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Wangford is a little island of tranquillity in a mad world. The great sentinel of St. Peter and St. Paul Church stands on the site of an 1160 Cluniac priory.
The village is full of 17th and 18th century listed building it even has a coach house in the grounds of the church which is very rare. Visitors’ to Wangford are always made to feel most welcome and part of the village. Staying here is no problem you can stay in a pub or B & B even rent a holiday home but you will not want to leave.
There are lots of things you can do in and around Wangford, go to the seaside Southwold is only 3 ½ miles away, Lowestoft or Beccles about 10 miles. The list of things is endless, power boat racing on Oulton Broad (Thurs eve. in season.) Clay pigeon shooting (local) Great walks and cycle rides, golf, fishing sea or course or just lay back and let the world go by. Come at the right time of year and you can visit one of great events at Henham Park.
This site has been created for the community to find the history of the village and to see what is going on today.
I think we have succeeded, in 2008 we have had over 16,228 visits to the site from over 59 countries and put people in touch with friends and family from all over the world. The site is still a work in progress so if you have something to add please let us know.
As far as I know this picture was taken about 1910
I feel very lucky to live in such a lovely place, just 3 and bit miles from Southwold and the sea.
Quiet on the outside but a very busy community none the less, always someone to talk to, someone to see and something to do. With a population of only 591 in Feb. 2014. There are some people who have lived their whole lives here and some like me are new comers, all are made to feel part of the village, even visitors. I have travelled all over the country! but this is my little piece of heaven.
Wangford got its name from the ford over the River Wang used by the Romans to reach Lowestoft. (Bits of Roman pottery have been found at Henham.)
It is said that the river Wang's name is a corruption of Wain the old name for a wagon or open field, but a new suggestion as to the name has come to light, wang is the old name for a jaw or cheek bone and as the river had a wide shallow bend, an ideal place to ford a river. (It is also the origin of wangle, to talk yourself out of trouble.)
It might interest you to know Wangford has had a community since before 1085 when it is mentioned in the Doomsday book, now due to resent excavations up at the quarry it is now known that people have been living in Wangford since the early Bronze Age. We owe a lot to the Lords of Henham who looked after Wangford. (Visit the Henham Park site in the links)
A priory was founded here by Doudo Asini from the Thetford priory.
The Cluniac Priory of Wangford was founded before 1159 as a dependency of Thetford, naturalised in 1376, and dissolved in 1540. The complement of monks ranged from three to possibly five. In 1537 the monks had been withdrawn, and the house leased as a farm. Final dispossession was effected, along with the mother house of Thetford, in 1540. The Priory buildings adjoined the south side of the Parish church. It is recorded within the church that the last remaining portions of the Priory were demolished in the late 19th century.
The Prior of Wangford (Probably John) was appointed by Pope Honorius III (Died in Rome 18th March 1227) in 1226 to be joint Papal Commissioner with The Great Abbot of Westminster and the Archdeacon of Sudbury in an important dispute to the tithes of The Church of Walpole.
Here is a list of Priors of Wangford Priory and the dates they are mentioned in the documents from the records.
Monarchs Numbers for date order
Henry III Prior John occurs 1218 (2)
Henry III Prior William occurs 1247 (3)
Edward I Prior Reginald occurs 1275 (4)
Edward II Prior Martin occurs 1308 (7)
Henry IV Prior Walter occurs 1402 (10)
Prior Henry Rikingbale occurs 1458 (12)
Henry VIII Prior John occurs 1535 (14)
John was probably the last Prior of Wangford as dispossession took place in 1540.
Here are the Priors we have dates for,
Henry III Prior William 1216 (1)
Edward I Prior Reginald 1275 (4)
Edward I Prior Jacobus 1290 (5)
Edward I Prior Henricus 1306 (6)
Edward II Prior Martinus de Rymbiaco 1309 (8)
Edward III Prior Petrus Shepard 1347-1364 (9)
Henry VI Prior Robertus 1445 (11)
Henry VIII Dns Johannes Bray 1512 (13)
For more on the Church and priory click the picture.
1509 22nd April Henry VIII succeeded to the throne.
1513 Edmund de la Pole, the leading Yorkist claimant to the throne is executed by Henry VIII and Henham is granted to Charles Brandon, The Regent's oldest friend and recently created Duke of Suffolk. (The land included Wangford Village.)
Wangford had six Pubs The Swan, The Lion,The Angel,The Plough, The Loyal Oak ( From when Sir John Earl of Stradbroke hid in a oak tree from Cromwell's army in 1643.) and The Sawyers Arms later known as The Barking Dickey. (As in the noisy donkey.)At one time Wangford was quite a shopping centre, everything from a button to a side of beef.
You could get your bike repaired or have your chimney swept all in the same shop.
Church Street and the High Street were full of shops.The shops in front of the Church have now been pulled down, all except one "Corner Cottage" now a holiday cottage. When the Tower Mill was working there was a thriving laundry in Church Street, in the picture of Wangford from the Church Tower you can see the washing on the lines in the field behind the laundry.These were the days of slabs of soap, dolly tubs, wash boards and boilers. The Laundry itself was in the extension to the cottage with the blue door in the first picture and above the arch worked Mr.Bailey the boot maker.
Picture by C.Dean
The Wangford Church Clock was installed in 1893.
Although the clock was built by a steam clock company it is clockwork
as the villagers who wind it know all to well.
The Church Clock was at the centre of village life; years ago people could not afford a clock or watch of their own only the very rich. All time was set by the Church Clock, shops opened & closed by it, people went to work by it, children went to bed by it. It did not matter if it did not tell the same time as the next village, Wangford time was for Wangford. Most village clocks were set by a sundial at noon, until the coming of radio when they were set to the chimes of Big Ben in London.
Some people think that history is found in stone but sometimes it can be found written in pencil on the back of a door to a church clock!
To enlarge click on the picture.
(see if you can find when the tower was struck by lightning
or who rang the bells for the Queens coronation.)
Wangford Roll of Honour
The Wangford 850 Pageant
The Bluebells of the Wangford woodland.
Bluebells are very pretty but in medieval times the bulbs were made into glue to fletch arrows the only trouble was that if it rained and your arrows got wet the flights came off so you had to bind them on with twine as well. The glue was ideal for fletching as it was so light and strong.
At the bottom of the page there is a slide show I hope you enjoy.
If you want any prints of pictures on this site contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Everybody in the village seems to love this site so why not let me know why?
E-mail address will be withheld from publication.
I had to put the slide show in to make more room! Do you like it?
If you can't read all the captions show the pictures one at a time and place curser on the caption bar.
Take a trip around Wangford
Please note all pictures on this site are copyright.