Woodbridge shop owner on everyday life in East Anglia

Susannah Chenevix-Trench

Susannah Chenevix-Trench - Credit: Archant

Jewellery designer Susannah Chenevix-Trench tells Gina Long MBE why she loves East Anglia, especially driving over the Orwell...

Shop owned by Susannah Chenevix-Trench FGA

Shop owned by Susannah Chenevix-Trench FGA - Credit: Archant

Susannah Chenevix-Trench FGA is a trusted and well-respected gemologist and jewellery designer. Her pretty shop overlooks the Market Square in Woodbridge, Suffolk. Qualifying in 1993, her successful career has included working as a consultant gemologist in the Far East where she lived for 9 years. Specialising in bespoke and redesign work much of her creative inspiration comes from the beauty and light of the natural landscape that surrounds her everyday life here in East Anglia.

What is your connection to East Anglia?

One enduring challenge of living in the Far East was the intense summer heat of Hong Kong. We managed to escape this annually by renting a house overlooking the River Deben near Waldringfield – East Anglia was such an antidote, a welcome haven of calm and tranquillity, space, fresh air and beautiful countryside, true food for the soul. Very happy memories and I now live in the cottage next to that house!

What is your East Anglian Heaven ie what do you love most about East Anglia?

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East Anglia is my heaven. I can walk for an hour and not see another person - where else could you live and feel so remote yet only be one to two hour’s train ride from London?

What is your East Anglian Hell ie what you hate most about living here?

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I love most things here particularly all the beautiful rivers and estuaries but what I enjoy is looking at them, not sailing on them. I am horribly afflicted by sea sickness. Being asked on a boat is unfortunately my idea of hell.

What’s your favourite East Anglian restaurant?

The Talbooth at Dedham for comfort and calm, The Maybush at Waldringfield for the view and The Riverside in Woodbridge is consistently good and well run. Eating out anywhere in East Anglia is a treat.

What’s your favourite way to spend an East Anglian evening?

In a quiet restaurant by the sea or river.

What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark?

The Orwell Bridge, known as “The All Well bridge” in our family. It’s a great feat of engineering and when I cross it I know I am nearly home.

What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?

When Easter arrives and the Butley foot ferry starts again. It means that winter is over and I will be able to do my favourite walk to Orford.

What your specialist Mastermind subject?

Something gem related, perhaps gemology or mineralogy.

What is always in your fridge?

Champagne. You never know when you might need to celebrate.

What’s your simple philosophy of life?

Love is everything.

What’s your favourite film?

Little Miss Sunshine makes me laugh and cry and also delivers a good message.

What was your first job?

Working as a junior secretary for an Oil Company in Berkeley Square.

What is your most treasured possession?

My “Book of Beauty” poetry book that my Father gave to me.

Who do you admire most?

The unsung heroes of this world.

What is your biggest indulgence?


What do you like about yourself most?

My ability to look outwardly calm!

What’s your worst character trait?

Trying to pack too much into too short a time frame.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Either sunny and safe or wild and remote.

Best day of your life?

You mean so far… today and every day but two of the best were when my children, Freddy and Fleur, were born safe and well.

What’s your favourite breakfast?

Bacon, egg and tomato at the weekend, yum yum.

What’s your favourite tipple?

A tall glass of cold champagne.

What’s your hidden talent?

I am strangely very good at parallel parking. It constantly amuses me at how impressed my son and daughter are by this particular talent!

When were you most embarrassed?

I really don’t like to remember those kind of moments but I am sure my children do.

What’s your earliest memory?

My red wellies.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

I will survive by Gloria Gaynor? … No, probably something classical and softly contemplative.

Tell us something people don’t know about you?

I was born in Wigan, Lancashire.

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

“No winning numbers this time.”

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else.

I love the wide open spaces, beautiful light in all seasons and the gentle nature of Suffolk and Norfolk. It is very inspirational for my work.

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

Come and see us in Woodbridge. We are a very friendly team and have beautiful and unusual jewellery, pearls and cufflinks. Our speciality is re-design and bespoke jewellery. My best piece of advice for anyone either buying or commissioning a special piece is to trust the person you are buying from and enjoy the experience, it’s exciting. Most of our work is by word of mouth recommendation.


To follow Gina Long @geewizzgee1 or you can email her at gina@hallfarmfornham.com

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