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History

Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)

"LITTLE STONHAM, a parish in the hundred of Bosmere, county Suffolk, 12 miles from Ipswich. In the vicinity is an extensive brewery and malting establishment. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Norwich, value £420. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, has been recently restored. The register dates from the 14th century. The parochial charities produce about £87 per annum, of which £1 is the constable's "pightle." There is a village school for both sexes. The Baptists have a chapel. Sir W. Middleton is lord of the manor.

Extract from Parva & Pye  by Jane Pratt

The Village History

If the foreign tourist to our shores desired to see the typical village of the Suffolk countryside, they could scarcely do better than to spend an hour or so in Little Stonham. There are many new dwellings contrasting with the thatched cottages of yesterday. The beautiful tree-girt churchyard and the lovely country rolling around is certainly peaceful and interesting beyond compare. This is the way many people have seen and remember Little Stonham. What a contrast the tranquil, idyllic scene makes with the thundering race of huge lorries and cars as they hurtle along the main A140 road.

Almost two thousand years ago, the Romans recognised the importance of the route linking London to Colchester and northwards to Caister. In AD43 the Roman armies landed in south east England and conquered the south eastern part of the country and an army was despatched to subdue the tribes of East Anglia. Their major centre was established at Caister St Edmund (9 miles S.E. of Norwich). The Romans set up a communications system to allow for the steady increase of military traffic. They needed to send messages from one major centre to another and over the years they embarked on a programme of marketing agricultural goods. The Romans were remarkable road builders. They applied an understanding of the contours and manner of the land to their knowledge of strong and durable materials. In Little Stonham today, we have inherited the foundations of their ingenuity.

Recently, a wonderful hoard of Roman treasure was found at Hoxne and there have been finds at Coddenham and even closer at hand in Earl Stonham and Mendlesham. The Archaeological Section of Suffolk County Council expects there to be at least fifty archaeological sites in Little Stonham. Most of these would probably be medieval (11th - 16th century), though there is likely to be a Roman and a Saxon element as well. Scatter finds were registered in Church Lane by Mr Webster of a 13th century parrot beak spout, and fragments of a milk skimming dish. These were objects, two of which were made of iron and one bronze that were found below a floor.

Suffolk was beginning to change in the post-medieval years with the impact of agricultural growth. It is to the increasing importance of the highway, that we must look, to follow the progress of Little Stonham. In the 16th century came the first real carriages, which could give a reasonable degree of comfort for travellers with money. Up to that time, everyone either rode on horses or were shaken to pieces in carts. Various Acts of Parliament were passed which tried to ensure that roads were kept in good repair with varying degrees of success.

In 1663 a major step forward was achieved when an Act of Parliament was passed which enabled the Justices of the Peace to levy tolls on travellers for the repair of the roads. Within a short time, the Turnpike System was established. However, it was for more than 100 years that the Norwich Road remained un- ­turnpiked! This was probably due to the good condition of the road being maintained by our 'charity gifts'. The first Turnpike Trust in Suffolk authorised in 1711-12, and covered the Ipswich-Scole stretch; a tollgate erected in Little Stonham. The position of the tollgate can be seen on the map "Turnpike Roads 1825", and it was very closely situated to the Council Houses. On one of the houses, a sign bears witness to the location of tollgate.

It is to the Romans again, that we must look for the part explanation of village name. 'Stonham' is the old English for 'stoney ground' or 'stoney place Sometimes an additional 'e' can be seen in the word ‘Parva' is, of course, fi `parvus', the Latin word meaning 'small/little'. 'Little' (of the Stonhams) we . . . but also – Jernegan!

Between the 11th and the 16th century our village flourished as Stonham Jernegan, under the lordship of that family. There were some well-known members, who will appear again in the historical references. In 1565 the manor was sold away from the Jernegan family, and the village ceased to be known as Stonham Jernegan. It is, in the ensuing period, of Queen Elizabeth I, that the Latin (parva' came into use among the educated classes. 'Little', in the translated form, was used by everyday people. This manor passed through a succession of hands – the Carews, Cooks, Blomfields etc – and today the lordship of Little Stonham is held by Lord de Saumarez.

There is another manor in the parish, namely: Flude/Fleed or Fleet Hall with Waltham or Walham Hall. The manor of Fleed Hall has some fascination because the Hall itself, disappeared some fifty years ago! The old building blew down. This manor is a very old one, and was amongst the possessions of Earl Allan in Domesday times. At an early period, it came into the Crane family, and the arms of the Crane family can be found over the west door of the church. The lordship today, belongs to a Mr Mariott.