Acton, Suffolk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

All Saints church, Acton, Suffolk - - 151409.jpg
All Saints church, Acton
Acton is located in Suffolk
Location within Suffolk
Population1,811 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceTL893449
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townSUDBURY
Postcode districtCO10
Dialling code01787
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
52°04′15″N 0°45′40″E / 52.07071°N 0.76102°E / 52.07071; 0.76102Coordinates: 52°04′15″N 0°45′40″E / 52.07071°N 0.76102°E / 52.07071; 0.76102

Acton is a village and civil parish in the English county of Suffolk. The parish also includes the hamlets of Cuckoo Tye and Newman's Green.


According to Eilert Ekwall the meaning of the name is "Village by the Oaks".


The Domesday Book records the population of Acton in 1086 to be 83 households along with 50 acres for farming, wood for 40 pigs, 1 mill, 11 horses at hall, 31 cattle, 160 pigs, 423 sheep, and 7 beehives. The land was held by Ranulf Peverel, before the Norman Conquest, the village was held by Siward Barn.[2]

All Saints is the local church. Five bells are hung in the tower for change ringing with the heaviest weighing 8cwt-1qr-4lb (928 lb), and the oldest dating from 1659 cast by Miles Graye III, the tower is affiliated to the Suffolk Guild of Ringers.[3][4]

Historical writings[edit]

In 1870–72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described the village as:

ACTON, a parish in Sudbury district, Suffolk; near the river Stour, 2½ miles N by E of Sudbury r. station. It has a post office under Sudbury. Acres, 2,811. Real property, £4,159. Pop., 558. Houses, 122. The property belongs chiefly to two. Acton Place contains some old paintings and other interesting objects. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely. Value, £255.* Patron, Earl Howe. The church contains five brasses, and is good.[5]

In 1887, John Bartholomew also wrote an entry on Acton in the Gazetteer of the British Isles with a much shorter description:

Acton, par., W. Suffolk, 2½ miles N. of Sudbury, 2811 ac., pop. 579; P.O.[6]


Between 2001 and 2002 the Reliant Robin was produced in the village's industrial estate.[7]

Notable former residents[edit]

William Jennens was known as "William the Miser" and the "Acton Miser". Jennens made his money loaning money to gamblers and was Britain's richest man at the time of his death in 1798, but aged 97 he had outlived the nominated executors and beneficiaries under his will. According to the BBC QI series, Jennens vs Jennens commenced in 1798 and was abandoned in 1915 (117 years later) when the legal fees had exhausted the Jennens estate of funds (worth c. £2 million).[8][9] The case of Jennens v Jennens formed part of the inspiration for the Jarndyce and Jarndyce case at the centre of the plot of Bleak House by Charles Dickens.[10]

Another Acton resident, Catherine Foster, was believed to be the last woman to be hanged at Bury St Edmunds, in 1847. At the age of 17 she poisoned her husband by putting arsenic in his dumplings. The propriety of this case was discussed in the House of Lords and reported in Hansard.[11]

Ronald Blythe, writer, essayist and editor, best known for his work Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village, was born in the village.

Population change[edit]

Population growth in Acton from 1801 to 1891
Year 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1881 1891
Population 461 470 555 565 555 539 579 619
Source: A Vision of Britain Through Time[12]
Population growth in Acton from 1901 to 2011
Year 1901 1911 1921 1931 1951 1961 2001 2011
Population 593 541 447 496 673 603 1,800 1,811
Source: A Vision of Britain Through Time[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Acton Parish History" (PDF).
  3. ^ Dove's Guide, Retrieved 2012-03-21.
  4. ^ "The Suffolk Guild of Ringers, Acton". Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  5. ^ "ACTON | As described in John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)". Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Acton | As described in John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles (1887)". Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  7. ^ What now for Reliant Robin? Archived 2017-02-14 at the Wayback Machine Suffolk Free Press, 23 September 2002
  8. ^ BBC QI 8 Dec 2012, Series J, Episode 12 - Justice
  9. ^ The Guidott / Guidotti family, Acton Place, Summary of William Jennens Archived 2014-09-20 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "All Saints, Acton". Retrieved 15 October 2008.
  11. ^ HANSARD 1803–2005, 1840s, 1847, April 1847, 23 April 1847, Lords Sitting. THE EXECUTION OF CATHERINE FOSTER. (HL Deb 23 April 1847 vol 91 cc1240-1)
  12. ^ a b "A Vision of Britain Through Time". University of Portsmouth & others. Retrieved 22 February 2011.

External links[edit]