The Place; its geography, geology or politics

Ultuna, The Uplonds of Stow or Stowupland.

In 1949 the author of the attached article took the pen name St Osyth, he concluded his piece ‘Stowupland as a whole is quiet and peaceful at any time you may happen to visit it.’

In the Suffolk Green Book of 1568 Saxon hamlet is mentioned as otherwise known as Stowe Uplande.

press cutting
Extract from Stowmarket Notebook, July 1947

This detail was sketched by Ena Carter from A New Map of the County of Suffolk 1804 – 3rd edition corrected in 1818 as printed for C.Smith, London. She copied it from a map in the possession of Mr A.G. Addison.

As can be seen it names 3 greens. Thorney and Broad Green still exist but not Saxham Green.

outline of 1880 Stowupland roadsThe image shows the roadways and locations of some properties named in the 1840 Tithe Apportionment. It was part of Ena Carter‘s collection. From the map it can be seen that before the 20th century the Uplands were essentially 4 settlement areas. Roads and footpaths linked the populated areas and more isolated cottages. The general layout of the main thoroughfares appears to have changed little over the centuries and are recognisable today. 

However locating specific fields and land areas prior to 1840 is a challenge, even within living memory some roads and place names have been lost. And it is always important to bear in mind that over the centuries our boundaries have been flexible. Lands previously attributed to Stowupland may now be found in neighbouring parishes.

Stowupland is generally heavy clay, over the centuries man made and natural drainage channels have helped to keep the farmland workable. And although there are many ponds scattered across the landscape  there have many tomes when lack of water has been a problem, Notably 1890 was a very dry period when drinking water was in short supply.

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In 2010 the village was in need of a new village sign to replace an old weathered one. A new one was ordered from Wayland Prison. The signs refect the rural nature of a village and the importance of its 19th century church.

The Uplands of Stow and its surroundings.

Prior to the housing developments of the 20th and 21st century, Stowupland homes (within today’s boundaries) were either clustered around the village Green, along the Main Road or as outlying linear settlements to the SW and NE as Mill Street and Saxham Street .  The  area of denser urban population was Stowupland Street. This became part of Stowmarket in the 1930’s boundary changes.

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Footpath in the winter

This is a wintry view of a footpath looking back to houses along Saxham Street,  click here for images of The Uplands of Stow and its surroundings.

Stowupland is crisscrossed by many footpaths. In the past they would have been essential for local people to reach their work and even though many have been lost over the centuries today they are valued by dog walkers.  And with increasing traffic our footpaths are becoming increasingly valued again by  pedestrians as safe thoroughfares.

In 1914  Stowupland covered an area of 2,500 acres. It extended down to the River Gipping encompassing the railway and industrial areas along the river bank. It had a population or 1409 with some 200 children of elementary school age. It has been argued that in 1912 the population of Stowupland could be considered as two separate groups. The Urban Stowupland consisted of artisan families and the Rural Stowupland were in the main agricultural labourers.

By 1931, before the later boundary changes, its area was 2,481 but it spopulation had declined to 773.

1783 map

Stowupland can be roughly divided into 3 sections:

  • An Eastern Farming area –roughly around  Stowupland Hall to Old Newton, Mendelsham and Earl Stonham, with the focus on Saxham Strreet.
  • A Central Area – the heart of the village includes our housing estates  and  The Green sandwiched between farmlands.
  • The Western End down to Stowmarket and the River Gipping.
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Early 20th century Green

Central to the heart of  Stowupland is our Green. It is no longer the ‘waste of Stow’ only useful as grazing land but is valued by local residents as a peaceful open space.

The main east-west thoroughfares, that travelers passing through Stowupland have used since ancient times, pass through the Green and to its South. On the tithe apportionment it has the Green has its own designation of 400 whilst properties surrounding it  are   in the 3oo to 400’s. For some personal memories of The Green  read more

In the past parts of the Green have been built on but today it is protected as a managed green open space, though largely  bordered by housing estates.

To the NW and SE the land is still farmed.

To the NW, Stonebridge Lane follows the River Gipping with a bridge or ford providing a crossing place between stowupland and Old Newton.

Over to the East, Saxham Street links Stowupland to  neighbouring villages.

Today Saxham Street runs from just after Stowupland Hall heading towards Mendelsham.

The tithe apportionment numbering starts from 1 at the Mendlesham end increasing to  around 330. This section will deal with a roughly rectangular area encompassing the land that formed  Stowupland Hall Estate, along Rendall Lane to what was Poplar Farm (now Walnut Tree Farm) and down to today’s Poplar Farm.

See Saxham street Stories or click for images, our stories will be of the homes, people and land linked by today’s Stowupland Hall and Poplar Faem.

Over to the West, Mill Street used to lead to Stowmarket, now its a deadend.

Stowupland and Stowmarket are separated by the A14. Mill Street commences at Elm Farm and terminates at the A14, previously it led down to Sheepcote Hall. See also Spoonman’s Farm off to the west of Mill Street.

Today’s main road down to Stowmarket passes through these fields.  However the road to Stowmarket used to run parallel to Mill Street, heading towards Spulmans (Spoonmans) farm. The remnants can still be seen running alongside the Allotments.

disused road
The old road from Thorney Green down to Stowmarket.(2024 photo Langridge)

Research into our medieval past is revealing some fascinating information.

The population in 1327 is recorded as 21, but who were being counted?

Click on Medieval Thorney for a taster of what has been found out, or learn more about the Amundeville family, our Medieval Lords of the Manor.

Aspects of our pre-medieval past is slowly being uncovered  as farm land is dug up for new roads and houses..

A press report from 1975 told of the collection of fossils found in 1975 by a local farmer when the Stowmarket-Claydon bypass was built. The fossils dated back to the Mesozoic period.

 Local Councils and parish boundaries.

Stowupland parish Council -this is very much an ongoing research project. To start off – Jack Carter retired as chair in 1983

Our parish boundaries have changed several times.This means that population statistics aren’t a true refection of our population density.

As well as boundary changes, different areas of  Stowupland  have come under the jurisdictions of different councils over the years. Read more…

Weather occasionally gets a mention in our archives, just for interest they will be added here