How many more of these 'hidden' Suffolk villages have you heard of?
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Hidden in amongst our county's market towns and popular tourist spots, are some fascinating little places you might not know about.
Located in the Babergh district of the county, Edwardstone is a village and civil parish that also comprises the hamlets Mill Green, Priory Green, Round Maple, Edwardstone Woods and Sherbourne Street.
What is particularly notable about Edwardstone is that it is home to an impressive 31 listed buildings throughout its civil parish, including the Grade I-listed St Mary’s Church, nine Grade II-listed timber-framed houses across Mill Green and five Grade II-listed buildings in Priory Green to name but a few.
Edwardstone is also the birthplace of Puritan lawyer John Winthrop, who later went on to become of the key founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony – the second major colonial settlement in New England after the Plymouth Colony.
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Nestled between Grundisburgh and Tuddenham is Culpho, a hamlet and civil parish with a population of less than 100 residents.
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Culpho first appeared in the Domesday Book of 1086, and a pipe roll from 1178 lists it as ‘Culfho’. It is thought the settlement’s name is derived from Cūþwulf's hōh, which is Old English for ‘spur of the land’.
Home to the 14th century St Botolph’s church, Culpho is however most notably known for being one of the 53 Thankful Villages – meaning all of its serving members of the Armed Forces survived and returned home after the First World War. In 2013, the village raised £1,600 for the Royal British Legion in honour of two motorcyclists who visited all Thankful Villages in a 2,500-mile, nine-day round trip. The other three Thankful Villages that can be found in Suffolk are Wordwell and South Elham Saint Michael.
With a population of just under 200 as of 2011’s census, the Suffolk village of Burgh has a deep and fascinating history. Located a few miles north-west of Woodbridge, Burgh’s Grade II-listed St Botolph’s church dates back to the 14th century and stands near the site of a Roman villa. The body of Saint Botolph is reported to have been moved to the church at the behest of Edgar I of England, before being transferred to a tomb at Bury St Edmunds Abbey. Within the church also hangs a mural by Scottish artist Anna Zinkeisen, painted in memory of her late husband Col. Guy Heseltine.
Burgh is also the largest Iron Age fortification in Suffolk, still visible at ground level, and gives the village its name, as it is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘burg’ or ‘berg’, meaning ‘fortified place’. In addition, the settlement is home to a tower mill built in 1842 by Wickham Market millwright John Whitmore.
“Burgh has a population similar to Dallinghoo, and the village is too small for a parish council – instead, we have a meeting that all the village is entitled to attend, twice a year,” adds East Anglian Daily Times reader Ben Norton.
Just a stone’s throw away from its sibling settlement Great Cornard, Little Cornard has a population of just under 300 residents and is the location of a fascinating piece of folklore.
Legend has it that on September 26 1449, a fight between two dragons – a black dragon from Kedington Hill, Suffolk and a red dragon from Ballingdon Hill, Essex - took place on Sharpfight Meadow within the village. Recounted in a small leatherbound book in the Library of the Dean and Chapter at Canterbury, it states the epic battle took place during sunset and was an hour long before the red dragon won and the two creatures retreated back to their hills.
Dragons aside, Little Cornard was also once the site of a bloody battle between the Danes and the Saxons, and its population was later decimated in 1349 after it was the first place in Suffolk to report cases of the bubonic plague during The Black Death.
Near Saxmundham and Halesworth is the tiny village of Sibton. Its name is derived from Old English, with ‘Sibba’ being a personal name, and ‘tun’ referring to an enclosure, farm or settlement – therefore translating to ‘Sibba’s settlement or farm’.
It is home to St Peter’s Church, a church founded in the 12th century by Robert de Camodo during the reign of William II. Interestingly, the oldest part of the church is the South door, which was taken from Sibton Abbey and dates back to the Norman period.
The inside of the church also contains a monument to Sir Edmond Barker, who was Lord of Peasenhall Manor and Gentleman Pensioner in Ordinary to Charles II. “The monument is considered as one of the most splendid in Suffolk, with roundels containing busts in white marble, possibly true likenesses of his wife Mary and himself, with his hair in bunches,” adds East Anglian Daily Times reader Andrew Campbell.
Famous folk with a connection to Sibton include 20th century artist Margaret Bruce Wells who lived in the village for over two decades before she passed away, television actor Peter Purves alongside his wife stage actress Kathryn Evans, and actor Nicholas Clay whose resting place is St Peter's Churchyard.
Equidistant between Ipswich and Norwich lies Thwaite, a village of around 150 residents that is split by the A140.
One claim to fame for the town is its association with American architect Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes, who at the beginning of the 20th century, dismantled one of the village’s timber-framed homes and transported it from Tilbury docks across the Atlantic. It was later rebuilt near Greenwich, Connecticut, overlooking Long Island Sound, and renamed High Low House.
Thwaite’s most famous long-term resident however has to be Orlando Whistlecraft.
Whistlecraft, who was born and spent his whole life in the village, was an English meteorologist who was best known for his weather almanac which was published every year between 1856 and 1884. He also penned The Climate of England in 1840 and Rural Gleanings in 1851, as well as a number of weather diaries which are currently kept in Exeter’s National Meteorological Archive.
Do you live somewhere in Suffolk that’s relatively unheard of but has an interesting story? Share your villages and hamlets by getting in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org