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Yoxford:

 

Secret tunnel

 

Cockfield Hall (TM396692) has been home to the Blois family since 1690. Sir Charles Blois (died 1850) is said to have installed one of his mistresses in Satis House across the park, now an hotel and restaurant. Tradition says that he excavated a tunnel between the two houses so he could make his nightly visits in comfort and security. When the army took over both buildings during World War Two, they're said to have found the entrance to the passage at Satis House, but sealed it up again. Unfortunately for this idea, the Hall stands right next to the Minsmere River, and the land is so low-lying that the original 16th century Hall was actually built on wooden piles. No chance even of a cellar here.

 

Source: Caroline Blois: 'Yoxford-Garden of Suffolk', in the 'East Anglian Magazine', June 1975, pp.380-1.

 

 

Dead Men's Corner

 

Dead Men's Grave Lane leads north from Hemp Green, about halfway between Yoxford and Sibton, passes over a tiny bridge spanning the little river Yox or Minsmere, then makes a sharp right-angled bend, with a short track leading into fields on the left. This is Dead Men's Corner (TM383703), where two graves were visible that a Yoxford roadman, James Leverett, used to tend till about 1942. During World War Two the graves became covered with a pile of sugar beet, and were gradually eroded. When subsidence occurred in the road at that spot many years ago, the workmen who came to repair it took the opportunity to check the legend, and they confirmed that human bones were indeed buried there.


One local woman has recalled the graves being freshly turfed and built up by East Suffolk County Council roadmen in about 1902, and she was told then that the work was being carried out because it was exactly 100 years since the men were buried. The Corner was always regarded with mistrust and fear by the folk of Yoxford and Sibton, but there's no actual record of a haunting.1


According to various tales, the graves belong to one of the following:

  • Two men who committed suicide, one being named Rayner, who killed himself in a Yoxford house, or

  • Two gypsies who were hanged for stealing, or

  • Two men whose ghosts now haunt Darsham rectory (which is odd, since most sources say a female ghost haunts the Rectory, which can only be seen once a year, and then only by women), or

  • Two men who shot each other in a duel, or

  • Two men who quarreled in the early 19th century, one shooting the other, then hanging himself from an oak tree that still stands about halfway between the Corner and the Yoxford road, or

  • One grave "wherein Danbrook was buried", and the other the grave of a man who hanged himself in Martin's Barn, near Willowmarsh Road.

The little bridge near the Corner is still known as Danbrook's Bridge, and this appeared in the 'Times' for June 26th 1801: "On Monday last Mr. Danbrook, a respectable shopkeeper, at Yoxford...shot himself at the breakfast table, where his wife and Mr. Rutland, surgeon in that place, were present. Jury's verdict, felo de se. The body of the deceased was, of course, interred in the highway". The suicide of another local man, named Woolnough, is recorded in the 'Ipswich Journal' on June 22nd 1782, so it's possible that this was the occupant of the other grave.2

yoxford.jpg (56739 bytes)

Sources:

1. Letters in the 'East Anglian Magazine', Vol.11, No.11 (Sept.1952), p.636.

2. Robert Halliday; The Roadside Burial of Suicides: An East Anglian Study', in 'Folklore' Vol.121, No.1 (2010).