Kettlebaston

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Kettlebaston Village

Kettlebaston is a small hill-top village in west central Suffolk with views over the valley of the River Brett. It is about three miles east ofthe historic village of Lavenham and six miles south-west of the market town of Stowmarket with the medieval villages of Monks Eleigh and Bildeston close by.  

According to the conservation area appraisal for the village it is located near the watershed between the Stour and Gipping Valleys on higher land between the River Brett and one it its tributaries, both of which flow south before they join just beyond Chelsworth. Historically the river valleys were the main routes of communication and the route of a fromer Roman Road crosses south-west to north-east across the southern part of the parish, originally joining the two river crossings at Long Melford on the Stour and at Coddenham on the Gipping.

Kettlebaston has had a primarily agricultural background and in the mid 19th century the population was over 200 with a school of thirty pupils. Today the number of villagers is around 70 and the children are ferried into Lavenham and Bildeston for Primary Education and Sudbury and Hadleigh for Secondary Education.

Kettlebaston has a primarily agricultural background having at one time three farms around the village. Today there is still one farm, with the other two having been sold to become grazing for a stud farm. Over the centuries the village has evolved - it has waxed and waned seen prosperous times and bad. Now, while now longer home to an agricultural community, with most people working on the land. It is a peacful place, off the beaten track, well loved with its lifestyle envied by eveyone who visit.

Whilst Kettlebaston is small and has no shop, nor public house, it does have a very beautiful. much loved and cared for church, St Mary's.

The houses, some old, many with thatches and others more modern, forming a pleasant blend. Some of the very old properties would have been home to three or four families, but over the years, as the population declined and the farmworkers were fewer, these old cottages have been renovated and used as single dwellings. Kettlebaston has 13 listed buildings, one of which is the K6 Phone Box.

One of the houses, The Old Convent, a 16th Century timber framed house, was occupied by the Sisters of the Holy Childhood, an Order of Anglican Nuns, who in the 19th century cared for orphan children from London.  

The Village Hall was previously the old Schoolhouse built in 1838 by local worthies at a cost of £200. The schoolteacher lived in a small house next door. When the school closed   in 1922 it was briefly used as a printing works before being used as the village hall. In the recent times it has been used by the Kettlebaston Junior Club and for Adult Education Classes such as Art and Yoga. The Village Hall is owned by the Church, whilst the day to day running of the hall comes under a joint Management Committee.   They organise bookings for meetings and also arrange fund raising events to finance repairs and running costs.

The Village Sign, was erected in 1937 as a memorial of the coronation of King George V1 and is sited on the edge of the only remaining farm in the village.   It is decorated with two crossed sceptres topped with doves, commemorates the granting of the manor by Henry VI to William de la Pole in 1445, who became the first Duke of Suffolk. He was granted the priviledge of carrying a golden sceptre surmounted by a golden dove on the Coronation day of the King's heirs and successors, and a similar sceptre of ivory at the Coronation of Margaret of Anjou and all future Queens.   During 2013 the Village Sign was restored by a local wildlife artist.

This honour continued until the reign of Henry V111 who resumed the manor, although it was later regranted without the Royal Service. Unfortunately Henry's rise to power made him unpopular - he was banished to France for 5 years, but on his return he was intercepted, beheaded and his body thrown into the sea. Henry V111 corpse was washed ashore at Dover, from whence it was taken to his family home, Wingfield where his effigy can be seen on his tomb in the church.

 

'our sign is the sign of the sceptre and dove

a token of purity, mercy and love'