Church of St Mary, Akenham
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Akenham is a village and civil parish in the Mid Suffolk district of Suffolk in Eastern England. Located on the northwestern edge of Ipswich, in 2005 it had an estimated population of 60. At the 2011 Census the population remained less than 100 and was included in the civil parish of Whitton.
Romano-British pottery has been unearthed in fields across the parish. A Middle Saxon gilded bronze pendant or brooch has also been found. A silver penny of the Saxon king Aethelred II was also found nearby as well as bronze fragments thought to represent the Bigod family.
Its place name is derived the Old English for 'Ac(c)a's homestead or village'. It was known as Acheham in the Domesday Book which records the population in 1086 to be 50 households made up 48 freemen and 2 smallholders along with 12 acres of meadow, 2 cobs, 7 cattle, and 6 pigs.
19th and 20th Centuries
The abandoned St. Mary's church suffered bomb damage during World War II and is maintained by the organisation Friends of Friendless Churches. The church was the scene of one of the great ecclesiastical scandals of the 19th century, which occupied the national press for a year or more, which reached the high court, and which ultimately led to the Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880.
Rise Hall near the church is a late Georgian building on the site of an ancient manor house, formerly the residence of the Le Ruse or Rous family in the 13th century. To the south of Rise Hall here is a small moated site with a central island 14.0m across and 0.3m high. The ditch is water-filled on the W side and parts of the N and S sides; the remainder is merely marshy. There are traces of a causeway in the middle of the E side. On the lower W side there are small fragments of a probable retaining wall for the moat. The site lies just S of Rise Hall and it is likely that this moat accommodated a timber-framed dovecote. This could be a precursor site for Rise Hall. A moat might protect the dovecot from poachers but would be expensive to build and maintain. On the other hand, reusing an existing moat would make sense. The mound is small and there is no attached bailey, Rise Hall being about 50m to the north, in an oval enclosure partly defined by ponds. Mottes slightly separate from baileys do occasionally occur but make no sense as defensive features.
A pair of 6th-century cruciform brooches were found ante 1911 at Akenham Hall, which possibly indicates an inhumation site.
There are a few small businesses operating out of former agricultural buildings, including Stealth Electronics, which specialises in security equipment, based at Akenham Hall Farm. Chives Montessori School is located in the parish. The school was established 14 years ago and is very much a community school serving local needs.
- Estimates of Total Population of Areas in Suffolk Archived 2008-12-19 at the Wayback Machine Suffolk County Council
- Martin, Edward. "ARCHAEOLOGY IN SUFFOLK 1997" (PDF). ARCHAEOLOGY IN SUFFOLK 1997. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
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- "Key to English Place-names". kepn.nottingham.ac.uk. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
- "Akenham | Domesday Book". opendomesday.org. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
- "Suffolk Churches". Suffolk Churches. Retrieved 4 March 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Rise Hall". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Alston, L. "Alston, L. (2009). The Farm Buildings, Rise Hall, Akenham, Suffolk AKE 036 Historic Building Record. Ipswich: Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service". ads Library. Suffolk County Council Archaeological Services. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
- "Akenham Hall". Briti. British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Noble, Jason. "Behind-the-scene documentary tells the story of Suffolk's WW1 trenches". East Anglian Daily Times. Archant. Retrieved 26 November 2020.