Alpheton, Suffolk

Alpheton, Suffolk

Sheridans

Alpheton is located on the A134 road about six miles north of Sudbury, in 2005 it had a population of 260, reducing to 256 at the 2011 Census.

According to Eilert Ekwall the meaning of the village name is the homestead of Aelfled.

It is a small but active and welcoming community. The garage on Tye Green is a well-known landmark for those passing through on the A134. Homes, both old and new, are situated along the main road (also known as Old Bury Road), Church Lane and Roseacre to the south-west of Tye Green, The Glebe and Old Bury Road to the north of the village. To the south of Alpheton is the hamlet of Bridge Street which is also transected by the A134.

Although the records are sketchy, Alpheton was founded, it is believed, by Aefflead, whose husband Byrthnoth, Earl of Essex, was killed at the battle of Maldon, on the Blackwater River in Essex, in AD 991. Aefflead was the sister-in-law of the Saxon king Edmund the Elder, and following the battle and the death of her husband, she moved north from Maldon and settled in what was originally called Aefflead's Tun (estate) and probably lived in Alpheton Hall. The name was altered through the ages and is described as Alfreton in the Domesday Book. The origin of the present name is not known, but it would appear that it was a variation on the previous ones.

The village has changed little over the centuries and has maintained a rural farming existence. There are now four farms in the village, Alpheton Hall, Clapstile Farm, Tye Farm and the largest, Lavenham Lodge. Before the war many of the properties in the village were occupied by people working on the farms. Housing is now a mixture of local authority and privately owned homes.

Many of the young men of the village fought in The First World War and the names of those who died are inscribed on a marble tablet in the church. In 1936 the school in the Glebe closed and all the Alpheton pupils had to go to Shimpling. The school building initially became the Village Hall and then a private house when the new hall was built.

In 1939, the Land Girls of the Women's Land Army appeared in Alpheton. They came to help with the work in the fields and they were billeted in homes around the village. The Old Rectory alone had 30 living in all the rooms, which were converted to make dormitories and a sitting room. Other newcomers were the evacuees from the East End of London.

In 1941 construction of the Alpheton/Lavenham Airfield began on the land belonging to Lavenham Lodge Farm. Many Irish workers moved in to work for the construction giant Laings and were accommodated in the Old School. Work on the airfield was completed by 1943 and operational aircraft arrived in 1944. They were B24H and B24J Liberator bombers of 487th Bombardment Group, part of 8th Airforce of the United States. They were later reinforced by B17 Flying Fortresses who remained for a year until the end of the war.

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The Red Lion, known as "The 'alf eaton lion", suffered so much loss of trade from the diversion of the road that it could not keep going and closed in 1964. The closure of the Post Office and the village shop followed in 1975.

St Peter and St Paul church is at the end of Church Lane, surrounded by farmland and next to Alpheton Hall. It is believed to date from the 10th century. Although there is no indication of its dedication prior to the Reformation, it probably served as a Chapel for the residents of the hall.

The Village Hall was built in 1977 for the Queen's Silver Jubilee and is the focal point for many village activities. There is a small kick-about area for children next to the Village Hall.

English Heritage lists the following listed buildings within the parish of Alpheton: Grade I, St Peter and St Paul; Grade II, Mill House, Bridge Street, Alpheton Hall, barn at Old Hall Farm; Elms Farmhouse; Old Rectory; Post Office and house adjoining, Clapstile Farmhouse; Bridge Cottage, Bridge Street; Wash Farmhouse, Bridge Street; Tye Farmhouse, Church Lane; thatched cottage, Church Lane; Tallage, The Tye; Woodhall, The Green; Smithy Cottage, Tye Green;
Tye Green Cottage, Tye Green.

Alpheton Garage sells cars and commercial vehicles,and does MOT testing. D J Goode & Associates is a firm of consulting engineers, specialising in Blast and Ballistic effects on buildings and other structures. They are based within the control tower at Lavenham Airfield.

Older children attend Hardwick Middle School and King Edward VI CEVC Upper School, in Bury St Edmunds.

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