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Holy Trinity Church
Long Melford shown within Suffolk
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Long Melford (or Melford, as it is known locally) is a large village and civil parish in the county of Suffolk, England. It is on Suffolk's border with Essex, which is marked by the River Stour, approximately 16 miles (26 km) from Colchester and 14 miles (23 km) from Bury St. Edmunds. The parish also includes the hamlets of Bridge Street and Cuckoo Tye.
Its name is derived from the nature of the village's layout (originally concentrated along a 3-mile stretch of a single road) and the Mill ford crossing the Chad Brook (a tributary of the River Stour).
Pre historic finds discovered in 2011, have shown that early settlement, of what is now known as Long Melford, dates back to the Mesolithic period of up to 8300 BC. In addition, Iron Age finds were made in the same year, and again were found within the largely central area, of the current village.
The Romans constructed two roads through Melford, the main one running from Chelmsford through to Pakenham. Roman remains were discovered in a gravel pit in 1828, a site now occupied by the village's football club. Roman finds in recent years included complete skeletons,a stone coffin, part of the original Roman Road, complete Samian pottery,and a Spartha Sword unearthed in a villagers garden. Some archaeological evidence of a Saxon settlement in the area has been discovered.
Middle Ages 
The Manor of Melford was given to the Abbey of St.Edmundsbury by Earl Aflric c. 1050. The village is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, which lists the manor of Long Melford as an estate of 600 hectares. The neighbouring Manor of Kentwell is also recorded. Following the dissolution of the Monasteries, Henry VIII granted the manor to Sir William Cordell. During the Middle Ages the grew and gained a weekly market and an annual fair in 1235.
Long Melford survived the Black Death in 1348-9, and was a brief stop-off in the peasants' revolt in 1381. By the early 1400s the manor of Kentwell belonged to the Clopton family. John Clopton was arrested in 1461 and charged with treason. Clopton was spared execution and he was released and returned to Kentwell. There he organised and largely helped to pay for the rebuilding of the parish church. During this time the wealth of the parish was increasing, with most of the inhabitants being free men, renting their homes and lands. Guilds were founded, and weaving cloth became a key part of the village's economy. In the official inspector's returns for the year 1446 there were as many as 30 named weavers in Long Melford, who between them produced 264 finished "cloths".
Modern era 
In 1604 an epidemic of the plague arrived in Melford and 119 people died between the months of May and September. During the English Civil War a puritan mob of over one thousand arrived in Melford pursuing Elizabeth Savage, Countess Rivers, a staunch Catholic and Royalist, from her property in St Osyth to her Suffolk estate at Melford Hall. The hall was sacked and plundered and the Countess fled to Bury St Edmunds, then onto London where eventually she was imprisoned for debt and died a pauper.
By the end of the 17th century cloth production had once again become important in the area as many new entrepreneurs started to produce a range of materials known as the ‘Bays and Says’. These were lighter, cheaper types of cloth than the traditional woollen broadcloths that had been made in the 15th and 16th centuries but once again many of the cloth merchants became extremely wealthy and for some years prosperity returned to Melford.
Soon after the beginning of the 19th century a range of new industries such as horsehair weaving, an iron foundry, a flax works and coconut matting started in Melford. By 1851 there were three horsehair manufacturers in Melford employing over 200 men women and children. During the 1880s a series of wage cuts in the coconut industry caused widespread anger and eventually resulted in strike action. Feelings ran high culminating on Polling Day in December 1885 when a riot broke out and considerable damage was caused throughout the village. Troops were summoned from Bury St Edmunds to restore order; they arrived by train and marched from Melford station to read the Riot Act from the steps of the Police Station.
During World War II Long Melford was a location for American and Allied service personnel, who flew B24 and B17 aircraft from two large bomber stations, RAF Lavenham and RAF Sudbury, located nearby. Troops from amongst others, the Berkshire and Black Watch Regiments, were billeted and garrisoned within the village. Injured airmen, troops from the D-Day landings, and prisoners of war were treated at the large nearby 136th Station Hospital, located between Long Melford and Acton. German prisoners of war were interned at a camp near to the 136th Station Hospital, and Italian prisoners were located at a camp at the nearby village of Borley. USAF personnel from bases at Lakenheath, Mildenhall, and Wethersfield airbases often lived within Long Melford. By the end of the war two B24 Liberators, one B17 Flying Fortress, and one RAF de Havilland Mosquito had crashed in the parish with over twenty persons killed or injured. Numerous pillboxes and temporary gun enplacements were constructed during the war across the village, and in 2012 a unknown underground bunker room was located. According to the Remembrance Plaque at the Holy Trinity Church ninety-six serving villagers were killed in World War One, and eleven during World War Two.
The parish church of Long Melford is unusual for a village church by reason of its great size and fine architecture. The origin of Holy Trinity Church dates from the reign of Edward the Confessor; it was then substantially rebuilt between 1467 and 1497 by John Clopton of Kentwell Hall. It is one of the richest "wool churches" in East Anglia and is renowned for its flushwork, The Clopton chantry chapel and the Lady Chapel at the East end with some surviving medieval stained-glass. Edmund Blunden, the World War I poet, is buried in the churchyard. Next to the church is the Hospital of the Holy and Blessed Trinity, an almshouse founded by William Cordell in 1573.
Another unusual feature of Long Melford is its large elongated village green, dominated until the 1980s by a group of great elms that included one of the largest in England. The elms were painted in 1940 by the watercolourist S. R. Badmin in his 'Long Melford Green on a Frosty Morning', now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The village contains two stately homes, Kentwell Hall and Melford Hall, both visited by Elizabeth I, and all built from the proceeds of the wool trade in the Middle Ages. Kentwell Hall and the Holy Trinity Church were financed by the Clopton family, in particular by John Clopton. Both Kentwell Hall and Melford Hall are open to the general public, with Melford Hall being a National Trust property. The village's history is recorded in the Long Melford Heritage Centre, and contains finds uncovered in the July 2011 Long Melford Dig.There are also displays of old photographs, and ancient finds from the village, including a good collection of locally found Roman artifacts.
Long Melford once had a railway station on the Stour Valley Line, but this closed in March 1967 when the line was cut back to Sudbury. It is connected to several large towns by bus, notably Sudbury, Colchester, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill and Ipswich. The Valley Walk cycle and pedestrian route links Long Melford and Sudbury.
Sport and leisure 
Long Melford has a Non-League football club Long Melford F.C. who play at Stoneylands, just off St Catherines Road. Long Melford Country Park and Picnic Site is sited next to the River Stour in the adjoining hamlet of Rodbridge Corner. Long Melford has an large water meadow on the approach to Liston and a network of footpaths, including the Melford Walk which follows the route of the disused railway line before joining the Valley Walk path to Sudbury and the Suffolk Cycle Route which passes through the village. The Long Melford Street Fair and the Big Night Out Guy Fawkes Night fireworks event at Melford Hall are held annually.
In popular culture 
The village, and many of those surrounding, was used as the setting for the BBC television series Lovejoy and Terry Jones's film Wind In The Willows was also partially shot in Long Melford. The Bull Hotel in Long Melford features in the BBC documentary The World of John and Yoko". The Long Melford Dig was documented in Michael Wood's BBC series, The Great British Story. Racing driver Richard Seaman lived at Kentwell Hall during part of his childhood. Scenes for the 1968 film Witch Finder General, featuring Vincent Price, were filmed from the moat bridge at Kentwell Hall.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Long Melford|
- Neighbourhood Statistics
- Kelly (1900). Kelly's Directory of Suffolk. Kelly's Directories, Ltd. p. 259. Retrieved 2008-10-21
- Kelly (1900). Kelly's Directory of Suffolk. Kelly's Directories, Ltd. p. 260. Retrieved 2008-10-21
- "Holy Trinity". The Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
- Edwards, Alun. "The Edmund Blunden Collection - Biography". First World War Poetry Digital Archive. University of Oxford. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
- Charles Henry Cooper; Thompson Cooper (1858). Athenae Cantabrigienses. 1: 1500-1585. DEIGHTON BELL & CO, MACMILLAN & CO, BELL & DALDY FLEET STREET. p. 433.
- Photographs of Long Melford elms in Oliver Rackham, A History of the Countryside (London, 1986) and in Francis Frith Collection, images.francisfrith.com  
- Victoria and Albert Museum, collections.vam.ac.uk, 'Long Melford Green on a frosty morning' 
- Britain Express
- "BBC2's Great British Story comes to Melford Hall". The National Trust. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- "When John Lennon brought a lot of hot air to Suffolk". East Anglian Daily Times. 2010-12-07. Retrieved 2012-11-02.