6 more famous people buried in Suffolk

St Mary's Church in Polstead, where entertainer Percy Edwards is buried

St Mary's Church in Polstead, where entertainer Percy Edwards is buried - Credit: citizenside.com

Suffolk’s graveyards and cemeteries are home to a number of famous residents – here's just a few more figures and celebrities who have been laid to rest locally. 

Percy Edwards 

The beloved animal impersonator, entertainer and ornithologist is buried in St Mary’s church in the village of Polstead.  

Born in Ipswich in 1908, he became a household name and national treasure thanks to his animal impressions on a number of radio shows, including Ted Ray’s ‘Ray’s a Laugh’ and ‘A Life of Bliss’.  

Percy Edwards in the 1950s

Percy Edwards in the 1950s - Credit: Archant

Other credits to his name include providing the voice of orcas in 1977’s ‘Orca’, the reindeer in 1985’s Santa Claus: The Movie, and sheep and bird sounds on Kate Bush’s song ‘The Dreaming’. He also provided vocal effects for the alien and facehugger in 1979 Hollywood blockbuster ‘Alien’, and the voice of Ambrosius in 1986’s Labyrinth.  

At the height of his career, it is believed he could imitate around 600 different birds.  

In 1993, Edwards was awarded an MBE for his services to ornithology and entertainment. He was also a fellow of the Zoological Society of London, due to his work as a published ornithologist. Edwards passed away in Hintlesham in 1996 at the age of 88. 

John Lyall (left) with Ron Greenwood (right) pictured at Upton Park after winning the FA Cup in 1975

John Lyall (left) with Ron Greenwood (right) pictured at Upton Park after winning the FA Cup in 1975 - Credit: Archant

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Ron Greenwood 

Footballing legend Ron Greenwood’s final resting place can be found here in Suffolk. Buried at Sudbury’s town cemetery, he passed away at the age of 84 in 2006 after battling Alzheimer's disease. 

Greenwood, who had a prolific career both on and off the pitch, was best known for managing the national England team between 1977 and 1982. He was also the manager of West Ham United for 13 years. Prior to this, he was a defender at Bradford Park Avenue, Brentford, Chelsea, and Fulham. 

Following his retirement from coaching, he was a regular analyst on BBC Radio. He was later inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame following his passing in 2006.  

Chilton Hall, where Sir Thomas Crisp English resided

Chilton Hall, where Sir Thomas Crisp English resided - Credit: Archant

Sir Thomas Crisp English 

Over in Chilton Church near Sudbury is where you will find the grave of Sir Thomas Crisp English. Born on July 22, 1878, he was a British surgeon who is perhaps best known for performing a potentially lifesaving operation on Winston Churchill in 1922. 

At the time, Churchill was 48 and serving as colonial secretary under David Lloyd George’s government when he was suffering from severe pain. Sir English diagnosed the future wartime leader with acute appendicitis and operated on him that same evening, scuppering the then-MP's plan to defend his seat in the upcoming election (which he subsequently lost). Following the operation, Churchill was quoted as saying he was ‘without an office, without a party, and without an appendix’.  

Had Churchill not survived this major operation, which at the time was deemed as fairly risky, he wouldn’t have led Britain during the Second World War – the outcome of which might have been very different.  

In 1933, English also operated on the likes of King George of The Hellenes and Princess Mary – the former of whom was the only daughter of King George V. She was so thankful for his skill and bedside manner that she would send him Christmas cards for years after the operation, while King George of The Hellenes made English a Knight Commander of the Order of George I of Greece. 

Sir English acquired the 16th century Chilton Hall in Suffolk in 1923 – a year after operating on Churchill – and divided his time between Suffolk and London (where he became well-known for his reputation as an incredibly skilled surgeon).  

He passed away August 1949 at the 71 after suffering a stroke. His funeral took place at St Mary’s Church in Chilton, and he is buried next to his wife, Annie Gaunt English, who passed away three years prior.  

St Michael’s church in Boulge, where Edward Fitzgerald is buried

St Michael’s church in Boulge, where Edward Fitzgerald is buried - Credit: Archant

Edward Fitzgerald 

Suffolk poet, writer and translator Edward Fitzgerald’s grave can be found in the churchyard of St Michael’s church, Boulge, near Woodbridge.  

Born on March 31, 1809, he is best known for translating from Persian into English ‘Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ - a selection of poems penned by 12th century poet, astronomer, and mathematician Omar Khayyam in 1859.  

The book’s translation grew in popularity in the 1860s – so much so that ‘Omar Khayyam clubs’ were formed, and he developed somewhat of a cult following thanks to Fitzgerald’s translations of his works.  

Fitzgerald was close friends with Alfred Tennyson, who dedicated ‘Tiresias, and Other Poems’ to him following his passing in 1883.  

Cor Visser at work at Moat Hall, Tuddenham Road, Ipswich in 1960

Cor Visser at work at Moat Hall, Tuddenham Road, Ipswich in 1960 - Credit: Archant

Cor Visser 

Dutch artist Cor Visser was born in 1903 and spent much of his life in Suffolk. He is particularly known for his stunning watercolour paintings of the River Orwell. Visser is also famed for his portrait of a then 56-year-old Edith Pretty. 

Back in his native Holland, he was appointed as the official war artist to the Dutch Royal Family during the Second World War – a role which saw him paint many members of the royal family as well as key government officials and military officers.  

Cor Visser at his Fore Street studio in Ipswich in 1974

Cor Visser at his Fore Street studio in Ipswich in 1974 - Credit: Archant

Here in Suffolk however, he is well remembered for establishing the Fore Street Gallery in Ipswich, where he guided and taught a number of students whom he met with on a weekly basis.  

A number of his works can be found in Ipswich Borough Council's Museums and Galleries Collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum and National Portrait Gallery in London, and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. 

Visser passed away in 1982, and he is buried alongside his wife in St Mary's Churchyard Wherstead near Ipswich, overlooking the River Orwell. 

Emeric Pressburger 

Emeric Pressburger, born in in Hungary in 1902 as Imre József Pressburger, was a prolific screenwriter, film director and producer who spent many of his years here in Suffolk.  

A frequent collaborator with Michael Powell, the two shared a production company called The Archers and made 24 films between 1939 and 1972. Some of their most popular productions include 1943’s ‘The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp’, ‘A Canterbury Tale’ (1944), 1946’s ‘A Matter of Life and Death’, and ‘The Tales of Hoffman’ (1951).  

During his time in the film industry, he was made a Fellow of BAFTA in 1981 and a Fellow of the BFI two years later. And in 1946, he became a British citizen. 

Emeric resided in Aspall from 1970 before passing away in a nursing home in Saxted due to old age and complications brought about by pneumonia in 1988. His gravestone can be found at the cemetery of Our Lady of Grace Church in Aspall. 

Are there any other famous or historical graves in Suffolk that didn’t make the list? Get in touch with danielle.lett@archant.co.uk