Chelsworth's Houses in the past

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The history of some are known in great detail (Weavers and The Grange particularly). Many have had their names changed over the centuries. Bridge House was once Pylcrekes, Weavers was once Clovers, Woodstock was Mary Webb’s cottage for many years, Ivy House was Haywards, the Old Manor was known as Bonds. Both the Grange and more recently Princhett's have served as the Rectory.

Buildings and other houses at the Western end of the village were freehold properties which means that little is know of their former occupants and owners. The Eastern half of the village was mostly Copyhold, so all changes of ownership / occupation appear in the Manor Court Rolls which with other documents cover the period 1441 to 1904!

Below is a sample of the history of the 'fabric of Chelsworth', compiled principally from Bernard Quinlan's edition of Geoffrey Pocklington's "Story of a Little Suffolk Village" and Bernard Quinlan's "A Social History of Chelsworth".


The village’s post-office has been in at least 3 places – Deysfield Cottage, Jackdaw’s Ford and The Peacock. There were butchers shops at Jackdaw’s Ford and next to the Granary in a building called ‘The South Part’. The Stocks were situated on Pond Meadow. Our village’s school in Victorian times was at ‘School House’ by Claypit Lane.
The footpaths and roads have changed too, with the road to Lindsey being moved to please the new Lord of the Manor, Robert Pocklington in 1752. Rush Cottage lies on the remnant of this. Footpaths existed as recently as 1904, shown on the Ordnance Survey Map of that year, running past the front of Bridge House and along the river by the Old Hall.

The Peacock Inn dates from the 14th Century (according to analysis of its wood carvings), making it one of the oldest buildings in the village. It takes its name from Mary Peacock who married George Gage in the mid 18th Century. The Eastern half was a shop at the front until 1977. This photograph taken in 1870 shows George and Mary Gage and their 11 children!
Princhetts, named perhaps from the Prynchet family. It passed from them to the Sympson, Cole and Andrews families. Samuel Maynard (rector 1689-1721), bought it in 1710 from Rev James Andrews and in his will of 1721 left it "to the Rectory of Chelsworth forever". It remained the rectory for 200 years. - photo of rector Rev T.P. Platten and family (rector 1852-1881)

The bridge in the centre of the village is a Listed Ancient Monument. The southern half was rebuilt by Robert Pocklington after he removed the village's Lower Mill in 1754. A plaque on the bridge reads 'R.P.Esq.1754'. The bridge had substanial repairs in the early 1990's.
The images above show The Grange in 1850 and 1865. The Grange is one of three Grade II* listed properties in the village. Parts date from the 1300's but the main structure visible at the front is from 1400, with the other sections from 1500-1600. The Grange had one of the earliest purpose-built maltings in the country, was briefly a Rectory and was repossed by a creditor in 1707. Killigrew alledgedly stayed here in the 1600s. Robert Cuthbert, a hero of the Battle of the Nile, was born here in 1755. Colonel George Henry Pocklington moved into the Grange in 1855 due to worsening finances. There was a large family rift between him and his brother Colonel Fred Pocklington (of the Old Manor) and this is documented rather humourously in 'My Mother Told Me' by Charles Chevenix Trench.
The Old Forge is one of Chelsworth's Grade II* houses. It is considered to be of a similar age to The Grange. It is surely the most photographed and painted/sketched house in the village. This image dates from 1890 approx.

Chestnut Cottage was once owned by the Pocklington Family. It is shown here in 1870.

The Old Hall is shown in 1900 before its later demolition. The second view is of the remainder of the building as it is now, taken in 1904, showing members of the Scudamore family.
Bridge Farm, referred to as Pylcrekes in Manor Court Documents. The name may come from the way willow piles were used to reinforce the sides of the mill race of the mill that once stood next to here, or from John Pylcreke. This photograph is dated 1870.

This is 'The Cottage' in 1870.It was previously known as Finnes or Fynnes Tenement. Its ownership came with half an acre and a meadow called The Pound Yard, which was part of what is now Church Meadow.  Fynnes was held by the Clover family from 1560 at least. Robert Clover and his wife Margaret (Allen) split it in their will to their daughters. It came under single ownership again in 1653 with the Price family and later the Baker family. Alice Baker sold it to Robert Pocklington in 1799. 

The victorian School House is shown newly built in 1870. It was opened on 11th July 1870. It was extended in 1911 by Colonel Frederic Pocklington. It was closed as a school in 1926. We have the school log books from 1870 to 1896, 1911-1926 and the 'Punishment Book' from 1910-1926.