A collection of historical documents about Foxearth
Focsearde in the Doomsday Book 1086 - Foxherde in 1202 in the F.F.(Feet of Fines for Essex) and in 1232 F.F.- Foxherthe in 1198-1253 F.F.- Foxhierd in 1221 and in 1428 F.A.(Feudal Aids 1899-1920)- Foxhole in 1212 R.B.(Red Book Of The Exchequer) and in 1314 C.L.(Calender of Closed Rolls)- Foxhierd in 1246 also Foxhirde in the same year(F.F.) Foxerht in 1261 F.F.- Foxeyerde in 1294 in the PAT.(Calender of Patent Rolls)- Foxherne in 1362- Foxhorn 1363 in C.L.(Calender of Closed Rolls)- Foxzerd in 1428 in F.A.- Foxearth in 1594 N.(Norden).
'Fox-hole or burrowing place'.The various forms of the second element show different developments of the old english,with the exception of Foxhole,for which Foxhol--hern,--horn, where hyrne,(corner)has been substituted.This name carries back back the meaning (hole of a fox) nearly 500 years earlier than the first example.
Rod Bridge is Rad(e)brygge---bregge bridge in 1307. Ratbregg in 1404,perhaps'red bridge'. possibly a corruption of Road Bridge (AC)
West End Hall is Westone in 1045,-- Vuestuna in the Doomsday book,-- Weston End in 1777. West farm is in the east of the parish.West perhaps because it is north west of Liston, but more probably because it is due west of Acton in Suffolk.(manorial connections)G.H.)
Brook Hall was probably the home of Gilbert ate Broke (1319),it is Brooke Halle in 1330,-Borlee Parva in 1584
Borley Hall, Cardinals Farm, Huntsmans Farm, and Liston Garden are probably associated with the families of Peter de Borle who came from Borley.They are William Carbonell (1351).Thomas Hunteman (1404) and John de Lyston(1332) from Liston.
Little Crabtree (Crabettroufeld 1374)( this is the big field behind Foxearth Hall) G.H.). Great and little Lymarsh.(two fields behind the brewery)(G.H.).Lynersch in 1374,Lymerrsh in 1404,probably 'flax stubble field).Great Nuttings,(Nottynghegh in 1374),denoting the gathering of nuts,( this is behind the mustard pot).(G.H.). Po field ,(Po-feld) in 1369,Pokefeld in 1373, this is the home of the goblins,(small field on the right on the way to Pentlow).(G.H.)
From White’s History, Gazetteer & Directory of Essex 1848
FOXEARTH, a small village, in a pleasant valley, 4 miles N. W. by N. of Sudbury, has in its parish 474 souls, and 1582a.of land, Richard Lambert, Esq., is lord of the manor, but a great part of the soil belongs to Col. Meyrick, the trustees of Dr. Clopton’s Hospital, at Bury St. Edmund’s, Mr. M. R. Langdale, Mr. S. Viall, and a few small owners.
Foxearth Hall, occupied by a farmer, is a fine old mansion, encompassed by a moat, and formerly the seat of the Bures and other families. The ancient mansion of Westons, or Brook Hall, stood near the green, where many human bones have been dug up on the site of a chapel. The Church is a neat building, with a tower and three bells, and is now being thoroughly restored and beautified, at the expense of the Rev. John Foster, M.A., the patron and incumbent of the rectory, valued in K.B. at £10. 4s. 4½d., and in 1831 at £411. He has erected an elegant south porch, in memory of his late lamented wife, and has enriched the east window, and some of the side windows, with stained glass. The glebe is 27a.,and the rectory house is a commodious old mansion, with pleasant grounds.
A National School is about to be erected; and here is a small Independent Chapel, built in 1787.
The poor parishioners have 13s. 4d. yearly out of Lang Meadow; and 20s. as the rent of the Town Wood Acre; but the donors are unknown. The rent of half an acre, let for 30s., is applied in finding bell ropes.
Anderson Isaac, maltster
Bethel Fredk. straw plat dealer
Branwhite Dominick, baker & shpr
Chinery Abm. cattle, &c. dealer
Deal Elisha, corn miller
Deal Thomas, thatcher
Foster Rev. John, M.A., Rectory
Gager Henry, shoemaker
Ince Mary, boarding school
Ives Henry, blacksmith
Kidd George, tailor
Marco Mary, shopkeeper
Oakley James, bricklayer
Scott Mrs., The Farm
Theobald Joseph, beerhouse
Upson Edward, cattle &c, dealer
Ward Job, parish clerk
Ward Wm. shoemaker
Aldham Richard, Foxearth Hall
Ewer Thos. Shephard, Old Farm
Hurrell Lucy, Carbonels
Orbell John, Brook Hall
Viall Samuel, Lower Hall
From the History of Essex
The parish of Foxearth extends from the south and south-west of Pentlow to the Stour,and is computed to be about seven miles in circumference; distance from Sudbury three, from Halstead seven, and from London fifty six miles.The lands are very good,but lie low, and are at the north-west extemity of of the extensive agricultural district of miscellaneous loams.
In the Saxon era,under Edward the Confessor,this district was in the possession of nineteen sochmen and four freemen;and, at the survey of Doomsday, the manor of Foxearth Hall,which was of very limited extent,had become the property of Richard Fitz-Gilbert,ancestor of the lords of Clare; and the manor of Weston Hall, also named Brook Hall, and was in the possession of Roger Bigot. In the rolls belonging to the honour of Clare, the name of Borle Parva,denoting that it was a small parish itself,or it anciently belonged to Borley parish,though it has been separated from it for several ages,and joined to Foxearth, as is indicated by its secondary name,it lies low on the borders of a brook.From the account in Doomsday,it evidently appears to have been the manor which yet retains the name of Liston Weston, and these two manors constitute the hamlet of Weston.About three quarters of a mile from the church at Foxearth, near the road to Liston and Pentlow,is the old house called Listons,or Westons; some of the lands belonging to it extending into the parish of Liston.
Westons continued in the possession of the Bigot family,earls and dukes of Norfolk,until the reign of King Henry the Sixth,when,about the year 1286 the two manors became united.
The mansion house of Foxearth Hall is near the church, and having, from the commencement of the Norman period, belonged to the lords of Clare,was.in 1123,given with the advowson of the church,to the priory of Stoke,by Richard,the son of Gilbert de Clare;and in 1202,Hugh, prior of that house,conveyed this possession to Walter Fitz-Humphrey; and,in 1286, Sir Walter Fitz-Humphrey, of Pentlow,granted all his right in this manor,with the advowson of the church,to Sir Andrew de Bures,of the ancient family of Bures,in Suffolk.
Westons or Brook Hall,in the commencement of the reign of King Edward the First,belonged to Thomas de Wancy,under whom it was held,by enfeoffment for life,by William de Montcheney,who,dying 1286,it reverted to its former owner,and,in the reign of Edward the Second,is recorded to have been in the possession of Simon de Cantebridge,named also Candelent and Candelion.In 1332,a moiety of this manor was in the possession of John de Liston; and,1339,it was made to constitute a part of of the dower of Mary,countess Mareschall,being at that time styled half a knights fee.The house stood near the green,on which the foundations of a chapel may yet be traced,and where human bones were also found,indicating that formerly there was a burying place there. United Manors
In the year 1286,the two manors of Foxearth had become united in the possession of Sir Andrew de Bures,and were held under him by John Fermer,and Katharine his wife,widow of John de Goldingham; and in 1344,King Edward the Third granted John Fermer view of frankpledge of his men and tenants here,he was living in 1354.
Sir Andrew de Bures died in 1360,holding these possessions of lady
Elizabeth de Burgh,as of the honour of Clare,besides other estates. He
had by Alice his wife,daughter and heiress of Sir John de Roydon, and
grand-daughter of of Sir Robert de Roydon,by Alice,daughter and heiress
of Robert de Ramis,Robert and Andrew.Robert succeeded his father,and died
in 1361,leaving by his wife Joane,an only daughter and heiress,Alice,who
was married to to Sir Guy de Bryon,son and heir of a celebrated warrior
of the same place.
On his decease, in 1406,his wife survived him, and held the estate till her death in 1434,leaving two daughters,Philippa,married first to John Devereux,Esq.and afterwards to Sir Henry de Scrope,but left no issue.
Elizabeth, the second daughter, was married to Sir Robert Lovel, whom she survived, and died 1437, holding the manor of "Borle Parva",alias Brokehall, or Westons,and the manor of Foxherde Hall, as stated in the inquisition.
Her only daughter, Maud, was married to John Fitz-Alan,lord of Maltravers,afterwards earl of Arundel, who died soon after his mother ,and Amicia,her only daughter, who inherited the family possessions.
She was married to Sir James Butler,son of the earl of Ormond, and in 1458,created earl of Wiltshire.
On her death,in 1456 her cousin,Humphrey Stafford, son of John, brother her father,became heir.But the earl,her husband,who survived her,and was beheaded in 1461,was found to possess the manor of Foxearth,which being seized by the crown,was given to Henry Bouchier,earl of Essex,who had it in his possession at the time of his death,in 1483;
his sons gaurdians presented to the church in 1485.But it passed from this appropriation,and again became the property of the family of Bures;for William de Bures held his first court here in 1486,and the same year presented to the living, His son Robert,by his Wife,Jane Markham,succeeded to the family inheritance,whos son ,Robert de Bures,Esq.of Aketon,in Suffolk,on his death in 1528, held the manor of Foxearth, advowson of the church, manor of Brokehall and Weston Mill.By his wife Anne,daughter of Sir William Waldegrave, of Smallbridge,
he had four daughters, co-heiresses. Joane, the eldest,daughter,was married to Sir William Butts,of Thornage,in Norfolk;Bridget,to Thomas Butts of Ryborough;and Anne,to Edmund Butts, of Burrow,in Suffolk. These were the brothers,sons of the celebrated Sir William Butts, of Fulham,physician to King Henry the Eighth.
Mary, the fourth youngest daughter, was married to Thomas Bacon,Esq. The only recorded issue of these co-heiresses was Anne, only child of the third daughter; she was married to Nicholas Bacon of Redgrave, premier baronet of England.
Anne, mother of this Anne,survived all her sisters,dying in 1609, possessed of the moiety of these two manors and estates, and the advowson of the church, with considerable estates,but,by inheritance or purchase, the whole of Foxearth Hall,and of Westons in this parish,became the property of her daughter and her husband,Sir Nicholas Bacon. On his death in 1624,his eldest son,Sir Edmund,was his successor;who dying without issue,in 1649,was succeeded by his next brother,Sir Robert;who in the year 1650,vested the manor of Foxearth,with several other estates,in trustees,for the payment of his debts,and certain legacies,in pursuance of which, his son in law,Sir William Doiley,sold the manor of Foxearth Hall to Major General Hezekiah Haynes of Copford;in whose family it continued till 1763,when it passed by will,to the Rev.John Harrison,A.M.rector of Faulkbourne;on whose death the estates were sold,and have been in the possession of various families and individuals since.
The family of Carbonel came to England with Wm.the Conqueror
The Manor of Carbonels,or Cardinels,in 1166,belonged to a family named De Hausted,or Halstead,lords of the manor of that town.In 1166,Peter de Halstead granted that manor,with appurtenances,of which this manor was one,to Abel de St.Martin; whose successor,Robert,in 1311,conveyed it to John de Bousser,fouder of the noble family of Bourchier;and it was holden under Robert,Lord Bourchier,in 1351,by Sir William Carbonell,of Buckenham Hall in Suffolk,from whom it took the name it has borne ever since.Elizabeth,daughter of Sir William,was marrried to Sir John de Liston,and conveyed the estate to that family;from which it passed to Richard Lyons,to Venour,Say,and Clopton.It also passed into the possession of William,lord Maynard,and then to Sir Benjamin Bathurst,knt;and to Allen,lord Bathurst,knt;and to Henry Dashwood,Esq. The church has a nave,with north, and south aisles,and a chancel; adjioning the north side of which is Kemp's Chapel,which belongs to the hall.The whole building is of stone,and at the west end there is a square tower with five bells.
The rectory,which originally belonged to Gilbert de Clare,passed from that noble family to the priory of Stoke;and afterwards to the lord of the manor of Foxearth Hall,and afterwards became the property of the Pemberton family.In 1368,Sir William Waldegrave presented it to this living,but by what right it is not known,as it does not appear that any that any of the manors have belonged to that family.
On the ground,in the chancel,a black marble bears the following inscription.
"Underneath this stone lyeth the remains of William Byatt,clerk,the last male of the Byatt family,whose ancestors(being gentlemen),were many years inhabitants of Bures St.Mary,in the county of Suffolk.And several of them lie buried in that church.And under this stone likewise lies buried Elizabeth Byatt,only daughter of William Byatt,by his first wife,(an infant of three or four months old).And also Richard Byatt,only brother of the said William Byatt,aged twenty five years.William Byatt was possessed of the advowson of this living;and built a good handsome brick house upon it,all at his own charge.He was thirteen years the much esteemed rector of this parish,and died in the thirty eighth year of his age,and in the year of our Lord 1743.The stone was laid by Mary,his dejected widow,and his brother in law,his two executors,in great regard to his memory".
The following inscription is on a brass plate,on a very coarse stone in the chancel.
"Joseph Sidney,gent.lyeth heare buried,who died om the eleventh of day of June,anno 1605".
In 1587,Mr Bright left an annuity of twelve pounds,to be paid out of the of Brooke Hall,for the poor prisoners and widows,and for the use of St.Edmundsbury school
A farm called Huntsmans,was given by the Rev.Moses Cook,for the augmentation of the living of St.James,in Colchester,and any other three churches in that town,which the bishop of London should appoint.
Five shillings a year are given to the poor here,called wood-money.This parish,in 1821,contained four hundred and thirty six inhabitants,and,in 1831,four hundred and sixty six inhabitants
The poor parishioners have 13s.4d.yearly out of long meadow and 20s.as the rent of town wood acre,but the donors are unknown,the rent for half an acre is let for 30s.is applied in finding bell ropes.(Bell rope meadow is to the right of the track,just inside the gate ,from the Foxearth road,leading to Liston Hall)(G.H.).
The Monuments of North West Essex. A survey commissioned by H.M.Government in 1909, on buildings built before 1714.
Foxearth is a small parish and village on the border of Suffolk,about 3©miles N.W.of Sudbury.The Hall and the Post Office are the principal monuments.
The parish church of St.Peter and St.Pauls stands on the E.side of the village.The walls are of flint rubble with stone dressings,and the roofs with tile and lead.The Nave is of uncertain date,but circa 1350 a north aisle was added and the chancel was rebuilt.The North Aisle was rebuilt and widened around 1450,and the North Chapel was added; the chancel arch was possibly removed at the same time. The West tower was added in 1862,and the church was restored and the south porch added during the 19th.century.There is said to have been a south aisle but no structural evidence remains.
The chancel(29 ft.by 18© ft.)has an east window of c 1350,and of the three cinque foiled ogee lights with leaf tracery in a two centred head;the internal and external labels are chamfered.In the north wall is a modern doorway,and further west a two centered arch of c 1450 and two hollow chamfered orders;the responds are moulded and shafted,with moulded bases and capitals.In the south wall are two windows;the eastern is of c.1350,partly restored and of two cinque foiled lights with tracery in a segmental pointed head,under a chamfered label;the western window is modern,except the internal splays and hollow chamfered rear arch,which are of the 15th.century.Between the the windows is a modern doorway.There is no chancel arch,but between the chancel and the nave is a chamfered and moulded beam,probably of the 15th.centued,all the windows being stained and the walls beautifully adorned with paintings;the finely carved rood screen has its lower panels,found when the church was restored,handsomely painted.
There are 300 sittings. The register dates from the year 1550 and is in fair condition.
The living is a rectory,net yearly value £270,with 26 acres of glebe and a residence,in the gift of the Rev.K.G.Foster M.A. and held since 1911 by the Rev.Harry Stanley Carpenter M.A. of Keble College, Oxford.
There is a Congregational Chapel.
In the village is a large brewery owned by Messrs Ward and Son. Foxearth Hall,an ancient moated house is the residence of John Campbell Lambert esq.who is lord of the manor.
The principal land owners are Mrs.Julia Brand, J.C.and A.V.C. Lambert esqrs.the trustees of Dr.Clopton's Asylum,at Bury st.Edmunds,and David Ward esq.
The soil is loam and gravel;subsoil various.
The chief crops are wheat,beans and barley. The area is 1,717 acres of land 7 of water;rateable value,£2,083;
the population in 1911 was 335.
Post Office;-William Chinnery,sub-postmaster. Letters arrive from Long Melford,Suffolk,which is the nearest money order and telegraph office,3 miles distant.
Public Elementary School (mixed), built in 1847 for 100 children; Miss Flora Alice Barnes, mistress/.
Carrier to Sudbury,- Harry Eldred Ham, tues, thurs,and sat. -
Rev.Harry Stanley Carpenter M.A. (rector) Rectory-
Henry Stibbard Carter, Sunnyside.-
Frank Garrad, Glebeside-
William Charles Hicks, Carbonells-
Archibald Vaughan Campbell Lambert, Foxearth Hall, -
John Campbell Lambert, Foxearth Hall.-
Henry George Newson, Connemarra.-
David Ward,Lower Hall.-
Miss Welch, Claypits Hall
Commercial--Mrs.Julia Brand, Brook Hall.--
Samuel Evans, blacksmith.-
Mrs.Charles Ewer,Western End.- -
Harry Eldred Ham, shopkeeper and carrier.--
A.V.C.lambert, farmer and landowner. Foxearth Hall.--
Timothy Leggot, assistant overseer.-Ward and Son, brewers.
FOXEARTH CHURCH DECORATION c 1860's
A reredos,or altar screen,has just been completed by Mr Ringham,woodcarver of this town,for the parish church of Foxearth,near Sudbury.
The design is by Mr Joseph Clarke,of Lincoln's Inn Fields,London. It consists of a centre and two wings,the former divided into seven,and each of the latter into five compartments. The central portion,which of course is the most prominent,is in the lower stage,with the exception of larger buttresses,similar to the wings which rise no higher,but in the next stage presents a range of seven niches,inclosing panels on which are inscribed appropriate texts of scripture,the middle one having a very elegant designed cross with evangelistic symbols.
The cornice is surmounted with a variety of the Tudor flower,the prototype of which we believe,is to found in the remarkable font cover at Ufford.
Considering that nearly every reredos of medieval archictecture has been destroyed,and the vestiges of those few which remain shew many features objectionable to Protestant notions,it is a difficult task for an architect to frame a design which shall be in accordance with the features of our churches.
All that we have hitherto seen are in our judgement decided failures,and we have no hesitation in saying not merely that Mr Clarke's is superior to them,but that it is the only one we are aware of,that is really in accordance with the spirit of the beautiful architecture of the middle ages.
Of the carving we cannot speak too highly. Mr Ringham is well known as one of the first artists in the kingdom,in proof of which we may observe that his specimens for the wood work in the New Houses of Parliament were placed in the first rank,above numerous competitors,by the Committee appointed to report upon this subject,though for some reasons,to which we may at another time advert,his abilities were not called into requisition,but the work placed into the hands of inferior artists.
There is no part of this screen which does not exhibit the marks of a most careful and practised hand. Most of the details of the foliage were furnished by Mr Ringham,and are of the most elaborate design.In delicacy of execution the screen may vie with the best of specimens of ancient wood work. We should not,however,omit to remark that the lettering and painting of the panels by Mr Walter Hagreen, exhibit great taste,and a correct judgement in the adjuncts of medieval architecture. The cross in the centre of the screen is a very chaste composition.
We have spoken highly of the merits this screen as a artistic work; we may also add that there is nothing in it suggestive of Popish error,or inappropriate to the spirit of Church of England Protestantism. The Church of Foxearth,is we understand,undergoing a careful repair,and the parish are indebted to the liberality of the Rev.J.Foster,the incumbent,for the possession of this beautiful ornament to their Church.
The Building of Foxearth School
Foxearth is a very pretty village in Essex,about four miles from Sudbury.
Till within the last few years it had fallen into decay,but the present
lector,on his succeeding to the living,at once restored the church in a
costly and appropriate manner and. then proceeded to erect new schools;
these great improvements have been the means of causing great change in
the village, than that in its present neat and cheerful appearance it can
scarcely be recognised as the same place.
The schools occupy the site of the village alehouse, which the rector purchased with the double object of appropriating it to the beneficial purpose of education as well as removing the source of idleness and intemperance. They are constructed, in the most substantial and durable manner.
The walls from the nature of the site,are built on a thick bed of concrete,and are constructed of flint,lined with brick; the outer facing being of pebble flint of the country, set whole-the joints raked out,so as to show no pointing. This makes an excellent face, but it is necessary to employ work people of the locality who are accustomed to the work. The dressings, externally are of Bath stone and inside of Caen, worked in a superior manner. The detail is richer, and the whole building partakes more of a medieval character and composition than can usually be adopted.
The roof over the school is taken from one of the good examples of domestic buildings which we have remaining of the fifteenth century;the timbers are exposed and stained, and as well as the other roofs, covered with old tiles, with a ridge cresting.
The schoolroom is pannelled in oak around the walls, and has a fire-place of stone projecting boldly into the room. Leading from the school-room to the class-room is an open corridor, communicating with the house, which has more accomodation than usual, being intended for the occasional residence of the Curate. The outer framing is of oak, filled with parget. An oven is attached to the kitchen,- a desirable convenience in rural districts and in some cases might advantageously be added to combine industrial training with educational teaching, which,to some extent, is carried on in these schools; the children being instructed in the duties of everyday life,to fit them the better for positions they may expected hereafter to fulfill.
The cost of these schools,which are erected entirely at the expense of the Rector, without any assistance from Public Grants, was considerable,-the amount, exclusive of the purchase of the site, being more than £900.
AUSTRALIA BOUND-AN ACCOUNT OF THE CONVICT TRANSPORTATION-1788-1868.
EXTRACTS FROM A BOOK BY DAVID T.HAWINGS,PUBLISHED IN 1987.
This letter was found in the Privy Council Records in the P.R.O.
Will Gibbons said to have been discharged, 8th July 1818.
, The person named in the margin having returned to this parish,from on board the Laurel hulk,at Portsmouth,without any other document of his having been set at liberty by authority,than a Certificate signed by Alexr.Lamb,Captain,which certificate is incorrect with respect to the date of the conviction, and has led to a doubt,whether the certificate may be a forgery. I have therefore to request,on behalf of the inhabitants of this parish,that you will be pleased to inform me whether such person has been discharged in consequence of His Majesty's Free Pardon as set forth in the certificate of Captain Lamb.
I have the honour to be,
In 1838 Will Gibbons lived in a house now pulled down between Foxearth Hall park and Foxearth Hall cottage.
In the 1851 census, William Gibbons lived at what is now Pear Tree Cottage,opposite the school. He was aged 58,married,with five children.
Benjamin Hurrell farmed Carbonells in 1838.
Lucy Hurrell,a widow,aged 62,was farming Carbonells in 1851.
Foxearth, of course, is known through its connection with Britain's national beverage, and because of this its fame extends far beyond the Essex and Suffolk borders. Yet, despite this association with a flourishing industry, Foxearth itself is very far from being commercialised in appearance, for here we discover in many ways a village which has changed little, if at all, throughout the last hundred years and more, and which therefore bears every aspect of an honourable and an attractive old age.
True enough, this only applies to one part of Foxearth, for in the vicinity of the church here most of the habitations are entirely modern of aspect, modern and well built, and situated in friendly little gardens, where flourish a profusion of gay flowers in due season, but which even now bear that attractive air suggesting the brightness of things to come. In many respects, in fact, this part of Foxearth can be described with every regard to the truth as a "Garden Village," a description so often loosely used that it has lost something of its real significance, but which certainly applies here, as anybody who has spent even a short time in the vicinity will admit readily enough.
It is these modern houses, which suggest that Foxearth is more important in many ways than the majority of its kind, and this importance can be traced to the brewery to which I referred in the opening paragraph. Yet it is not only the habitations that seem rather different from the usual type to be seen, in the district, for here is a village Hall, erected some fifteen years ago which entirely harmonises with the modern dwellings and which in itself teems to suggest something of the progress which Foxearth has made in recent times.
So much for the new part of Foxearth, where incidentally, the church is to be discovered, although before visiting this it is advisable to remark further upon the older Foxearth which can be found but a short distance away. For here are many ancient cottages, in many cases thatched and rendered cosy of aspect in consequence, whilst there is also a delightful Post Office forming part of a range of pleasant habitations in which there dwells the undying charm, the infinite friendliness, of Essex and Suffolk's rural districts.
Here also is a farmhouse, whose very appearance breathes of one of the most stirring periods in England's chequered story, for this farmhouse undoubtedly dates from the spacious days of the sixteenth century, even although it has to a certain extent been modernised, so that some of its original beauty is lost in consequence. The most extensive renovation ohas occurred to the chimneys, so that these, formerly magnificent of aspect, reveal now only a little of their original dignity, with the result that the building, imposing although it is to-day, is far less so than it was at the time it first came into being. Fortunately, however, the old-time moat remains-remains as it did originally, for unlike many of its kind, it surrounds the house entirely. In fact, to reach the precincts of the farm from the road, it is necessary to cross a small bridge, and in this alone there seems something of the quiet dignity born and nurtured in a past of consequence.
Now, however, it is time to visit the house of worship at Foxearth, and this, as we have seen, is close to those newer habitations, which give this part of Foxearth a somewhat modern look. And the church at Foxearth, dedicated to SS Peter and Paul, bears also a modern appearance, for the spire surmounting the tower here peeps above the many splendid trees in a manner strange enough to those familiar with the more weathered relics usually to be found crowning the rural edifices in which for countless generations the proud and the humble, the wealthy and the poor, have bent the knee in prayer.
The church of SS. Peter and Paul has been constructed in the Perpendicular style, and is a building' extensive and certainly imposing, with its chancel, its nave of four bays, its South porch, and the Western bespired tower commented upon, and which, incidentally, possesses a clock and eight bells. A striking and massive tower and spire, as I have conveyed, but which in some ways prepares the visitor for something very much out of the ordinary.
And the Foxearth church itself is out of the ordinary, without a doubt, for there is probably no sacred edifice in all the Essex and Suffolk countryside, which can compare with it in many respects. Numerous of our churches possess relics of outstanding interest and importance-magnificent tombs with the recumbent effigies in gold and blue and red of people who lived and died in ages long ago- brasses depicting lords and ladies and their children- splendid woodwork wrought by craftsmen many centuries back. It is not, however, in any of these respects that Foxearth is so distinctly uncommon, but because of the numerous and. strikingly appealing items which came into being not in times far distant, but yesterday.
First of all, however, it is advisable to notice the porch, for hew is the list of rectors who for over six hundred years have ministered to the spiritual needs of Foxearth inhabitants, commencing in 1294 with John de Godeslegh, whilst here, also, are the names of the men who left Foxearth to serve their country in the Great War-a goodly number for a village comparatively small.
But what of the interior of this Foxearth house of worship? As I have conveyed here is something so remarkable, so extraordinary that it can be described with every justification as unique. Restoration has played a tremendous part, so much, in fact, that the inside appearance is absolutely modern. Yet this Restoration is very different from the kind usually discovered, restoration which, whilst throwing into the background, or demolishing the old, has put nothing of worth in its place. Here, there is a different story to tell, for, although the whole appearance is practically new, the work has been so beautifully executed that it vies with that of the craftsmen who plied their trades in ages long ago. To describe it all in detail, in order to do it justice, needs a much more facile pen than mine. All I can do is to attempt a description, necessarily brief, and certainly far from embracing, of the clever artistry which has been executed within living memory.
First of all, then, the interior is exceptionally dark, partly because of the trees outside, but more particularly through the fact that every window is stained-filled with coloured glass, inserted in recent years. And this gives the church of SS. Peter and Paul a touch almost mystic: emphasised by the many paintings on the walls
These paintings, of course, take the form of Biblical subjects, of which it is impossible to write in detail, whilst, also, there are many figures of Saints- And the paintings practically cover the walls of the church, so, look where you will, it is almost impossible to find a space where this beautiful and artistic work is not in evidence.
Moreover, this splendour of colour is not to be found on the walls only, as the lower panels Of the roodscreen, which for years had been hidden from the eyes of men, and were brought to light during the work of restoration are also splendidly painted, whilst the screen itself is a magnificent example of the woodcarver's delicate craft. Also, there is quite a lot of other rich carving in the church, for the choir-stalls exhibit various figures, almost life-like in their artistic significance.
Then the cover of the font is a worthy crown, to the font itself, which is beautifully designed, whilst in the pulpit and roof we find other-striking examples of the brilliant workmanship so lavishly to the fore in this most original of church interiors. The house of worship at Foxearth can be described in fact, as the answer to those who assert that craftsmanship as it existed in the past, is no more, that modern machinery and modern methods have driven the artistry of old into the background, and in its place put something lifeless, inexpressive and entirely unappealing.
As an example of modern effort, Foxearth Church must surely rank high. To those who wish to see something remarkable in the1 way of restoration, I suggest that a visit here will be an education and perhaps an inspiration.
Further comments upon the subject would be to stress the obvious, and therefore we must turn our back upon this village house of worship, merely noticing that a piscine remains in its chancel. So once more we find ourselves in the pleasant churchyard, a churchyard which harmonises so delightfully with the rest of the village, for here are numerous trees and shrubs, the latter suggesting the beauties of an old-world garden more than anything else of which, in fact, Foxearth churchyard is strongly reminiscent more especially as near by is the expansive rectory, of that type definitely English in appearance, in which there is a quiet dignity and an air; of welcome serenity.
To leave this restful spot by way of a lych-gate, and pass along the narrow avenue of tall trees which leads to the main read, is like putting behind us something belonging to a world far removed from our own, making the sports ground near, and the meadowland rolling towards the banks of the Stour seem strangely contrasting in consequence. Yet, as we have seen, Foxearth is a place of some importance from the commercial point of view, so that in this village on the Essex and Suffolk borders we find two entirely different aspects-the old-world village which is practically the same as it was many years ago, and the newer part, whose appearance suggests a certain progress and a definite link with the busy life outside.