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The online catalogue does not include details of all our collections. Contact the relevant branch for information relating to collections which have paper and card indexes.
Woodbridge and the forest
From about 2pm the tour weaves its way through Woodbridge, Melton, Bromeswell, Eyke, Rendlesham and Tunstall.
Visit the Tide Mill Living Museum in Woodbridge and discover the history of one of the first and last working tide mills in the country. The earliest record of a tide mill on the site by the River Deben is 1170 when it was owned by the local Augustinian priory. The current mill was built in 1793 and became the last working mill in the 1950s. It finally closed in 1957, however, it was saved and fully restored to working order and is now open to the public. For more information on the tide mill and the opening time of the museum, please visit the museum’s website.
The Melton House of Industry was converted to the Suffolk County Asylum and opened in 1829. Renamed St Audry’s Hospital for Mental Diseases in 1916, it remained open until 1993. Upon the hospital’s closure, objects and archives from the hospital went to the Museum of East Anglian Life, Felixstowe Museum and Suffolk Record Offices. Discover more in an article about the St Audry’s Hospital, Melton (ID407) collection at Suffolk Record Office and on the St. Audry’s Project website.
Why not explore Bromeswell Nature Reserve or the Grade I St. Edmund’s Church? Find in St. Edmund’s Church a Norman doorway, 15th century tower and nave, and the Mechlin Bell. Illustrated in Church Bells in Suffolk by John James Raven , the Mechlin bell shows Biblical scenes including the Annunciation, Presentation and the flight from Egypt. It was cast by Cornelis Waghevens in 1530 in Belgium.
All Saints Church in Eyke has 12th century features including the base of the tower which has since been lost. The church is famous for the unique key used to lock it. Dating back to the 15th century, the key’s wards were shaped to make the word IKE, an alternative form of the village name. A reproduction can be seen in the church. The church also holds three brasses. One is in the memory of Reverend Henry Mason dated 1619. The other two are both headless and dated to c.1420 and are thought to represent John de Staverton and his wife.
Rendlesham, has a long and varied history, including Anglo Saxon kings of East Anglia and the UFO incident reported in Rendlesham Forest in 1980. The village also had a country house that has since been lost. Built in 1780, the original Rendlesham Hall was bought by Peter Thellusson, a wealthy banker, whose son became the 1st Baron of Rendlesham. The hall was destroyed by fire in 1830 and was rebuilt using a William Burn design. On the death of Frederick Thellusson, 5th Baron Rendlesham, in 1911, the hall was sold for use as a sanatorium in the 1920s. In the Second World War it was occupied by the British Army. Following the end of the war, the hall was demolished in 1949. Today, Ivy Lodge and Woodbridge Lodge, built in 1790 and which once stood in the Humphrey Repton designed grounds, can still be seen.
Why not explore Tunstall Forest? Mentioned in Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses, the forest is popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The Forestry Commission’s website includes information on the forest and its spring and summer harvesting operations. Keen cyclists can take a 10 mile trail through the forest, the ‘Viking Trail’, which has been created by the Forestry Commission.
Ipswich and surrounding area
By early afternoon the cyclists will have made their way to the area north of Ipswich.
Clopton is a small village to the north east of Ipswich. On the east of the parish between Clopton and Debach lies the airfield that was known as RAF Debach during World War II. This was home to the USAAF 493d Bombardment Group, part of the 8th Air Force. To find out more about the role of the USAAF in East Anglia during World War II why not visit The Eighth in The East project website?
The Record Office has a wealth of manorial documents including the records relating to the manors of the Lord Cranworth of Grundisburgh Hall. These beautifully illustrated letters are taken from the survey of Burgh Hall.
Although Bartholomew Gosnold is more commonly known for his Bury connections, he was actually born in Grundisburgh. Our webpage on Gosnold includes more information about the man and his role in the founding of Jamestown.
Before reaching Ipswich the Tour of Britain takes the competitors through Tuddenham St Martin, not to be confused with Tuddenham which is near Mildenhall. The Suffolk Parish History entry for Tuddenham St Martin details the types of agriculture practiced in the village over the last thousand years. This licence is taken from a local solicitor’s collection, held at the Ipswich branch.
The tour takes the riders around the north east of the County Town before leading them into Kesgrave.
Ipswich has a very rich and varied history. The town was founded in the late 6th or early 7th century and was known by the Anglo-Saxons as Gipeswic. By the 8th century the settlement had spread over most of the present town centre, and indeed the Anglo-Saxon street pattern can still be seen. The most important industry was the manufacture of pottery, the kilns producing distinctive ‘Ipswich Ware’. Gipeswic, can be translated as Gip or Gippi’s trading port or harbour. Alternatively it may derive from a topographical description of the settlement’s location referring to the gip, gap or opening forming the Orwell estuary. The river was to be of central importance to the development of the town.
Several hundred years later the river is of importance to the Record Office as we plan our new building on the Waterfront. Check out the latest news on The Hold here.
Kesgrave is home to the Kesgrave Panthers Cycle Speedway Club. Their website describes cycle speedway as
Short oval shale tracks, four riders head-to-head. Explosive, elbow-to-elbow action. No brakes.
If you’re interested in trying it out, have a look at their website. If you want to know more about the development of Cycle Speedway since the Second World War you may want to visit the Cycle Speedway History website.
The tour enters Mid Suffolk about noon and goes through Walsham-le-Willows, Finningham, Thornham Magna, Thornham Parva, Eye, Horham and Stradbroke.
Did you know that in St. Mary’s Church the reredos depicting the Last Supper was created by the famous Victorian English ceramic artist, George Tinworth, in 1883? Discover this and many other historic buildings and sites in Walsham-le-Willows by following a historic walking trail found here.
Why not visit St Batholomew’s Church which dates to the 14th Century? The church is associated with the Frere family and includes a monument to Sir John Fenn [1739–1794] and his wife, Ellenor Fenn nee Frere. Sir John Fenn was an antiquarian and known for collecting, editing and publishing the Paston letters and Ellenor Fenn was a pioneering educator in the 18th century. The marble monument was created by Francis Bacon the elder and shows a woman weeping over a chest.
Owned by the Henniker-Major family, the Thornham Estate offers walks around the parkland and ancient woodland all year round. Discover the walled garden, pets’ cemetery and pinetum. The original Tudor Thornham Hall burnt down in 1954 and was rebuilt in 1956. The Victorian stables and water tower, however, still survive and can be seen on the estate. Discover more about the family and estate by exploring the Henniker Family Papers, 1341-2013, [Ref HA116] held at Ipswich Record Office.
Located in St. Mary’s Church, Thornham Parva, is the largest and most complete medieval altarpiece in Britain, the Thornham Parva Retable. Dated to 1330s, the retable is a painted oak altarpiece measuring 12 feet long and is thought to have originally been made for Thetford Priory in Norfolk. It was rediscovered in 1927 in the loft above the stable at Thornham Hall and was soon after installed in St. Mary’s Church.
While in Eye, why not visit the ruins of Eye Castle, which is one of the few surviving motte-and-bailey castles from the early Norman period, or admire the rood screen in St Peter and St Paul’s Church. In 1643/44, the church was visited by Puritanical Vandals including William Dowsing to inspect the church and destroy and deface religious images classed as heretical. In his journal regarding this visit, he states ‘seven superstitious pictures in the chancel, and a cross, one was Mary Magdalene, all in glass, and six in the church windows’ were destroyed at Eye. Though he states that much was destroyed before his visit to the church the rood screen at Eye is in surprisingly good condition considering this visit.
During World War 2, RAF Horham was home to the 95th American Bomb Group from 1943 to the end of the war. They were famous for being the first US group to bomb Berlin during daylight and receiving three Distinguished Unit Citations. They flew more than 300 missions and when the war ended helped transport liberated prisoners back to the UK. Learn more about the group by visiting the 95th Bomb Group website and museum.
Discover the Stradbroke Village Archive and explore a photographic archive of the village. Launched in 2014, the website includes many images of the village’s buildings, people and events held at the village.
During our digitisation of wills, which can now be purchased online via our website, we discovered the beautiful 1747 will of Catherine Newson of Stradbroke.
Located on the Suffolk and Cambridgeshire border, on the edge of the fens, Freckenham has a long history dating back to Neolithic times. Several hoards of coins have been discovered over the years including gold coins of the Iceni Tribe, dating from Boudicca’s reign. Early written evidence tells us that in 896 Alfred the Great gave “Frakenham in the County of Suffolk and my small estate in Yelsham (Isleham) to Burricus, Bishop of Rochester”.
It may be difficult to believe that there was once a castle at Freckenham. Originally, it would have consisted of a motte with two baileys but sadly, all that remains of it today is the motte. It is thought that the castle may have been destroyed by the Danish king, Sven Forkbeard in the tenth century. For more information about the castle why not visit the Suffolk Heritage Explorer website where you can find out about what our archaeological colleagues have found over the years?
The Fens were important to the village, who relied on them for their fishing industry. When they were drained in late 17th century the village turned to farming instead.
Worlington is a small village located on the River Lark whose church houses one of Suffolk’s oldest Bells, dating back to 1310.
For those of you who are golf lovers, it is the Royal Worlington and Newmarket Golf Club which will come to mind. Established in 1893, the club has become world renowned, its nine hole course being named ‘The Sacred Nine’ by golf writer Bernard Darwin.
The Brecks covers an area of 393 square miles across Norfolk and Suffolk and includes the small market town of Mildenhall.
The Brecks is a fascinating area known for its diverse landscape of heathlands, meres and forests as well as its ancient history and heritage. Why not visit The Brecks website to find out more about the activities you can enjoy, which of course include some fantastic cycling opportunities!
The tour now heads to Mildenhall which is famous for its Treasure! It was discovered in 1942 while ploughing a field, however, the landowner didn’t realise how important it was. He believed the objects were made from lead or pewter. It wasn’t until 1946 that their true significance was understood as they were revealed to be Roman objects, made from silver and when cleaned were found to be decorated with beautiful designs. After they were declared as ‘treasure’ by the Crown, they were acquired by British Museum.
You can learn more about the treasure at the Mildenhall Museum which houses a wonderful collection of replicas, including the spectacular ‘Great Dish’.
Did you know that Roald Dahl wrote a short story called ‘The Mildenhall Treasure’? Unlike his later children’s stories, this was a non-fiction narrative of the discovery at Mildenhall. The town was also the departure point for the Mildenhall to Melbourne Air race of 1934 – read more about it here.
But Mildenhall’s fame doesn’t end there as in 1968 Pink Floyd released their album ‘A Saucer of Secrets’ which included the song ‘Let there be more Light’, mentioning Mildenhall as the possible first contact between humans and extraterrestrial life!
All Saints Church is one of 2 in Icklingham and was declared redundant in the 1970s. It is now under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust and is a charming example of a 14th century thatched church. The Suffolk Churches website has some lovely modern photographs of the medieval tiles and stained glass.
If you’ve ever looked at an Ordnance Survey map and wondered why there is a Telegraph Plantation in Icklingham then wonder no more!
During the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) a series of repeating stations existed at 7 mile intervals between Yarmouth and London. These formed the Admiralty Shutter Telegraph system which allowed key messages to be transmitted across the country in a matter of minutes by using a combination of open and closed shutters. There were also chains of shutter stations from London to Chatham and Deal; Portsmouth and Plymouth. The Icklingham station was between Barnham and Kennett’s Chair in the chain. An article in the local studies material at the Bury branch records that the telegraph system was often disrupted by fog and other adverse weather, meaning that for seventeen days in December 1813 and the same in January 1814 no messages were able to be sent. Presumably they had to resort to messengers on horseback.
Tour of Britain Stage Six: Newmarket to Aldeburgh
8 September 2017 sees the return of the Tour of Britain to Suffolk. Stage 6 starts in Newmarket and will finish 183km later in Aldeburgh on the Suffolk Coast.
Suffolk has a wonderful selection of material relating to cycling, including the cyclists in the Suffolk Regiment, the Framlingham Women’s Cycling Club of the early 20th century and the records of the Godric Cycling Club covering the period 1953-2013.
For more information about cycling in Suffolk, take a look at the Suffolk County Council website where you can find information about cycling to school, free cycle route maps and how to report a problem with a cycle route.
Online resources for property history
GENERAL SITES PROVIDING INFORMATION ON HOW TO CONDUCT RESEARCH OR WHERE TO LOCATE RELEVANT SOURCES:
Sources in the Essex Record Office for tracing property history: http://seax.essexcc.gov.uk/getpage.aspx?id=35
Sources in the Norfolk Record Office for tracing property history: http://www.archives.norfolk.gov.uk/view/NCC098495
Leaflets produced by the National Archive explaining popular sources: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/
- Hearth Tax Assessments
- Manorial Court Records
- National Farm Survey of England and Wales, 1940-1943
- Ordnance Survey records
SITES PROVIDING SPECIFIC INFORMATION RELEVANT TO TRACING THE HISTORY OF AN INDIVIDUAL PROPERTY:
Royal Institute of British Architects – http://www.architecture.com/Explore/Home.aspx
This site has an online library catalogue, which includes an index to over 300 architectural periodicals, books, photographs and manuscripts held in the RIBA Library along with a biographical database of architects.
This includes numerous county directories for the UK and is a searchable database by either location or year. Within your chosen search it is then possible to specify a surname, street name etc and find all the given matches.
About two thirds of property titles in England and Wales are registered with the Land Registry which now offers an online service whereby it is possible to search for relevant documents for individual addresses. Once identified it is possible, for a set fee per item, to download copies of the register entry and the title plan. The information on the register includes a note of the location and extent of the property, the owner’s name and address, the price if sold since 1 April 2000 and details of any mortgages or rights of way. The title plan, prepared by the Ordnance Survey, shows the land owned.
This website has descriptions of listed buildings in England, along with photographs of buildings 1860s-present; aerial photographs 1930s-present, and survey reports on specific buildings.
This is maintained by the National Monuments Records Centre and contains photographs of England’s 370,000 Listed Buildings.
The Manorial Documents Register, maintained by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, contains information on the whereabouts of many manor court rolls and books.
This contains an extensive UK map archive. It is best searched via the Gazetteer option, which provides access to both historical First Edition Ordnance Survey sheets from the 1880s and modern maps along with aerial photographs for the section highlighted on your map.
Ordnance Survey provides an historical mapping service; it is possible to purchase copies of maps from 1800-1995.
Collections for property history
How to begin property history
Summer Newsletter for The Hold
The Suffolk explorer, Bartholomew Gosnold, was a ‘prime mover’ in founding the first permanent English settlement in North America, established at Jamestown in 1607.
Bartholomew Gosnold was born about 1571 near the family home at Otley Hall. In 1587, he was admitted to Jesus College, Cambridge then studied law first at New Inn, then at Middle Temple.
On 19th June 1595 at Latton in Essex, he married Mary Golding and by April 1597 they were living in Bury St Edmunds. The baptisms of their children can be found in the Parish Registers of St James, now Bury Cathedral.
As to why he gave up law for a maritime career is uncertain but by 1599 he was in charge of the DIAMOND on a privateering voyage which netted loot to the value of £1625 17s.
Three years later, on 26th March 1602, he embarked upon a voyage of exploration as joint captain of the CONCORD which sailed from Falmouth. They reached the Maine coast on 14th May 1602 but only stayed for a few weeks – during this time they named Cape Cod, Gosnold’s Hope (now Buzzards Bay), Elizabeth Isle (now Cuttyhunk) and Martha’s Vineyard (named after either his mother-in-law or his daughter). However, they lacked sufficient provisions to remain there over the winter and on 18th June 1602 they began the voyage home with a cargo of furs, cedarwood and sassafras.
In 1606, Bartholomew commanded the GODSPEED, part of a 3-ship fleet financed by the newly formed Virginia company. Under the charter granted to the company by James I, their aim was to “make habitation, plantation and … deduce a colony of sundry of our people” between the French occupied lands in what is now Canada and the Spanish territories in Florida. Sealed orders were opened on arrival and named Gosnold as one of the seven ruling Council of the colony. Unfortunately, conditions were harsh in the new settlement and Bartholomew Gosnold died from disease and malnutrition on the 22nd August 1607. He was buried with some ceremony, including “having all the Ordnance in the Fort shot off, with many vollies of small shot” but no record has survived of where he was buried.