Though the appearance of much of the village has changed surprisingly little in the last 100 years or so, the way residents of the village live their daily lives has changed in ways unimaginable even 20-30 years ago, let alone 150 years ago when the earliest photographs of the village were taken.

Bernard Quinlan's, revised and updated second edition of Geoffrey Pocklington's 'Chelsworth - The Story of a Little Suffolk Village (1996)' has a wealth of fascinating detail of how life was from Saxon times to the present day. The following pages show a selection of photographs of the village and its inhabitants.

If you have, or know of any more interesting photos of village life please do let us know. Though we have many photos from 1860 to 1950 we have little after this period.

The first photograph is of two ladies of the Pocklington family on a punt on the River Brett at The Grange. The punt was built by Geoffrey Pocklington himself. The photograph was taken on 7th June 1911 by Chris Cullen's great-grandfather Harry Jarman. The second is of the local Monks Eleigh butcher's shop in around 1900. The man on the left of the photo is Chelsworth resident, William Cutter.

Workmen on scaffolding during the construction of Chelsworth Hall in 1900.

Heavy Horses in the street with 'Old Holden' (and Reuben Harvey who lived at Tudor Cottage).

James Edward Holden was Head Horseman at Old Farm, Chelsworth

Pocklington family gathering in the garden of The Old Manor. Col Fred Pocklington is seen seated on the right (1908). Scudamore family rowing and rafting on the Brett (1905 approx).

Large tree fallen across the road and damaging the wall of Ivy House on 9th February 1925.

Three members of the Grainger family are shown: William with his hand on the railings, with Fred and Amos sitting on the trunk.

The second photograph is titled 'At The Waterpump' Left.   This delightful picture of Martha Lister giving a drink from the pump behind Riverside may well relate to an incident reported in the school logbook, telling of the passage of sixty horse soldiers through Chelsworth in 1916.

Dancing round the village Maypole (1960's) and Christmas celebrations in Victory Hall (1950s)
Chelsworth was awarded Suffolk's Best Kept Village
Chelsworth was the inaugural winner of the Suffolk's, Best-Kept Village competition, under the prompting of Tom Evans, head gardener at Chelsworth Hall and an upstanding, respected character whose strong figure was prominent in most events in Chelsworth in the immediate post-war years.


Tom Evans was a central figure in a television programme broadcast in the “Country Wise” series on 29th October 1956. Unfortunately, the recording has not survived. A later TV record of the village has been kept, however, and copies are owned by several residents.

Other interviewees in the earlier programme were Marjorie Powell, who lived at The Grange and was Chairman of the Women’s Institute, and Leonard Richardson who spoke about his family’s long experience of the craft of the thatcher

Tom Evans also played a big part in many village functions as this next pictures show (he is on the extreme left).
Rest a moment and think of the people who lived here in the past hundred years. They were a close community and they came together on many an occasion to entertain themselves and celebrate the events of the time.
The W.I. staged countless dinners and meetings, and clearly loved nothing better than the chance to dress up and put on a show …
Other pursuits captured on film included the May Day festivities in 1920, and traditional sporting activities - there was also a Sparrow and Rat Club in the years before the Great War, though this was a serious venture.
Village cricket has been played on and off in past years, though it's now rather in abeyance
The photographs and postcards reproduced here demonstrate most clearly the contrast between old Chelsworth and today’s village. Old villagers recall that almost every cottage was condemned at one time or another - it is indeed surprising that so many did survive. To the right lies the village playground, given to the people of Chelsworth in 1950 by Mrs Mary le Mare, who with her husband owned Chelsworth Hall
    Let us look at some more of the village gatherings, both formal and frequently otherwise, with which people celebrated in the days before television 
As previous, Let us look at some more of the village gatherings, both formal and frequently otherwise, with which people celebrated in the days before television
Charles Godbold and Freda Cracknell planting a tree on the Play Meadow in November 1989

A W.I. party in January 1959.  The lady in the flowered dress with behind the lady dressed in black is Yvonne Bishop who first came to the village in 1952. Freda Cracknell is seen in the white blouse and dark coloured skirt.

Parish Meeting Chair, Derek Jeggo, leads the village in unveiling the new village sign. Designed and carved by Paul Mason. The year 2000.