John Cuming Walters.

Bygone Suffolk; its history, romance, legend, folk-lore, etc online

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THE COUNTY IN HISTORY. By Thomas Frost . . i

THE STORY OF THE CHURCH. The Conversion of East

Aiiglia. By J. Redfern Mason . . .16

THE PARISH CHURCHES. By J. Redfern Mason ... 59

F.R.G.S -79

THE BRITISH WARRIOR QUEEN. By Cuming- Walters . 105

Part I. The Land Fights . . . . .112
Part II. The Sea Fights . . . . .123

A PRE-HISTORIC FACTORY. By Ernest H. Rann . . 138
CITIES BENEATH THE SEA. By Cuming Walters . .153
A SEGMENT OF DICKENS-LAND. By Cuming Walters . . 183
THE HOME OF THE BIGODS. By Cuming Walters . . 202
ON TRAMP THROUGH OLD TOWNS. By Cuming- Walters . 240
INDEX -<>i




There was a time, in the remote past,
lien marly all the weapons and imple-
ents ued by man were made of flint,
id. in those days, this stone was as in-

hle as steel is to us to-day.

rent amount of time and trouble
liieh ancient man took in order to pro-
de himself with suitable flint is shown,

jphically. in a certain area of the
nail parish of "Weeting, in South-West
orfolk. There, in a very wild but beau-
ful spot, are to be seen about 360 cup-
laped hollows, clustered closely together,
id covering about 20 acres of the
ateau. The meaning of these hollows
a<? for a long time a mystery, but some
: them have been excavated by axchseolo-
sts. and we now know that they are the
nper portions of partially filled-in shafts j
ink into the chalk for the extraction of |

These funnel-shaped shafts are
>metimes 30ft. in depth, and the same in
idth at the mouth, and pass through
'acial clay and sand before penetrating
le chalk. It is evident that the people
ho carried out this work knew a great
r-al ab it mining methods as, when dig-
int< throutrh the comparatively loose clay

d. the side-: of the shafts were
oped sn a.s to prevent slipping of the
mterial into the excavation. In going
own to the desir d level the ancient
r.rkers passed through, and discarded,
>me layers of flint as not being of good

qualify for their purpose. The
iver they were seeking is good, sound

t known locally as " floor-stone,"
nd when fhis was reached the miners
rove lateral galleries from the bottom of

in order t<> follow up and remove

rie vein of (lint.

Tim - , -iver the wliole area of Grime's

as the eup-sluiped liollows are

in all probability, a

: >yrinth <>t underground passages

.nu all the shafts with each other.

Vhen it i- reali/,* d (hat the whole of this

carried out by primitive only flattish bones as

and deep's horna a.s picks, no one
an fail to l>e filled with astonishment
t the niavnifnde of their labours and the
reat le it must have taken

o carry out the work. It was the custom

Begone Suffolk.

County in Ibfetorp.

WHETHER the names assigned by Caesar
to the tribes which he found in Britain
have any claim to a British derivation is a point
which has been disputed, and is not likely ever
to be determined ; but it is certain that the
names, as they have come down to us, are
Roman. Among these, that of the Iceni, the
tribe occupying the present counties of Suffolk,
Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, and Huntingdonshire,
holds a prominent place in the early history of
the country, on account of the bold effort which
the race made to throw off the Roman yoke during
the governorship of Suetonius Paulinus. Under
their queen, Boadicea, who was smarting from
the brutal indignities to which she and her
daughters had been subjected, the Iceni poured
through the country, marking their track with


blood and fire. Their march seems to have
been from Venta Icenorum now Norwich-
through Camulodonum now Colchester to
London, which they plundered and burnt.
There they were attacked and defeated by a
Roman army, and Boadicea committed suicide,
rather than fall into the hands of the conquerors,
of whose "tender mercies" she had had a
bitter experience.

Of the Roman occupation of this part of the
country, which was not again disturbed, there
are many traces still existing in the county.
The ruins of Burgh Castle, on a hill at the con-
fluence of the rivers Yare and Waveney, two and
a half miles from Gorleston, are believed to
occupy the site of a Roman military station
named Garianonum. The wall is of Roman
construction, and Roman coins, rings, keys, etc.,
have been found on the spot. Many funeral
urns have been dug up in a field on the east side
of the ruins, from which discoveries it has been
inferred that it was the burial-ground of the
Roman garrison. Icklingham, four miles east
of Mildenhall, occupies the site of the Roman
station called Combretonium, vestiges of which
have been traced for half a mile. Roman coins

TTbe County in Dtston?. 3

have been found here, and in the walls of one
of the churches there are many Roman bricks.
Roman urns, rings, coins,' etc., have also been
unearthed at Walton, near Ipswich.

The events of the four hundred years between
the final subjugation of the Iceni and the union
of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy
under Egbert occupy but a small space in the
chronicles of the period. As Sharon Turner
remarks, "In this part of our subject we are
walking over the country of the departed, whose
memory has not been perpetuated by the com-
memorating heralds of their day. A barbarous
age is unfriendly to human fame. When the
clods of his hillock are scattered, or his funeral
stones are thrown down, the glory of the savage
perishes for ever." Of a large proportion of the
kings of East Anglia, little, in some cases nothing,
is known but their names. Though the earliest
incursion of the Angles upon the east coast
occurred, according to Matthew of Westminster,
in 527, the kingdom of East Anglia, comprising
the present counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, and
Cambridgeshire, was not founded by the Viking
Chief, Uffa, until 575. Of the early kings of
the little kingdom there are no reliable records


until 636, when Sigebert, the first Christian King,
founded the abbey where Bury St. Edmunds now
stands, the remains of which attest its former
extent and grandeur.

In 654, East Anglia was invaded by the
Mercians, under their King, Penda ; and the
Anglian King, Anna, with his son, Firminius,
was slain in battle. Their tombs are shown in
the church at Blythburgh, a village four miles
south-east from Halesworth ; but doubts have
been expressed by some writers as to the tombs
being those of Anna and his son, on the ground
that the church is of later date. It may be,
however, that these monuments have been re-
moved from another church. Small as was the
kingdom of East Anglia, its semi-barbaric kings
seem to have possessed several palaces and
castles, three being pointed out to the notice of
archaeologists and students of Anglo-Saxon
history in the present county of Suffolk alone.
One of them was at Dunwich, a town almost
every vestige of which has long since disappeared
beneath the encroaching waves of the North Sea.
Redwald had a stately castle at Framlingham, the
ruins of which still exist, and a palace at Rendle-
sham, the supposed site of which is now occupied

Ufoe Count? in 1bistor, 5

by Rendlesham House. On this spot a silver
crown, of Anglo-Saxon workmanship, was found
at the beginning of the last century ; but unfor-
tunately for the interests of archaeology, it was
broken up and consigned to the melting-pot by
its discoverers.

The independence of East Anglia was not of
long duration. The kings of Mercia, who
already ruled over the greater part of England,
coveted its possession, which would extend their
dominions from the borders of Wales to the
North. Sea ; and in 777, Offa procured the murder
of Ethelbert, its King, and annexed it. In 824,
however, the people of East Anglia revolted,
and Beornwulf, King of Mercia, marched eastward
to suppress the movement, little doubting, from
the comparatively small number of the defenders
of East Anglia, that he would soon succeed.
He was killed in battle, however, and his
successor, Ludecan, met the like fate soon after-
wards. Profiting by the confusion caused by
these events in the affairs of Mercia, Egbert,
King of Wessex, who had been pursuing the
same ambitious policy in the south of England
as the Mercian kings had done in the central
portion of the country, marched his forces into


Mercia, and reduced its people to submission to
his rule. East Anglia, weakened by the recent
contest with Mercia, was unable to offer any
effectual resistance to the new invaders, and
submitted to the conquerors of their late enemy.
Six years later, a hostile force of Danes
landed ori the coast of the South-folk, from which
term the modern name of Suffolk is derived ; but
marched into Essex, without having done any
mischief in the parts where they had landed. A
similar instance of forbearance is recorded of
these sea-rovers in 866, when an invading force
of Danes landed in Suffolk, and remained all
through the winter, without hostilities ensuing,
and in the following spring broke up their camp,
and marched into Yorkshire. After three years
of fighting and plundering in the north, they
directed their march south-eastward, ravaged
Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Huntingdon-
shire, and Cambridgeshire, and again invaded
Suffolk. Edmund, the King, was then at Hag-
isdun, near Diss, on the river Waveney, which
divides Suffolk from Norfolk. The place is
identified by Camden with a village which he
calls Hoxon, three miles north-east from Eye,
but which some later writers term Hoxne, and

Counts in 1btstor. 7

others Hoxeney. The inhabitants were unpre-
pared to resist an invasion, and Edmund, refusing
to fly, was captured by the Danes, and barbarously
slain, being shot with arrows while bound to a
tree, after the manner of the savage aborigines
of North America centuries later, the tragedy
terminating with the decapitation of the victims
by Ingwar, the Danish leader. Gudrun, a
Danish Chief, whom some writers call Guthrum,
was proclaimed King of East Anglia, and led the
invaders through Mercia to attack the forces of
Alfred, in Wessex.

In 878, Gudrun, being defeated in the West,
submitted to Alfred, and, on embracing the
Christian faith and being baptised, was allowed
to return to East Anglia. The treaty between
Alfred and the Danish Chief, which is given
by Wilkins in his " Leges Anglo- Saxonicse,"
enlarges the territory assigned to the latter by the
addition of Essex and portions of Hertfordshire,
Huntingdonshire, and Bedfordshire. Abbo Flori-
acensis, in a MS. preserved in the Cottonian
Library, of which a German translation was
published some years ago at Cologne, describes
East Anglia as being nearly surrounded by
water, the sea being on two sides, and immense


marshes, a hundred miles in extent, on a third.
On the west the country was defended by a high
mound of earth against the incursions of the
Mercians. These defences do not appear to
have been sufficient, however, to keep out the
marauding Danes.

Sir Henry Ellis, in a work founded on the
survey of England made by order of William I.,
states the population of Suffolk, after the Norman
conquest, at 22,093, made up as follows : Chief
proprietors, who held their lands direct from the
Crown, 72 ; sochmanni, inferior proprietors, who
held lands in the soc or franchise of some great
lord, on fixed terms of service, 1,014 ; liberi
homines, a lower class of land holders, holding
by various tenures either from the Crown or
from the chief proprietors, 8,012; bordarii,
cottagers, usually occupying a small portion of
land, 6,292 ; villani, serfs of the first class,
usually attached to the land, 3,024 ; servi, a
lower grade of serfs, servants employed about
the house or the person of the master and his
family, 947; burgenses, burgesses, 1,924; silvce,
men employed in the woods, which were of great
extent in those days, 152; molendini, millers,
220 ; piscatores, fishermen, 50 ; saline, men

County in HMstory. 9

employed in salt works, 18 ; ecclesiastics, 358.
These statistics are not presented here as being
thoroughly reliable. Sharon Turner, in his
" History of the Anglo-Saxons," points out
discrepancies which lead to the conclusion that
the number of burgesses is understated, as only
five are assigned to Sudbury. He states also
that all the monks and the majority of the
parochial clergy are omitted from the class
designated ecclesice.

There can be no doubt, however, that the
population of the county, and of the kingdom in
general, was less at the time of the survey made
for the Domesday Book than it was at an earlier
period, owing to the loss of life in the warfare
that was carried on between the conquered race
and their Norman conquerors before the nation
was finally reduced to submission, and to the
devastation committed by the victors. Contem-
porary records tell of large districts depopulated
and laid waste. In Ipswich alone 328 houses are
returned as vastatce, a large number for the
extent of the town at that period.

In the reign of the first of the Plantagenet
kings, Suffolk was disturbed by the part taken
by Hugh Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, in the rebel-


lion raised by the sons of Henry. The eldest of
these claimed that his father should surrender to
him either England or Normandy, and was
supported by his brothers Richard and Geoffrey.
Bigod, who had a castle at Bungay, on the river
Waveney, took up arms in aid of the rebellious
princes, and captured and dismantled the castle
at Framlingham, built by Redwald, one of the
early kings of East Anglia. The rebels soon
afterwards suffered a reverse, and marching
westward were totally defeated near Bury St.
Edmunds, on which occasion that town and the
surrounding country sustained great loss and

In the revolt of the serfs, in the reign of
Richard II., those of Suffolk played a conspicuous
part ; but as this movement forms the subject
of a special narrative, it will be sufficient in this
place to remark that, after having captured and
slain the Lord Chief Justice, the Earl of Suffolk,
and other persons of distinction, they were routed
with great slaughter by the Bishop of Norwich,
who did not find it inconsistent with his profes-
sion to draw the sword and trample the gospel of
brotherhood under his feet. The peace of the
county was not again disturbed until the reign

County in 1biston>. n

of Henry VII., when a youth named Ralph
Wilford, instructed by his tutor, an Augustine
friar named Patrick, assumed the character of
the Earl of Warwick, the son of the late Duke
of Clarence, alleging that he had escaped from
the .Tower. As that Prince was the rightful
sovereign, as long as the alleged death of Richard,
Duke of York, was accepted as proven, and the
elder branch of the Plantagenets was exceed-
ingly popular, the pretender gained many
adherents ; but his career was cut short by the
capture of himself and his tutor, when he was
hanged, and the friar consigned to imprisonment
for life.

Suffolk did not again figure prominently in
history until the time of the great civil war of
the seventeenth century, the events of which in
this county form the subject of a special narrative.
As a matter of local interest, it may be men-
tioned that, on the death of Edward VI., the
Princess Mary came to Framlingham, and being
well received there by all classes of the people,
promised that she would make no change in the
religious institutions of the country as settled in
the reign of Edward. How this promise was
intended to be kept was shown two years later,


when Ipswich witnessed some of those horrible
barbarities which have attached an indelible
stigma to the memory of that Queen. Robert
Samuel, Vicar of Barfold ; Anne Potten, a
brewer's wife ; and Joan Trunchfield, a shoe-
maker's wife, were burned there for heresy. In
the same year, Rowland Taylor, rector of Had-
leigh, suffered similarly for his adherence to the
Protestant faith, on Oldham Common, near the
town where he had preached for several years.
The event was commemorated by the following
inscription on a stone which, after being lost for
many years, was unearthed by the plough on the
spot on which he suffered :

" Dr. Tayler in defending that was gode,
At this plase left his blod."

One of the most remarkable events in the
records of the county is the gradual demolition,
through successive encroachments of the sea, of
the town of Dunwich, which formerly existed
four miles south from South wold. In the time
of the East Anglian kings they had a palace
there, and until 820, it was the see of a bishop.
In the reign of Henry II., it had a mint, and in
the following reign there were six parish
churches, three chapels, several alms-houses and

Counts in HMstors. 13

other charitable asylums, and two monasteries,
the walls of one encompassing seven acres of
land, and both having handsome churches
attached to them. Owing to the lowness of the
clay cliffs on this part of the coast, and the soil
on which the town was built being a sandy loam,
the continual breaking of the waves against the
cliffs gradually undermined the buildings nearest
to the sea. In the reign of Edward III., more
than four hundred houses and several windmills
were washed away ; but those of the inhabitants
who had their houses further from the sea
seemed to have considered themselves safe, and
even, when half the town had, at subsequent
periods, been swept away in the same manner,
the residents in the remaining portion continued
to cling to their homes.

Some time after the first of these calamities
befel the town, the church of St. Leonard's
parish was overthrown, and this disaster was
followed later on by the demolition of the
churches of St. Martin and St. Nicholas. In
1540, the church of St. John the Baptist was so
evidently doomed to a similar fate at no very
distant period that it was taken down, and the
demolition of a considerable portion of the town,

14 IByQone Suffolfe.

including the South-gate, the Gilden-gate, and
the three chapels followed. The next great
devastation took place in 1680, when all the
town north of Maison Dieu Lane was destroyed.
The encroachments of the sea continued, and in
1702 St. Peter's Church was seen to be in so
much jeopardy that the authorities ordered it to
be stripped of everything of value. The walls
soon afterwards collapsed, and the ruin of the
Town Hall and the gaol was accomplished about
the same time. In 1740, what remained of the
churchyard of St. Nicholas was washed away,
and the pipes of an ancient aqueduct, some of
lead and others of grey pottery, were exposed.

This series of disasters extending over four
centuries, so reduced the town that, in 1811, it
contained only forty houses and two hundred
and eight inhabitants, and ten years later
Pinnock, a prolific author of school books, re-
marked in reference to its continued retention in
the list of Parliamentary boroughs, returning
two members, that, "as ancient usage requires
that the election should take place at a particular
spot, the solemnity must soon be observed in a
boat, instead of on dry land." The anticipated
farce was averted by the disfranchisement of the

Countp in HMstorp. 15

place in 1832. Aldeburgh has also suffered from
encroachments of the sea, and the parish church
of Lowestoft was rebuilt on a gentle eminence,
at some distance from the beach, as a precaution
against the calamities which have overwhelmed
Dunwich, a town once the most important in the
county, but now effaced from the map of England.


The ruined tower of A'l Saints' Church, Dunwich, near
Southwold. A famous landmark, which has now
fallen into the sea.

Stor\> of tbe Church.
TTbe Conversion of East

THE Iceni had been driven relentlessly west-
ward ; the Druids had cut the mistletoe
from the oak with their golden sickles for the last
time ; the kingdom of East Anglia had been set up
when we hear the first authentic word of the seed
sowing of Christianity in Suffolk. The Venerable
Bede, surveying the country from his scriptorium
in Jarrow monastery, is our authority. He is
indeed the great fount of information on all
matters, both secular and ecclesiastical, from
which flows all that we know with any real
certainty up to the beginning of the eighth
century. The conversion of East Anglia was one
of the myriad consequences of the mission of St.
Augustine. It is told that Ethelbert, having be-
come a Christian, inspired Redwald, king of East
Anglia, with the like faith. This was in the early
years of the seventh century. But Redwald was
weak, and listened to the counsel of his wife, and
set up against the altar of Christ an altar to the
divinities of Asgard. Thirteen hundred years

Ube Stoq? of tbe Cburcb. 17

have gone by since this was done ; but the
memory of Redwald's apostasy lives on, blazoned
forth in the pages of the old man of Jarrow.
Erpenwald, his son, was led to Christianity by
King Edwin of Northumbria, and was murdered
by the supporters of the older creed. His brother
Sigebert, who had been exiled to France by King
Redwald, reigned in his stead. He, too, was a
Christian, having been baptised by the brother
of St. Chad, and, returning home, he brought
with him a Burgundian priest, Felix by name,
whom Honorius, the successor of St. Augustine
in the metropolitan see of Canterbury, made a
bishop, and entrusted with the work of teaching
the people of East Anglia. Of his deeds we
know little, but his name is graven deep in
the history of the country of which he was
the first spiritual ruler. Towns are named after
him ; churches own him as their patron, and
Mother Church has enrolled him in the Calendar
of Saints. Soham, which he made his first seat,
is identified with Soham Toney, in Norfolk.
Here he founded a monastery, and here, in later
days, his body was conveyed to preserve it from
the Danes, who, in their strong hatred of the
Christian name, stayed their hands at no infamy,

1 8 Bsocme Suffolfe.

but murdered or violated the living and dis-
honoured the dead. First in order of the East
Anglian bishops, St. Felix made the conversion
of Saxons a reality, and we find in latter days
that they were an orderly, a law-abiding, and a
pious people. He made Dunwich, whither he
removed his bishopric, a home of prayer, a place
whose mere mention was sufficient to awaken
thoughts of reverence in the minds of the people.
For seventeen years, from 631 to 647 A.D., he
held the reins of episcopal power. The tradition
of his holiness lives in the words of Chronicler
Harding :

" And in the yere VI hundreth thyrty and two
Kynge Edwyne, by holy doctryne
Of saynt Felyx, an holy preste (that) was the
(And preachying of the holy archbyshop Paulyn,
Of Chryste's worde and verteous disciplyne)
Converted Edordwolde, of Estangle the Kyng,
And all the realme where Felyx was dwelling,
At Domok then was Felyx fyrste byshop
Of Estangle and taught the Chrysten fayth,
(That is full hye in heaven, I hope ; )."

Fifteen bishops followed in direct line with
St. Felix, and one of the number, Bisi, was
present at the Council of Hertford in 673. At
this Council it was decided that Easter Sunday

Stors ot tbe Gburcb. 19

should be kept "on the Lord's day next after the
fourteenth moon of the first month ; " that no
bishop should interfere with the jurisdiction of
another in his proper diocese ; that monks
"should not wander from place to place, but con-
tinue in the obedience which they promised at the
time of their conversion ; " " that it be lawful for
no bishop to trouble the monasteries consecrated
by God, nor to take anything from them ; " and " that
foreign bishops and clergy exercise no function
without the permission of the bishop in whose

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