Home > History > Cherchegrene


Church Green or Cherchegrene is the land between Stanwell Green or Stannnell Green which runs from Pool Bridge at the northern end of the village and Hestley Green or Hasteley Green which begins at the southern end of Thorndon and stretches to the Old Rectory.

Church Green was fairly large in size.  According to the list of copyholders of the Rectorial Manor written by Rev. Howes, there was a tenement abutting on the west to a strip of land belonging to Jays Farm.  The Village Pound is said to be nearby and this is where cattle were put when they were found straying on the green.  Cattle owners had to pay a fine to the Lord of the Manor to retrieve their animals.

John Taylour, in his will of 1463, left his tenement on Cherchgrene to Robert Rolfe and his wife Joan.  There was a clause in his will; he wanted them to buy the tenement for £20 and as this was quite a sum at the time it's unknown if they managed to obtained it.  There were other tenements on the green;

  • Thomas Bishop of Hestley Hall had a messuage (dwelling house with outbuildings and land) called Pyes (Laces)
  • The Guildhall
  • Sexton’s cottage
  • At the top of the Wash near the Church, the Manor Farmhouse which was built around 1600.
  • Rydal which stands on the left of the triangle near the Church; this house belonged to the Rector and was used to house the curates and clerks.

When contractors dug a sewage trench near the oak tree in 1969, they discovered a set of stocks.  Stocks were an instrument of punishment and were made of wood.  Offenders were placed in them with their feet, and sometimes hands, through holes in the wooden frame.  They would be pelted by villagers with rotten fruit and vegetables and other substances of a vile and obnoxious nature.

Street Farm, which is said to be the first rectory, is at the southern end of Church Green.  The Old Rectory was the Manor House for the main manor; the large stone fortifications and moat found around it were more appropriate to a manor house than a rectory.  Rectories didn’t need fortifications and were quite plain, although there was a fine wall painting found in the parlour at Street Farm.

In pagan times, the inhabitants of Thorndon selected a circular mound with a fosse around it to carry out their funeral games associated with ancestor worship.  A fosse is a ditch or moat with or without water.  Bodies were burned or buried therein and funeral games took place which took the form of dancing over the graves.  There is an old saying, “someone has just walked over my grave”, it's likely that this applies to this practice which originally was thought to be the first form of prayer.  When Christianity came to Britain this site was chosen to build the first church in Thorndon; date unknown. It was high in the landscape and visible from all points.  In the 1086 Domesday Book a church was mentioned and would probably have been a lot smaller than present and made of wood.  The erection of Thorndon All Saints started in the early 1200’s.

According to the Mid Suffolk’s listed housing archives, Church Farmhouse has medieval timbers in the back of the house. There are no other records of the history of this building however, to add more credence to its age, there is a medieval hedge between the Church and the house.  The rule of thumb being that a new species appears in a hedge every 100 years, so if there are 6 varieties of shrub and flora in a hedge, then it is medieval (1066-1485.)  At one time and up until the end of the Second World War, there was a wooden fence on the western, southern and eastern sides of the Church.  The lane between the School and Church was a shared right of way for the residents of Church Farm and Street Farm. The lane was also the right of way to Town Land. 

Throughout the medieval period Church Green was probably buzzing with activity and was likely regarded as the hub of the village.