Haughley, Suffolk

Haughley, Suffolk


Haughley is an ancient village and parish in Suffolk overlooking the River Ratt and the Gipping Valley next the A14 corridor. The village stands about two miles from Stowmarket.

The parish anciently divided into the four divisions of Haughley Green, Old Street, New Street and Tothill with a population of 1638 at 2011.
The village has evidence of neolithic, pagan, Iron Age, roman and Saxon settlements and is mentioned in the Doomsday Survey of 1086 as Hagala being held by Hugh de Montfront from the Saxon Lord Guthmund.

It was first mentioned in the will of Leofgifu a Saxon noblewoman in 1040.

Haughley contains many thatched, painted and listed buildings both in the village and on the surrounding settlements.

Haughley Park mansion is one such building built in the 1600s for the Sulyard family following service to Queen Mary I and has been the home of the Williams family since the mid 1960s following a devastating fire in 1961 during its restoration.

Another is The White House overlooking the village green, formerly Crown Hall, and was built in 1527 by charter of Henry VIII for Roger Bell; a close friend of the King and "Yeoman of the Keeper of the Kings Cellar".

Since 1892 it has been the residence of the Palmer family who have been in Haughley since Tudor times and who are Lords of the Manor of Eye.

Plashwood House is another which was built in 1901 and is currently the residence of the Bevan family since 1907. The previous house was burned down and was the home of the Ray and Tyrell Families.

Other buildings of note are Dial Farmhouse c1550 with its carved porch from the village of Wyverstone and depicting deer and Tudor roses; Chilton and Mulbra House formerly the Guildhall with an impressive Queen post roof and a painting of St Blaise and finally New Bells Farmhouse a moated farm of Tudor times with origins of a possible Dane settlement.

Haughley Parish Church is an example of an early English medieval church on the site of a Norman chapel.

It is dedicated to the "Assumption of the Virgin Mary" and a Toy Fair was held annually in August to celebrate this until the 1870s.

It has a south tower c1200 which contains five bells dating back to the medieval period. The first recorded priest was an Italian, John de Monte Luelli, in the early 13th century.

Prior to the reformation it was on the "Pilgrims Way" to the Shrine of St Edmund at Bury St Edmunds Abbey. Visitors would worship at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, in Haughley, which contained a piece of the true cross of Christ in return for a papal remission of their sins.

It contains many fine memorials and hatchments as well as remains of medieval stained glass and a fine carved roof. The church was endowed to the Abbey of Haighley Hailes in Gloucestershire by Richard Earl of Cornwall and King of the Romans in thanks to God for his survival at sea.

His son Henry of Almain was born at Haughley Castle and baptised here. He was murdered in the church of San Lorenzo in Virtebo by Simon and Guy Montfront in revenge for the death of their father at the Battle of Evesham.

The most recent church clock was erected in 1903 a gift of the Bevan family. Previous clocks had been erected from the 1697 onwards replacing a public sundial removed by the Woods family.

The flagpole atop of the church tower was erected and gifted by the Palmer Family in 2002 to mark the Queens Golden Jubilee.

A URC chapel formerly worshiped regularly in the village until its recent closure and now works closely with the Church of England in Haughley for worship.

Haughley is famous for its Castle; it is considered to be one of the best preserved Motte & Bailey castles in England with impressive baileys and ditches of up to 80 feet. It was built by Hugh de Montfront following the conquest of 1066 over the previous footprint of the fortified hall of the Saxon Lord Guthmund who was killed at the Battle of Hastings.

The castle has a motte and bailey design, with a very large motte, 210 feet (64 m) wide at the base and 80 feet (24 m) tall.

The bailey is rectangular, 390 feet (120 m) by 300 feet (91 m) across, with the entrance on the west side. During the restoration and clearance of 2010 by the Archaeological Unit impressive carved stone and other masonry were recovered from the Keep.

Following the battle of 1173 it was subsequently rebuilt to a certain extent and occupied by Matilda of Saxony. By the 1300s it was occupied by the Ufford family before falling into disuse in the 15th century when the De La Poles built Wingfield Castle.

Gifted by Mary I, a mansion at Haughley Park was built, to replace this by the Sulyard family in the years that followed in what was then royal hunting park of the Castle. Of note is that Edward II spent his last Christmas of 1327 here on his progress from Bury St Edmunds to South Elham in Norfolk.

Significant amounts of carved stone were recovered at a recent restoration and parts of the drawbridge but the site is private. Three Cedar of Lebanon trees now sit atop the keep as a landmark to the area planted by Richard Ray in the 18th century when he cleared the site and castle wells.

The village Post Office is one of the oldest in the United Kingdom in continuous use since established by Jasper Pritty. He was succeeded by Alfred Woods & Palmer and then the Edwards family.

Palmers Bakery is one of the oldest bakeries in the country established c1752 and run by the Palmer Family since 1869. They still use the ancient brick ovens to bake their bread in the medieval bake house.

It is one of few businesses that can trace the commercial use of the site back to the Saxon times of King Edgar.

The bakehouse sits on two of the ancient market place stalls and is described within its deeds as being "two stalls beneath the market place of Hawley next the house of John Bloom the younger that has long since wasted".

The Milling, Corn and Pig merchants side of the business was closed in the 1980s with the family retaining the farm and property arm of the business in Haughley and in Northern Ireland.

Haughley possessed many Inns and pubs.

Today the Kings Arms Inn is the last remaining at the centre of the village; it has been operating since at least 1617. Others in the village but now closed have been The Fox, The White Horse, The Railway Tavern, The Crown, The Globe, The Angel, The Mulberry Tree, The Hen, The Cock as well as many other beer houses.

Additionally the village has a vetinary surgeons, Co-op store, hairdressers, second hand furniture shop and Indian restaurant.
The market place of Haughley town predates that of Stowmarket and was situated on the area known today as the village green directly outside the outer bailey of the castle.



A market had been trading here since before the conquest, initially from the "old Saxon market" in Duke Street next to the entrance to Castle Farm, till a time when it was moved to the current site of the village green post the Norman conquest of 1066.

The market was large and extensive and to all intents and purposes traders—including one "Hoxton" in 1464 from Stowmarket—were fined as late as the reign of James I for lying in wait to sell meat and eggs outside the bounds of the market.

The butchers of Stowmarket were roundly fined in 1540 for selling meat outside the market on market day to the tune of 3s 6d.

The formal grant of a Saturday market was given on 4 August 1227 by Henry III to Hubert de Burgh the Lord of the Manor.

From the mid 17th century the market declined and following a great fire in the village of 1710, "Stowmarket rose from the ashes". In 1855 the market place ceased to be and was turned into a village green by grant of enclosure so there ended nearly eight hundred years of "Hawley Markett".

The title of Manor of Haughley was purchased for £300 by Mr Jeffery Bowden in 1977, when he moved here from the east end of London before setting up a bed and breakfast business.

The manor formerly had the power of "oyer et terminer", and the gallows were near the site of the current Quarries Cross junction. The Abbot of Hailes in the west country was required to provide a ladder for the gallows prior to the reformation on Lubberlow field - old English for the hill of spirits where the gallows stood.

Notable people from the village include Kerry Ellis, stage actress, born in Haughley in 1979; Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of Theology Oxford University, Knight, Broadcaster, LGBT Campaigner & Author - son of Rev Nigel MacCullouch Vicar of Haughley and Wetherden.