev. Professor Hcnslow entered into residence at
Hitcham, and adopted measures for raisiug his flock from their brutal
degradation.



A parish in the Hundred of Thiugoe, West Division of Suffolk, two and
a-half miles (south-west) from Bury. The place is the property of the
Marquess of Bristol, whose seat is situated within the parish. The
mansion is one of the most remarkable of modern edifices. It was
planned by Frederick, Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry, assisted by
Sandys, the architect, on a design of great magnificence, with the
intention of making the building both a mansion and a temple of the
fine arts. It was commenced in 1792, but the western wing was not
completed. It is 625 feet in length, and the centre, crowned with a
dome, rises 140 feet, the diameter being 120 feet by 106. The park
comprises 2000 acres of rich land, and is eleven miles in circumference.
The surface is varied, and the lower grounds are watered by a rivulet
which expands into a broad lake, the whole forming one of the most
splendid seats in the country. Within the park, there is a column 200
feet high in memory of the present founder of the house, erected by
inhabitants of all religious denominations in the diocese.

J3UKY ST. Edmund's.

This is a parliamentary and municipal borough and market town, in the
Hundred of Thingoe, in the Western Division of Suffolk, pleasantly
situated on the river Larke, twenty-three miles north-west of Ipswich,
and seventy-one miles (north-east) from London, near a railway station.
It is supposed to be the Villa Fasestina of the Romans, and numerous
Roman remains have been dug up here. Soon after the settlement of
the East Angles it was made a royal borough and called Beodricsworth,
signifying the dwelling-place of Beodric; but that name was changed to
St. Edmund's Bm*y after St. Edmund was buried here.

Edmund having succeeded to the kingdom of East Anglia, was crowned
here in the fifteenth year of his age, but being afterwards taken prisoner
by the Danes, who in 870 made an irruption into this part of the country,



368 HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

he was cruelly put to death at Hoxne and buried there. Forty days after
his death, his remains, which had been interred in a small chapel, were,
from the report of miracles wrought at his tomb being believed, removed
to this place in 903, where he had founded a monastery. A new Church
was built in his honour by some secular priests, who were incorporated
by King Athelstan about the year 925, and the establishment was made
collegiate. The town and Church having been nearly destroyed by
SAveyn, King of Denmark, m 1010, were restored by Canute, who raised
the town to more than its ancient splendour, re-built the Church
and monastery, which he endowed with great possessions, and, ex-
pelling the secular canons, placed in their stead monks of the Bene-
dictine order. In process of time, the monastery became one of the
most extensive in the kingdom; and in magnificent buildings, costly
decorations, valuable immunities, and rich endowments, was inferior only
to that of Glastonbury. It had the royalties or franchises of many
separate hundreds, and the. right of coinage ; its abbot sat in Parliament,
and had the power of deciding all suits within the franchise or liberty of
Bury, and of inflicting capital punishment. These high privileges were
fi'equently the cause of strife and bloodshed in the town; indeed, the
feuds were endless between the drones and the working bees — between the
gownsmen and the townsmen. The brief story of this borough and of
its monasteiy reveals more of the real life of the people for some centuries,
than any general history of the middle ages. It is just as if one looked
at a good picture painted by a great artist, presenting some historical
scene. We can never think of it afterwards without remembering the
colouring of the back-ground, the costumes, and all the accessories which
in our minds make up the picture. In the reign of Edward III. in the
year 1327 there was a fierce conflict between the monks and the people of
Bury St. Edmund's. The causes of that revolt of the inhabitants against
constituted authority are not very apparent, but they would seem to have
been personal as much as municipal, judging from the subsequent demands
of the unruly burgesses. Tlie gates of the town were still in the hands
of the abbot, and the people could never feel themselves safe so long as
mysterious charters from Pope and King, still more mysteriously inter-
preted by the new lawyer class, existed in the abbey. Besides this, the
religious houses had profited by the increase of wealth in the country, and
became money lenders even more extortionate than the Jews, whom they
had banished, and many of the townsmen had some bond laid up in the
abbey registry. Some of them had joined Isabella in her march on
London, and the deposition of Edward II. appears to have given them
some hopes of release. However this might be, they resolved to demolish
and plunder the abbey. On January 25th, 1327, headed by their



A DESCRirTION OP SUFFOLK'. 369

alderman, Richard Drayton, they made a violent attack on the monastery,
demolished the gates, doors, and windows, and reduced a considerable
part of the buildings to ashes. In the absence of the abbot, they seized
the prior, Peter Clopton, and threw him, with his brethren, into the
town prison. A systematic attack followed, and books, furniture, vest-
ments, deeds, charters, and money all disappeared, including plate to the
value of £5000, and 3000 florins of gold.

But neither chattels, chasubles, nor florins were the real aim of the
assailants. The prior and his twenty monks were brought back from
their prison in the town to their own chapter house, and the spoil of their
registry, the Papal bulls, and the royal charters, the deeds, bonds, and
mortgages of the townsmen were laid before them. Amidst the wild
threats of the mob they were forced to execute a grant of perfect fi'ee-
dom, and of a guild to the town, and a full release for their debtors. This
was the triumph of mob law. All control over the town was gone. All
through spring and summer no rents or fines were paid. The bailiffs and
other officers of the abbey dared not show their faces in the streets.
Then news came that the abbot was in London appealing for aid to the
King and Court, and the whole county of Suffolk was on fire. A crowd
of rustics, maddened at the thought of revived claims of serfage, of in-
terminable suits of law which had become a tyranny, poured into the
streets of the town. From thirty-two of the neighbouring villages the
priests marched at the head of their flocks to this new crusade. Twenty
thousand men, women, and children rushed again on the abbey. For four
November days the work went on unhindered. Gates, stables, granaries,
infirmary, hostelry, went up in flames. Then the great multitude swept
away to the granges and barns of the abbey farms. The monks had
become vast agricultural proprietors. 1000 horses, 120 oxen, 200 cows,
300 bullocks, 300 hogs, and 10,000 sheep were driven off" for spoil. Their
granges and barns, valued at £10,000, were burnt to the ground.

Dearly the people paid for these outrages. Weak as the Government
of Mortimer was, the appeal of the abbot could no longer be neglected.
A Royal force quelled the riot, and exacted vengeance. Thirty carts full
of prisoners were sent to Norwich. Twenty-four of the chief towaismon,
and thirty-two of the \'illage priests, were soon con\'icted of aiding and
abetting riot, and twenty were hung. But the danger had not then rolled
away. Two hundred people remained under sentence of outlawry, and
for five weary years the case di'agged on in the King's Court, till at length



Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 42 of 70)