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Walton shown within Suffolk
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Walton is a small village in Suffolk, between the rivers Orwell and Deben. It is often considered to be part of Felixstowe and forms part of Felixstowe parish, however it is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The 19th century terraces of Walton High Street are just a few hundred yards from Hamilton Square in the middle of Felixstowe.
The village High Street has a few shops including: Butchers, bakers, an Indian restaurant, two co-ops, furniture shop, post office, chemist, a carpet shop and hair dressers. The windmill has been conserved.
History of Walton
Recent archaeological findings show evidence of Bronze Age field systems in use. In Roman times, a Roman fort enclosing about 6 acres (24,000 m2), similar to Burgh Castle, stood on high land near Brackenbury Fort and Bull's Cliff, now in Felixstowe. Probably built in the third or fourth centuries AD, it formed part of the coastal defences of the eastern shore of Britain, and overlooked the mouth of the River Deben. It is often referred to as Walton Castle. The walls and foundations finally slid down the cliff during the 18th century, but large portions of the walls still lie under the sea.
The name Walton comes from settlement and farmstead of Wealas - native Celts, which is what the new Anglo Saxon speaking peoples called the native inhabitants of England. There is strong evidence that in many areas of England taken over by Germanic speaking settlers, the native British (Wealas) remained undisturbed, farming the same land they did when the Romans left. Over time, they adopted or forgot their Celtic tongue (similar to Old Welsh or Cornish) for the language and culture of the newcomers in order to climb the social ladder, or were coerced to do so. It was in the Anglo Saxon interest that the native British carry on as usual to ensure the production of food and goods for the new landowners.
During the early seventh century, when the Anglo-Saxon royal cemetery at Sutton Hoo was in use, Walton Castle was an important part of the royal environs which, by c660, had become settled at Rendlesham, on the north side of the River Deben. Walton Castle is one of the two principal sites (the other is Dunwich) claimed in the Middle Ages for the location of Dommoc, the original bishop's seat of St Felix (Felix of Burgundy), first bishop of the East Angles, who arrived c630 AD in the reign of King Sigeberht of East Anglia. The see of Dommoc survived until the late ninth century.
At the time of the Norman Conquest, the manor of Walton was linked with that of Falkenham, a village overlooking the River Deben a little further inland. The fort area was then known as Burch, a form of Burgh. Soon afterwards,[when?] Roger Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk, invited the monks of Rochester to found Walton Priory, dedicated to St Felix, in the precinct of the Roman fort.
During the twelfth century, the powerful Bigod family established an important manorial hall at Walton, which was successively rebuilt and enlarged over the next two centuries using material from the old castle and Caen stone from Normandy for ornamental windows and doors. Hugh Bigod also held a castle at Walton, but was obliged to surrender it to King Henry II in 1157. Henry then stationed a royal garrison there until 1173, when the rebel Earl of Leicester landed there to join the Bigods. The Bigod castle, according to the chronicler Diceto, had a high tower set up with very strong walls. Henry ordered its demolition in 1178. King John was staying at Walton Hall in 1200 when he ratified the original Town Charter of Ipswich. Large ruins of the old hall remained in the eighteenth century, and the last major portion of wall fell during a high storm in the 1880s. It stood near the Felixstowe cricket ground on Dellwood Avenue.
During the thirteenth century, the place name Felixstowe first appears, which replaced that of Burch and became the name of the large settlement which has now largely engulfed the older Walton. In around 1317, probably because the Roman precinct was threatened by sea erosion, it became necessary to relocate Walton Priory to Abbey Meadow, behind the Walton parish church of St Mary. The parish church was then used as the conventual or priory church. The ruins of the second priory were still standing in the late 18th century, and the site was excavated by Dr Stanley West in around 1970. The parish church was largely rebuilt in the 19th century on the mediaeval ground-plan, including the tower unusually sited at the south-west end of the south aisle.
The various Roman and mediaeval ruins of Walton were variously sketched and painted during the 18th century by Francis Grose, Isaac Johnson and others. The reference to a cross at Walton carved with the date 631, observed in the 18th century, is to the old wooden market cross of Walton, a covered structure which was inscribed with the date 1631.
In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales said of Walton: "WALTON, a parish, with a village, in Woodbridge district, Suffolk; 3½ miles NW of Harwich r. station. It has a post-office‡. under Ipswich, and a ferry across the Orwell to Harwich. Acres, 1,988. Real property, £5,663. Pop., 988. Houses, 225. The manor belongs to the Duke of Hamilton. Orwell House and Coldham are chief residences. W. Castle stood on a sea-cliff; dated from the time of the Romans; was rebuilt by R. Bigod, and ruined by Henry II.; and suffered gradual undermining and eventual extinction by the sea."
Walton smock mill
High street, Walton TM 2935 NW (south side) smock mill II Smock mill, disused. Early C19. Brick base, partly rendered, timber framed and weatherboarded upper section. Octagonal tower, two storeys brick, two storeys timber framed. Doorway with boarded door, window of six small panes above. Cap replaced by hexagonal pointed corrugated iron roof. Internal machinery removed.
- J. Fairclough and S.J. Plunkett, 2000, 'Drawings of Walton Castle and other monuments in Walton and Felixstowe', Proc. Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History 39 Part 4, 419-459.
- J. Fairclough, 2008, 'Bigods at Walton Hall and their Successors,' Proc. Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History 41 Part 4, 405-425.
- S.E. West, 1974, The Excavation of Walton Priory, Proc. Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History 33, 131-152.
- The Victoria history of the county of Suffolk, volume one The Victoria history of the counties of England Page(s)305-6
- The Suffolk Traveller John Kirby (topographer) (1690–1753)
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