Thorney Green

Our Green when cows grazed there

In 1446 there is a reference to Thorney Tye, apparently this is the only known example of a ‘tye’ being found north of the River Gipping. Historically the land was generally referred to as the waste of Stow and our present manicured grassy ‘lawn‘ is a recent phenomena.

Over the centuries our green has shrunk as parcels of land have been ‘enclosed’ or built upon. In past times the vegetation was controlled by the grazing of live stock and drainage was partially managed by ditches and ponds.


A Karnser – What and Where?

According to an article in Telstar 2015.

Karnser or carnser is an Old English word  meaning an edge, border or a raised roadside edge (in a town) or a causeway across marshy ground (as in a Village). This map shows a 19th century footpath from Poole’s farm (nr  Thorney Green Road) across to Green Farm, so crossing diagonally through the section of the Green known today as Half-a-Mow. The writer suggests that this footpath is just a section of the original karnser.
In the second half of the 20th century the parish council had the area of the Green drained.

In the 1960s, for a variety of reasons, it became important to define what a green was and who had the ‘right’ to access it. This resulted in some interesting research that might otherwise have not found its way into our archives.o.

There are 2 important terms relating to grazing rights:

STINTING refers to the number of cattle etc. allowed on a common by right.

GOINGS is the number of cattle etc. allowed on a common by auction, and let yearly.

And here are 3 Latin terms that can be used to describe “a green” or “common Land”:

  • Via(m) Comm (unis) – a common way
  • Via Viridis(em) – a green way
  • Vastum – empty or waste land.

Also from the medieval era a ‘dole’ could be used to describe a strip of common meadow.

According to a letter in our archive from ‘The Central Committee on Common registration’ dated 10th March 1969 ;

  • The fact that Professor Thorpe had listed Thorney Green indicated that he had found evidence that a ‘village green existed there in medieval times or earlier’.
  • Local People have no right of access to common land.
  • Registration as a green does give the local inhabitants a right of access and a right to indulge in games, etc. on the land.
  • Rights of common can be registered and exercised over a green as over a common so it is difficult to see why people object to registration as a greem.
  • Thorney Green was rather large for registration as a green.

By the late 1970s Stowupland parish Council bought the Lordship of Thorney Manor ‘in the best interests of the parish’ taking on the ownership of the 20+ acres of the green.

On 13th February 1979 there was a public inquiry regarding the status of THORNEY GREEN. It was subsequently registered as “a Green with Common Right.

In February 1980, Telstar carried a report, ‘Some may recall that a year ago a public inquiry was held in Bury St Edmunds to determine whether our village green was in fact a green or a common. Your parish council wanted a village green with common rights. The Commons Commissioners in London have confirmed that this is the decision they have made. I can only hope that everyone concerned with the outcome of this inquiry, agrees with the findings.’

In 1983 Telstar reported that parish  councilors went to court to prove that the Parish Council were the lawful owners of the Village Green.

1983 Stowupland Green

In 1965 the parish council was concerned that increasing car ownership and use of workman’s vans was damaging the Green and that tracks made by vehicles would divide the green into segments.

A suggestion was put forward that a perimeter track was a sensible solution but the council said it ‘had no powers in such matters.’ East Suffolk County Council had recently erected a barrier of posts ‘to prevent vehicles from continuing to damage a footpath which has for many years been managed by the parish council’.

press cutting

Matters came to a head in the mid 1960s when the Lady of the Manor (Miss Mary Warner) wanted to sell her manorial rights to the green, so that at least part of it could be built on. Despite local concerns the sale was not for a new housing estate to be built estate but to provide access to Stowupland Heights and eventually resulted in the Manorial rights over the green passing to Stowupland Parish Council

In the 1950s and 60s a Royal Commission was set up to look into the ownership and usage of common land. Thorny Green, Stowupland was described as having 30 acres, the condition of the land was grass and gorse and under a section asking about the ‘nature of common rights & extent used” it was simply described as ‘grazing rights.’

section of a letter

Our Green before the 20th century.

In 1876 a petition was made in the House of Commons by a Mr Fawcett as a result of  public meetings that had taken place in Stowupland, Old Newton and West Creeting, suggesting there was concern regarding a Bill relating to the Enclosure of Commons.

Ena Carter found notes of parish meetings held in the 1890’s about concerns over the management of the green.

In 1892 concern was noted that Horse Dealers, gypsies &others were putting horses on the Green (specifically on the front corner of Mill piece and at the Brame’s end.

And at several meetings there were discussions ‘over getting enfranchisement (freeing or control) of the Green).

press cutting
Relating to a petition against the Enclosure of Commons

Today some local farmers still retain the right to use the Green for grazing though its been a while since the football team has had to play around any cowpats.

In 1820 a cricket match between Needham and Stowmarket was played on Thorney Green

In 1821 an entry in Freeman’s diaries notes, ‘May 13th Sent sheep upon Green (111 in number).’

The ‘waste ground’ used to be much larger than it appears today. We don’t know its full extent but certainly in the 19th century planning appears to have been granted retrospectively:

In 1859.

George Baker was granted a peice of waste ground parcel of Thorney Green.

In 1842 we know Thorney Green (tm 400) was owned by the Lords of the Manor (Edward Bigsby, Charles Beck and Charles R. Freeman), it covered 28 acres 2 rood and 20 perch. Its occupier was given as the public.

In 1820

Willaim Beard requested a parcel of land on which a cottage had been erected. Matthew Willett & John Clarke requested 12 sq rods near a windmill (formerly of Thomas Bauly) in area to the NE & surrounded by Green – they were granted 36 sq rods.

In 1809

John Wells requested a parcel of Thorney green of 40 roods upon which a cottage has been erected.

Ena Carter noted that there were 10 properties behind (outside) the perimeter ditch of Stowupland Green: Oak Farm, Pooles Farm, Green Farm, Corner Farm, Waterworks Cottages, Elm Farm, Croft Farmhouse, Crown Farmhouse, Walnut Tree Farm and Columbyne Hall. She added that by the 1700s a blacksmiths was on the Green and by 1798 the first windmill enclosure had been made, and by 1802 and 1820 some enclosures had been made for cottages,

14th to 17th century

In his 1844, History of Stowmarket, the Rev Hollingsworth wrote that he had found a record amongst Stowmarket church papers that the green of the Uplands was still being used up to 1688 as a place of ‘muster’ and used by The Hundred for military training and archery practise. (Buttes for shooting bows and arrows were kept by the parish officers). This seems to have been the continuation of a tradition started by Edward II in 1326 when he ordered Beacons to be ready and men of each hundread trained and kept ready to act.

Much of the above details come from Ena Carter’s archive, either as press cuttings she kept or notes she made from research she carries out at the Ipswich Record Office. Although Ena was never on the parish council her husband was and they made a good team with her doing background research that he was able to make use of..