Reydon is a village and civil parish, 1.0 mile (1.6 km) north-west of Southwold and 2.5 miles (4.0 km) south-east of Wangford, in the Waveney district and the ceremonial county of Suffolk in England. It had a population of 2,567, including Easton Bavents and rising minimally to 2,582 at the 2011 Census. The name probably means Rye Hill, Rey meaning rye and -don being an old English word for hill or rise). The village is close to the cliffs at Easton Bavents, and like the lost village of Easton, it was established before neighbouring Southwold was. The parish church is St Margaret of Antioch.
Communications and services
There are three main roads through Reydon, around which the village is built:
- A1095 Halesworth Road heading west to Blythburgh and Halesworth
- B1126 Wangford Road heading north-west through Reydon to Wangford
- B1127 Lowestoft Road heading north-east to Wrentham and Lowestoft
The village of Reydon lies to the north of the town of Southwold. The three roads from Wangford, Wrentham and Halesworth converge at Reydon Corner, about 100 metres from where Mights Bridge crosses Buss Creek, providing the only road bridge entry to Southwold.
There are only two shops in Reydon. Local opposition did not prevent the sub-post office from closing on 11 February 2008, although the associated shop continues.
Reydon also has a public house (and hotel with restaurant), The Randolph Hotel, in Wangford Road. It was briefly renamed "The Cricketers", due to the adjacent locality of Southwold's former Eversley School cricket ground and playing fields, but reverted to its original name after a few years. The cricket ground has since been sold for housing.
Further along is a group of new houses on the site of a former senior school, Reydon Modern, renamed Reydon High after converting into a comprehensive in 1978, but closed in 1990.
Continuing towards Wangford, there is St Margaret's Church (see below), then Reydon Hall, at one time the home of the writers, Elizabeth Strickland, Agnes Strickland, Jane Margaret, Catharine Parr, Susanna Moodie and Samuel Strickland.
Reydon Wood is popular with walkers, especially in the springtime, when it has a carpet of bluebells. There is sheltered accommodation in Lowestoft Road.
Reydon Primary School caters for 200 children aged three to eleven, from the village and the surrounding area. At age 11, the pupils move on to Sir John Leman High School in Beccles. Reydon High School closed in 1990, with students now being bussed to other schools in the area and the land sold for housing development. The school playing fields are still in use, with the original school canteen building being used for changing rooms. Plans to extend the fields have been adopted by Waveney District Council.
Saint Felix School on the Halesworth Road is an independent school. Founded as a girls' public school in 1897, it now takes pupils of both sexes from ages 1 to 18. The independent St George's School on the same site closed in 2004.
Development and building
Reydon has in recent years seen much new housing construction, due mainly to rising house prices in Southwold and the popularity of Reydon itself as a retirement village. This is likely to continue on sites such as the former Eversley School playing field and other vacant plots earmarked throughout the village. The resulting increase in population means that Reydon has now overtaken Southwold in its number of permanent residents.
The increasing number of homes has also led to the loss of much of Reydon's "small-village" feeling. Additionally, the inflated house prices in Southwold have led to a number of properties in Reydon being purchased for holiday homes and second homes. These are often unoccupied for long periods of time. However, it is unlikely that this will affect the increase in permanent population, at least in the short term.
The Church of St Margaret
The parish church, dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch, stands in Wangford Road, to the north-west of the village. One of its striking features is a large, unnamed bronze angel inscribed "To Fanny my beloved wife". The present building is mainly from the early 14th century. The tower was built about 1325. The chancel was restyled in the 15th century, and has many niches for saints in the window splays. The church suffered damage during the Reformation and the Civil War and was much altered in succeeding centuries.
More drastic was the restoration and re-roofing of 1875–1887, which robbed the church of most of its old furnishings and architectural detail. The replacement roof is of a plain, simple design. The royal arms displayed are those of Queen Anne and date from 1713. In 1988 a large extension was built onto the north side of the nave using the original north door which was reopened when the organ was moved into the chancel to allow for the building. The building is the frequently used parish room. The rood loft stairs are open but partly bricked up at the top.
The Victorian organ is in the chancel, for want of space in the nave, but it clutters the space and distracts attention from some Victorian stained glass. Behind the organ is a blocked entrance, also apparent from the outside. The small chapel to which it led has vanished. The font, of no great age, stands at the base of the tower, having been moved there from the nave in 1988, to improve access to the new parish room. The font cover, donated in 1922, used to be suspended from the ceiling in the nave and operated by a system of weights; the wood in the roof still shows this.
In 1999, the parish of Reydon became part of the Sole Bay Team Ministry.
The church bells
The tower originally held three bells, two of which were sold in 1792 to fund repairs to the church. In 1991 an appeal was launched for the restoration of the tower, replacement of the two missing bells, and procurement of a further three. These were dedicated at a service in December 1996. The original 15th-century bell, "Gabriel", has been joined by "Michael", "Raphael", "Peter", "Mary" and "Seraph", all cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1995 and 1996. The tenor (the largest) weighs 517 kg and the treble (the smallest) about a third of that. The bells hang in a two-tier steel frame, installed in 1995. The bells are hung for the traditional English art of change ringing. Ringing takes place from ground level with the font in the centre of the rope circle. The tower is affiliated to the Suffolk Guild of Ringers. The bells are rung regularly for practice, Sunday services, weddings and other special occasions.
In birth order:
- Rev. John Youngs (c. 1598–1672), founder of Southold, New York, was born in Reydon.
- Agnes Strickland (1796–1874), historical writer and poet, lived at Reydon Hall.
- Susanna Moodie, née Strickland (1803–1885), younger sister of Agnes, lived at Reydon Hall.
- Lewis Blake (born 1946), poet
- Geoffrey Munn OBE, MVO (born 1953), presenter on the BBC Antiques Roadshow, local historian, and author of Southwold – an Earthly Paradise
- Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Waveney Retrieved 26 December 2009
- "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- Taken from East Anglian Daily Times, 20 October 2007, p. 37.
- The Suffolk Churches Site. Retrieved 26 January 2009
- The Randolph Hotel
- "SOU2 – Former Eversley School Playing Field, Wangford Road, Reydon". Site Specific Allocations – Adopted January 2011. From 26 January 2011 to 31 March 2021. Waveney District Council. January 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
- Rosemary Mitchell, 'Strickland, Agnes (1796–1874)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 26 May 2015
- Reydon Primary School, Department for Education Edubase. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- Reydon High School, Department for Education Edubase. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- "SOU3 – Land at Wangford Road, Reydon". Sites for future development. From 26 January 2011 to 31 March 2021. Waveney District Council. January 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
- Saint Felix School, independent schools Council. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- St George's School, Department for Education Edubase. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- Taken from 'A photographic and historical guide to the Parish Churches of East Suffolk' compiled by Adrian S. Pye. 27 January 2009. Page 213
- Taken from The Sole Bay Team Ministry. 27 January 2009.
- Taken from The Suffolk Churches Site. 27 January 2009.
- Taken from Doves Guide. 27 January 2009.
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