St. Mary's Church, Farnham
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Farnham is a village and civil parish about 3 miles (4.8 km) south-west of Saxmundham in the English county of Suffolk on the A12 road. Farnham is located west of Friday Street, south of Benhall Street and north-east of Stratford St Andrew.
The village of Farnham gets its name from Old English where it means "Fern hemmed-in land" or "Fern homestead/village". The earliest known recording of the village of Farnham is from the Domesday Book, written in 1086, where it appears three times. Farnham was located in the Hundred of Plomesgate in the County of Suffolk and had a population of 18 households; 8 smallholders and 13 free men. Farnham also had one Lord's plough teams and 2 men's plough teams. In addition to this the Domesday Book also had 2 mills and 21 acres of meadow recorded St. Mary's Church was not recorded in the Domesday Book.
In 1870–72 John Marius Wilson described Farnham, in John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales, as:
A parish in Plomesgate district, Suffolk; near the river Alde and the East Suffolk railway. It has a post office under Wickham Market. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Norwich. The church is Norman, with a flint tower, and very good.
In this he also described the village as having a population of 184 and 46 houses, with property costing around £1,521. He also said the village had an acreage of 1,177.
Census data for Farnham goes back to 1801 with the population in this year being 216, by the 1811 census this number had fallen to 186, the next census in 1821 saw an increase in population up to 213. The population then peaked in 1831 with the population once again reaching 216. From here the population began to fall with the population in 1961 being 118. This number remained fairly consistent with the population in 2001 being 108 and then in 2011 it rose back up to 118; 57 males and 61 females. It has also been recorded that as of 1 December 2016 there were 99 electors on Farnham's electoral register.
The number of houses in Farnham is also something that has risen over time. The earliest known recording of the number of houses in Farnham is from the 1831 census when the number of houses was 35. This number steadily increased when in 1881 the number of houses reached 48. In 1891 the number of houses fell to 45, however thirty years later, in 1921, the number of houses reached it lowest number – 40 houses. This number once again rose and reached 46 in 1931 and remained this way until 1961 when the number of houses fell once again to 41. More recently in 2001 it was recorded that there were 47 houses. In 2011 this number had once again risen to 53 houses. This has since decreased to 50 houses in 2016. The average house price in Farnham is around £231,044.
Out of the 2011 population, 63 persons (aged between 18 and 74) were employed. Of these 63, 10 were employed in construction, 8 in human health and social work activities, 6 in agriculture and 6 in public administration and defence; compulsory social security. This is a stark contrast to employment in 1831 where the most popular industry was agriculture with 29 persons employed, the services industry was also a significant employer with 8 persons employed. In 1881 over half of the working population were employed in agriculture, and just under a quarter in services (this includes carpenters, bricklayers and person working in textiles). From 1881 to 2011 there has been a big industrial shift with the number employed in agriculture falling (fall of 23 persons); this is likely because in 1881 agricultural activities required people to carry them out whereas in 2011 fewer people are required as technology has advanced. However one job sector that hasn't undergone technological advance is the construction industry as this has seen a large increase with only 3 people in this industry in 1881 to 10 in 2011 (the biggest industry in 2011) a rise of 7 persons.
St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Church is located just South of the village and has a long history dating back to the Norman times.
Before the church was constructed there was a Roman encampment constructed here due to its positioning at the top of a hill offering vantage points across the surrounding area.
It is thought that the original church building was built around AD800 but was kept hidden due to the nearby environment at the time. It was not recorded in the Domesday Book.
The building that is currently there is built of mostly flint and stone and was built in the Norman time, with most of the interior being the original interior. There are some more recent instalments such as the organ which was installed in 2000.
More recently in 1992, after the redundancy of St Andrew's church in Stratford St Andrew, both Farnham and Stratford St Andrew's churches united with both parishes now using St. Mary's Church. St Andrew's Church has been converted into a house.
In 2011 the national census recorded the population in Farnham at 118. Employment in Farnham in 2011 was moderately high with 32.6% of the population in full-time employment, 10.5% part-time and 23.2% were self-employed; this equates to 66.3% of the population of Farnham in employment. On the other hand, despite the relatively high unemployment rates at the time of the 2011 census (7.7% nationally) unemployment in Farnham was measured at 0.0%. Meaning the rest of the population in Farnham were either too young to work or have retired.
The village of Farnham itself has very limited employment opportunities. There are two main employers in Farnham – Farnham Industrial Estate and Farnham Leisure. Farnham Industrial Estate is home to up to five separate units all housing different businesses including a renewable energy firm and a car workshop. Farnham Industrial Estate is likely to make up for a large amount of 23.2% of self-employed people. Farnham Leisure specialises in the sale of caravans both new and used; it also contains a workshop for caravans. As of 21 March 2017 it employs 11 people (9 men, 2 women), a considerable amount given the population size of Farnham.
Transportation in Farnham is also scarce. The closest railway station to Farnham is Saxmundham railway station which is located 3 miles North East of Farnham, also located 3 miles South West of Farnham is Wickham Market railway station which is another stop on the same service; this service starts and terminates at Ipswich on one end and Lowestoft the other. In the village there is only one bus stop however this is used by the First in Norfolk and Suffolk bus service providing a regular bus to the village on a two hourly basis, this bus starts/terminates in Ipswich and Aldeburgh. The village is also served by two other bus services run by Coastal Accessible Transport. The village also has the A12 road running through it; however this is met with criticism from the locals due to occurrence of crashes in the village. As a result they campaign for a bypass to be built around the village, this had previously been given the go ahead however due to financial reasons this development had to be cancelled.
Farnham is also home to nine listed buildings, all of which are Grade II listed, including the aforementioned St. Mary's Church. Other listed buildings in Farnham include Farnham Manor (formerly known as Farnham Hall), Rose Hill House, Elm Treet Farmhouse & Cottage, Turret Cottage Turret House and Hill Farmhouse. There are two more significant listed buildings within Farnham, not including St. Mary's Church, and these are The George and Dragon and the Post Office Stores. The George and Dragon is located on The Street, also known as the A12, through Farnham. This building used to be a pub (public house) for the area however closed down in 1996 however it acquired its Grade II status long before in 1983. Today the building has been converted into a residential property. The other listed building in Farnham is the Post Office Stores also located on The Street. The post office also acquired its Grade II status in 1983. This building was of much importance to the village of Farnham and the neighbouring Straford St Andrew as letters that were sent to Straford St Andrew from Wickham Market were left at Farnham Post Office. The building is now used a residential property with the property going up for sale priced at £275,000.
The village of Farnham is located in the electoral region of Wilford, which in turn falls into the Suffolk Coastal district. Currently Wilford is under Conservative rule with Andrew Reid representing Wilford at Suffolk County Council. However this is subject to change as Suffolk County Council are due to hold another election in May 2017.
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Media related to Farnham, Suffolk at Wikimedia Commons