7 more famous people buried in Suffolk

St Mary's Church in Thornham Parva, where Sir Basil Spence is buried

St Mary's Church in Thornham Parva, where Sir Basil Spence is buried - Credit: Warren Page

Suffolk’s graveyards and cemeteries are home to a number of famous residents – here's just a few more figures and celebrities who rest in peace around these parts.  

Sir Basil Spence

One of the nation’s most revered architects, Sir Basil Spence lived between 1907 and 1976 - and during that time he certainly made waves in the world of design. Spence is most notably associated with designing Coventry’s St Michael’s Cathedral which was built after the former was bombed during the Second World War. The cathedral was consecrated in 1962, and Suffolk composer Benjamin Britten composed War Requiem especially for the occasion.  

Sir Basil Spence's grave at St Mary's Church at Thornham Parva

Sir Basil Spence's grave at St Mary's Church at Thornham Parva - Credit: Warren Page

Spence, who specialised in Modernist and Brutalist architecture, also worked on other iconic buildings such as the Beehive in New Zealand, the British Embassy in Rome, the now-decommissioned Trawsfynydd nuclear power station in Wales, and a number of university campus buildings across the country.  

In his later years, he resided in Suffolk and briefly lived in Yaxley Hall in the 1970s. During his stay, he made a few improvements to the property, including replacing the vaulted brick ceiling with a moulded plaster version. Spence sadly passed away in 1976, and was buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s in nearby Thornham Parva alongside his wife Joan.  

Cartoonist Carl Giles

Cartoonist Carl Giles - Credit: Archant

Carl Giles 

He may have been London born, but cartoonist Carl Giles was certainly adopted by Suffolk as he spent most of his years residing here in the county. Famed for his work in the Daily Express and for his creation of the Giles Family, Carl and his wife Joan lived together in Witnesham, just outside of Ipswich.  

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His cartoons – which appeared in the Daily Express and Sunday Express from 1945 until 1991 – were so iconic that one of the character’s, Grandma, was immortalised in statue form on Ipswich’s Queen Street. Unveiled in 1993, the statue looks up at the newspaper office window where he used to work.  

Carl sadly passed away just two years later at the age of 78 in Ipswich Hospital on August 27 1995. His grave can be found in the St Martin Churchyard of Tuddenham St Martin. He is buried alongside his wife, who passed away on Christmas Day in 1994. 

Ruth Rendell

Ruth Rendell - Credit: Tudor Morgan-Owen

Ruth Rendell 

Ruth Rendell was undoubtedly one of the most beloved authors of the 20th century. With more than 60 crime and murder mystery novels to her name, she sold millions of copies around the world. Ruth is perhaps best known for her Chief Inspector Wexford character, who appeared in over 20 of her works and eventually made his way to television. 

While she was born over the border in south Essex, she loved Suffolk – and settlements such as Sudbury, Bury St Edmunds, Aldeburgh, Polstead, and Orford were used as settings in her novels.  

She spent years living in the county, before sadly passing away at the age of 85 in 2015. She was interred at St Bartholomew’s Church in Groton – next to her husband Don who passed away in 1999. 

Sir Frederick Ashton

Sir Frederick Ashton - Credit: Archant

Sir Frederick Ashton 

A leading figure in English ballet, Sir Frederick Ashton sadly passed away at his Suffolk home in 1988, and his gravestone can be found in St Mary's Church in Yaxley.  

During his lifetime, he worked as ballet dancer and choreographer, as well as a director and choreographer in the fields of opera, film and revue.  

Yaxley Church, where Sir Frederick Ashton is buried

Yaxley Church, where Sir Frederick Ashton is buried - Credit: Simon Parker

Credits to his name include 1931’s Façade, Symphonic Variations (1946), 1948’s Cinderella (1948), 1960’s La fille mal gardée, Monotones I and II (1965), Enigma Variations (1968), and the 1970 feature film ballet The Tales of Beatrix Potter. He was also known for working alongside Ninette de Valois as her chief choreographer. In addition, Ashton was founder choreographer of the Royal Ballet, and its artistic director between 1963 and 1970. 

Flora Sandes

Flora Sandes - Credit: Archant

Flora Sandes 

Born in 1876, Yorkshire native Flora Sandes served as member of the Royal Serbian Army during the First World War – and was the only British woman to serve as a solider in that war.  

She first got her start as a volunteer with St John Ambulance, but after travelling to Serbia, she formally enrolled in its army. During her service, she became a Sergeant Major before making Captain – and was decorated with seven medals. Sandes was later recalled for service during the Second World War when Germany attacked Yugoslavia in 1941, but the invasion ended before she could take up any duties.  

The Flora Sandes memorial plaque in Marlesford Church

The Flora Sandes memorial plaque in Marlesford Church - Credit: Paul Barnes

She spent her final years residing in Lower Hacheston, just outside of Wickham Market, before passing away in 1956. While she was cremated and her ashes were scattered Ipswich Crematorium and the Garden of Remembrance respectively, a memorial plaque dedicated to her can be found in Marlesford’s St Andrew’s Church.  

Cedric Morris

Cedric Morris - Credit: Archant

Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris 

Born in Wales, Sir Cedric was a 20th century artist, art teacher and plantsman who worked primarily in East Anglia. Best known for his floral paintings, landscapes and portraits, Cedric, alongside fellow artist Lett Haines, opened the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in 1937. Based in Dedham, some of its most famous students include Lucian Freud, Maggi Hambling, Joan Warburton.  

Just a few years later, Morris and Haines, alongside John Nash and Roderic Barrett founded the Colchester Art Society – where he served as its president. Between the years of 1939 to 1982, Cedric resided in Benton End House, located on the outskirts of Hadleigh.  

He sadly passed away in 1982, and his grave can be found at Hadleigh Cemetery, near his good friend and collaborator Lett Haines.  

To this day, a number of Cedric’s works can be found in galleries across the country, including the Tate Britain, the National Portrait Gallery, and The Minories in Colchester. In addition, a handful of plants and flowers were also named after him. 

Mike Parkes 

Born in 1939, Mike Parkes was a prominent racing car driver who competed in seven Formula One World Championship Grand Prix races as well as Le Mans. During his time on the track, he achieved two podiums, scored 14 championship points, and one pole position. Off the track, he worked as an automotive engineer.   

However, he sadly lost his life in 1977 following a collision with a lorry near Turin, Italy. His grave can be found in St Peter Churchyard in Charsfield near Wickham Market.  

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