The History of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul with St. Edmund, in Hoxne


The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul with St. Edmund in Hoxne

As part of a series of celebrations recognising the patron saint of East Anglia's life, Hoxne's Parish Church changed its name from the 'Church of St. Peter and St. Paul' to the 'Church of St. Peter and St. Paul with St. Edmund' on November 20th 2020 - exactly 1150 years after the death of St. Edmund. The celebration began with a blessing by the Bishop of Dunwich, the Right Reverend Dr. Mike Harrison, in a service held at the church at 7pm on Wednesday, 20th November.

Click on the links below for more details.

Church Architecture and decorations

Church Fittings and Possessions

Bequests to the Church and Burial Requests in Wills

Memorials and Inscriptions inside the Church

The Churchyard and Gravestones

Church (Glebe) Lands

Vicars and biographies of some

Parish Records

Vestry Meetings and Churchwardens

The Guildhall and Workhouse

Church Architecture, Decorations and Font

The Church is built in the perpendicular style but it is believed that there were several other church buildings on this site prior to the current one which is Grade 1 listed. Follow the link below for the listing which notes its architectural details.

The North Chapel

Curiously the North Chapel of the church seems to have belonged to the Barker family, then the Freres and finally the Maynards.

In 1475 Robert Barker left a close called Ealstongs, and two acres of land in Low close, and one piece of land lying in the close of John Doo, for ever to the inhabitants of Hoxne, to pay the King's fifteenth, or the taske (tax) when it occurs; and also wills to have a chapel of St Mary the Virgin built of his goods. (Reg. Gelour, 198.) Robert Barker was vicar of Hoxne from 1461 to 1475.

Henry Chitting on his visitaion between 1606 and 1613 records: In a chapel on the north side on a gravestone in brass 'Orate pro a'i'a Rob'ti Barker qui hanc capellam fieri fecit'
The Barker inscription was noted as an indent on the same slab as a brass inscription for Thomas Barker, d. 1626, now lost, in the north chapel.

From Hoxne and South Elmham Visitation Book in 1670: To repair the North Isle of the Chancel in ye Glazing which belong to ye family Barker and their relatives.

Edward Steele in 1712 records:

The north chancel (separated from the other by an ancient screen, the enclosure of a large arch) is appropriated to the sole use of the family of Barkers. In it lie only two grave stones. The one on the south side inscribed;

'Here lyeth Mr Bennet Barker, who was twice Alderman of Bury St. Edmunds, and departed this life on the 25th January 1632.'

The other adjoining it has fixed on it a small brass plate on which is written:

'Here lyeth the body of Tho. Barker, Gent. who departed this life on the 2nd January 1626 and was buried here the 5th day following.'

This would have been 1627 in todays dates and 1632 would be 1633. Thomas lived in Chickering but died in Bury St. Edmunds.

However in the papers of David Elisha Davy the North Aisle seems to belong to Edward Frere of Thwaite. He appears to give it to Thomas Maynard on th 19th September 1734.

I Edward Frere of Thwaite Esq. do give and grant to Thomas Maynard of Hoxne Esq. and to his heirs, all that Isle on the North side of the Chancele belonging to the church of Hoxne aforesaid of or belonging to me the said Edward Frere containing in length within the walls from E. to W. 26 feet or thereabouts and in breadth from N. to S. 12 feet or thereabouts and all my Estate and Interest therein. In witness whereof I have to - E. Frere

Sealed and delivered in the presence of
Thomas Betts
Thomas Deye

It was Edward Frere (1680-1766) who purchased the Hoxne estate of Sir Charles Vernon. This seems to have included Chickering Corner Farm which is believed to have been, previously, the home of the Barker family.

Renovations and Repairs

From Hoxne and South Elmham Visitation Book:

Hoxne : Mr Ed. Willan Vicar
Sam. Leman. John Annis. (Churchwardens)
To repair the church windows where they are decayed in ye Glazing work.
To repair the North Isle of the Chancel in ye Glazing which belong to ye family Barker and their relatives.

Hoxne: Ed. Willan Vicar
Wm. Jasper. Andrew Foulger. (Churchwardens)
To new fence in the churchyard where it wants.
To provide the 39 Articles and Book of Canons.
There hath been a Vestry which is very ruinous and decayed.

A faculty was granted to Thomas Maynard giving him permission to erect two pews in the chancel of Hoxne Church. One pew to be 9 feet long, 6 feet 6 inches wide and 6 feet high, the other 9 feet long, 4 feet 2 inches wide and 6 feet high. The pews were for exclusive use of the Maynards 'to sit, kneel and stand to hear Divine service therein'.

1848 At a Vestry meeting thanks were given to Sir Edward and Lady Kerrison for their great kindness and liberality in restoring the pinnacles of the church tower and in making several other improvements in the church.

1851 was the start of a period of rebuilding the church.

Year £ s. d.
1851 Restoration of 3 windows, buttresses, plinth etc. for south side of the church as paid to Mr. Farrow, glazier. 44 16 9
1854 Building the vestry and repairing the church as paid to Mr Woollard, builder. 75 13 6
1856 Repairing the church as paid to Mr Woollard. 15 16 9
1860 New door and restoring south entrance paid to Godbold and Son. 21 19 6
1863 Restoring the doorway paid to Mr. Vine - Stone Mason. 5 17 6
1864 Mr. Vine - Stone Mason. 13 0 0
1867 Church stove pipe etc. paid to W.T. Gidney. 25 4 9
1867 Repairing Bell wheels as paid to George Day, Wheelwright, Smith and Bell Hanger of Eye. 10 6
1870 Benching the church as paid to R. Cornish of Aylsham. 145 0 0
1871 Altar rails as paid to George Day. 3 18 4
1873 Benching rest of the church paid to R. Cornish. 5 0 0
1874 Repairing roof paid to H. Burrows. 14 4 0
1875 Rehanging bells paid to George Day 25 0 0
1880 Benching the Chancel as paid to Cornish and Gaymer 22 0 0

Some of this expenditure was paid for by selling off surplus or obsolete church possessions.

Year £ s. d.
1858 Sale of old worn out Sacremental Cup. 1 11 0
1858 Cash for old Pewter Tankard. 1 2
1862 By old stove and lead. 14 6

In 1853 Mr Woollard was paid £75 13s 6d to build the Vestry and repair the church.

The roof was repaired in the early 1950s.

Wall Paintings

Wall paintings were discovered when cleaning the walls in 1835 as reported in The Ipswich Journal of 11th April 1835. They were descibed as:-

'one representing David on the field of battle with Goliath, one thought to be St. Paul in the stocks at Philippi and there was also the Crucifixion and the Resurrection from the Dead, etc.' There were also several inscriptions.

They were said to be about 10 feet high and twelve feet wide. There were also several inscriptions. These were all probably on the South wall but are no longer visible, probably having been whitewashed over.

More paintings were discovered when cleaning the walls in 1926. These are on the north side of the nave, above the arches. They date from about the second half of the fourteenth century and restored by Ernest William Tristram (1882 -1852). Ernest Tristram made some watercolour copies of the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Acts of Mercy which are now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum. He also made a copy of painted decoration in roof of nave. The wall paintings are about 10 feet high and 12 feet wide. The subjects depicted are as follows:

Saint Christopher
St Christopher

Located between the first and second windows is Saint Christopher bearing the Holy Child on his right shoulder and holding the staff which grew into a tree, which divides the picture down the centre. On the right is the bank of a river and in the top corner is the hermitage and near the bank stands the hermit.

The Seven Deadly Sins
Seven Deadly Sins

Located between the second and third windows a tree is depicted in the centre, at the top of which is the figure of Pride wearing a tunic belted at the waist, wide sleevesand a scalloped collar. In her right hand is a sceptre and her left a mirror. From the tree trunk spring six dragons in whose mouths are allegorical figures representing the other sins. The two fother figures probably representing Envy and Gluttony are missing. Covetonsness is represented by a figue holding a bag in one hand and taking coins from a box with the other.Other figures represent Lust, Anger and Sloth. At the base of the tree are two devils with horns and tails sawing down the trunk of the tree with a two-handed saw.

Acts of Mercy
Seven Acts of Mercy

Located between the third and fourth windows are the Seven Corporal Acts of Mercy represented in two tiers. On the upper tier are pictured 'Clothing the Naked', 'Giving drink to the Thirsty' and 'Visiting the Imprisoned'. On the lower tier are pictured 'Feeding the Hungry', 'Harbouring the Harbourless', Visiting the Sick' and 'Burying the Dead'. The latter being damaged.

The Last Judgement
Last Judgement

Located between the fourth and fifth windows is, indistinctly, a painted arch resembling a rainbow, with probably the figure of Christ seated at the top with faintly visible angels on either side holding symbols of the Passion. Just beneath the centre of the rainbow is the Firmament and to the right and left are figures, possibly of the Apostles. Below are depicted the Blessed and The Damned and between the St. Michael weighing souls. At the base, on the right, open graves appear to be representing the resurection and to the right of these Hell's mouth.

H. Munro Cantley records in his 'Suffolk Churches and their Treasures', published in 1937, 'in the middle of the cornice on the south side painted angels remain with black and white barber's pole ornament above'. This was rediscovered in 1965.


Henry Chitting's (1580-1638) Suffolk Visitation of Churches records the church windows and Edward Steele records the south and east windows similarily on his visit in 1712:-

East window in the Chancel
  1. France and England quarterly.
  2. Episcopalis Norw., azure 3 miters or.
  3. St. George, argent a crosse gules.
South window there
  1. Herbert Episcopus Norw., argent a bull and a border ingr. sable armed or and the border beysanted.
  2. Goldwell Episcopus Norw., parti per pale B. a cheif or over both a lion rampant argent billeted sable.
  3. Caly, checky azure and gules over all a bend ermine.
On the west window of the steple
  1. Popes, azure 2 beyes crost in saltier argent.
  2. The Bishoprick of Norwich,- azure 3 miters.
  3. Abbas Sancti Edmundi, azure 3 crownes or.
west window of the church
  1. Goldwell Episcopus.

James Goldwell was Bishop of Norwich 1472-99.
Herbert de Losinga was Bishop of Norwich 1094/5-1119.(Bishop of Thetford 1091- 1094/5 - the See being moved from Thetford to Norwich).

It is not known what happened to these windows only that the church now has seven stained glass windows dating from 1855 to 1876.

East Window

East Window

The East window was commissioned by Sir Edward Clarence Kerrison and signed by E. Baillee of London, 1855. It has 4 compartments - the Transfiguration, Jesus on the Cross, Jesus being taken down from the Cross and the Ascension.

The next window on the right of the sanctuary was made by Heaton, Butler and Bayne in 1868. It pictures the figures of St Matthew and St. Mark in memory of Lt. John Hatton Hodgson R.N., who died aged 22 on 17th February 1868.

The Revd. John Hodgson (vicar of Hoxne for 25 years), who died on 20th October 1868, aged 63, in the next.

In the next window St. Peter and St. Paul are depicted on a oak leaf grid pattern.

Memorial to Charles Shirley Walker and Hugh Burgoyne

Memorial to Charles Shirley Walker and Hugh Burgoyne

The next being devoted to the memory of Charles Shirley Walker (1870) and Hugh Burgoyne, master of the HMS Captain. This window was probably created by Clayton and Bell. It includes raising the dead and raising the drowned.

Memorial to Catherine Moore

Memorial to Catherine Moore

The last window on the south wall is by Heaton, Butler and Bayn of London, 'Suffer little children to come unto me' as a memorial to Catherine Moore of Elm House, Green Street, Hoxne who died 18th January 1876, aged 60 and her 3 grandchildren.

West Window

West Window

The window on the West wall of the north aisle features the crossed keys of St. Peter, the crossed swords of St. Paul and the St. Edmund Crown.


Notarial Sign

Notarial Sign

A rare graffito in the form of a double-heartshaped endless knot was scratched on the north-east respond (a half-pillar or half-pier attached to a wall to support an arch, especially at the end of an arcade) in the nave of the church. The graffito was originally published by the late Violet Pritchard, who confidently describes it as a design 'peculiar to Saxon art' in her 1967, publication, 'English Medieval Church Graffiti'. However it is believed to be a medieval notarial sign, a mark of attestation penned by a public notary upon all the legal documents he drafted.
Notarial signs were ordinarily based upon a cross, but many were designed upon the basis of a trefoil, hexafoil, octofoil or some form of interlaced pattern. Whatever design was chosen, almost all were depicted as though standing upon a base in the manner of a medieval monstrance.
There is no longer any trace of this sign. It could have been painted over during a restoration, or it is possible that Violet Pritchard was mistaken about the church that she had seen it in?



Church Font

The Ipswich Journal of 22nd December 1877 records that a musical evening was arranged to raise funds for the restoration of the font which had become 'dilapidated and defaced and greatly in need of repair'.

As described by Rev. C. R. Manning, when visiting the church in 1888 with members of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History. 'The font is one of a very common East Anglian type, having an octagonal bowl, with four of the sides sculptured with the emblems of the four Evangelists (Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), and the other four with angels bearing shields of arms. The bowl is supported underneath by angels with expanded wings, and the stem has four seated figures round it, and four others, smaller, standing on pedestals. The seated figures wore cowls or tippets, but their heads are broken off; the others, where not mutilated, appear to have high pointed caps or turbans, and wear stoles. Possibly these two sets may represent the four doctors of the church, and the four greater prophets. Of the four shields on the bowl, those on the north and the west faces bear, on the one two keys, and on the other two swords, in saltire, emblems of SS. Peter and Paul, in whose honour the church is dedicated. The shield on the east face has the arms of Bishop Walter Lyhart, of Norwich (1446 to 1472), viz. : Argent, a bull passant sable, within a border of the second bezanty. There appears no indication of a mitre in middle chief of the border, or, which is sometimes found with this bishop's arms ; but the carving is somewhat mutilated.Bishop Lyhart was an eminent church builder who died at his palace at Hoxne on Whit Sunday 1472. So far, then, we may safely bring the date of the restored work here to the 26 years of his episcopate. The other shield on the south face of the font helps us to narrow the time yet more. The arms are those of De la Pole, azure, a fess between three leopards' faces; or : quartering Burghersh, gules, a lion rampant, double-quened, or : and impaling the Royal arms, France and England quarterly, with a label of three points. These are the arms of John de la Pole, second Duke of Suffolk (son of William, fourth Earl, and first Marquess and Duke, beheaded 1450, and of his wife, Elizabeth Plantagenet, sister of Edward IV and Richard III., who was re-instated in his father's honours, and created Duke of Suffolk in 1463. He married the daughter of Richard, Duke of York, before October, 1460, when only eighteen years old. Consequently, the font must have been erected after 1460, and probably after 1463, when his restored honours would enable him to be liberal in church building, and before 1472, when he was made a Knight of the Garter of which there is no sign on the shield. I think we may therefore narrow the date of the font to certainly within the 10 years before 1473, and probably to about 1463 or 1465.'

The mutilation of the figures on the font was the work of William Dowsing when he visited the church in 1644.

William Dowsing was 47 when, in December 1643, he accepted a commission from the Earl of Manchester to remove and destroy high church idolatry from the parish churches in the Eastern Association. What many Puritans regarded as the dangerously 'Popish' stained glass, altar rails, statues, and effigies in England's churches that had escaped the Reformation the century before.

Dowsing notes in his journal:-

HOXNE, Aug. 30th. 2 Stone Crosses on Church, and Chancel; Peter with his Fish; and a Cross in a Glass Window, and 4 superstitious ones. The Virgin Mary with Christ in her Arms; and Cherubims Wings on the Font. Many more were broken down afore.

The latter part of his note is explained by the entry in the churchwarden's accounts for 6th August 1644 when a payment of 6s. 8d. was made to John Crowe, 'one of the Earl of Manchester's visitors, for the destroying of superstitious pictors and monuments according to my Lord's order'

Bench end

Bench end showing the remains of a carving of the wolf with St Edmund's head.

Bench end

Another bench end showing more damage done by Dowsing and his team.

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Church Fittings and Possessions


In 1626 a gift of money was received from Sir John Prescott via William Barker for the fourth bell to be taken to Thetford for repair.

In a terrier of 1723 it was noted that there were six bells with their frames.

William Gould, Clerk, Joseph Chilver and James Clubb, Churchwardens, applied for a faculty.

'It has been represented unto us that the Parish Church of Hoxne is greatly decayed and out of repair, and the burden of effectually repairing the same will be too great for the parishioners'
In 1744 permission was granted to sell one bell, which was believed to be split, to help meet the cost.

A terrier of 1845 states that:

At the present time there are five bells in the tower, two of which are much older than the others.
The inscriptions are as follows:-

1. 'John Darbie (of Ipswich) made me. 1676.' This bell was appartently bought from Thorpe Abbotts.

2. 'Every sound paises The Lord' - The arms of the Thruston family are engraved on this bell, which was recast in 1655

3. 'In this concave, Gabriel unites us sweetly.' 'John Goldsmith made me 1711'

Numbers 4 and 5 are the oldest and bear the following inscriptions:-

4. 'Pray for the sone of Richard Smith.' 'By the merits of Thomas may we meet the joys of light.'

5. 'Make O Margaret, these duties delightful to us.'

In the Diss Express, of the 4th March 1870, the following was reported:-

CHANGE RINGING. - On Monday evening a company of ringers ascended the fine tower of St. Peter's Church, and rung in good style 1870 changes in one hour and five minutes. The following were the peals rung: Bob Doubles, Dunston Doubles, Morning Star, Fortune and the Dream. The ringers were:Mr. Samuel Shimmin, treble; Mr. Johnson Hern, 2nd; Mr Charles Rudd, 3rd; Mr John Elsey, 4th; Mr Joel Hern, tenor and conductor. Weight of tenor 15 cwt. These bells were formerly a peal of six, but the tenor being split, it was sent to be recast, and never restored. It is hoped means will be taken to procure another bell, as this would then be one of the finest peals of six in the county.

In May 1875 the Church bells were re-hung after repairs to the bell-frame. Messr. Geo. Day and Son, Church Bell Hangers of Eye, restored the bell-frame with new oak timbers provided by Sir Edward Kerrison.

In April 1887, George Day was paid £3 5s. for repairing the bells.

In a report of a 'Choir Supper' in the Diss Express of 21st February 1947 it was recorded that:-

Somewhere about 1740 the tenor bell in Hoxne Parish Church was taken to Eye Parish Church in payment of a debt, it is believed.
The then current vicar (the Reverend William H. Groom) wanted to see the full peal of six bells restored and therefore a fund was set aside for this purpose.

It seems that the story of the fate of the sixth bell has varied over the years!

The last time the bells were rung was in 1964. Their condition and that of the frames has prevented their use since although it is hoped that they will be restored in the future.


Church Lights

In March 1887 the old lamps in the Church were replaced by 4 new ones, three in the nave and one in the chancel. They were of polished brass with ruby coloured reservoirs and pyramid shaped shades. They were supplied by Messr. Jones and Willis of London. There were also 5 new single pendant lights in the north aisle. The total cost of the lamps was about £50.

Church Pendant

A brass plaque was to be placed on the south wall under the tablet recording the births and deaths of Sir Edward Kerrison and his son, bearing the inscription:

'To the Glory of God, and in loving memory of the late Sir Edward Kerrison, these lamps were placed in this church by the parishioners of Hoxne, in March 1887'


In the church is a large iron bound chest about 9 feet long with 7 locks. It has been dated to about 1370. It is described in an old manuscript in the Britsh Museum as 'standing in the vestry, of oak, covered with plates of iron and having a great many iron bars and locks. Amongst the curiosities remaining in it in 1712 were a vey large hour glass, and an old folio called 'Tractatus de Tempore', left by Bishop Goldwell about 1450 to descend from vicar to vicar. The church plate in the year 1694 consisted of one 'bigge patene for ye brede' written 'ye gift of my Lady Chauncy', also 'two lesser patene', and a flagon of pewtere.'

The origin of Church chests appears to be about 1251 when the country was overrun with foreign moneylenders who treated their clients very harshly. To prevent this many villages gathered together a sum of money and made loans to the villagers, without interest, either upon the security of a pledge or the word of three sureties. The capital sum was kept in the Church chest, in the case of Hoxne, with seven locks, one key being held by each of the seven trustees. The loans were made for one year only and if defaulted the pledge was sold and any profit returned to the borrower.

In about 1862 the Rev. French of Worlingworth, with the permission of the Rev. Hodgson of Hoxne, removed the chest to Worlingworth to restore it (some say the Rev Hodgson sold it!). However it was returned to Hoxne by the kindness of the Rector of Worlingworth and the efforts of the Hon. Charles Bateman Hanbury in 1900. The locks were restored by Mrs Hill-Wood of Oakley Park.

Plate and vestments etc.

In his will of 1522 Stephen Lacy of Hoxne bequeathed '10 marks to buy a payer of silver candlesticks for the High Altar in Hoxne Church'

From Hoxne and South Elmham Visitation Book entry for 1686
Hoxne: Ed. Willan Vicar
Wm. Jasper. Andrew Foulger. (Churchwardens)
To provide the 39 Articles and Book of Canons.

In 1694, the Vicar, Francis Hutchinson lists in his account book the plate belonging to Hoxne Church as follows:

One large Paten for the bread inscribed 'The gift of my Lady Chauncy', two lesser silver patens and a pewter flagon.

Lady Elizabeth Chauncy was the wife of Sir Henry Chauncy and daughter of Nathaniel Thruston of Hoxne abbey.

In a Terrier of 1723 the following items were recorded:-
1 Pewter Flaggon
1 Silver Chalice
1 Large Silver Patin
2 smaller Patin, silver
1 Green Cloth for the Communion Table
1 Pulpit Cloth and cushion for the same
1 fine Linen Cloth and 2 Napkins for the Communion Table
1 large Surplice of Holland
2 Common Prayer Books
1 large Bible of the last translation
1 Book of Homilies
1 Book of Sermons given by Bishop Goldwell in 1498
Bishop Jewel's Works
A Defence of the Apology for the Church of England [purchased in 1578]

It also mentions the 6 bells in their frames and 1 Town Clock

Between the 2nd and 3rd of November 1777 Hoxne Church was broken into and the chest in the vestry forced open. The church plate was stolen, including one cup, one salver and two patens. Published in the Ipswich Journal, a reward of 20 guineas was offered by the Churchwardens, Jeffery Pearl and Robert Roper, for the discovery of the thieves.

The Town Land Trust Accounts accounts record, in 1791:

'Paid for ye Communion Plate £27 6/6'
This included a large flagon, a chalice and a large paten.

In the Terrier of 1813 it is recorded that 4 pieces of Communion Plate were purchased.

By 1845 the Town Clock was declared entirely useless and incapable of being repaired. The Terrier also records that 'Bishop Goldwell's Sermons, the Book of Homilies, A Defence of the Apology for the Church of England and the Works of Bishop Jewell' can no longer be found.

To help fund church repairs in 1858 an 'old worn out Sacremental Cup' was sold for £1 11s and an 'old Pewter Tankard' was sold for 1s 2d.

In an inventory of Church Plate by Edmund Charles Hopper, in 1893, the plate in Hoxne Church was record as being: a cup and flagon with no inscription and two patens each inscribed 'Parish of Hoxne, Suffolk 1791'. Each of these four pieces marked with the leopard's head, crowned, the lion passant, a date letter for 1790 and maker's mark 'S.G.E.W.'. There was a second cup marked with the leopard's head, the lion passant, the queen's head, a date letter for 1843 and maker's mark 'C.T.F' over 'G.F.'.

Jubilee Clock

In 1887 the Parish of Hoxne wished to do something to observe the Queen's Jublilee. The two posibilities considered were a Jubilee Clock for the Church tower or a general feast and associated festivities and a Committee was formed to determine the result. The whole Parish was canvassed asking for a promised subscription to the clock or the feast. The result was that 146 subscribers promised £87 5s. 8d. for the clock and 87 subscribers promised £86 10s. 6d. for the feast. The estimated cost of the clock and installation was £100 and the Committee agreed to guarantee any amount above that which had been promised.
As there had also been a lot of support for a feast it was decided that one should be held on Jubilee Day, the 21st June. It was suggested that in addition to any subscriptions each man and his wife should pay 1s. 6., and every person over 16 years 1s. towards the dinner. In addition, the farmers agreed to give their men a days holiday, without stopping their pay, although it was suggested that the men contributed this days wage to the fund!



In 1836 Sir Edward Kerrison presented an organ to the Church reputed to have cost 200 guineas built by the London firm of J. W. Walker and Son.

In 1867 it was rebuilt, converted into a finger organ and moved into the Maynard Chapel on the north side of the Chancel.

In April 1887, Norman Bros. were paid £3 for 2 years tuning of the organ according to the Churchwardens accounts.

The inscription on the organ reads:

'Originally a barrel organ this instrument was presented to Hoxne Church in 1836 by General Sir Edward Kerrison, Bart. K.C.B.. In 1867 his son Sir E. C. Kerrison Bart., had it converted into a single manual organ and, in 1906, as a memorial to the Gereral's grandson, the Hon. Walter Bateman Hanbury, the organ was rebuilt, a swell organ added and the pedals extended to full compass'

In 1906 a further inscription was added at the end facing the congregation:-

'To the Glory of God and in the memory of the Honble. Walter Bateman-Hanbury, who died at Brome Hall, 21st Feb. 1904, 3rd son of William, second Baron Bateman and Agnes, his wife, this organ was entirely rebuilt and extensively enlarged by his surviving brothers and sisters:
W. Spencer, 3rd Baron Bateman
Maud F. Parker
Evelyn A. Foster
Edwd. R. Bateman-Hanbury
Gertrude E. Wood
A. Rosamund Bateman-Hanbury
M. Celcilia Hovell
R. A. S. Decima Hill Wood
Chas. S. M. Bateman-Hanbury

Easter, 1906.'

When the organ was rebuilt by Messrs. J. W. Walker and Sons of London, in 1906, an opening recital was given by Sir Walter Alcock, organist of Salisbury Cathedral.

An electric blower for the organ was given to both Hoxne and Denham Churches by Noel Mander who completed a restoration of the organ at St. Paul's Cathedral.(1970's?)

Further restoration was carried out by the Ipswich firm of organ builders, Bishop and Son, in 2003. A plaque marking the restoration reads 'Dr. Christopher David Bjorn Daniel 1958 - 2000'. It was restored in his memory.


At the west end of the Church there was a gallery erected at the charge of Mr Maynard and Col. Thruston. The Font is underneath the gallery.

A licence was granted by Bishop John Moore on 21st October 1700 to erect a gallery in the tower 'desirous to encourage and promote decent ornamenting of the church'.

This is a direct reference to a 'West Gallery' (at the opposite end of the church to the altar) where the choir and local instrumentalists would sit in splendid isolation to accompany the hymns, chants, Psalms and Canticles. When the time came for music to be played the congregation would stand and turn with their backs to the altar to 'face the music'. This is where that phrase originated.

In the churchwardens accounts for 1700 is list of timber, some brought from Norwich, and materials necessary for erecting the gallery, which, including the wages of the workmen cost £28 13s.7d. to put up.

There is also a list of persons who subscribed towards this and in this way £18 6s. was raised. The following is a list of subscribers:

Subscriber £ s. d.
Lord Maynard 5 0 0
Colonel Thruston 5 0 0
Dr. Hutchinson 2 0 0
Mr Beeston 0 10 0
Mr Leman 0 10 0
Mr Godward 0 10 0
William Jasper 0 10 0
John Wilton 0 10 0
Thomas Craeme 0 10 0
Mr Pennyng 0 5 0
Mr Miller 0 5 0
Mrs Barker 0 2 6
Samuel Chilvers 0 5 0
Thomas Jasper 0 5 0
Ch. Pumstead 0 2 0
John Ellis 0 1 0
Thomas Press 0 5 0
J. Harrison 0 2 6
John Roper Snr. 0 3 0
John Roper Junr. 0 3 0
Daniel Stebbing 0 4 6
Thomas Cunningham 0 1 6
John Baxter 0 2 0
Robert Vats 0 0 6
The Widow Welton 0 2 6
John Powell 0 2 6
Thomas Stebbing 0 4 6
Denis Cantor 0 1 0
John Welton Junr. 0 2 6
Robert Welton 0 2 6
S. Chilvers Junr. 0 1 0
John Marsh 0 1 0
John Newstead 0 1 0

In 1820 Robert Hawes was paid 15s. 7d. for repairing the gallery but between this date and about 1872 the gallery was pulled down and the screen erected in its place in 1880. The coat of arms of the Thruston family, now above the internal entrance to the tower stairs, is believed to have been originally on the gallery.


Print of church screen

Print of the Church Screen

In 1880 Sir Edward Kerrison had a carved oak screen erected in the Church made from the wood of St. Edmund's Oak, which fell down in 1848. It was placed in the arch separating the nave from the tower. The screen was executed from the design of Mr James K. Colling, of London, by Messrs. Cornish and Gaymer of North Walsham, Norfolk, with the exception of the carved representation of the Martyrdom, which was the work of Mr. James Forsyth of Hampstead. The total cost of the screen, borne by Sir Edward Kerrison, was £160.
Unfortuately the screen was removed when the organ was resited.
The church also had a new pulpit, reading desk and lecturn, in carved oak, from the designs of Mr Colling. The chancel was also restored and newly seated in carved oak by Mr Ewan Christian, architect fot the Church Commissioners, all of which was executed by Messrs. Cornish and Gaymer, with the exception of the North aisle which was carried out by Mr. D. Day, builder of Eye.

Recently (Nov. 2019) the screen has been renovated and replaced in the north aisle of the church.


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Bequests to the Church and Burial Requests in Wills

Bishop Tanner's MS. in the Diocesan Registry, contains a few notes of wills relating to Hoxne.
In 1475 Robert Barker left a close called Ealstongs, and two acres of land in Low close, and one piece of land lying in the close of John Doo, for ever to the inhabitants of Hoxne, to pay the King's fifteenth, or the taske (tax) when it occurs ; and also wills to have a chapel of St Mary the Virgin built of his goods. (Will Reg. Gelour, 198.)

In 1504 Robert Everard requested to be buried within the south porch (Will Reg. Garnon 17).

In 1572 James Sheparde, the vicar, requested 'to be buried on the north side on the chancel' (Will Red. Brygge 478).

In 1587 John Pye requested to be buried "in the churchyard of Hoxne against the arch where the Dyall stand by my grandfather". The dial was on the South East buttress but no longer appears to be visible (Will Reg. Homes 183).

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Memorials and Inscriptions Inside the Church - Some still Remaining and some Lost

Click on plan to enlarge

Existing in about 1610

Henry Chitting's (1580-1638) Suffolk Visitation of Churches records the church windows and memorial inscription. As the last inscription to the Thruston family he records is for 1606 and the next inscription, for 1613, is not recorded, we can assume he visited Hoxne between 1606 and 1613.

The inscriptions he recorded are as follows:

In a chapel on the north side on a gravestone in brass 'Orate pro a'i'a Rob'ti Barker qui hanc capellam fieri fecit'
In the body of the church at the upper end are written in brass upon several gravestones 'Orate p' anima Ed. Thruston cuius a'i'e p'pitietur deus' and 'Hic iacet Thomas Thruston qui ob. 9 die mensis Septemb Anno D'ni 1439 cuius a'i'e p'picietur deus Amen' and 'Hic iacet Rob'tus Thruston qui ob. 12 die mensis Januarij Anno D'ni 1446 cuius a'i'e p'picietur Deus' and 'Hic iacet Walterus Thruston qui ob. 8 die mensis Maij Anno D'ni 1462'.

These brasses no longer appear to be visible but the one supposed to be next to these is for John Thruston who died in 1606 is still there - see above.

Next to this in 'the ally downward'
Stephen Lacey who died 1522
Richard Lacy who died 1500
Thomas Aschby generos. quondam parcarius de Southelmam ac servien. domesticus R. in xp'o pat. et d'ni Richij Nick dei gra. Norwic. Ep'i qui ob. 26 Maij M517. (Thomas Aschby gentleman formerly parker of South Elmham and also in domestic service ........ for Richard Nick his Grace Bishop of Norwich who died 26 May 1517)
Nich'ij Yaxley gent
Ed'r'i Chapman domest. et cubicular for Jacobi Goldwell Bishop of Norwich who died 7 Feb 1440
Richard Everard who died 1494
Henrici Warde
Joh'is Pype

Chitting also notes:

On 2 funerall scutcheons on the wall of the body of the church.
  1. Sowthell quarterly iv coates, videlicet
  1. Suthill, argent 3 5-foiles perced with an anulet on eache leafe or
  2. Wichingham with [two gemel rings drawn] diff. in center
  3. Fastolf
  4. Tendring
  5. Holbrok
  6. Nevile with a rose in center and in cheif a [mullet drawn] diff. argent
  7. Nevil, fretty and a canton
  8. Beauchamp
  9. Clare
  10. Spencer
The same impales Howards 9 coates with a [mullet drawn] diff. These very early hatchments were for Sir Robert Southwell of Woodrising and Hoxne, d. 1598, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Lord Howard of Effingham.

Existing in 1712

Edward Steele (fl 1705-1760), House Painter and Antiquary, wrote in his 'Collections for Hoxton, Suffolk' in 1712, a description of the church memorials existing at that time.

'The inside consists of two aisles and as many chancels, that on the south side is very large wherein lies several black marble grave stones as followeth, viz. at the east end of the south side is two large stones, each with a shield, bearing their arms, from whence proceeds two hands as if were clasped within each other, over which is written:
'Resurgamus' - We shall rise again.

On that of the south side is written:
Mary Thruston relict of Nathaniel Thruston Esq buried Aug 8th 1692

Over these against the east wall is erected a neat but plain monument of black marble and alabaster.'(shown below).

Nathaniel Thruston

Memorial to Nathaniel Thruston son of John and Elizabeth

He tells us that here are laid the remains of Nathaniel Thruston son of John and Elizabeth Thruston. Baptised 6th November 1616 and buried 3rd September 1658.

In front of the communion table lies a large black marble recording:
'The remains of Katharine, relict of John Thruston of Hoxon, armiger, and daughter of John Fincham of Outwell, armiger, She was born 12th February 1592 and died 18th February 1668.'
Over it is the Thruston Arms.

Near the north side lies two large black marbles picturing two clasped hands as before. That on the south side has written on it: 'Elizabeth Thruston, wife of John Thruston Esq. buried 27th July 1694. She was the daughter of John Buxton Esq. and his wife Margaret late of Channons in Tibenham, Norfolk.' On the other gravestone is written: 'John Thruston Esq. buried 27th October 1700' At the head of the last lies a large black marble with the Arms of the Thrustons under which is written; 'Clement Thruston Gent. son of Nathaniel Thruston Esq. and Mary his wife buried 17th December 1692'

These are all the inscriptions remaining in the south chancel.

The north chancel (separated from the other by an ancient screen, the enclosure of a large arch) is appropriated to the sole use of the family of Barkers. In it lie only two grave stones. The one on the south side inscribed; 'Here lyeth Mr Bennet Barker, who was twice Alderman of Bury St. Edmunds, and departed this life on the 25th January 1632.' The other adjoining it has fixed on it a small brass plate on which is written: 'Here lyeth the body of Tho. Barker, Gent. who departed this life on the 2nd January 1626 and was buried here the 5th day following.'

In the south aisle near the chancel lies a large black marble inlaid with brass pictured below:

John Thruston 1640

Memorial to John Thruston who died in 1640

Near to this lies another black marble with a brass plate as pictured below:

John Thruston 1613

Memorial to John Thruston who died in 1613

Nearer the north aisle lies a third black marble pictured below:

John Thruston 1606

Memorial to John Thruston who died in 1606

In the church there are several other grave stones which have had their inscriptions removed.

Weever tell us from The Collections of William Hervey, Clarencieux King of Arms that: Mabel Bellamy, late wife of Richard Bellamy of London, Gent. and one of the daughters and heirs of Thomas Boyse of Harrow of the Hill in the county of Middlesex, died in 1534 and was buried in this church.

John Weever (1576-1632) was an English antiquary and poet. He is known for his 'Ancient Funerall Monuments', the first full-length book to be dedicated to the topic of English church monuments and epitaphs, which was published in 1631, the year before his death.

Only the Thruston memorials, pictured above, still remain of those noted by Edward Steele in 1712.

From a later catalogue of Church Monuments

The 4 Thruston brasses are mentioned and in addition:

A monument to 'Rev. Wm. Gould, A. M. Vicar, died 7 June 1772. Katherine, his relict, died at Dedham, Essex, 29 Aug. 1799, aged 76.'

On the north wall, on a tablet of white marble: 'Sir Thomas Maynard Hesilrige, Bart. of Hoxne Hall, deceased April 24, 1817, aged 77. Dame Mary, his wife deceased 13 Feb. 1809, aged 69.

A plain tablet of white marble against the north wall of the aisle: 'James Press, Esq. of this parish, died 24 Aug. 1824, aged 82. Rebecca, his wife, died March 25, 1825, aged 56.' We can see that this has been added to from the picture below:

James Press

Memorial to James Press and Family

Other more recent memorials are pictured below:

Nathaniel Frith

Memorial to Nathaniel Frith, Vicar for 36 years.

Leman Family

Memorial to the Leman Family

Roper Family

Memorial to Samuel Roper and his wife Mary

Doughty memorial

Rev. George Clarke Doughty and his family

In the North aisle of this church are deposited the remains of The Late Rev George Clarke Doughty vicar of this parish and Catherine his wife and their eldest child George Thomas who died at an early age. In the same vault are the remains of Ezekiel Revett Esq and Helen his wife the parents of the above Catherine Doughty and their daughter Harriet Revett who died at an early age. In the north aisle are also deposited the remains of Elizabeth Milligen sister of the above Helen Revett.

In 1799 a faculty was granted to Thomas Maynard giving him permission to build a vault for himself and his family under the vestry and adjoining the Church of Hoxne.

In 1921 a memorial tablet was unveiled by the Hon. Charles Bateman Hanbury. The tablet, which is of alabaster and marble has the following inscription:

'To the dear memory of Agnes Burrell, youngest daughter and co-heir of General Sir Edward Kerrison, Bart., G.C.M., K.C.B., of Oakley Park and Brome Hall. Lady Bateman resided for many years at Brome Hall, where she died 13th March, 1918, in her 87th year, and was honoured and greatly beloved by all who knew her. ' Her children arise up and call her blessed.' Lord, all pitying, Jesu blest, grant her Thine eternal rest.'

On the 10th December 1961 a memorial tablet to the late Edward Mark Hovell was unveiled.It was placed on the wall under that dedicated to Baroness Bateman, his maternal grandmother.

After WW1 a memorial was created to the fallen. This was added to after WW2.

Below is the original design for the memorial after WW1.

War memorial design

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The Churchyard and Gravestones


From the Vicar, Nathaniel Frith's accounts in 1713:

'In the year 1713 the churchyard of Hoxne was newly paled on both sides at the expense of the Parish'

The church warden's accounts of 1845 note that:

There has lately been erected by Sir Edward Kerrison Bart., on the south of the churchyard, a fence of iron palisades, placed in brick-pinning and presented by him to the parish. This and all the other fences of the churchyard are kept in repair by the churchwardens.

In 1899 a new piece of ground, of one acre to the east, was added to the churchyard and consecrated. The preparation of the new area was difficult as a large ditch, 100 yards long, 15 yards wide and from 8 to 10 feet deep had to be filled. The ground was laid out with gravel paths and separated from an adjoining field by a ditch. Mr. A. H. Hay, of Oakley Park, one of the churchwardens, supported by the Lady Bateman and the Hon. Charles Hanbury, organised a party for the task of filling in the ditch, allowing some of his men to work there for three weeks. The total cost of buying, planting and enclosing the new area came to £78 6s 2d.

1000 cartloads of gravel were taken from a pit on land adjoining the public footpath (previously known as Saffron Pan Lane), running from Low Street opposite the Swan Inn to Downbridge. These were taken by horse-drawn wagon as shown in the three photographs below.

Churchyard extension Churchyard extension

Churchyard extension

The land was concecrated on the 27th July 1899 and the first burial in this new part of the churchyard was of Eliza London, buried 6th February 1900, age 57.


Rev. John Wareyn Darby (1791 - 1846) began a visitation of Suffolk churches in 1824. He visited Hoxne in 1827 and his manuscript contained the following details of the churchyard. Some details on the gravestones were obviously, even then, unreadable and therefore left blank.

John Goddard late of this par. 13 Nov 1766 ag. 81; Eliz. his wife 22 Mar. 1769 ag. 7...; their dau. 21 Nov 177... aged...
Rev. Mr. James Clubbe 19 Nov 1771 ag. 88; Susanna his w. 31 Mar. 1841 ag. 77.
Arms: Per saltire on a fess three fleurs de lis (Machet). Crest: A demi lion remp. gorged with a collar thereon three fleurs de lis. Mary w. of Sam. Smith and da. of Sam. Machett of Pulham S. Mary Magdelene gent. 28 Feb. 1758 ag. 57; Sam. their eldest s. 23 June 1756 ag. 21, bur. in Bunhill fields, London.
Sam. Smith 24 Aug. 1767 ag. 61.
(Palisaded) Sarah w. of James Read 9 Mar. 1827 ag. 71.
(Coffin-tomb) Marg't w. of Machet Smith 1774 ag. 35
(Coffon-tomb) Marg't da. of Machet Smith and Marg't Smith 1778 ag. 4.
(Coffin-tomb) Machet Smith gent. 1810 ag. 74
Ten coffin-tombs for Roper.


Rob. Smith surgeon 1771 ag. 21.
John Leman 1805 ag. 60; Eliz. his w. 1795 ag. 43; Eliz. their da. 1796 ag. 19.
Sam. Leman 1808 ag. 51; Maria L. 1824 ag. 59.

The remaining entries give surnames only, but from the date of the visitation we know that all of these burials were before 1828.



The following was recorded on the gravestone of William Catling who was buried on the 18th August 1802 age 20.

In memory of William Catling who departed this Life August 16. 1802 - aged 20 years -

I was on my journey returning home,
And little thought what was to be my doom,
So as the rolling Jim did me control
The Lord above have mercy on my soul.
Short was my stay, the longer is my rest,
God took me hence because he thought it best -
Therefore dear friends lament for me no more,
I am not lost, but gone a while before.

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Church (Glebe) Lands

Church Lands from Church Terriers

Vicarage from Terriers

The Vicarage house being well builded with a palour Hall Kitchin Dayry and Brewhouse with a barn a stable and Hayhouse.
There are adjoining with the situation Orchards gardens and other yards containing in ye whole by estimation three acres as they be situate lying and being between the Churchyard on the part of the East and the Kings high way leading from Hoxne Street to Diss on ye part of ye West one head thereof abutteth upon the way leading from Hoxne to Syleham towards the South and the other head thereof butteth upon part of the Glebe towards ye North.

One dwelling house, one barn, one neathouse and hoghouse, two small stables, one henhouse, one orchard, one garden and one yard, all in about 2 acres of grounds.
Addition of coach house
Gives a fuller description of the vicarage:

'One dwelling house 66 ft by about 33ft built of lath and plaster adjoining to which is a dairy, with a room over it, built of brick. The whole covered with short tile.
Offices attached - Laundry, Oven house (9ft by 12ft), wash house (20ft by 12ft), Outdoor larder, knife house, coalshed (36ft by 6ft 9in) all brick covered with pantile and slate. Detached wood house and hen house. One barn and two coach houses (45ft by 19ft) and two stables (48ft by 14ft). The whole covered with thatch.
Orchard and Garden - nearly 2 acres.'

Describes the stables and coach house as being of brick and blue slate. Also a pigstye of brick and tile.
The Glebe lands (Churchyard) as 1a 2r 30p and the garden and pleasure ground as 1a 2r 10p
The land is given as Nos. 57 and 55 of the tithe map (Churchyard and garden) Garden only 1a 1 r 10p.


The Vicarage showing also the Church pinnacles still intact. These were removed in 1972.

The house is described as built for the most part of brick and timber, with a brew house, coalhouse, knife house and outdoor larder in a court yard at the back all built of brick. Also a small detached wood house built of wood.
As before but the buildings all covered with tile except stables and coach house which were covered in blue slate.


The Vicarage probably in the time when Westgarth Duval was vicar - 1909 to 1927.

Records the extra acre of churchyard taken from No 61 on the Tithe map.

Other Land from Terriers

Other lands owned by the church can be identified from the numbers on the tithe map. These were 51 to 54, 58 and 59 and amounted to about 18 acres. No 37, Parson's Acre, was also owned by the church until it was sold, in 1865, to Sir Edward Kerrison for £97 3s.

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Vicars and Biographies of some

Vicar List

Those vicars that are underlined link to short biographies.

1121 Burcard (Presbytarian)
1310 Richard Frebern
1320 Peter de Tatyington, Peter Osberne
1350 John Elys de Hoxne
1360 Peter de Hoo
1360 Henry son of John de Lydgate
1367 John Doget - previously vicar of Wrentham in 1353
1370 John Martyn - previously vicar of Morningthorpe later vicar of Benacre possibly 1384
1384 John Anty
1387 William Hodyngton
1388 Gilbert de Archais
1389 Simon de Becham
1396 John Barton
1407 Thomas Stebbyng - Presentation of Thomas Stebbyng to Hoxne January 6th
1414 Robert Tymworth
1416 Walter Wylmot
1420 John Jonysson
1423 Simon Herryys de Hoxne
1443 Peter Howylyn
1461 Robert Barker
1475 Richard Halle
1495 Thomas Audeley - he was a notary public who had until 1498 held the church of St John Maddermarket in Norwich (Emden, 1959, 76).
1528 Thomas Bacon
1554 James Sheparde
1572 William Rushbrooke
1585 Lewis Owen
1594 Thomas Sayer - see Scandalous Ministers below
1645 Oliver Hall Oliver Hall - was curate in 1636
1646 Edward Willan
1691 Francis Hutchinson
1706 Nathaniel Frith
1743 William Gould
1772 William Reeve
1786 Charloss or Charles Ray
1790 Charles Brooke
1794 George Clarke Doughty
1832 James Cox
1843 John Hodgson
1869 Edward Heneage Paget
1883 Henry Murray Downton
1887 Cecil Downton
1909 Westgarth Alfred Duval
1927 Claude de la Bere
1928 James Kirkman Wood
1946 William Herbert Groom
1949 James Gilchrist
1955 Guy Moss
1962 Claud Syms Scott
1971 Eric Sherlock
1975 Jack William Draper
1985 Anthony R. Low
2006 David Finch
2008 Susan Loxton
2013 Michael Womack

Scandalous Ministers

Suffolk Committees for Scandalous Ministers, 1644-1646

Civil war arose in England as a result of disagreement between the king and Parliament in the early 1640s and Parliament intervened against clergymen with Royalist sympathies, and in the political jargon of the time they were referred to as 'Scandalous Ministers'. During this time Parliament strove for ecclesiastical reform and established a House for Religion. Under this House there was a subcommittee that was "charged with inquiring into the dearth of able preachers, with considering means of providing the latter with an adequate maintenance, and with investigation ways of removing 'Scandalous ministers' and replacing them with more satisfactory incumbents". In this sense 'Scandalous ministers' referred to "any minister who was non-resident, incompetent or idle, scandalous either in life or in doctrine, or in any way ill-affected to Parliament". As the majority of Parliament was pro-Presbyterian, the Anglicans, Catholics, and any others who disagreed with Parliament were subject to fall under the category of 'Scandalous ministers'. From this work researchers may learn more about one aspect of the events surrounding the first British Civil War, including local reaction to national policies and decisions, as well as Suffolk life and culture during the mid-1600s.

Articles against Thomas Sayer, Vicar of Hoxne, examined by the Committe sitting at Diss on the 7th June 1644.

I. Inpris Hillary Fermor & George Morfew of Hoxne aforesaid so say upon their oathes that the said Mr Thomas Sayer hath been vicar of the towne of Hoxne for the space of about eight and forty yeeres.
II. Item John Newman & Nicholas Gosling of Hoxne aforesaid do say upon their oathes that the said Mr Sayer hath for theis many yeeres last past very seldom preached himself, but for the most parte hath sett those to supply his place as are & have been very superstitious or exceedinge scandalous & ill affected persons, to the great greife & offence of the well affected Christians in his parish.
III. Item Samuel Huntinge of Hoxne aforesaid & the said Nicholas Goslinge do say upon their oathes that the said Mr Sayer hath presented or caused to be presented & excommunicated many of his parishioners in the Ecclesiastical Court for not coming to their parish Church when they have gonne to heare other godly Ministers.
IV. Item Ursula Coleman of Eye and Nicholas Selfe of Hoxne aforesaid do say upon their oathes that the said Mr Sayer commonly useth playeinge att Cards with his familye, sometymes with his servants & sometymes with others.
V. Item the said John Newman & Hillary Fermor do say upon their oathes that the said Mr Sayer, when he used to preach while Bishopp Wren was Bishopp of Norwich, did not only practise but frequently pressed & preached for the said Bishopp's innovated Injunctions; & in his preaching hath taught that there was no superstition in the Bishopp's order & Injunctions, and they were all fooles that said there was, useing many words to that purpose or effect.
VI. Item Samuel Bullen & Henry Roper of Hoxne aforesaid do say upon their oathes that the said Mr Sayer did preach for Bshop Wren's superstitious Injunctions, and att one tyme in his pulpit used theis or the like words, Some make a scruple to go up to the rayles forsooth and to kneele there forsooth, but they had better go thither then go a further journey, meaninge to the Court as theis deponents verily conceived.
VII. Item the said Henry Roper & John Goslinge of Hoxne aforesaid do say upon their oathes that he forced divers of his parish to receyve the sacremant when they were to be marryed and refused otherwise to marry them.
VIII. Item the said Jo Newman & William Wilby of Okeley do say upon their oathes that the said Mr Sayer hath suffered vayne sports upon the Lord's dayes, and frequent shooting & camping neer his house; and there hath been great shootinge and he never reproved any for the same that any of us do know or have heard of.
IX. Item Thomas Deye of Hoxne aforesaid gent., & the said George Morfew do say upon their oathes that the said Mr Sayer caused the said Thomas Deye, sometime Churchwarden of the towne of Hoxne, to be sued in two Ecclesiastical Courts for sayeing he would raise no high Altars in the Chancell. Oftentimed he urged the said Mr Deye to sett up the rayle, and because he would not he caused him to be accused thereof to Bishopp Wren, whereby he was continually molested untill about the tyme the Parliament first satt.
X. Item Priscilla Clarke, widow, of Hoxne aforesaid doth say upon her oath that she went to the said Mr Sayer & desired the sacrament from the rayle in some seat in the Church or att some privat house; she told him that if she went to the rayle she went against her conscience. He told her that her conscience was erronious, and if she would not come to the rayle he would not give it to her, but would make her an example to the whole towne....The next day he refused to give [her] the sacrament & putt her into the Court.
XI. Item the said John Goslinge doth say upon his oath that the said Mr Sayer incouraged him, the said John who served in his armes, to go fight against the Scotts, telling him that if he dyed in that warre he should dye a Martyr, with some other encouraging words.
XII. Item William Huntinge of Frandeston [Thrandeston] doth say upon his oath that there hath been many tymes shooting & other sports used by the younge persons in Hoxne upon the Lord's dayes, and about a yeere since this deponent did see the said Mr Sayer lookinge towards his parishioners while they were shootinge at the butts upon the Lord's day.
XIII. Item Symon Rush of Hoxne aforesaid and the said Samuel Bullen do say upon their oathes that the said Mr Sayer hath preached but once or twice in a quater of a yeere now last past in his said parish Church.
XIV. Item Alexander Chilver & Mary Selfe of Hoxne aforesaid do say upon their oathes that the said Mr Sayer seldom preacheth on the fast dayes, and in Harvest last gave liberty to his parishioners to worke in the afternoon.
XV. Item the said Hillary Fermour doth say that the said Mr Sayer hath a wife & foure children all married, or have been marryed & about £10 per annum besides the £40 he hath by his wife.

Proved before Tobias Frere, John Greenwood, Henry Kinge, Robert Gooch, Thomas Lincoln.

The Earl of Manchester's warrant for the ejection of Sayer is dated the 8th July 1644, and is directed to Hillary Fermour, Samuel Bullen, George Pulman junior and Samuel Hunting.

This just preceeded William Dowsings visit to the Church on th 30th August 1644, when he was commissioned to remove and destroy high church idolatry and the previous visit of John Crowe, one of the Earl of Manchester's agents, on the 6th August 1644, when he, according to the churchwarden's accounts, received a payment of 6s. 8d. for 'the destroying of superstitious pictors and monuments according to my Lord's order'

Many Puritans regarded as the dangerously 'Popish' stained glass, altar rails, statues, and effigies in England's churches.

NB. Gosling would have attended the musters of the local trained-band at the expense of, and in equipment provided, by Sayer.

Thomas Sayer was a native of Norfolk. He entered Corpus Christi College in 1583, taking the degrees of B.A. 1586-7 and M.A. 1590. He was elected a Fellow in 1589 and ordained in Worcester on the 14th February 1592/3. He was presented to the vicarage of Hoxne on the 24th October 1594 where he continued until his sequestration in July 1644. His service of the previous 50 years seems to have been dismissed. At that time he had a wife and four children, all married, and an estate of £50 per annum.

He apparently owned land in Beccles as he paid one pound for it in the Ship Money returns of 1640. On the same return Robert Sayer of Framsden paid 12s 6d for the 'tythes of Hoxne Parsonage.'

Thomas Sayer did not live much longer and was buried in Hoxne on the 12th April 1645.

Parish Records

A Brief History of Parish Registers

In September 1538 Thomas Cromwell introduced a mandate ordering every parson, vicar or curate to enter in a book every wedding, christening and burial in his parish, with the names of the parties.

The parish was to provide a 'sure coffer' with two locks, with the parson and the church wardens having a key each. The entries were to be made each Sunday after service, in the presence of one of the churchwardens.

Generally, these entries were made on loose sheets of paper and 60 years later, 1598, these registers were ordered, by Queen Elizabeth the first, to be copied onto parchment in books. At this time it was ordered that the entries should be made in the presence of both wardens and that the coffer should have three locks, the minister and each churchwarden to have a key. The entries of the past week were to be read out each Sunday after service. Finally, within a month after Easter, each year, the churchwardens were ordered to hand over a transcription of the register entries for the last year to the diocesan registry. This was changed to within a month of Lady Day in 1603. From about 1645 as well as the date of baptism, the date of birth and parents names had to be added to the entry and the burial entry should also have the date of death added. However, as this was during the Civil War few parishes observed this change.

From the 29th September 1653, the Government took away the custody of the registers from the ministers and also the solemnisation of marriages. Marriages were entrusted to the justices and the registers to a new official, the 'Parish Register' (not Registrar), who was elected by all the rate payers in the parish and approved and sworn before a magistrate. All registrations were entrusted to these officials at a fee of 12d per birth and baptism and 4d per death and burial. Sometimes the minister or the parish clerk was elected as the 'Register'. In 1660, at the Restoration, The Register and magistrates no longer deal with the registrations.

From the Restoration adult baptisms were encouraged as many younger members of the congregation had not been baptised as a child. Marriages were restricted to being held before noon and there were 3 closed seasons when they could not take place ie. Advent (The first season of the Church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.) to St. Hillary's Day (Jan 13th), Septuagesima (ninth Sunday before Easter, the third before Ash Wednesday ) to Low Sunday (first Sunday after Easter) and Rogation Sunday (the Sunday before Ascension Day) to Trinity Sunday (the first Sunday after Pentecost). This lapsed during the Commonwealth period and was not always reinstated at the Restoration.

Under the Acts of 1666 and 1678 no person could be buried in anything other than something made of sheep's wool. Coffins were not universal until the 18th and 19th centuries and burials were made in a shroud prior to that.

In 1688, when William and Mary came to power the Act of Tolerance was introduced which allow non conformists to worship as they wished.

In 1694 a tax was levied to pay for the war in France. With 2s charged per birth, 2s 6d per marriage and 4s per burial of all non-paupers. It was charge on a sliding scale, £50 being charged for the burial of a Duke. Births were to be notified to the rector or vicar within five days, under a penalty of 40s, and he was to record them for a fee of 6d. This tax was payable for the birth even if the child was not christened.

In 1711 an act was passed ordering the provision of proper register books with ruled and numbered pages.

From 1755 records had to be kept of both the banns and marriages in proper books provided by the churchwardens. The entries were to be signed by the parties. These register books consisted of bound volumes of printed forms. The Stamp Act of 1783 granted to the Crown a stamp duty of 3d for every register entry, to be collected by the officiating minister, who was allowed a commission of 10 per cent. This act was repealed in 1794.

From 1812 each baptismal entry was to include names, abodes and description of the parents, and each burial entry, the age and place of abode of the deceased.

From July 1837 Civil registration came into force and the civil authorities became responsible for registering births, marriages and deaths.

Hoxne's Parish Registers

The chest in the church, believed to be 14th Century, and having seven locks was probably used to hold the parish registers.

The Hoxne parish registers start in May 1548 and are written in the same hand until the end of 1598. They are also written in Latin up to this point. On the 30th December 1653 John Lyste of Hoxne, Cooper, was appointed and sworn in as 'Register' by Justice of the Peace, Anthony Barry of Syleham.

It is important to note that prior to 1752 the year is calculated as beginning on the 25th of March, so that, for example, a marriage taking place recorded on the 24th of March 1625 would by our reckoning be in 1626. This is sometimes expressed as 24th March 162⅚.

The Hoxne Parish Registers contain baptisms, 1548-1906, marriages, 1548-1968, banns, 1754-1954 and burials, 1548-1906.

They are described here by Mr Alec J. Raven, in about 1916, with the permission of the then Vicar, Revd. Westgarth A. Duval, whilst they were still held at the Parish Church. They are now held at the Suffolk Record Office.

Volume 1 - 1548 to 1684

This contains 142 pages measuring 13¼ inches by 7 inches - the second and last pages being blank. On the first page is written
' Hoxne A Regester Booke contayninge the names of all suche P[er]sons as have been Baptized Maryed and Buried theer beginninge in the yere of Our Lord God 1548 being in the second yere of the King Edward the Sixthe'
'Jacobus Shephard Vics. July 1572'
'Hellena uxor Wilhelmi Rushbrook Vics Sept 1573'
'Wilhelm Rushbrook May 1585'
'Ludovicus Owen Mynester Vics. 1594'
'Tho. Sayer after 50 years residence Burd Apr 12 1645'
'Edw. Willan Vicar of Hoxne 45 yrs burd. Jan 24 1690'
'Mr (afterwards Dr.) Hutchinson was Vicar 1691 and left it about November 1706'
'He was succeeded by Nath. Frith who was buried Aug 5th 1743 and was succeeded by Willm. Gould'

This volume of registers has been rebound wth boards, with leather back and corners. The covers are loose but are sufficiently strapped together with four straps. The writing throughout is good, and the register is in an excellent state of preservation.

Curiously, the only entries between December 1578 and May 1584 are one burial and nine baptisms.

Volume 2 - 1685 to 1735

This contains 90 pages measuring 13 inches by 7 1/2 inches - only the last page being blank. It is bound in leather and on the front is written 'Hoxne Register from 1685 - 1735'
On the front cover inside is written
'Hoxne Register beginning Anno domini 1685 by Edward Willan the nine and thirtieth yeer of his being Vicar of Hoxne. William Estaw and William Jasper Churchwardens.'
'Memd. Thomas Bloome was chosen Parish Clerk in the room of John Marsh deceased, Jan. 29 1710 by me Nath. Frith, Vicar of Hoxne'

Volume 3

This contains 102 pages. It is bound in leather and on the front is written 'Hoxne Register from 1736 - 1790. The marriages stop at 1753 but the Baptisms and Burials continue until 1790, that year being written on the inside of the back cover.
On the inside of the front cover is written
'Hoxne Register beginning Anno domini 1736 by Nathl. Frith in the 32nd year of his being Vicar of Hoxne. John Roper Senr. and James Clubb Junr. Churchwardens.'
'Memd. William Garwood was chosen Parish Clerk in the room of William Boulter who resigned May 7 1746 by me William Gould, Vicar of Hoxne'

Volumes 4 and 5

These are in printed form.

We hope in the future to have available some searchable transcriptions of early Baptisms on this site.

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Vestry Meetings and Churchwardens

Vestry Meetings

Vestry meetings dealt with matters such as the election of churchwardens and other officers, settlement orders, removal orders, aid to the poor, maintenance of the roadways, etc.

Churchwarden List

1569 William Grene and Jeffrye Gent
1572 William Mallinge and Richard Sherwode
1588 James Grene and Thomas Yonge
1614 John Sherwood and Richard Cowper(Cooper)
1616 Isaac Preston and Rych Kydman
1600's? before 1645 Thomas Deye
1670 Samuel Leman and John Annis
1685 William Eastaw and William Jasper
1686 William Jasper and Andrew Foulger
1693-6 Thomas Penning and Robert Coleman
1697-1700 Samuel Leman
1701 John Miller
1702 James Clubb and John Miller
1703 William Jasper and John Roper and John Miller
1704 William Jasper
1705-7 Mr Henry Godward
1707-8 John Bryant and Thomas Creame
1719 John Roper
1720 Jonathan Clemens and James Clubb
1721 Jonathan Clemens and John Leman
1722 Jonathan Clemens and John Baker
1723 Jonathan Clemens and Hugh Butcher
1724-5 Jonathan Clemens and John Pearl
1726 Jonathan Clemens and John Eastol
1727 Jonathan Clemens and John Leman
1728 Thomas Press
1729 Thomas Press
1731 John Press
1732 John Press
1733 James Clubb and John Roper
1734 James Clubb and John Roper
1735 James Clubb and John Roper
1736 John Roper senior and James Clubb junior
1737 James Clubb and John Roper
1738 James Clubb and John Roper
1739 James Clubb and Joseph Chilver
1740 John Roper, James Clubb the younger, Joseph Chilver and Stephen Gissing
1741 James Clubb and Joseph Chilver
1742 James Clubb and Joseph Chilver
1743 James Clubb and Joseph Chilver
1744 Joseph Chilver
1745 Joseph Chilver and Thomas Press
1746 Joseph Chilver and George Clubb
1747 John Leman and John Roper
1748 John Leman and John Roper
1749-51 John Roper jun and Henry Goddard
1752 John Press and Joseph Chilvers
1753 John Press and Thomas Leman
1754-5 John Press and Thomas Leman(died June 1755)
1756 John Press
1757 John Press
1758 John Press
1759-60 John Press and Joseph Chilvers sen
1761 Joseph Chilvers sen and Jeffery Pearl
1762-8 Jeffery Pearl and John Stollery
1769-75 Jeffery Pearl and Stephen Gissing
1776-79 Jeffery Pearl and Robert Roper
1779-82 John Pearl and Robert Roper
1783 John Pearl and Charles Tyler
1784-1820 John Pearl and John Clabon
1821-6 John Pearl and John Latham Press
1827 John Latham Press and Alfred Notley
1828-9 John Latham Press and William Notley (William Notley died 1830)
1830 John Latham Press
1831-6 Richard Moore and George Pearl
1837 George Pearl (Vicars warden) and Mr. John Wilson (Parish warden)
1838 James Roper (Vicars warden) and Mr. J. Wilson (Parish warden)
1839-43 George Canler (Vicars warden) and Mr. J. Wilson (Parish warden)
1844-51 Carlton Smythies (Vicars warden)and John Wilson (Parish warden)
1852-3 George Cracknell and John Wilson
1854-65 George Cracknell and John Lines Moore
1866-73 Major P. H. Michell and John Lines Moore
1874-75 Major P. H. Michell and Richard Cracknell
1876-77 Major P. H. Michell and John Bolton
1878 Major P. H. Michell and James Stanley (Major Michell died in 1879)
1879 James Stanley
1880-5 James Stanley and George Bendall
1886-9 William Hayward and James Stanley
1890-2 William Hayward and Dr. J. D. Phillips
1893-4 William Hayward and F. W. French
1895-6 Lt. Col. Bathurst and William Hayward
1897-1900 A. Hay Esq. and William Hayward
1901-2 Norton Burroughes Garrard and William Hayward
1903 F.W. French and William Hayward
1904-10 S. Hill-Wood and William Hayward
1911-16 F.W. French and William Hayward
1917-27 Norton Burroughes Garrard and H. Mutimer
1928 Dr. Christal and H. Mutimer
1929-1932 A.T. Bland and H. Mutimer
1933-46 A.T. Bland and W. C. Saunders
1947 Late Alfred Taylor Bland many years vicars churchwarden replaced by George B. Hastings - William C. Saunders re-elected as Peoples warden
1948-61 G. B. Hastings and A. H. Michell
1962-70 D.H.Mager and H. Saunders
1971-73 D.H.Mager and H. Rush
1974-92 D.H.Mager and J.M. Ball
1993 B.R. Chester and J.M. Ball
1994-6 B.R. Chester and Mrs Robin Richards

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The Guildhall and Workhouse

Peter Gower, in his will of December 1524, bequeathed 6s 8d 'to the making of the Guildhall' It is possible that this was when the Guildhall was built but there is no further evidence.

From the church wardens accounts, in 1685, 6d. was paid for a window in the Guildhall and in 1698 £5 3s. 4d. was paid for 'tyling the Guildhall'. Further entries record '1702 Dauber's bill for Guildhall 18s 5d' and 'Mason's bill for Guildhall £1 19s. 2d.'and in 1708 'Timber, 30 bunches of lath, sand and paid workmen for Guildhall, £3 9s. 0d.' and 'Glazing the Guildhall £1 8s 0d.'
From the entry in 1747 'repairing the Guildhall stairs 10s. 1d.' it can be seen that the Guildhall was a two story building.

The church terriers record the Guildhall as belonging to the parish of Hoxne. In 1723 and 1744 it lists 'one large house situate near ye church inhabited by several families'. In 1712 2s. was paid 'for removing Thomas Riches into the Guildhall' so by this date it must have been housing the poor.

In 1755 an entry made separately from the general accounts stated:

'Disbursements of John Press in 1755 towards the carrying forward of the workhouse which was agreed upon to be done at a Vestry April 15th 1755'

It goes on to detail visits to view other local workhouses at Eye, Harleston and Stradbroke, by six persons in April, paying their expenses totalling £1 9s. 6d., presumably to examine the facilities provided.
On May 3rd John Press spent £1 of church money on 'expenses at the Swan, where they met to conclude what alterations to make for a workhouse'. Following this there were several bills for lime, bricks, copper, tiles and other building materials, suggesting that considerable alterations were needed.

From the accounts of the current Overseer of the poor, Jeffery Pearl, in 1755, a payment of 10s 6d was made for the 'Drawing up of ye Rules of the Workhouse and Engresing'. Mr Girling was also paid £3 3s for 'manning the Workhouse and attendance up to Easter.'

For the 24 weeks, from Easter 1756 to Michaelmas 1756, the total cost to run the 'House of Industry' (Workhouse) amounted to £49 3s, this being ofset by the labour from the House of Industry of £12 4s 11d.

On the 3rd April 1758 William Page took over the running of the workhouse. The Parish Officers agreeing to pay him 1s 6d per person in order that he could keep them in proper food and maintenance and keep them as clean and neat as the place would allow. The Parish Officers to provide linen and clothing.

From 1777 to 1845 it records 'one large house situate near ye church now used as a common Workhouse for our aged and poor families'.

In 1813 it was reported that there was 'a large garden taken from the waste lands called Windmill Green, which was inclosed and kept solely for the use of the parish Workhouse'.

When the Union Workhouse was completed in Stradbroke in 1836 the Hoxne workhouse became redundant. Its contents were advertised in the Ipswich Journal for auction on the 5th May 1836. These included 12 good featherbeds, 4 straw beds, 23 pairs of strong hemp sheets, 12 pairs blankets, 12 coloured cotton counterpanes, 14 stump bedsteads and coppers, scales, brewing equipment and other household items. The furniture sold raised £44 17s 10d.

The house itself was put up for auction on 26th October 1836. It was described in the Ipswich Journal as:

'Consisting of 2 or 3 lots, comprising a large and substantial Freehold tiled MESSUAGE or DWELLING HOUSE, for many years used as a Parish House or Work House, containing 12 sleeping rooms, and a frontage of 70 feet, with 10 rods of garden ground, secured by a brick wall of 150 feet, and from 7 to 9 feet high, abutting on the Churchyard of Hoxne and fronting the road at the top of the street. Also an exceedingly rich Piece of Land, part arable and part garden ground, planted with choice fruit trees, near the street, and abutting on the road leading from Hoxne to Syleham, containing by survey 1a 0r 6p.'

The workhouse was then demolished and on the 12th February 1838, a further auction was held selling the demolition materials.

In 1845 the church terrier records the sale of the Workhouse 'with the consent of the Inhabitants of Hoxne and concurrance of Poor Law Commissioners. Proceeds, after deducting expenses, appropriated to the payment of a loan borrowed of the Exchequer Loan Commissions for the parish share of building the Union Workhouse', in Stradbroke. The garden acquired in 1813 was sold along with the Workhouse.

The workhouse had been purchased by Sir Edward Kerrison, for £245, and after its demolition he built 'The Oakley Homes' for old village labourers to be housed rent free. This building still exists today but was sold in 1923 and is now divided in 3 private homes.

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