The A to Z of Cuious Suffolk by Sarah Doig

Please note that this talk is on the 12th May 2016 and not as previously advertised.


Sarah Doig Talk


Future Talks

Future dates for your diary, not to be missed, include Heritage Sunday at Hoxne Church on April 17th when Julie Craven will talk about the Kerrisons and their impact on Hoxne life.

On May 10th local historian, Sarah Doig, will be giving her popular talk ‘The A to Z of Curious Suffolk’.

More details nearer the time.

Please come along and join us.


Banham Walls project

The Hoxne Heritage Group is embarking on a project on the Banham Walls, important architectural features peculiar to the Oakley Park estate villages. This will be a photographic record as well as involving archival research about the walls and the bricks. If you have any information or photographs we will be pleased to hear from you.

You can contact us via this link to our web site

Suffolk Local History Council Societies’ Day

On 5th March Richard Giffin from the Hoxne Heritage Group gave a passionate and enthusiastic talk to the Suffolk Local History Council societies about our Hoxne Angel, Harriet Pentney. This was extremely well-received and resulted in much interest and some useful discussions about old Hoxne families.

For more details of Harriet Pentney click here



Our recent talks

On 28th January we were fortunate to have Jo Caruth from Suffolk Archaeology to give a fascinating talk about the excavation at Hartismere School. The site revealed an Anglo-Saxon settlement and, of international importance, the first Anglo-Saxon longhouse discovered in this country. Subsequently two more longhouses have been discovered near Kentford.

On 27th February an authoritative and scholarly account by Dr Francis Young discussed the theories and controversies surrounding the whereabouts of the relics of St. Edmund. The theory that relics that rested for some time in Toulouse, protecting the town from the plague, which were moved back later to Arundel belonged to St. Edmund has now largely fallen out of favour. Convincing arguments have now been put forward to suggest that St. Edmund’s remains lie in some unknown and unrevered resting place in Bury St. Edmunds. An excellent account of the theories and controversies can be found in Dr Young’s book, ‘Where is St. Edmund?’


“Where is St Edmund?” Our next talk by Dr Francis Young

Where is St Edmund?

What happened to his body?

Where is he today?

St Edmund picture

Hoxne Heritage Group presents a talk by Dr Francis Young (East Anglian historian, teacher and researcher)

 Date: Saturday 27th February, 7.30pm, Admission £5

Venue: St Edmund’s Hall, Hoxne

There will be a bar and raffle

Talk by Jo Caruth on January 28th 2016

Hoxne Heritage Group presents:-

Life before the medieval town: evidence of early occupation from archaeological excavations at Hartismere School, Eye.

by Jo Caruth (Senior Archaeologist, Suffolk Archaeology).

 Jo Caruth Hartismere Dig Picture


Thursday, January 28th 2016 at 19.30 in the bar area, St. Edmund’s Hall, Hoxne.

 Admission £4 – includes refreshments.

Hoxne Church Harvest Flower Festival

Held in the church in Saturday 3rd October and Sunday 4th October this was an opportunity for some members of Hoxne Heritage Group to demonstrate their flower arranging skills using the theme of harvests through the ages.

Harvest flowers 2

Using a variety of autumn flowers, foliage and other ‘accessories’ the display attempted to give an insight into how harvesting has changed notably through the equipment used such as scythes, the use of quern stones and how crops have evolved/ changed.

Harvest flowers 1

A different interpretation of harvesting was also shown with the aid of a metal detector used for ‘harvesting’ the lost artefacts of previous local inhabitants. Thus emphasising just one of the many tasks of Hoxne Heritage Group in it’s quest to keep the past alive and meaningful to not only present but also future generations.

Medieval Deer Parks in Hoxne

On September 15th the Hoxne Heritage Group were honoured to host Rosemary Hoppitt to address our monthly meeting. Rosemary is an historical geographer and had written her PhD thesis at UEA in 1992 on the development of deer parks in Suffolk from the eleventh to the seventeenth century. Since that time she had researched even more records and we were fascinated to hear her account.

Most Suffolk deer parks were less than 200 acres and belonged originally to the ecclesiastical elite between 1086 and 1602 and then to the lay elite and others. In 1602 there were 130 parks recorded in Suffolk, of which two were in Hoxne, two were in the South Elmham area and one in Homersfield. The old parks were situated on highland areas where drainage was poor – hence the site of the Hoxne Oldepark at Park Farm, near Chickering, which was owned by the Bishop of Norwich. It is believed that this park existed before 1119.

In 1472 an indenture mentions ‘le Oldepark’ which suggests that a ‘new park‘ was in existence.

When fashion began to change, and the demand was for a park in which to set a splendid house, the Old Park was abandoned in favour of a new site which could provide a suitable landscape setting. This was on the site of what is known as Oakley Park, a benign location in the Dove valley.

In 1837 the site became officially known as Oakley Park under Sir Edward Kerrison, however the Hall was demolished in 1923.

We are indebted to Rosemary Hoppitt for her excellent talk and providing so much information on the changing face of Hoxne since the eleventh century.












A landscape archaeology walk in Hoxne with Edward Martin.

A group of Heritage members were given some fascinating practical tuition in landscape archaeology in Hoxne on July 19th, when accompanied by well-known archaeologist, Edward Martin.

Edward explained that settlement starts at either the site of a church, or where there is a water supply, e.g. at the confluence of the Dove and Waveney. However, the name Hoxne, meaning ‘heel sinew’ derives from the shape of the landscape and gives the clue indicating Hoxne settlement originated at the church. From the Domesday Book records show that Hoxne had a mid-late Saxon church dedicated to St. Ethelbert and was the Episcopal See of Suffolk. It was almost certainly on the site of the present church. Until C13th Hoxne also had a weekly market and was a very important and thriving village. The vicarage, although moated, is too big for a manorial hall although it is possible that the original bishop’s palace was on that site. During the C14th the palace, now a country seat of the Bishop of Norwich, moved towards the centre of the village to the site where Oakley Park/Hoxne Hall stood. Here they had ‘a palace very fair and gallant, a deer park and flourishing estate’. The deer park at that time was situated on high ground near Hoxne Wood ,and commemorated to this day by the name ’Park Farm’. However, the park did not always satisfy the demands of the hunt so a New Park was established near the palace in C15th.

It is the redundant path referred to as Rose Walk that borders the New Park and back of the Low Street properties that is of specific interest to the HHG. It is conjectured that the path may have been the route that pilgrims visiting the bishop at the church may have taken from their boarding house at the Swan. With reference to maps from 1619, 1757 and 1843 Edward pointed out a number of clues to look for. A brick lodge which appears at Lodge Hill on the 1619 map had disappeared by 1757, infilling in the 1843 map. Rose Lane itself runs between a double ditch – the present wall being on the line of one ditch. Edward was convinced that the deer fence shown on the old maps predated Rose Walk. The wall is interesting as the bricks in some parts are extremely unusual. Some very early bricks dating back to the C16th are present as well as 2.5in.bricks which are only found after 1650. He thought some were Tudor and some, such as the Suffolk whites, may be rejects from the Old Brickworks on the Eye Road. The mixture of bricks suggested that the wall was made from reclaimed materials, possibly from demolished buildings such as Hoxne Hall.

The 1757 map shows the development of an ornamental Serpentine lake from the Goldbrook, a very fashionable statement of the times. Some of the lime trees bordering Rose Walk are substantial and indicate ornamental planting as they are extremely unusual for the area.

On the walk back along Low Street to the church Edward pointed out some interesting features. The facade of Red House actually covers a timber frame, and that test pitting at the front of the Low Street properties is more likely to be fruitful than those at the back, as would the front of the Green Street properties on the other side of the road from the church. He also talked about the famous Banham walls – the attractive brick walling found in various locations around Hoxne. The walls are built of 9.5in half-round hollow coping bricks set at 90 degrees to their original design in staggered courses. The bricks were made at the Old Brickworks on the Eye Road.

He finished his tour by giving some hints on how other research could help inform where test pitting would be most beneficial:-

. Examine documentary evidence indicating trades or farms.

. Look at the shape of farms and soil types in the Waveney Valley to get a clue of the meadows.

. Look at listed buildings and John Walker’s survey to add into the equation.

. Look at aerial photographs e.g. the site of the missing lodge.

. Combine tithe and census records.

. Explore manor rolls. Tithe->manor rolls->property designation may give a clue to how things evolved.

A truly educational and fascinating tour – we all learnt so much.

Edward has suggested that his general chapter on Medieval settlement history in East Anglia in the book Medieval Rural Settlement in Britain 800-1600, obtainable from Amazon, would be helpful in putting Hoxne into its regional context.

Rose walk wall

The wall bordering Rose Walk