Great Wratting shown within Suffolk
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Great Wratting is a village and civil parish in England, about four miles from Haverhill, Suffolk, in the valley of the River Stour. There is a ford across the Stour in the centre of the village, where bathing and fishing are common pursuits. The river here is heavily populated by crayfish, a non native species long since escaped from farms near the mouth of the Stour.
The origins of the name of the village are uncertain. There is a Little Wratting nearby, and a West Wratting about ten miles away. On its website, the Great Wratting Parish Council says "the village was known in the Dark Ages as Wraet Ing - Ing meaning ‘place’ and Wraet ‘madder’. The plant Madder was crucial to our ancestors as a dying agent, the only real source of the colour red, and it was to Great Wratting early medieval East Anglians would come when they wanted to wear or sell red clothes." Others theories suggest the name originated in the process of candlemaking, where "wratting" refers to part of the process of preparing tallow, or that the name may refer to catching rats.
Many of the older houses in the village were once estate cottages on the Thurlow Estate, sometime owned by the Vestey family, and date to the 16th century or earlier. A large proportion are thatched, mostly with traditional Suffolk straw thatch, but with some Norfolk reed thatch. The village boasts a vibrant and successful pub, the Red Lion, a thriving Anglican church, St Mary's, and a church room purchased by the village which is used for meetings and concerts. The old vicarage, the old school and the old post office are now - long since - family homes, as are the old forge (which has also been the old Bell pub). The village is well known for its large and hugely successful annual summer fete - held either at Great Wratting Hall or Rook Tree Farm on the first Saturday in June. A local silver band plays all afternoon and people attend from miles around. The village also has a well attended carol service and festival of readings on the Friday before Christmas. The flint walled church is Saxon in origin, its interior Victorian but with a wooden rood screen which was possibly put in by W H Smith of book-selling fame (once a resident of the Hall).
The nearest schools are the Church of England Primary in Thurlow, Samuel Ward Comprehensive, in Haverhill, and Barnardiston Hall, a private preparatory school at the far end of the Street.
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