For those families who we know had strong ties to Saxham Street more details about them can be read in Saxham Street People.  For those with more tenuous links try Stowupland families. 

Or see some images of Saxham Street.

Saxham Street Stories

In Hollingsworth’s ‘History of Stowmarket’ (p61) he calls it Saxo’s home Street, conjecturing that Saxo, a pre-Norman conquest land-owner, used it when traveling between his seat (ham) in Stonham and Stow.

In deeds from 1488 (found in Stowmarket church) there is a reference to Townlands in Saxtom Thorney, a hamlet of Stowmarket.

road sign
Today’s sign on the junction with the A1120

 Saxham Street is not to be confused with Little and Great Saxham near Bury St. Edmunds. Our street  sits  on the outskirts of Stowupland and is rarely shown in its entirety on local maps. Over the centuries it has had various spellings being Saxton, Saxston or Saxon (1860s) and occasionally referred to as Saxham  hamlet. It may have once had its own Green or mere so the street element might indicate that it was a surveyor’s road, that is, a straight pathway across a green or area that was not being actively farmed.

From the Feet of Fines, 1352 to 1357. Edmund de Saxaham & his wife Avica held land in Stowmarket, Thorney and Dagworth.

1468 we have mention of a shop ‘Cowperes’ in the will of John Bylls and land and a tenement Coes in Saxton. William Bakstete’s wife was to live at Cowperes for life although the land was sold off.

From 1550 we know of a Wm Birde from Saxton Hamlet de Stowmarket, and from 1568 Saxon Hamlet otherwise known as Stowe Uplands.

In 1657 we have areference to a common way called Saxton Street.

For some reason this A1120 junction seems prone to drivers colliding with each other and leaving the road. As this press cutting shows us this is not a recent phenomenon, but goes back to at least 1938. At that time the junction was much more of a T junction with a high hedge and a simple finger post to indicate the turning. For more Saxham Street RTI’s.

photo of bungalows
Showing the Give Way sign at the end of Saxham Street in the 1970s

When reading through older census forms it can be confusing to see that  Saxham Street did not have a fixed starting point or end. In different decades sections might be called Mendelsham Road or another time Saxham Street extends along today’s Church Road, Main Road or Stonham Road even as far as Park Farm, and the stretch of road from Holy Trinity Church is also sometimes called Pitman Road or Church Walk. However the 1840s is an interesting starting period for locating Saxham Street properties and people.

The second half of the 19th century is still a work in progress.

 Prior to the 20th century most of the properties were associated with agriculture, either being working farm houses or farm workers cottages, from the 1960′s a number of privately owned bungalows were built. As a result today Saxham Street can be thought of as 2 distinct areas, a built up residential stretch of housing and a more open rural landscape that may well look as if it has remained unchanged for centuries.

Home owners at the end nearest the A1120 no longer make their living from working on the land. And although the landscape from Saxham Cottage down to Poplar Farm corner probably appears relatively unchanged from earlier periods many of the farm house owners are no longer actively involved in farming and the farm buildings have undergone extensive renovations.

Utilities were late arriving in Saxham Street.

In the 1880s and 90s the parish council was voicing concerns over lack of adequate drinking water in Stowupland and in 1895 a newspaper carries a report that ’10houses in Saxon Street had not ‘water fit for cattle’ and it was suggested and agreed that water be ‘carted to supply water to cottages in Saxon Street’.

Gyfords. The Tailors had a telephone installed by 1927 but an advert for a house sale in the same year felt it important to point out that water could be obtained by a hand pump in at the Drift way. Sewage pipes did not arrive till the early 60s, till then with so many ditches around it was mainly ‘bucket and chuck it’.

We are gradually piecing together the stories of some of the people who lived in Saxham Street over the years,when we can we will post them here…

Lost Locations around Saxham Street

Whilst the gegraphical layout of Saxham Street and the surrounding area has changed little over the centuries, many house, field and road names have been forgotten. The names are recorded in documents but locating them is not easy.

image of Stowupland hall
Aerial image showing location of Watch bench Lane

It is no longer possible to walk along  Watch Bench Lane, but Neil Langridge has come across a sketch of its location and conjectured that maybe the Freeman family didn’t want a footpath crossing their park land after Stowupland Hall had been built. Although it is no longer possible to walk along Watch Bench Lane we are slowly uncovering more evidence of its existence.

The track follows the 200m contour line, so as one of the higher points in Stowupland it would have been a good vantage point to watch for ‘visitors’ approaching from the Stonhams or the Creetings. See photos of potential views from Watch Bench Lane

Suggestions for the locations of Hatchcroft, Thorneycroft and badegrymi woods

Badgrymi Woods  are mentioned from the 13th through to the 18th century, though with various spellings eg Badegrym). Together with Thorney croft and Hatch croft. these locations can only be roughly located on a modern map by exploring the fields held by named landowners.

…………………

And relating to Thorneycroft NL tells us that in 1511 – William Keble de Degos held land called Thorneycroft and Long Dole which abutted onto Dedman Lane

Robert Kebyll the elder of Saxston hamlet in the town of Stowmarket– bequeathed in 1511 ” his soul to lorde god and to our lady saint mary.  Burial in St peter in stow

  • Sums for prayer by ‘an honest priest’ and fryars in Gpiswych
  • Richard my son tenement called fenkells and hervyes with land in Saxston with a parcel of badgrym lying in Stonham and my closes called doolys and Thorneycroft with a messuage called cutts,
  • with 30 s a year to his mother jane and the parlor and solar and ‘liberte to go to the bakehouse for to bake her bredd’

  HATCHCROFT,  Thorney Manor Court rolls dated 27 April 1837 tells us of  the absolute surrender by Mrs Hannah Durrant to Mr John Mulliner of a “close of customary land called  Hatchcroft containing 2 ac. 3 ½ roods lying in Gipping between the free lands formerly of Simon Dove & since of {bland} Rebow towards the west & the lands formerly of Thos. Goddard & since of Thos. Turner of the fee of the Manor of Gipping on the east part of the north head thereof abuts upon the Close of the Manor of Gipping called Staples & the other head thereof abuts on the common highway leading from Stow to Mendlesham which last mentioned Copyhold Premises are held of the manor of Thorney Campsey which Mary Roper was admitted to after the death & as only child of Joseph S Kowen (?) & which she surrender by her will dated 12 Aug 1784 to exors son in law Thos Craske & Philip Richer of Old Newton, gent who sold it 3rd October 1793 to Edmund Tyrell’

NL has located what he thinks maybe a bridge over what maybe hatchcroft brook