Church of St Mary the Virgin
Lakenheath, Suffolk shown within Suffolk
|OS grid reference|
|– London||80.72 from high street to parliament square|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Lakenheath is a village in Suffolk, England. It has around 4,500 residents, and is situated in the Forest Heath district of Suffolk, close to the county boundaries of both Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, and at the meeting point of the The Fens and the Breckland natural environments.
Lakenheath is host to the largest USAF base in the United Kingdom, RAF Lakenheath.
Lakenheath Fen Nature Reserve, created in 1996, restored wetlands from agricultural fields that were growing carrots. In May 2007, it was reported that cranes were nesting in the site for the first time since the fen lands were drained in the 16th century.
The town has a single Victorian primary school, constructed in 1878, which was extended in 1969, again in 2004 and most recently in 2010/2011. There is a small shopping street, with a grocery store, two newsagents, an optician's shop, a Chinese restaurant, fish and chip shop, and Filipino restaurant. The town has a library with internet access. Along this stretch of road a small skate park, a playing field and a children's play park can also be found.
Lakenheath has two pubs though historically it had at least sixteen more. The Plough Inn (also known as the Wok n Rock) is a spacious flint faced 19th-century bar, Far Eastern restaurant and takeaway. It reopened at the end of 2013 after being closed for two years. The other pub is the Brewer's Tap. The Royal British Legion was a members only club, but closed in April 2012.
Lakenheath is remarkable for its medieval church, built in the local flint construction style. The church contains medieval paintings and medieval carving on the pews. The faces of the church's wooden angels bear the scars of the English Civil War, as none of the angels retain their original facial detail, due to religiously motivated vandalism by puritan soldiers In early 2009, the church received a large grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and local organisations to restore its rare medieval wall paintings. The wall paintings, depicting local saint St Edmund, angels, and birds amongst other subjects, are believed to date from the 13th century.
As well as the Anglican parish church, Lakenheath has churches representing the Methodist, Strict Baptist and Pentecostal (AOG) denominations. All three of the non-Anglican church buildings are also primarily constructed of local flint, albeit with later modifications in brick.
Lakenheath railway station is three miles away from the village.
There are regular bus services to the neighbouring towns of Brandon, Mildenhall and Thetford plus buses to Bury St.Edmunds operated on school/college days which are available to the general public.
Lakenheath is host to the largest deployment of United States Air Force personnel in the United Kingdom: RAF Lakenheath. The social impact of the United States Air Force fighter airbase and its nearby sister, RAF Mildenhall, on the economy of Lakenheath and on the nearby towns and villages is important. The United States has maintained a presence in the community since bombers were stationed there during WWII conducting raids on Europe. The base has a population of around 6000 service personnel.
Prehistory and archeology
Excavation of three early Anglo Saxon cemeteries at RAF Lakenheath between 1997 and 2002 uncovered a total of 394 inhumation and 17 cremation burials, including one 6th-century grave with a horse burial: a man was buried next to a fully armored horse.
- Lakenheath Village, UK - A Website of Information for Residents and Visitors
- BBC News 17 May 2007
- Our School
- Suffolk Camra
- Lakenheath club closes its doors
- BBC News 6 January 2009
- Jupp, Peter C.; Gittings, Clare (1999). Death in England: An Illustrated History. Manchester UP. p. 72. ISBN 9780719058110. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
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