Hidden East Anglia:

Landscape Legends of Eastern England











Landscape Features





Wimbell Pond


Very little now remains of the large mansion called Acton Place, not far from Long Melford, that was built in the 1700s by Robert Jennens, and pulled down in 1825. Close to the gates of the former mansion is a crossways known as Nursery Corner (TL881460), where tradition says a savage battle was fought in Roman times (the Roman road to Coddenham ran through here). Close to this crossways is or was the Wimbell (or Wimbrell) Pond, in which an iron chest was hidden, full to the brim with a fortune in gold and silver coins. Should anyone care to throw in a stone, it was claimed, it would ring against the treasure chest, and a little pale figure that appeared in the water would call out in a pathetic voice "That's mine!" The pond may well have been the one, filled-in long ago, that used to be in a nearby field at TL882459.



Allan Jobson: 'Portrait of Suffolk' (Robert Hale, 1973), p.38.

The 'Bury & Norwich Post', 10/3/1852.





The Devil at the church


Walking anticlockwise around the church of St Mary (TM147489) thirteen times is said to be a sure way to make the Devil appear.1 At the back of the church there is supposed to be the 'Devil's grave', the bells ring by themselves, and a ghost appears at the windows.2 On top of that, local folklore apparently has all sorts of tales of 'Devil worship' relating to this church!3



1. http://www.paranormaldatabase.com/suffolk/sufpages/suffdata.php

2. http://www.ghostsandstories.com/haunted-akenham-church-ipswich-suffolk-england.html

3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/wisbey/448963696/





Secret tunnel


Alderton Hall (TM342416) is supposed to have a (now filled-in) tunnel leading from the inner hall, via St. Andrew's church, to the Swan Inn. During World War Two, airmen billeted at the Hall were said to have been so disturbed by hauntings in the tunnel that an exorcism was carried out. As at Aldringham below, this whole area was once rife with smuggling, which is the most likely explanation for such a tunnel - although a secret route for monks and a hiding place for Catholics during the Reformation have also been suggested.



Former webpage: www.aldertonhalll.co.uk/hall.php






Secret tunnel


In the 17th century, smuggling was a lucrative activity in the Aldringham area, south of Leiston, with an inn known now as the Parrot & Punchbowl (TM445610) at the heart of it. A smuggler's tunnel is still said to exist from the inn to St. Andrew's church (TM452603), about half a mile away across the heath.


Source: https://www.aldringhamparrot.com/about/



The shepherd's stone


Outside the Parrot & Punchbowl, at the corner of the building, is a smooth sandstone glacial erratic rock embedded at an angle into the ground. Although the visible stone now measures only 56 x 60 x 15cm high, it is supposed that this was once a mounting block, with local folklore saying that a shepherd once died there. His skull somehow made its way into a pond that used to exist behind the pub.


Source: https://www.aldringhamparrot.com/about/





The Seven Hills


Three ancient barrows of the 'Seven Hills' survive here (TL863737 area) covered with fir trees beside the Thetford road. They're said to cover either 'those killed in the battle' (of Fornham), or to mark the graves of seven barons slain in that conflict of 1173. (See Fornham St. Genevieve).


Source: J. J. Raven: 'The History of Suffolk' (Elliot Stock, 1895), pp.80-1.





Secret tunnel


It's said that, in Tudor times, Catholics would hide from their persecutors in a secret passage that ran from Assington Hall (TL934388) to Assington House (TL947382). The tunnel was supposed to have broken through the earth in a clump of trees between the two houses, but was later covered over.


Source: Suffolk Federation of Women's Institutes: 'The Suffolk Village Book' (Countryside Books, 1991), p.15.



The battlefield church


St. Edmund's church at Assington (TL935388) is a 19th century rebuild of a 15th century edifice - but legend says the original was actually built in thanksgiving by the Danish king Cnut (who died in 1035), on the site of the last battle fought by him against the Saxons. This idea probably arose because of the battle of Assandun in 1016 - but Assandun was actually either Ashingdon or Ashdon, and not in Suffolk at all. And his last battle actually took place in Gloucestershire.


Source: Allan Jobson: 'Suffolk Villages' (Robert Hale, 1971), p.126.





Secret tunnel


The current Athelington Hall (TM207711) is basically a 17th century farmhouse on a medieval site. An underground passage is said to run from the hall to "an (unnamed) abbey about four miles away."


Source: http://redlingfield.onesuffolk.net/assets/Village-Mag/AthelingtonHorhamRedlingfieldNewsNo9Spring2010No9.pdf