Nayland Meadow
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Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society

Open Gardens 2024

Open Gardens will take place on Sunday the 9th of June.

If you would like to participate in this event please do not hesitate to contact me at

In particular, it would be a pleasure to see some gardens in the Nayland Heights area included in this event.

Energy and Efficiency and Old Buildings

The Society’s Treasurer, Richard Evans, attended a Suffolk Preservation Society, partnered with Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and Historic England, training seminar on energy efficiency for old buildings; he compiled an interesting report which can be viewed here

The course, led by Marianne Suhr and Roger Hunt – authors of Old House Eco Handbook, included topics relating to: Old Houses can be Green; Insulating Solid Walls; Windows and Doors – dealing with energy efficiency; Insulating Roofs; Heating; Insulating Floors and Underfloor Heating; Ready for the Future - sustainability, maintenance; as well as Key Tips for Controlling Dampness and for Energy Efficiency

Bulb Planting

Annual General Meeting 2024

The Society’s AGM held on 12th March was a great success with one of our largest audiences, no doubt attracted by the appeal of our speaker, local resident and internationally renowned children’s author and illustrator Mick Inkpen.

Mick has won numerous awards world-wide including for Kipper, Lullabyhullabaloo, Threadbear and Penguin Small. In 1989 The Blue Balloon established Mick as a truly original voice in children's picture books. He is one of the most popular author/illustrators in the world, his stories have been translated into over twenty different languages and his books have sold over 4 million copies.

Mick gave a memorable talk supported by an excellent visual presentation containing his well-known children’s book characters. Kipper the Dog, perhaps his most popular character of all, is now the star of his very own TV series while Wibbly Pig, Penguin Small and Threadbear continue to delight young readers - and their parents!

The business part of the AGM saw the re-appointment of the current committee for 2025/25.

November Talk: 'Petals & Paint Sir Cedric Morris Florilegium'

Dr Sian Dawson gave an excellent talk at our meeting on 8th November on the topic of ‘Petals & Paint Cedric Morris Florilegium.

Sian is a talented painter of flowers and she has painted many of the species of Iris and other plants bred by Cedric Morris.

The original meaning of the word “Florilegium” was a lavishly illustrated book on flowers and a number of examples of previous bodies of work were given during the presentation.

Next Summer an exhibition of the original paintings in the Cedric Morris Florilegium will be displayed at Gainsborough House in Sudbury.

Dr Sian  Dawson Talk

Village Hall Autumn
Working Party

Many thanks to the volunteers who attended the Village Hall Autumn Garden Working Party on 28th October.

Village Hall

Bulb Planting

Following receipt of permission from Suffolk County Council Highways department, on 12th October two committee members and one volunteer have planted a further few hundred naturalised narcissi at the junction of Horkesley Road and the A134.

Roll on spring!

Bulb Planting

Autumn Community Litterpick

The autumn Village Litter Pick jointly organised between the Society and the Parish Council took place on Saturday 14th October.

The Society expresses nits thanks to the twelve adults and three children that participated in the litterpick.

The team did an excellent job and we are sure the village appreciates their efforts.

October Talk: 'Jósef of Lwów (Lviv)’

On 2nd October round 80 members and guests enjoyed an excellent talk by Nayland resident Terry banister on the story of her father, Józef Pankiewicz, focusing on his life during the Second World War and his traumatic experiences.

In September 1939 Hitler and Stalin invaded Lwów, then part of Poland. In February 1940 Stalin transported many Poles, including Józef (15) and his family on cattle trucks to labour camps in the Ural mountains, Siberia. After 16 months of hard labour and terrible conditions, the Poles who had survived were told that they were no longer prisoners as Hitler had invaded Russia.

Józef and his family managed to escape from Siberia by train and a lot of luck to the Middle East. Here Józef joined the newly formed Polish II Corps attached to the 8th Army, but he had to leave his family behind. After training he went to North Africa and eventually to Monte Cassino, Italy. After the War he settled in England believing his whole family had perished.

Display Case for Works by Reverend William Jones

The Society extends its thanks to Nayland resident Mike Roffe who has made a wonderful display case (see photo) to exhibit in St James’ Church the volume of musical works written by the Reverend Jones, which was acquired by the Society last year.

A small book written by Reverend Jones entitled “Letters from a tutor to his pupils” published in 1822 (which was donated to the Society by Nayland resident Foster Jones) will also be located within the case.

St James Church Flower Festival

The Society was pleased to participate in the Church Flower Festival and our thanks go to committee member Suzanne Cullen for her wonderful display.

Similarly, the Society took part in the Village Celebration at the Village Hall on the 16th of September where we were able to show the film of Nayland commissioned by the Society in the village hall bar.

June Talk

Attendance was excellent on 19th June when Sir Bob Russell enlightened us on his ‘Memories of Nayland’.

Bob who is an enthusiastic historian and an experienced speaker; was born and brought up in a house, since demolished, near the foot of Gravel Hill.

He gave personal recollections of his youth in the village and connection with renowned Nayland families provided a very interesting evening. His brother David and playmates of yesteryear, such as Roy Norfolk, John Spooner and Adrian Amos were in attendance.

June Talk

Annual Spring Footpath Walk

Our Spring Footpath walk took place on Sunday the 14th May starting from Wiston Church walking to Little Horkesley Church via footpaths and through woodlands.

The focus of the walk was the topic of bombing in the Dedham Vale and as usual walk leader Chris Hunt gave a highly amusing and interesting commentary en route.



Spring Community Litterpick

The spring Village Litter Pick took place on Saturday 22nd April.

Many thanks to the 16 Nayland litter pick volunteers (some of whom are pictured here) and the 3 Wiston litter pick volunteers for participating in the village spring litter pick organised jointly by the Parish Council and the Conservation Society.

Spring Litterpick

Nayland Open Gardens

The Society’s Committee have regretfully decided to cancel this year’s Open Gardens event.

Sadly, many of our usual garden openers have declined to participate this year for a myriad of different reasons and it was likely that we would only have ten or eleven gardens open to cope with our usual 600 or so visitors.

In the circumstances the committee considered for safety and other reasons that we should postpone it until next year.

We are hopeful that the event will return on the 9th of June next year.

Open Gardens

Aquisition of 'Letters to Pupils' by the Reverend William Jones

The publicity arising from the acquisition of a volume of musical works by the Reverend William Jones resulted in an approach from Society members Foster and Jan Jones. Foster advised me he was in possession of another book written by Jones entitled “Letters from a tutor to his pupils” published in 1822.

There are 26 “letters” on subjects ranging from “Good Manners” to “The use of mathematical learning”. Foster and Jan very kindly donated the book to the Society.

The pages have been scanned and available to view below. As this is a large document it been split into three to aid download. Click to view:
Chapters 1-7
Chapters 8-18
Chapters 19-26

It is hoped that this book, along with a volume of musical works by the Reverend William Jones will be placed on display in St James’ Church.

Rev Jones Letters

Concerns over Babargh DC's Planning Matters

The Committee of the Society have made a written representation to Babergh District Council outlining the Society’s concerns with the manner in which recent planning decisions and planning enforcement matters have been handled; this can be viewed here.

At the same time the Parish Council have made their own representations and we are currently awaiting a response to our proposal that we and the Parish Council meet the Head of Planning and the Chair of the Planning Committee team to discuss the matters we and the Parish Council have raised.

Paddock Grove

AGM Talk on 'Stamp Design'

Mark Wilkinson gave a talk on 'Postage Stamp Design'

Almost 80 members and guests attended the Nayland Village Hall for our AGM and thereafter to hear an excellent presentation from talented local resident Mark Wilkinson who spoke on the topic of postage stamp design.

Mark is internationally famous for his record sleeve illustrations and it was intriguing to hear that he had designed so many stamps.

AGM Talk

Musical Works of the Reverend William Jones

The Reverend William Jones (1726 to 1800) was the Perpetual Curate at St. James in Nayland from 1776 to 1800. He achieved considerable fame during his lifetime as a writer and a composer. More details of his life history can be found here

A number of members of the Society contacted the chair to advise him that a volume of his musical works was coming up for auction in Cornwall in September 2022. The committee decided that it was of sufficient importance to Nayland that we should endeavour to acquire it and I am delighted to advise that our bid of £110 proved to be successful. With a buyer’s premium and postage, the total cost was £153.52.

The volume is entitled 'Ten Church Pieces for the Organ with Four Anthems in Score composed for the Use of the Church of Nayland in Suffolk and Published for its benefit”. The final piece of music is entitled “St. Stephens Tune” a work which is still used today and is perhaps his most famous composition.

Within the book we found a single page prospectus inviting investors to subscribe to cover the cost of production. At the beginning of the book there is a list of subscribers including Lady Rushout( 1767to 1849). She was the daughter of the 2nd Baron Northwick and is described as an English water colourist and diarist. It is believed that this volume belonged to her as her name Anne Rushout is written in pencil on the title page and there is a lengthy dedication to her from the Reverend Jones at the beginning of the book.

The Society arranged for the book to be scanned and the document is available to view here (pdf 9.7Mb)

In this respect we must mention that a company that specialises in scanning, Microform of 5 St. Johns Lane London EC1M 4BH, have most kindly agreed to carry out the scanning process without charge which is a most generous gesture. Please see the Microforms web site link at if you need any scanning work undertaken.

The spine of the book needs repair but it is hoped that once it is in a more robust condition it will be securely displayed in St. James Church.

Further information on the Achievments page

Rev Jones

November Talk 'Sea Sagas of the North'

On Monday 7th November at our speaker meeting we were due to hear about John Constable and the Stour Valley. Sadly, that speaker suffered ill-health and at short notice we had to re-arrange a speaker from next year’s programme.

Professor Jules Pretty kindly agreed to step in and gave a hugely interesting and inspiring talk based on his latest book 'Sea Sagas of the North'.

Jules managed to mix historical tales arising from the North Sea area (extending as far as Iceland) with the injurious impact of climate change. The success of his presentation was reflected in the animated questions that followed.

October Talk

Autumn Community Litterpick

The autumn Village Litter Pick jointly organised between the Society and the Parish Council took place on Saturday 15th October.

Nine volunteers participated and most areas of the village were covered. Save for the areas adjacent to the A134 most of the village was reasonably clear of refuse; a very positive sign!

October Litterpick

October Talk 'Suffolk's Humphry Repton'

On Monday 3rd October members and guests of the Society were entertained and informed in equal measure by Edward Martin with his presentation on the subject of 'Suffolk’s Humphry Repton'.

It was surprising to hear how many landscape designs had been commissioned in Suffolk and perhaps more astonishing Edward made it clear that Repton was very frank (and indeed rude) about the inadequacies of some of the buildings and estates which were the subject matter of his commissions.

A significant part of the presentation dealt with Repton’s 'Red Book' on the nearby Tendring Hall Estate and it was a pleasure to see the Estate owner and her team in attendance for the talk.

October Talk

Weeding in the Village

On the 1st October seven members of the Society turned out to undertake some necessary weeding in two areas of the village.

Firstly, the area immediately to the southern wall of St. James Church and secondly the areas on both sides of the footpath at Socket Alley.

The first area was completed without delay but as there were insufficient volunteers only a sixth of the area at Socket Alley was cleared and it is hoped that the Parish Council’s contractors can finish the job in due course.


June Talk 'The Stour Valley Path'


On 27th of June Nick Amor will talk to the Society and visitors at the Village Hall on the topic of “Keeping the peace in Medieval Suffolk”.

June Talk

Nayland Open Gardens

For the first time in three years Open Gardens returned to the village on Sunday 12th June.

The weather was glorious and it was lovely to see the village bustling with 563 visitors- a record - for the event.

Visitors enjoyed a relaxed wander around the village exploring the 24 gardens which were open, as well as walking around our picturesque village. Enchanting cottage gardens, courtyard gardens and riverside gardens, sweeping lawned gardens and gardens with a view over the village

Many thanks to all the garden openers, those who made delicious cakes, served teas and helped in various other ways to make this a successful event. The income for the afternoon totalled £4,513 almost £1,000 higher than the previous record.

Lastly, but not least, thank you to everyone who came along on the day.

Open Gardens

Annual Spring Footpath Walk

The Spring footpath walk took place on Saturday 8th May.

Members and guests joined Chris Hunt for our annual walk which this year started from the village of Acton.

As usual Chris combined a magic mixture of fact and humour on his guided tour which included an inspection of the world’s oldest military memorial brass in Acton Church.

Footpath Walk

Response to National Grid Consultation on Bramford to Twinstead Proposals

National grid are proposing to build a network reinforcement between Bramford Substation in Suffolk and Twinstead Tee in Essex. The proposals include constructing 19 km of overhead line and 10 km of underground cable (through the Dedham Vale AONB and in the Stour Valley).

National Grid have agreed to take part of the new pylon route underground (primarily to comply with section 85 of the Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000) but the impact upon our AONB will still be considerable. In particular, although they have agreed to underground one of the existing lines they are leaving the other one standing. NG have said if there is enough pressure from the public it would help them to raise the funds to underground both of the existing lines. Accordingly, please participate in the response to the public consultation. The link for responding on-line is:

Below are files (Word and pdf format) containing ready-made answers to the 17 questions raised in the consultation paper which can be copied and pasted to the questionnaire. The remaining questions relate to the identity of the person completing the form.
Click here for the Word file
Click here for the pdf file

Once you have responded please email to confirm.

Note that the deadline for responding is the 21st of march 2022.


The Suffolk Flag Project

The Suffolk Flag Project (via founder Ben Archer) have made a donation of a Suffolk flag to the Society for use by the village.

The flag was presented to Church Warden Chris Hunt who will arrange for it to be flown on appropriate occasions from the tower of St. James Church.

Suffolk Flag

Annual General Meeting

The Society’s AGM on Monday 7th March was well attended.

David Heigham, who had been the treasurer for the past 14 years retired from the position and was presented with a farewell gift to thank him for his efforts. Unfortunately, Membership Secretary Frank Warren has also had to resign his position through ill-health but the Chairman was delighted to welcome our new secretary Mandy Cook, our new treasurer Richard Evans and new committee member Colette O’Shea.

After the official business of the AGM, Chris Hunt gave a memorable talk on the history of industry in Nayland. He was assisted by local resident Peter Drew who read a number of quotes in a variety of accents much to the amusement of the audience.

Film 'A History of Nayland'

The Society is delighted to announce that the film 'A History of Nayland' shown at our speaker meeting on the 8th November 2021 is now available to view on YouTube using the following link:

This film, which was shot by local cameraman Stuart Howells, was commissioned by the Society but paid for by 25 members.

The Society extends its thanks to Stuart for the excellent filming; Brian Saunders for the drone footage; Wendy Sparrow for the script and Peter Drew for the narration. We also thank the donors who covered the cost of the film.

History of Nayland Film

November Talk: Swifts

Over 60 members and guests were present for the speaker meeting in 8th November when Simon Hooton gave an excellent talk on the subject of 'Swifts'.

Simon's accompanying power point presentation contained some stunning photography and many suggestions how we can all help to halt the current decline in Swift numbers.

Swifts are fascinating birds and super-fast flyers living almost their entire life on the wing. They are summer visitors to the UK whose numbers have suffered a worrying decline. A lack of nesting sites is seen as key factor in this trend.

In 2020 the Conservation Society arranged for the installation of 31 swift nest boxes to 20 properties in Nayland.

November Talk

October Talk: How to Live Net Zero in Rural Suffolk

John Taylor, who is an Energy Projects Manager for the Greater South East Energy Hub, a public sector team that works across the South East of England, gave a fascinating talk on the steps to be taken to reduce carbon emissions to slow up climate change.

His recommendations ranged from the installation of air source or ground source heat pumps for domestic property heating to life style changes such as travelling by electric vehicle, coach or train rather than by flying.

We were pleased to note that he made special mention of the community project relating to our local school which involved the installation of solar panels onto the school roof.

This speaker meeting was the first to take place in person since our AGM in 2020 and proved to be a most enjoyable return to normality. Long may it last!


October Talk

Barry Wakefield

The Society reports the sad news that Barry Wakefield, our life President and former Chairman of the Society has passed away.

Barry was a member of the Society for many years and became chairman in 1994. In 2002 he resigned from the chair and became life President in 2012. 

Barry was a well informed and charming man and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

In my tenure as Chairman I found him a fount of knowledge and wisdom and a reliable and supportive personality.We send our thoughts and condolences to his wife Elizabeth and his family


Barry Wakefield

Nayland Virtual Open Gardens 2021

For the second year in a row the Coronavirus restrictions caused cancellation of Nayland’s Open Gardens so the Society once again decided to hold a virtual Open Gardens.

The photographs of the 25 charming and varied gardens participating, many of which have been open to the public in previous years, can be viewed by clicking this link:

Nayland Virtual Open Gardens 2021

As this event is the principle source of funding for the Society, viewers are invited to consider making a donation to the Society’s funds for a sum no more than the usual £5 entry charge.  If you are inclined to make a donation please note the Society’s bank details are:
To Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society
Sort code  40-52-40   •  Account number  00013621   •  Payment reference (Your name) •   Amount  £

Our thanks go to the garden openers for their efforts.

Open Gardens Photogrphs

June Talk 'The Stour Valley Path'

Peter Tatum gave a most interesting talk via Zoom on the Stour Valley Path.

Peter used some stunning photography for the Power Point presentation which accompanied his speech.


June Talk

Spring Bank Holiday Footpath Walk

On Bank Holiday Monday 31st May 2021, twelve members of the Society enjoyed an excellent circular walk from Boxford to Groton led by Chris Hunt.

The theme of the walk related to one of Unites States of America's founding fathers John Winthrop. He lived in Groton before he emigrated in 1630 and led the foundation of the city of Boston. The walk lasted around two hours and we were blessed with perfect weather.

Footpath Walk

Nayland Community Litterpick

Thirty volunteers participated in the community litter pick in Nayland and Wissington on the 24th April organised by the Society and the Parish Council.

As a result of Covid restrictions the litter pickers were divided into groups of four; hence the attached photo shows only one of the groups. The team did an excellent job and I am sure the village appreciates their efforts.

Litterpick 2021

Court Knoll Information Sign

In 1978 the Society arranged for an information board to be erected at Court Knoll. The years had taken their toll on its condition so the Society recently paid for the board to be restored.

On 17th April 2021 Wendy Sparrow and Linda Clapham, founder members of the Conservatiin Society committee, unveiled the restored board in the presence of Chairman Mike Hunter, Vice Chairman Martin Wright and committee member John Partridge.

Court Knoll Sign

Spring Bulb Planting

On the morning of the 30th October a Conservation Society working party planted 500 naturalised narcissi on the greensward by the junction of Horkesley Road and the A134.

Many thanks to Keith and Terry Bannister, Mike and Chris Hunter (behind the camera) and Suzanne Cullen for for planting the bulbs.

This will bring some additional colourful cheer to the village in the Spring.

Daffodil Planting

'Planning For The Future' White Paper

The Society has responded to a 'Planning For The Future' White Paper, August 2020 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. Click to view our response

Click to view the consultation which seeks any views on each part of a package of proposals for reform of the planning system in England to streamline and modernise the planning process, improve outcomes on design and sustainability, reform developer contributions and ensure more land is available for development where it is needed.

White Paper

Air Space over the Dedham Vale

Residents of Nayland may have noticed that during the early stages of the Covid 19 lockdown, the sky above us was delightfully quiet as a result of the huge reduction in air traffic. However, once flights began to resume we appeared to encounter more air traffic than usual. This has partly been explained by the ability of aircraft to take a more direct route over our AONB as air traffic is still below previous capacity.
In 2005 a barrister and the Dedham Vale Society issued judicial review proceedings against the company responsible for conducting air traffic control, known as NATS, and against the Civil Aviation Authority (“CAA”).  Although the court action was adjourned generally it is thought that in those proceedings NATS and the CAA acknowledged the existence of a statutory duty to restrict the amount of flights over our AONB.

Accordingly, the Society has written to NATS seeking their confirmation that they will abide by their statutory obligations and agree to minimise the number of flights passing over us. Let us hope that this reminder may give us some relief from the current noise pollution. A copy of our letter is set out below. Click to view the letter
Air Space

Swift Nesting Boxes

On the 1st of July the Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society arranged for Tom Lowe and his team to fix 31 swift nest boxes to 19 houses and the primary school in Nayland in the hope that these new homes will help to stem the loss of these wonderful birds.  Unlike house martins and swallows, swifts are clean birds which leave hardly any evidence of droppings. It is hoped that occupation of the boxes will take place from next year. 

Swift Boxes

Improved Access to Nayland Meadow

In June 2020 the Society are delighted to announce that the improvement to the section of the Stour Valley Footpath leading down the steep slope from the A134 to the path round Nayand Meadow has been completed.  Thanks to our contractor Steve Barnes and the Dedham Vale AONB & Stour Valley Project and the Nayland Community Council who supplied the funding to the Society for the work to be done.

Meadow Path Steps

Nayland Open Gardens - Sunday 14th June 2020

Sadly this year, like so many other events due to Coronavirus (Covid-19), it was necessary to cancel our annual Open Gardens.

However, we decided to hold a ‘virtual’ Open Gardens. Our usual garden openers (and some new openers who would have opened this year for the first time) were invited to take photographs of their gardens during early June.  

We hope you will enjoy looking at almost 130 photographs of our wonderful gardens compiled by Lorraine Brooks.

In addition, there will be a link on our web site to the superb short film featuring some of the gardens shot by Nayland resident and BBC cameraman Stuart Howells.

My thanks go to Lorraine and Stuart and also all of the gardeners who contributed to this exhibition which is some compensation for missing out on the real thing!

  Open Gardens 2020
View the photographs and the film on the Open Gardens page

Open Gardens 2020

June Meeting - Timber Framed Buidings: Carpentry of the 15th to 17th centuries -

This as been cancelled due to Covid-19

Our next speaker meeting on the 22nd of June has also been cancelled but members of the Society will be invited to watch a series of illustrated lectures in their own homes, on smart phones or computers, given by Sarah Doig on the topic of ‘The Little History of Suffolk’. The eight episodes (around 30 minutes each) will be viewed on a web site after entering a password.  Full information will be given to members in the Society’s next email newsletter.

  June Meeting

Annual General Meeting

The Society’s AGM on 9th March was well attended bearing in mind the heavy rain which descended shortly before we were due to start proceedings.

However our speaker for the evening, Nayland resident Professor Jules Pretty, was a considerable draw and he duly held the audience spellbound while he expounded on the topic of “The future of the world in 12 objects……..addressing climate change at home”.  The objects ranged from a section of bog oak retrieved from the Dogger Bank to a potted oak tree and holly tree. The necessity of reducing our carbon footprint was explained in detail and it was clear from the number of questions from the audience that Jules had got people thinking!

The AGM documents can be viewed on the Membership page.


  AGM 2020

New Permissive Path - Nayland Meadow

In 2005 the Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society instigated a community fund raising project to acquire a large field near the centre of the village in order to safeguard the area against the possibility of future inappropriate development. The same process was undertaken in 2012 when more funds were raised by the Society from the community to acquire an adjoining field on the southern boundary.

Since that time the public have not been able to access the fields as they have been used for pasture. However, David Slater, one of the board members of the company which was formed to hold ownership of and manage the land, suggested creating a permissive footpath to permit a degree of pedestrian access. This new path links in with the existing footpath along the river and avoids pedestrians walking along the busy adjacent road.

To achieve this project, it was necessary to create a new post and wire boundary for the length of the path and install a new double gate where the footpath passes from the southern field into the main field lying to the north (see plan). In addition, the board decided to implement an infield tree planting scheme which requires appropriate fencing to protect the young trees. The cost of this exercise was significant so the board made an application to the Sustainable Development Fund of the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project for assistance. In very short time the Fund made a grant available and the work on the permissive path started in early January. On the 25th of January this year Nigel Chapman, the chairman of the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project, formally opened the new path and it is already becoming a popular route.


  Permissive Path

Court Knoll Project - update on findings

On Monday evening the 9th December 2019 at Nayland Village Hall Archaeologist Jo Caruth entertained a large audience of members, guests and visitors with the latest developments on the Court Knoll Project.

In his introduction, Chairman Mike Hunter thanked the Sustainable Development Fund of the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project for their unstinting support.  The Fund have awarded a grant to the Society for each of the past four years and have contributed a total of £12,664 towards the total costs incurred to date of £33,000.  The manager of the Dedham Vale AONB Project, Simon Amstutz made a brief response modestly acknowledging the support given to the Society.

In her talk Jo Carruth gave a summary of the history of the site and the excavations organised by the Society and also referred to the latest developments arising from the expert analysis of glass and charcoal.
In the report on the glass fragments the expert concluded that “the Court Knoll glass is a forest type glass… is very unusual in several respects and no exact match has been found for it……….the glass is perhaps from the 13th Century or slightly earlier, in which case this is a rare early example of the use of Forest Glass in England.  Glazing for the Palace of Westminster was procured at this time and any contemporary glazed buildings would also have been of similar status”.

The charcoal expert reported that ”the absence of evidence of beetle tunnels……indicates that the wood was not heavily decayed at the time of burning; implying that the chapel was not deliberately demolished due to age or poor condition……..the small size and shape of the pieces suggest some form of decoration or carving detail……..and that carved motifs or something similar extended around the chapel”.

Bearing in mind the existence of the late Saxon polychrome tile (previously reported) the addition of these latest disclosures lend support to the theory that this Anglo-Saxon chapel may have been of very high status.  Further expert analysis continues apace and news will be released as and when appropriate.


  Court Knoll Talk

Nayland Meadow Exhibition

The board were delighted with the success of the Exhibition held in Nayland Church Hall on the morning of Sunday the 3rd of November. The purpose of the exhibition was to give residents an opportunity to consider the proposals for the creation of a permissive footpath, tree planting on the river bank and in field and hedge laying.

It was well attended and 33 attendees completed consultation forms. Of these, 31 were supportive of the proposals and 2 were against. A number of consultees made further suggestions and all of these are being considered by the board. It is likely that in certain circumstances a representative of the board will meet with residents to discuss their concerns. In due course the outcome of the consultation will be publicised.

The Nayland with Wissington Land Company was formed in 2005 to facilitate ownership of the Conservation Meadow abutting the north bank of the River Stour where it runs parallel with Bear Street. In 2012 a further section of land located adjacent to the first plot was acquired. For more information see the Meadow page.

  Nayland Meadow Exhibition

Joint Meeting: Barn Owls

The November meeting, co-hosted with the Horticultural Society on 11th November 2019, received a talk on the topic of Barn Owls from Steve Piotrowski, a very well-respected lecturer in the birdwatching community.

Steve’s breadth of knowledge was extraordinary and it was of little surprise to learn that he is a published author and environmental consultant.


  Barn Owls

October Meeting: The Suffolk Medieval Cloth Industry

Dr. Nick Amor gave an impressive talk to around 50 members and guests on the topic of the Suffolk Medieval Cloth Industry on 7th October 2019.

Wool was by far the most important influence on European trade in the late 12th to early 14th century and during this period an industrial revolution took place which saw the manufacture and export of woven cloth from the wool towns replace the export of raw wool.  As trade developed the area became a very attractive cloth weaving centre, both in terms of silk and wool.  The development of this trade generated huge wealth for those involved and this manifests itself today in the legacy of fine buildings which are a feature of Wool Towns. Today, the Wool Towns retain their medieval centres, streets lined with timber-frame buildings and elegant churches filled with light.

By referring to the number of court actions conducted at the time Nick was able to identify the most successful wool merchants and their location. Nick also reviewed a substantial number of wills which once again helped to identify the wealthier clothiers and traders. It was astonishing to realise that for a period a small area of mid and south Suffolk was among the most wealthy and successful wool industry areas in Europe. This fortunate position arose not because of the quality of the wool produced locally (which was on the low side) but the easy access of the Hanseatic League traders via the ports of Ipswich and Colchester.

The evening was wound up by an amusing vote of thanks from Chris Hunt.


Medieval Cloth Industry

Water Levels of the River Stour at Nayland

On 14th August 2019 the water levels of the River Stour through Nayland became very low and water ceased flowing over the Horseshoe Weir and along the stretch of river to Horkesley Lock.

The Environment Agency were alerted and arrived to rescue about 4,000 fish on 15th/16th August.

The Conservation Society is most concerned by this matter and has written, with photographs of the dry river bed, to the Envirinment Angency asking how this has happened and asking for reassurances for the future.
Click to read the email and see the photographs

A photographic record of the incident was compiled by the editor of the Nayland with Wissington Community Times and can be viewed here

  River Stour Runs Dry

Visit to Hoses Hall

On the 13th of September a number of members attended a tour of Hoses Hall, Toppesfield, near Halstead and the surrounding gardens.  The property had previously been owned by Lord Sainsbury, Lord Plummer and Lord Beaverbrook.  

Originally a Saxon manor given to Sir Roger Huse (also spelled Husee, Hose or Hosey) in 1312 by John de Buick, hence the name Hoses Hall.  It has previously been owned by Lord Alan Sainsbury, Lord Plummer and Lord Beaverbrook.  A large part of the existing building dates from the 16th century.  The tythe barn dates from the same period as Cressing Temple.

The tour featured the ground floor of the house, the four-acre well-stocked garden and meadow with stream and was rounded off with a delightful lunch.

  Hoses Hall Visit

Bear Street Telephone Kiosk

In 2012 the Society arranged for a telephone kiosk to be re-sited in Nayland following the surprise removal by BT of the phone box which had previously been located in Bear Street.

The years have begun to take their toll so the Society arranged for Gary Napper to redecorate the box and it is once again restored to its former glory!

  Telephone Kiosk

River Stour - Low Water Levels

Concern has been expressed in Nayland Village at the current low level of water in the River Stour. As can be seen from the photo, water has currently ceased flowing over the weir. The Society has made contact with the Environment Agency who have reported that they have inspected the river and are aware of the situation. They are treating it as an ongoing incident and will take any action to alleviate any problems that are identified. 14th August 2019

Update 15th August:
The Environment Agency set up a pump from the main river feeding onto the weir so that there is now a slight flow to the river below the weir. Once the suction got going they removed the pump and the water is flowing naturally through the pipes. Substantial numbers of small fish have been removed from the weir aprons and pools where they had become isolated from flowing water and relocated elsewhere in the river.


  Horseshoe Weir 2019

The Court Knoll Project

Tim Dennis and his team have returned to Court Knoll for some further ground surveys in an endeavour to resolve the conundrum of whether the church building, partially revealed in the 2016 excavation, had a tower or an apse at the eastern end.

The trench authorised by Historic England did not permit this puzzle to be answered so it is hoped Tim’s new survey may help to resolve the issue.

  Court Knoll Tim Dennis

Richard Wiles

The sad news has been announced of the passing of Richard Wiles, resident of the village of Nayland.

Richard had previously been a farmer in Zimbabwe and tragically lost his farm during Mugabe’s land grab. The sad story of this event was recorded in Richard’s book published in 2006 entitled ‘Foredoomed is my Forest’.

Following his arrival in Nayland Richard spent much time energy and money in planting trees along the western end of the Conservation Field in Nayland and in the area known as Horkesley Lock.  In honour of his extraordinary efforts in 2018 the Society erected a plaque at the entry to the area now known as ‘Richard’s Wood’.

  Richard's Wood

Swift Nesting Boxes

On the evening of the 3rd of July, following the recommendation of a Society member, Edward Jackson of the Suffolk Ornithologists’ Group attended the village of Nayland to identify buildings where swift nesting boxes might best be located.

Edward spoke to a number of committee members and other invitees. Edward explained that it was essential that there is sufficient swoop space for adults and an adequate drop for the young to leave the nest on their maiden flight.

A number of preferred sites were identified and the Society Committee will now decide how many swift boxes are to be acquired and contact the relevant house owner to obtain their permission for the installation of the boxes.

The (Common) Swift Apus apus is in significant decline across the country. For more information visit Save our Suffolk Swifts:


  Swift Boxes

June Meeting 2019 - Cedric Morris

Over 60 members and guests of the Society met at Nayland Village Hall on 24th June to hear Sarah Cook speak on the extraordinary work of internationally renowned artist Cedric Morris in connection with the breeding of Bearded Iris.

After an initial summary of Cedric’s early life, including his establishment as a significant artist and the creation of the Dedham School of Art, Sarah concentrated on his horticultural work. Sarah reported that from the early Forties onwards, he was raising 1,000 seedlings a year by hand-pollination; sifting and assessing them for vigour and form and using his artist's eye to produce painterly colours, including pioneering soft pinks and muted yellows. Many of these plants have been lost but Sarah has spent a huge amount of time and effort tracing them and there are now only a few which remain to be found.

  June Meeting

Open Gardens 2019

We were truly blessed for Open Gardens 2019 as the 9th of June was a sunny day sandwiched between high winds and rain for many days either side of it. Notwithstanding the threat of inclement weather, the Society enjoyed its second most profitable Open Gardens achieving a net profit of over £3,000 and attracting 439 visitors.  

Our thanks must go to the 22 garden openers and the myriad of helpers, especially the ladies who ran the teas, cakes and ices so efficiently and the cake makers.

2019 marks the last year that three of the garden openers will open their existing gardens for the Society.  Firstly, Andrew and Sue Gowen (pictured right) are saying farewell to Parkers Bear Street but are moving to Peter and Anna Mann’s house at 4 Newlands Lane so we hope they will continue their garden opening at their new garden.  Peter and Anna Mann (also pictured right) are moving from Newlands Lane to their house in Fen Street.  Also, Mr and Mrs Grootenhuis are selling Stour House in Court Street.  We thank all of them for opening their gardens so often over the years.

As the late spring bank holiday is a little earlier next year we have decided to hold Open Gardens a weekend later so it will take place on the 14th of June.
  Open Gardens

Visit to Euston Hall

On the 8th of May nineteen members had a private tour of Euston Hall, a delightful restoration house still occupied by the same family, the Dukes of Grafton.

Although the weather was very wet the contents of the house and the excellent guide lifted everyone’s spirits.  The house contains the largest collection of Stuart paintings in the country in addition to some wonderful works by Stubbs.  A priceless clock by Thomas Tompion also caught the eye and the current Duke’s record decks made an interesting contrast to the wonderful antiques, evidencing the fact that this is still very much a house enjoyed and lived in by the family.


  Euston Hall

Bank Holiday Monday Footpath Walk: 6th May 2019

Twenty members of the Conservation Society enjoyed an excellent walk on the Early May Bank Holiday Monday on the 6th May led by Chris Hunt who once again kept everyone amused with his anecdotes and the local history of the buildings and surroundings that were encountered en route.

  May Footpath Walk

Annual General Meeting 2019

A healthy number of members and visitors attended this year’s AGM on the 11th of March but not our Chairman who had been laid low by a virus and accordingly committee member John Partridge conducted proceedings. It was reported that after many years of service, former Chairman John Alexander had resigned from the committee as also had Ed Fehler and both received a round of applause from the audience in appreciation of their efforts. Unfortunately, Life President Barry Wakefield had also been unable to attend the meeting through ill-health so John Alexander stood in to deal with the election of the committee for the year 2019-20.  The committee membership is as follows: Mike Hunter Chairman; Jill Slater Hon. Secretary; Martin Wright Vice-Chairman; David Heigham Treasurer and committee members Tom Gardiner, Lucy Carpenter, Suzanne Cullen and Frank Warren.

Following the formal business of the evening the guest speaker, John Morris Chairman of the River Stour Trust, addressed the audience with a most enjoyable history of the River Stour Navigation, illustrated with a wide range of photos, some of which came from the Society’s own collection.

John Alexander gave an appreciative vote of thanks at the end of the meeting.

Click to view the Chairman's Report for 2018
and the Minutes of the AGM 2019 
(please note these are not adopted minutes)



Joint meeting with Nayland & District Horticultural Society

Our speaker meeting held on the 12th of November in conjunction with the Horticultural Society was well attended. The topic of the perils of bird migration was graphically explained by Essex County Council ranger Dougal Urquhart who has a lifetime’s interest in ornithology.

Aided by some excellent slides, Dougal gave a convincing explanation for the reduction in some bird numbers, citing a number of reasons including global warming. However, the direct influence of mankind was also playing its part, especially in western Europe where intentional bird trapping and game shooting was having a drastic effect on migrating bird numbers.

On a more positive note Dougal mentioned the events of the 3rd September 1965 when the largest ever influx of migrating birds was recorded. A sudden change in weather conditions caused at least 200,000 foreign wheatears, redstarts, warblers and flycatchers to descend upon the reserve. In all fifty-two species of birds were recorded.

  Joint Meeting

October Meeting 2018

At our open speaker meeting on the 8th October around seventy members and guests were entertained by Peter Minter of The Bulmer Brick and Tile Company.

Supported by a fascinating array of photographs showing the type of work carried out by his company Peter explained that the seams from which the clay is extracted had been used intermittently since roman times. His company was founded by his father in 1936 and four generations of the family have now been employed in its service. As a high degree of skill is required to design bricks to match the pattern and style necessary for ancient buildings the Company has acquired an international reputation and has received commissions from as far away as Australia.

Nearer to home, bricks have been supplied to Hampton Court and St Pancras Station and even closer to Nayland, Peter’s company has repaired the chimney stack at Thorrington Hall and assisted in the restoration of Freston Tower, a Landmark Property overlooking the River Orwell. Over 90% of the buildings that Peter’s company work upon are listed at Grade II or above.

Peter has written and published a book about his experiences and a number of copies were purchased on the evening by his appreciative audience.

  Bulmer Brick and Tile Company

Visit to Coggeshall Priory

On the 5th of September sixteen members of the Society enjoyed a visit to Coggeshall Abbey; a delightful house situated among the remains of a 12th century abbey. The owner proved to be a highly entertaining host and raconteur and the two and a half hours spent on the tour passed in a moment!

Coggeshall Abbey is arguably one of the most important architectural and historical buildings in Essex.  The Abbey was founded in 1140 on land given by King Stephen of England and Matilda of Boulogne. The building has early and exceptional medieval brickwork and is virtually unchanged since the Tudor period. The Paycocke wool family later bought the remains of the Abbey and constructed a grand house in miniature.  There is an exceptional Renaissance screen in the Great Hall and fine panelling in the Great Chamber.

  Coggeshall Abbey

June Meeting 2018: Pargetting

On the 25th June the Society held its second open meeting of the year and received a talk on the subject of 'Pargetting' from the hugely experienced Bill Sergant and his colleague Andrew Fawcett.

The artistic skill demonstrated by both Bill and Andrew was breathtaking. They do not use moulds but free draw the design on the wall or ceiling before applying limeplaster. Bill presented a substantial number of photographs showing the work carried out by him and his colleagues, which demonstrated the vast range of subjects and many techniques that they use to produce such fine work.

  Pargetting Talk

Open Gardens 2018

Open Gardens 2018 produced the second record-breaking event in a row as income of £3,460 was achieved beating last year’s record by £219. A coach party containing members of the University of the Third Age St Albans branch boosted the number of visitors.  Chris Hunt very kindly gave a number of the party a historical conducted tour of Nayland.

Twenty-one gardens were open in addition to the Churchyard of St. James.  It was pleasing to note that for the first time in a few years Alston Court opened their doors and congratulations must be passed to Barbara Bungay who has opened her garden for all but one of the 41 years that this event has been run.  Other long serving garden openers include Richard and Patricia Cave. See Open Gardens page for further details and photographs.

An art exhibition was held in the Village Hall curated by local artist Anna Boon and as usual teas, coffee and cakes were served in the village hall. The Society wishes to express its thanks to the myriad of volunteers who expend so much time and effort.

The Society committee has resolved to donate £1,000 from the proceeds raised to Nayland Community Store Limited in the event that it is able to acquire the Post Office.
  Open Gardens 2018

John Constable Birthday Walk: 2nd June

A “John Constable Birthday Walk” was led by Chris Hunt on Saturday the 2nd of June.  

Walkers joined Chris at Stoke by Nayland and were kept highly entertained and amused as he related various stories relating to Constable’s life.

The walk concluded at St James' Church where we had an opportunity to have a close look at Constable’s painting of 'Christ Blessing the Bread and Wine of the Last Supper'.


  Constable Walk

Bank Holiday Monday Footpath Walk: 7th May

On Monday the 7th May Vice Chairman Martin Wright led 13 members and guests of the Society in the annual footpath walk tracing a route past the scout hut up to Spring Farm, Cock Street in Leavenheath, then following the Beachams Farm bridleway before picking up the footpath just past the Farm, leading the walkers back to Gravel Hill and home.  Click for map

The walk took place in glorious warm weather; a significant change to the weather we normally experience on our May Day footpath walks.

  Footpath Walk

Visit to Belchamp Hall, Belchamp Walter, near Sudbury

Thirty members of the Society enjoyed a private tour of Belchamp Hall, a Queen Anne mansion that found significant fame in the late 80’s and early 90’s as Felsham Hall in the BBC hit TV series ‘Lovejoy’.  The numerous Gainsborough portraits of the Raymond family impressed our visitors, as did the delightful grounds surrounding the house.

Belchamp Hall at BelchampWaternaar Sudburyand its surrounding estate have been in the ownership of the Raymond family since 1611. In 1710 the present Queen Anne mansion was built on the site of the previous Tudor house. The house overlooks the fine 14th century parish church of St Mary. The surrounding parkland, significantly reduced in size since 1741 is Grade 2 listed. More information on

  Visit Belchamp Hall 2018

Bridleway: Gravel Hill to Cock Street (Beacham's Farm)

Public Outrage: Save Our Ancient Bridleway

A Public Meeting was held on 14th March. Over 80 concerned residents of Nayland, Wiston, Leavenheath and Stoke by Nayland expressed their outrage at the works carried out to a section of a popular ancient bridleway in the heart of the Dedham Vale Area of Natural Beauty.

The meeting was attended by Suffolk County Councillor James Finch, Glyn French the SCC Rights of Way Manager, John Ward the Leader of Babergh District Council and Gemma Pannell a Babergh Planning Officer.

Local resident Christopher Whybrow QC presented the current situation and the main areas of concern. He indicated that a number of options were available including an application to the courts for judicial review and a reference to the Local Government Ombudsman for maladministration.

Click to read the full report on the meeting.

For more information see the planning page

  Bridleway Public Meeting

Annual General Meeting 2018

Despite an appallingly wet evening, attendance was excellent at the Society’s AGM on the 12th of March.  Following the usual business of approving accounts and re-appointing the chair and committee, the audience were shown the plaque commemorating the efforts of Richard Wiles who has undertaken so much voluntary work in Horkesley Lock and Richard’s Wood.  Sadly Richard was unable to attend the meeting to receive his well-deserved recognition.

After the formal part of the evening was over, Mark Bills, the director of Gainsborough House in Sudbury, gave a superb lecture on Gainsborough followed by an explanation of the proposed development at Gainsborough House.

Click to view the Chairman's Report for 2017
Minutes of the AGM 2017

  AGM 2018

Court Knoll Exhibition

On the 3rd February in excess of 130 volunteers, members of the Society and the public attended the Court Knoll Project Exhibition at Nayland Village Hall.

This event gave everyone an opportunity to see some of the finds that had been revealed by the excavations that took place on Court Knoll in the autumn of 2016.

At 3pm chairman Mike Hunter took the opportunity to thank everyone who had participated in the project including the financial sponsors, in particular the Dedham Vale AONB & Stour Valley Project.

Thereafter Jo Caruth, senior project officer from Suffolk Archaeology, gave a fascinating talk, supported by a power point presentation, explaining the history of the site, the details of the finds revealed by the excavations and what steps needed to be taken to bring the project to a successful conclusion.

  Court Knoll Exhibition

Visit to West Stow Hall, near Bury St Edmunds

On 6th September 26 members of the Conservation Society attended a private viewing of West Stow Hall located about four miles north west of Bury St. Edmunds.

This remarkable house dates from around 1580 and features a colonnade linking a gatehouse to the main house. Terracotta figures surmount the turrets on the gatehouse and a room within contains very rare 16th century wall paintings of the four ages of man. Within the main house is one of the largest inglenooks in Suffolk. The owners of the Hall accompanied members and gave an illuminating and entertaining account of the history of the house and its various owners. The visit was concluded with  excellent and delicious refreshments.

  Weest Stow Hall

Open Gardens 2017

The 40th anniversary of Open Gardens produced a record income of £3210 as almost 500 visitors descended upon the village to view 19 gardens and the churchyard of St. James. The weather was perfect for the day and as usual the garden openers and the many volunteers all contributed to make this a special occasion.

Particular mention must be made of Wendy Sparrow who has been serving teas to visitors for every one of the 40 years that this event has existed and to Jill Slater the Society secretary for organizing the day.

An art exhibition was held in the Village Hall curated by local artist Anna Boon, which proved to be popular with the visitors.

In recognition of the 40th anniversary and to thank the open gardeners, the Society chairman Mike Hunter and his wife Chris entertained the openers and the Society committee members and their spouses at their home for dinks and nibbles.

The Society wishes to thank the many volunteers, including cake makers, tea ladies, flower ladies, car park attendants and last but not least the garden openers for their supreme efforts.


  Open Gardens

Visit to Otley Hall

Twenty-three Society members and friends enjoyed a delightful afternoon at the 15th Century moated manor house at Otley Hall on 16th May.

The sun shone warmly upon us as we toured the house and gardens and gazed at the wealth of extraordinary features of this lovely house including a cross or screens passage, richly carved beams, superb Linenfold panelling, and 16th-century wall paintings. Outside, the lofty chimneys, herringbone brickwork and vineleaf pargetting give a tantalising glimpse of an even more glorious past.

Otley Hall is regarded as one of the premier period houses in Suffolk.

  Visit to Otley Hall

Bank Holiday Monday Footpath Walk: 1st May

Around 27 members and friends of the Society attended the May Bank holiday walk around Polstead led by Chris Hunt. The walk title was 'Murder in Red Barn' and took in undulating views in the valley of the River Box.

Chris managed to make the tragic story of the murder of Maria Marten almost humorous as he entertained us with Victorian melodrama at various stages of the walk; our thanks to him for a wonderful afternoon.



  May Footpath Walk

Annual General Meeting 2016 and the Hon Secretary’s retirement

In his report the Chairman, Mike Hunter, said the Court Knoll Project was one of the largest undertaken by the society and until her recent illness was led by Mrs Carver helped by numerous volunteers. He especially mentioned Sally Bartrum, who attended the dig daily for six weeks providing a link with the volunteers who continued to help analyse the finds. Mr Hunter added he was delighted so many villagers had taken part in the project. Analysing the finds was already bearing fruit and the most exciting news arose from the radio carbon dating of a small piece of bone found on the last day. There was a 68 per cent chance the bone dated from 989 to 1010, the first supporting evidence of a late Saxon settlement.

Warm tributes were paid at the meeting to Andora Carver who retired after 30 years as secretary.

Mike Hunter said her resignation brought to an end three decades of work and dedication, the like of which would not be seen again. President and former chairman Barry Wakefield said his years of working with Mrs Carver had given him great pleasure. Her thoroughness and enthusiasm had made a massive contribution to maintaining and developing the society. Another former chairman John Alexander said during day to day dealing with potential adverse developments, particularly the Horkesley Park scheme which lasted more than 10 years, Mrs Carver had shown a “steely reserve” and the village owed her a massive debt.

On the society’s behalf he presented her with a dual five-year membership of the Royal Horticultural Society. In her response Andora said the society had achieved a huge amount over the years, culminating in the Court Knoll dig and it had been a great privilege to be part of it.

Andora's response can be viewed here.
AGM documents can be found on the Membership page

  Andora Carver Retirement Presentation


Conservation Society Garden Working Party

Thanks to excellent support from members, we were able to clear the whole of the Conservation Society’s patch at the Village Hall Garden Working Party on Saturday 19th November.

  Viage Hall Garden

The Court Knoll Project

Court Knoll is a D-shaped earthwork situated near The Anchor Bridge and beside the River Stour in Nayland.  It is also a Scheduled Monument.  Following very a successful geophysical survey in 2015 which showed up what looked like a chapel-type structure on the highest point of the mound in the north east corner of the field, the Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society was given permission by Historic England and the landowners, the Trustees of the Tendring Estate, to excavate 7 trenches on the field.

The dig started on 2nd September and work continued for 6 days every week  until 16th October. Volunteers from the local community in Nayland and Wiston took part and were supported by volunteers from the Colchester Archaeological Group and Stour Valley Community Archaeology. The work was coordinated and supervised by Linzi Everett of Suffolk Archaeology CIC who the Conservation Society had commissioned to run the project.

We thought, from the geophysical survey, that there might have been a chapel on the top of the mound, and the excavations revealed the remains of the stone walls of a substantial rectangular structure considered, most probably, to be the eastern end of an early medieval church.  Deeply buried human remains were found nearby on the very last afternoon of the dig.  They appeared to have been buried facing the east which adds support to the likelihood that the rectangular building was a church or a chapel, and/or there was quite possibly a Christian graveyard on the mound. 

However the excavations also revealed that sometime later part of the rectangular building had been demolished to allow a curved wall to be constructed in its place.  This curved stone wall could be part of a semi-circular apse, or could be part of a tower.  It was not possible to confirm this either way as the relevant part of the wall was outside the area that Historic England had consented to excavated this year.  The discovery of this later phase of building led some of the many experts who visited the site to speculate whether the later structure may have been a fortified medieval  manor  house.

Whether the structure is an apse or a tower and many other questions have been raised and we hope very much to be able to undertake a smaller scale dig next year to try to answer some of them.  

Now that the trenches have been backfilled and re-turfed the long process of Finds Assessment begins.  This may take at least a year and could cost up to £12,000.  This will be in addition to the cost of the Dig which was £11,787.

Finds of pottery, window glass, glazed medieval tiles, 3 coins, a key and various tiny metal articles, will have to be photographed, x-rayed or drawn by trained volunteers, so that as much information as possible can be obtained to help date the various stages of the buildings which were exposed and answer some of the questions raised by the dig.

Over 500 volunteer days were worked during the 38 days of the dig and 250 rubble bags of Roman and medieval brick and tile fragments are stored awaiting sorting and weighing by trained volunteers.  This and many more jobs are required to complete the Project.  If anyone would like to help, please contact Andora Carver, Project co-ordinator ( or Sally Bartrum (

We would also be most grateful for donations towards this phase of the project and to build up funds for the a later excavation and the Final reports.  An estimated £25,000 is required to fund the assessment and analysis of the recent dig and for next year's Phase.  Appropriate grant funding bodies will be approached, but help from individuals and businesses would also be most welcome, and where appropriate, will be acknowledged in future publications.  Please contact Sally or Andora.

  Court Knoll Project
Click to view the photo album of the excavation carried out during September and October 2016 (pdf 5Mb)
Court Knoll Project
Court Knoll Project

The Court Knoll Archaeological Dig

A personal view of the Court Knoll Project from the supervising archaeologist, Linzi Everett, of Suffolk Archaeology CIC.

We came to Court Knoll in September with some knowledge of the site, thanks to survival of medieval records, the exposure of walls on the site in 1924 and with a set of good geophysical survey results.  Six weeks of excavation later, we had revealed evidence for various phases within a range of buildings which were largely constructed from re-used Roman tiles and building stone.  In addition, glazed tiles, moulded stone and window glass suggest that the buildings were of high status.  We had certainly proved what was already suspected - that Court Knoll is a very special site.

However, this is not Time Team and we can’t provide a fully illustrated and dated interpretation of the site just yet. The excavation has amassed a wealth of new knowledge and information in terms of finds, records, photographs, plans and sections that will be analysed over the coming months to more accurately build up the story around what we’ve uncovered, telling us more about the active life and subsequent decline of the manorial complex. Fieldwork is just one facet of archaeology; where you really find out about a site is back in the office surrounded by plans and specialist reports.  In that respect, we’ve only just started this journey into unlocking some of Court Knoll’s secrets and I hope it’s a journey that many of you will join us on to its conclusion.

Practically speaking, Court Knoll is not the easiest site to excavate and interpret - it is physically difficult to dig and extremely complex, archaeologically.  The numerous volunteers involved were patient, incredibly hard-working and enthusiastic throughout and it is down to their efforts that the Court Knoll Project stands as an excellent example of what such a community venture can achieve.

  Court Knoll Project
Court Knoll Project

Visit to Columbine Hall

On the 13th September in glorious weather 22 members of the Conservation Society visited the 14th Century moated manor house at Columbine Hall located just outside the Suffolk village of Stowupland.

The tour of the house was undertaken by the charming and urbane Hew Stevenson the owner of the hall who fascinated his audience with tales of the history and contents of the house. Among the more unusual features were a mug belonging to Nelson and a life size Chinese deer which dominated the library. The gardens were no less impressive and the members were conducted around the grounds by the resident gardener Kate Elliott who has worked on the gardens for the past 19 years. The structure of the garden is designed to create superb vistas from the main rooms of the house. The visit was concluded with delicious cakes and tea.

  Columbine Hall 2016

New Edition Tea Towel 

The tea towel designed by Richard Bawden shows some well known and well-loved features of Nayland, including ancient carvings (such as the green man in the roof of St. James' Church and window sill of the oriel window at Alston Court) and the topiary in the high street. 

This has been reprinted in burgundy and green by popular request.

Tea Towels approx. size: 48 x 77.5cm. Cost: £4 each, excluding postage.

  TeeaTowels 2016

Past Times : Further Nayland Reminiscenses

The Society's chairman, Mike Hunter, introduced Chris Hunt, who is the third generation of Hunts in Nayland.   His career was with the Fire Service.  He is a bell ringer (Church Tower captain) and  member of the Royal British Legion.

Chris's talk took the form of an illustrated walk round Nayland as it was, using archive photos, assisted by newspaper cuttings read by Peter Drew, giving descriptions of accidents and incidents in the village during the late 19th century, when there was much industry and no health and safety rules, until World War II.

David Slater then talked about Shaddelows Farm where his father took the tenancy in 1958.  

Short silent films of a 1951 British Legion parade at the Jane Walker Hospital, included shots of Dr. MacMichael, the village GP and Hospital Medical officer, together with his wife and daughter, Shirley, who now lives in Stoke Road.

Val Munson spoke about her wartime memories of the plane crash in the field beyond Court Knoll, Tendring Hall where the Italian prisoners of war were billeted.

Sally Bartrum talked about living at the Anchor Inn as a child, her parents John and June Curtis took over the pub in 1956 until 1983.  



Reminiscenses 2016

Read the full report
on the Meeting

Open Gardens 2016

The afternoon weather was perfect for garden viewing and visitors enjoyed a relaxed wander around the village exploring the 17 gardens which were open, as well as the churchyard.

The riverside gardens in Bear Street were particular popular and many people remarked on how surprising it was to find gardens of all sizes hidden behind the houses.

Teas were in the Village Hall, where there was large and tempting selection of delicious cakes kindly baked by Conservaton Society members and friends in Nayland and Wiston.

The surplus looks to be in the region of £1,500; funds raised will go towards local conservation projects. Open Gardens will be on Sunday 11th June 2017.

  Open Gardens 2016
A glorious display of Evening Primrose at Mill House

Visit to Crows Hall, Stowmarket on 17th May

Members of the Conservation Society enjoyed a delightful afternoon at the Elizabethan Crows Hall, Debenham near Stowmarket on 17th May 2016.

The owner, Caroline Spurrier, the great granddaughter of the fifth Earl of Warwick, who acquired the property approximately 10 years ago, gave a most enjoyable and informative tour of the house, gardens and barns. Her personal insight into the restoration of the building and her own family history gave an added dimension to the afternoon.

If you are interested in visiting the property contact “Invitation to View”  on 01284 827087 to find dates when the Hall is open to the public.

  Crows Hall 2016

Bank Holiday Monday Footpath Walk: 2nd May

The Conservation Society guided footpath walk on the early May Bank Holiday saw 24 intrepid walkers set out from Court Knoll and cross the newly restored Merles footbridge as part of a circular route to reach Horkesley Hall Little Horkesley the beautiful home of Johnny and Polly Eddis.

Polly and her gardener Glenn Deering gave the walkers a tour of her delightful gardens rounded off with tea and cake.

The return route to Nayland was slightly curtailed due to the advancing black clouds and rain but the party managed to avoid the heavy downpour that arrived soon after reaching the village.

  May Footpath Walk 2016

Medieval Settlement Research Group Conference

The Society’s Hon. Secretary, Andora Carver, and Dr Tim Dennis of Essex University, were invited to take part in the Medieval Settlement Research Group 30th Anniversary Spring Conference at the University of Lincoln from 29th April to 1st May.  The event was organised by Prof. Carenza Lewis and included conference papers from within and beyond academia spanning new discoveries made in and by rural communities from Essex to Yorkshire as well as new scholarly research into the origins and development of currently occupied rural settlements (CORS) from the 6th century to the 16th century.

There were nine talks from local history groups describing test pit results from places including Binham Norfolk, Pirton, Herts, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Swaledale and Nayland.

Carenza and six other academics spoke about landscapes, the origin of place names, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, medieval open fields, Middle Saxon village development in Cambs and the ham/ton divide.  Carenza talked about the Black Death and mentioned, of course, the unique fact that only Nayland, Warbleswick and one other settlement in north west Norfolk appear to have avoided the black death in the whole of East Anglia, based on pottery samples.

Andora gave a power point presentation and talk about the 2012, 2014 and 2015 test pit experiences in Nayland which was followed by Tim Dennis, who gave an excellent and very detailed resume of geophysical survey work undertaken in the last 18 months at Court Knoll.  Further details on the M.S.R.G. website
  Linciln Conference 2016

Annual General Meeting 2016: 14th March

After 13 years in the Chair, John Alexander has decided to retire and he was presented with a token of appreciation at the AGM by our President, Barry Wakefield.  Mike Hunter, the newly elected Chairman paid tribute to John's leadership of the Society, particularly the acquisition of the Nayland Meadow and “Lot 3”.   His wise advice and support for the committee has been much appreciated since he took over from Barry Wakefield in 2004.  We are delighted that he is to remain on the committee.  During the year Jennie Jenkins and Jill Slater sadly stepped down from the committee.  We are sorry to lose them and most grateful for their hard work over recent years.

The Committee and Officers of the Society were elected as follows -  Chairman:  Mike Hunter, Vice Chairman:  Martin Wright , Hon. Treasurer: David Heigham, Hon. Secretary: Andora Carver,  Committee members: John Partridge, Ed Fehler, Tom Gardiner, John Alexander.  The accounts for both the Conservation Society and the Land Company were presented by the Hon. Treasurer, approved and signed.

After the formal AGM business, Anna Moore of the Colchester Archaeological Group will talk about BURES CROPMARKS - Life and Death in the Stour Valley: an exploration of prehistoric ritual. A report on the talk is included on the Meetings page.


  AGM 2016
Nayland Cleans for the Queen
Clean For The Queen 2016
Clean For The Queen 2016

Nayland Cleans for the Queen, on 5th March 2016, was a unique and very successful event.

Thirty adults and six children, wearing specially commissioned hiviz vests, and wielding picking sticks kindly loaned by Babergh District Council, covered every street and open space in the village.  Twenty eight special purple sacks were used and a surprising volume of rubbish collected. The worst site being along the old road between the A134 and Harpers Estate.   This area is used by lorry drivers as a lay-by with the resulting consequences.

Several people asked if a repeat event is planned and this is well worth considering.  In the meantime we hope to have raised awareness of the litter problem as well as encouraging residents of all ages to keep the village clean.   A special thank-you to those who kindly made cakes and buns to revive the volunteers after their efforts. They were much appreciated.

There are a few hiviz vests left over at £4 each which would be useful for bike riding as well as future litter picking.  Please contact Andora Carver if you would like one.

Nayland Christmas Fair

Committee members Ed Fehler and Andora Carver help out on the Society’s stall at the recent Community Council Annual Christmas Fair.  Chris Hunter also lent a hand. 

This is a great opportunity to spread the word about the Conservation Society, sell our publications and tea towels and also to recruit new members.



  Christmas Fair

Suffolk Local History Council Day Meeting in Nayland

19th September 2015

The Conservation Society were delighted to host a Day Meeting of the SLHC recently.  

Almost 40 members of various history and amenity Societies from all over Suffolk gathered in the Village Hall to hear Leigh Alston give a talk about the Timber Framed Buildings of Nayland.  

This was followed by a presentation about the Nayland Test Pit Dig Project in 2012 and 2014 by Sally Bartrum, Mike Hunter and Andora Carver, who all took part in the digs. Click to view the presentation images [pdf 4Mb] 

The afternoon programme included tours of St. James Church, Alston Court, the village centre and Court Knoll all in glorious sunshine and the day ended with tea and cakes in the Village Hall. 

Grateful thanks to Angela Sills, Leigh Alston, Chris Hunt, Wendy Sparrow and everyone involved with the teas and other arrangements who worked so hard to make the day a great success.

  Suffolk Local History Council Day 2015

Follow-Up Nayland Test Pit Results

We were delighted to welcome Carenza Lewis back to Nayland on 23rd June to hear about the detailed results from the 16 Test Pits which were dug in September 2014.   The total number of pits so far dug in Nayland is now 50.

The contents of the latest pits in Nayland have been analysed and a final report will be available shortlyon

Click to view the full resume of the meeting.

In summing up Carenza emphasised that seemingly insignificant sherds of pottery can reveal extraordinary results because 90% of it is easily datable.

The legacy from the first Test Pit Dig in October 2012 stirred up so much interest that a Follow-Up was organised and there is definitely a potential for more test pits to be dug in future especially in the centre of the village, around the church and Carenza considers there is now enough expertise within the village for us to undertake this ourselves without the need for expensive experts.


  Test Pit Dig 2014

Open Gardens 2015

Gardens of all shapes and sizes were open at our 38th annual event on June 15th. 

River gardens, walled gardens, pocket handkerchief size gardens and gardens with a views over the village, created varied and enchanting scenes to entertain the many visitors who came from far and near.  

The net proceeds of the day were £2,085.  

The drizzle at the start improved later on and the ice cream stand and teas in the village hall did brisk trade.

Many thanks to all those members and friends who opened their gardens, sold plants for us, made cakes for the teas and helped in many different ways to make the day so relaxing and entertaining for our visitors.

Click to view Open Gardens 2015 : Photo Album

  Open Gardens 2015

NEW! Greeting Card

Floods near Nayland c. 1950

Sir Alfred Munnings
Estate of Sir Alfred Munnings.  All rights reserved, DACS 2015.
Photo credit:The Munnings Art Museum

Price:  60p. each & £3 for 6 including envelopes

Available from:
Forget Me Not, The Blue Owl & committee members
or for purchase by post see the Publications page

Munnings Cards

Members visit to The Munnings Art Museum, Castle House, Dedham

On 5th May twenty Conservation Society members enjoyed a private view of the newly re-furbished collection of works by Sir Alfred Munnings at Castle House.   We were made very welcome by the guides and it was particularly good to be able to view the wide selection of paintings and drawings in a peaceful and uncrowded environment.  Our favourites were A Suffolk Horse Fair, Lavenham, My Wife, My Horse and Myself, A Barge on the Stour at Dedham, and probably one of his most famous works, Tagg’s Island 1920.
Marcia Whiting, who gave a talk about Sir Alfred Munnings at our AGM in March, had kindly brought out some local scenes from the archives which included a view of Tendring Hall, Stoke by Nayland,  painted on a wooden board.

It was lovely to view the original Floods near Nayland c. 1950, which the trustees have kindly given permission for the Conservation Society to reproduce as a greetings card.  This will shortly be on sale in packs of 6 with envelopes for £3.

We also enjoyed visiting The Studio which was a treasure trove of Munnings’ painting equipment, drawings and personal effects and gave a fascinating insight into his working methods.

Tea in the Garden Café was a very welcome grand finale to a most enjoyable and informative visit.

Leaflets about special events at Castle House during 2015 are available from the Post Office, Forget Me Not and the Blue Owl.
  Munningss Museum Dedham

Floods near Nayland c.1950 reproduced by kind permission of the Estate of Sir Alfred Munnings.  All rights reserved, DACS 2015, photo credit  The Munnings Art Museum. 

Bank Holiday Footpath Walk : 4th May  

The Conservation Society guided footpath walk on the first May Bank Holiday was blessed with fine weather and an interesting amble for the 27 members and friends who took part.  Leaving a crowded car park at Arger Fen the party walked in a southerly direction before picking up the bridlepath heading in a westerly direction towards Bures. 

On reaching St Stephens Chapel the party had an opportunity to look across the valley to the magnificent Bures Dragon, which has been cut into the hillside opposite by the Probert family and friends to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. 

Moving into the Chapel those members who hadn’t visited before were amazed to find four wonderfully carved effigies of the Earls of Oxford, one of whom had fought at Agincourt.  These had been removed from Earls Colne Priory after the Reformation. 

Continuing towards Bures we entered the rear drive of the Great Bevills Estate in order to reach the gardens which were open to the public under the National Garden Scheme.  Having consumed copious amounts of tea and cake and enjoyed a wander among the delightful gardens the walkers return to Arger Fen was made by a different route passing to the north of Fysh House and past Moat Farm.

  Footpath Walk 2015
May Walk 2015

Annual General Meeting 2015

AGM: The current Committee and Officers of the Society were re-elected at our AGM on 9th March -  Chairman:  John Alexander, Vice Chairman:  Martin Wright , Hon. Treasurer: David Heigham, Hon. Secretary: Andora Carver,  Committee members: Jennie Jenkins, Mike Hunter, Jill Slater, John Partridge.  The accounts for both the Conservation Society and the Land Company were presented by the Hon. Treasurer, approved and signed.

The Chairman gave an update on recent events since the annual report for 2014 which included the issue of a further licence by English Heritage to Survey Court Knoll.  This runs from mid-March to the end of June and should enable an extensive radar survey to be undertaken by Dr. Tim Dennis and volunteers.

A Model of the west side of Nayland High Street was very generously presented to the Society by Christopher & James Warren at the AGM.  They wish the residents of Nayland to be able to see and cherish it because it was specially commissioned by their late parents who owned Tandem shop in the 1970s and 80s.   Christopher also ran Martha’s Vineyard restaurant where the dental surgery is now located, so their village interest goes back a long way.  Patsy Ford has kindly agreed for the model to be on display in the Post Office for the time being.   The Society has undertaken to ensure it is then displayed in a prominent position in the village.

Open Gardens is on 14th June and the Chairman thanked garden owners for opening in the past and would welcome new gardens being open.  Potential openers please contact the Hon. Secretary.

After the formal AGM business, Marcia Whiting, from Castle House, Dedham gave a fascinating and informative account of the life of'Sir Alfred Munnings - with special local interest' illustrated with some of the 600 works held at Castle House.  She kindlyshowed us some specially selected works painted in and around the Dedham Vale and Stour valley which are not normally seen by the public. A report of the talk can be viewed on the Meetings page 

It was a memorable talk and as a result a Private Visit for Conservation Society members to Castle House has been arranged for 5th May from 2pm to 4pm.  The cost is £10 each to include a view of the house and gardens with tea, coffee and biscuits.  To reserve a place please contact the Hon. Secretary: before April 1st.


AGM 2015

Click to view the full AGM report

Minutes of the AGM are available on the Membership page


Suffolk Local History Council’s Societies Day

The Society’s stall at the Suffolk Local History Council’s Societies Day at Elmswell on 7th March.  About a dozen local history societies were represented with stalls and ours certainly had the most varied selection of items for sale, which is a reflection of our diverse interests over the last 40 years. 

Seven societies gave short presentations on subjects ranging from How to Apply for Lottery Funds, Restoring Campsea Ash (Wickham Market) Railway Station building, and writing a book about Little Waldingfield from scratch in one year..

The Society Hosts a special day in Nayland for members on 19th September.


  Suffolk Local History Council’s Societies Day 2015

American Airmen based in Britain during World War II

In October 2014 the American Air Museum launched a website to tell the stories of the American airmen based in Britain during the Second World War and the British people they met. The website is based around a collection of around 15,000 photographs which depict the people, planes and places that contributed to their experiences.

James Rossington will be working as project assistant with both the American Air Museum at IWM Duxford and the Eighth in the East project and has asked:

We need the help of local groups such as yours to identify the people and places shown within the pictures and we would also love to capture and preserve some of the photographs and memories which your members or their families may also have of the Americans in Britain. The website is editable by anyone who registers on the site.

As Nayland and Wissington are located only a few miles from Boxted and Wormingford airfields perhaps your home was used by US servicemen during the war? Or maybe you have a war bride in the family? If you or your relatives have memories of the Americans in Britain then we would love to hear from you!

If you would like to preview the website then please visit: 


  US Air Museum
Boxted Airfield, home of the 56th Fighter Group

November Joint Meeting 'The River Stour'

A talk by Matt Holden, River Stour Officer of the Dedham Vale AONB & Stour Valley Project at the joint meeting of the Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society and the Nayland and District HortSoc on Monday 10th November 2014.

About 80 members and friends enjoyed a fascinating insight into the work done by the Dedham Vale Project and their partners in enhancing and protecting our local river and its tributaries for the benefit of wildlife and those who live, work in and visit the Dedham Vale.

Matt explained that The Dedham Vale Project and the Environment Agency have joined in a project, the driver of which is the Water Framework Directive of 2003.  This is intended to broaden understanding of our lowland river system, to retain the navigation, increase the natural diversity of wildlife in the rivers and on the banks and their settings which inspire people in many different ways.

See a more detailed summary of the talk on Meetings page

  Joint Meeting 2014

October Open Meeting

Leigh Alston, one of our most popular speakers, made a return visit to talk about Nayland’s Timber Framed Buildings. He highlighted the unique features of many of Nayland’s medieval houses which makes the village such a special place.

The cross-wing of Alston Court, which is similar to that of Abbas Hall, can be dated to c. 1290 making Alston Court one of the very few 2 storey 13th century timber framed buildings surviving in the country. The fine oriel window of c.1520 with its decoration of exotic animals and intricately worked mullions, probably survived in such good condition because for many years it was plastered over.

His recent researches on the history of the house include the identification of the armorial stained glass in the room below the solar to be that of the Abell and Payne families and to date from 1490-1500.
The high number of Wealden semi-detached renters is another unique feature of the village. Church House is a particularly fine example of a Wealden Plan.
Birch Street is an excellent example of the history of timber framing. He explained that the studs are farther apart in early buildings because less timber was available and by the 15th -16th centuries close studding was fashionable and an indication of conspicuous wealth.


Leigh Alston Talk October 2014

See more detailed summary of the talk on Meetings page

Follow-Up Nayland Test Pit Dig : Preliminary Report
20-21 September 2014

The Pottery Report and updated pottery distribution map for the Nayland Dig is now available to see on Access Cambridge Archaeology’s website at

Click to view the photo gallery

The Follow-Up Dig was a very successful event.  Over 80 people attended Dr. Carenza Lewis’ briefing on Saturday morning before dispersing to the 16 selected pits round the village.  They were later joined by more volunteers during the two day project.

3 pits produced worked flints of the Neolithic (Stonehenge) era in undisturbed ground.
2 sites contained Roman sherds

From evidence in the pits close to the village centre Dr. Lewis stated she was confident that a late Anglo Saxon Settlement existed, tightly clustered around the church and to the south of Newlands Lane which is now farmland.   Several pits contained examples of Thetford or (just possibly) Ipswich Ware (AD 850-1100).   Pottery pre-dating 1,000 AD has been very rare so far in Nayland, so it will be interesting to see just how much more has turned up in 2014.

There were lots of high medieval finds, including pieces of Hedingham Ware (1100-1300), showing how and where the larger village came to grow.  Late medieval (1300-1550) pottery was again widely distributed in centrally located pits.   76% of pits in the 2012 analysis of finds contained late medieval pottery.  The average found in the Eastern Region is 21%.   It will be interesting to see if the items found in the latest Pit confirm this trend.

The End of Dig Tea Party in the garden of Mill House was an opportunity for everyone involved to share the results of the dig.  About 100 people, of all ages and from all walks of life, gathered to hear Dr. Lewis’s initial summary.

Thanks are due to Jill Slater and Penny Allen and their team for the wonderful display of tasty cakes and sandwiches which were much appreciated by everyone.  There was huge enthusiasm from all those involved in this major community event which has drawn together well over 100 village residents and volunteers from as far away at Blythburgh in north Suffolk. 

The story of how the village evolved has definitely moved on another chapter thanks to the dig and funding from our sponsors, the Dedham Vale AONB & Stour Valley Sustainable Development Fund, the Nayland with Wissington Community Council and the Conservation Society; but it would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of a great many volunteers.

Click to view the photograph album of the weekend (pdf 2.3Mb)

  Test Pit Dig
Test Pit Dig

40th Anniversary Celebration

About ninety members and friends packed into Nayland Village Hall and the Chairman, John Alexander, opened the meeting by stating how and why the Society was formed.  Past achievements included the Restoration of Horkesley Lock, initiating a Local List of unlisted buildings and structures in the parish, acquisition of the Nayland Meadow and Lot 3, Thrift Farm.   He said: “we can be proud of our Achievements which I firmly believe add to the quality of life in Nayland and Wiston and its preservation for future generations”..

Wendy Sparrow and Joan Moore, Founding Members of the Society, were presented with bouquets by Andora Carver, Hon. Secretary.

Item 2 on the Agenda was an amendment to the Society’s Constitution to the effect that on the dissolution of the Society items of historic and public interest acquired by the Society shall be deposited in the Suffolk Record Office.   This was unanimously approved.

Chris Hunt then compered, with great skill and humour, a lively discussion between Valerie Munson, Shirley Scarlett, Eva Rolfe, Roy Norfolk and Rosemary Knox who related stories about what the village was like BCS (before Conservation Society).  A slide show of photos illustrated the stories..

A video was made of the Reminiscences evening and a few spare copies of the disc are available to purchase for £5 each.  Contact the Hon. Secretary.

Click to view the full report and view photographs

  Anniiversary Meeting

Open Gardens

There was a surplus of
A new record!

Many thanks to all garden openers,
tea & ice cream helpers, cake makers
and all who supported on the day.

Read more on the Open Gardens Page

  Open Gardens

Ministerial visit by Lord de Mauley

Andora Carver, the Hon. Secretary was invited to represent the Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society at a Ministerial visit by Lord de Mauley, Under Secretary of State for the natural environment at Defra, to the Dedham Vale and Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB on 5th June.   Her role was to show how the Dedham Vale Project Sustainable Development Fund has been used by local amenity groups to enhance the AONB.  Also present were representatives of the Dedham Vale Project volunteers and local business.   Their discussions were interrupted when a barn owl appeared over Court Knoll, the Ancient Monument beside which the group were standing. The owl has been a regular day-time visitor to the area - nevertheless the timing was brilliant!

Lord de Mauley is quoted in the EADT of 6th June as saying; “I have had a really wonderful day today, seeing how committed everybody is and how passionate they all are about the AONB.” - click to view article

Recent grants from the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project Sustainable Development Fund to the Conservation Society include support for the Permissive Footpath link from Nayland to Stoke by Nayland, and for the follow up Nayland Test Pit Dig scheduled for September 20th and 21st.

  Visit Lord Mauley

Nayland 2014 Test Pit Dig

The Dedham Vale and Stour Valley AONB Project Sustainable Development Fund have confirmed approval of our application for £3,750 funding for the Nayland second Test Pit Dig.  They thought the scheme sounded very exciting. 

This is great news as it means we are now certain to have the £8,000 required for the 16 planned pits. The surplus from the 2013 and 2014 Open Gardens will be allocated to the test pit project and we also have a grant from the Community Council.

  Test Pit Dig

Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park

The Appeal Decision

The Society is delighted to confirm that the Inspector has decided to dismiss the appeal against the decision of the Colchester Borough Council to refuse permission for the Horkesley Park development and the Secretary of State has upheld the Inspector’s decision. A copy of the decision can be viewed (pdf 1Mb).

It is to be hoped that after many years of opposition this ill-conceived development has finally been laid to rest.


Nayland Meadow: Fencing Maintenance
March 2014

Sean Norfolk and his assistant started work yesterday (April 9th) replacing rotten poles and broken wire fencing on Nayland Meadow.

It is 10 years since the Land Company acquired the land and the fencing is consequently in need of repair.  The sheep will be put out on the Meadow very shortly and it is good to know that the fencing will be secure.

The cowslips are making a good show this year and a couple of stems of Lady's Smock or Cuckoo Flower (cardamine pratensis) were also spotted amongst the dandelions.

  Meadow Fencing

The Permissive Footpath from Stoke Road

The new permissive footpath linking Nayland to Stoke by Nayland was officially opened on 3rd April.  Villagers from both parishes gathered to watch as Hector Wykes-Sneyd, land agent for the Tendring Hall Estate, cut the tape.  He thanked Andora Carver, secretary of the conservation society, for her part in the project.

Mrs Carver said: "The creation of this permissive path will be of great benefit to the local community as well as to visitors and would not have been possible without the generosity of the Tendring Hall Estate and the Dedham Vale AONB Project."

Others attending the opening ceremony included the chairmen of Nayland and Stoke by Nayland parish councils, Mary George and Una Oakes, and footpath wardens Sally Bartrum and Alan Shrosbery.

Click for further details and photographs (pdf 3.6Mb)

  Permisive Path

30 Best Places to Live in the Country - Nayland No 8
The Times' supplement - 25 March 2014

Filled with timber-framed houses and surrounded by the serene coutryside that captivated the local artist John Constablee, this East Anglia village and the hamlets near by, such as Wiston, are right at the heart of the Stour Valley and have excellent facilities, including a primary school and a fantastic butcher. Colchester station, six miles away, has trains to London Liverpool Street taking 50 minutes. There is a thriving arts scene and good golf courses.

  The Times

Limited Edition 40th Anniversary Tea Towel

We are delighted that Richard Bawden has again created a unique design for our 40th Anniversary tea towel.

The features included are from left to right (top): The White Hart Inn Sign, the medieval stone effigy on the south west porch of St. James Church, the Wiston Dragon from St. Mary's Church. The K6 BT Kiosk in Bear Street which was "adopted" by the Society and moved from Wiston , Alston Court porch, High Street, The Nayland Meadow and the north door of St. Mary's, Wiston.

The Society's achievements since 1974 are listed as a border on 3 sides of the design.

Price £5.50 each or £10 for two. Available from the Hon. Secretary.

  Tea Towels

Annual General Meeting 2014

This year the Society is celebrating its 40th Anniversary and at our AGM John Alexander outlined the origins of the formation of the Society. In 1974 a small group of people, led by Blair Lees, Nayland’s Parish Recorder and editor of the Nayland Record, and including Wendy Sparrow, realised that Nayland was a special village, both scenically and historically and decided to ask residents if they were interested in forming a “preservation” society in Nayland.  Now, 40 years on we can be justifiably proud of its achievements, particularly in protecting against adverse development.  The Society has more than 250 members – a remarkable record considering the size of the village.

The Archive Project was launched to co-incide with the AGM.  This  comprises over 20 collections of photos and images presented to and purchased by the Society. Lorraine Brooks was presented with a Dendrobium orchid and Tony Prce with a collection of “interesting ales” as tokens of thanks for their many hours of work on this project.

More than 70 members and friends attended the AGM on 10th March when Paul Gallifant, a member of the Dedham Vale Society Committee, showed a wonderful selection of  beautiful photographs of Nayland and Wiston in the 1970s and the Dedham Vale through the seasons.   It is most certainly worth fighting for as the title of his talk suggested.


  AGM 2014

Nayland Christmas Fair

Committee members were busy on the Society's stall at the Community Council's Christmas Fair on 1st December.

Our tea towels were very popular.

Pictured here are Jill Slater and Andora Carver.



  Christmas Fayre

First Otter sighting on the Nayland Meadow Pond
November 2013

Rob Dryden (Technical Specialist, Environment Agency) has sent this wonderful photograph and writes:

I spent a happy ten minutes watching the otter fish (very secretively). At one point a trail of bubbles came right across the pond towards me, the otter continued under the floating blanket weed fringe to the pond, and then was rustling around in the vegetation at the edge of the pond, less than 10m from me but infuriatingly completely hidden from view. I think it might have exited the pond via the (underwater) pipes that connect the pond to the river.

This was the third living otter that I’ve seen in the Stour in the last two years.

Click to view full image (pdf 198Kb)


  Otter Sighting

Archive collection: Presentation of Deeds

A collection of 48 Indentures dated between 1649 and 1883 was recently presented to the Conservation Society by Usha Taylor in memory of her late husband, Keith Taylor of Nayland, who was an historian and an unofficial recorder in the village in the late 1970s and 1980s.  Usha wishes that the documents should stay in the village for future reference and learning in the community.

He purchased them c.1980 from Richard Campbell, a member of the Deaves family, who were builders in the village. Many of the documents refer to land transactions in Newlands Lane, Nayland.

If anyone would like to view a particular Deed, then please contact the Hon. Secretary. Click here to view the list of deeds


  Keith Taylor Deeds

Horkesley Park: Latest News

Colchester Gazette - 4 December 2013 (pdf 655Kb)
Buntings owe you cash? Forget it!
Administrator's warning to creditors owed £1 million by family
A report by administrators Deloitte for the High Court of Justice states there is "no prospect" unsecured creditors will get their money back - a total of nearly £1million.  Unaudited accounts showed the long-standing Colchester firm had borrowed more than £14 million in bank loans.
Buntings owe us cash... but we've got little hope of getting it back
Creditors face a loss of almost £1 - Collapse blamed on failure or centre
The administrator's report also states they do not expect the banks to be repaid in full. They are now trying to sell the assets as going concerns and expect this to be done within the year.

Horkesley Park Appeal: Latest News

The Horkesley Park Appeal Hearing took place over four days, three of which were at the Langham Community Centre from 1st October, and included a site visit on the fourth day. Click to view a summary of the Appeal Hearing (pdf 20Kb)

The Inspector stated that he would give his recommendation, to uphold the Appeal or dismiss it, to the Secretary of State in early 2014.    The Secretary of State will then make a final decision on the matter when he has studied the Inspector’s report.

Very many thanks to all those members of the Society who attended the enquiry. Your support is much appreciated.

Following the very recent listing of the Chantry the Supplementary Evidence of Karen Syrett is now on the CBC website Proof of Evidence page or can be viewed here (pdf 112Kb).

Further details on the application and a copy of SVAG's Proof of Evidence can be viewed on SVAG’s website or CBC‘s Horkesley Park Appeal page.

John Alexander and Mike Hunter gave their proof of evidence on Wednesday 2 October and this can be viewed below:

John Alexander - Summary (pdf 13Kb)
John Alexander - Proof of Evidence (pdf 20Kb)
Mike Hunter - Proof of Evidence (pdf 10Kb)


Click to view press coverage

Horkesley Park Appeal

Click to view press coverage of the Appeal Hearing in the Essex County Standard 4 October 2013

Suffolk Local History Council’s Newsletter

The Suffolk Local History Council's newsletter includes a lovely write-up of Wendy Sparrow's talk at their Societies' Day 2013 and some very flattering words about the Society. Click to view details of Wendy's talk.

Click to view the newsletter page



Planning Application: 9-11 Mill Street (Norfolk’s Bus Garage)

The plans for the re-development of this central village site have been re-submitted to Babergh District Council and as a Committee we are concerned for a number of reasons. The three new applications submitted on 22nd March are:

  • For the demolition of the Bus Shed
  • For the construction of a pair of semi-detached 2 storey houses on the Bus Shed site, 9 Mill St. and associated parking
  • For alterations to the side and front elevations of 11 Mill Street

More information is available on the Planning Applications page including details of the applications and links to Babergh's relevant planning pages.

Applications were refused in May 2012 and the owners appealed against the Refusal

Latest News:
Following a site meeting in mid June by the Inspector, a decision has now been received as follows:

Appeal A (Application ref: 00090 Listed Building Consent) Demolition of existing disused bus garage: No action

Appeal B (Application no. 00092) Proposal to demolish existing disused bus garage, clearance of site, construction of 2 semi-detached domestic dwellings, alteration to side elevation and street elevation of 9 Mill Street and minor alterations to the Swans Nest land.
Appeal Dismissed

Appeal C (Application no. 00091) Proposal as above. Appeal Dismissed

Click to read the Decision of the Planning Inspectorate (pdf 131Kb)



9-11 Mill Street


Bank Holiday Footpath Walk

On Bank Holiday Monday, 6th May, the Conservation Society enjoyed their annual spring walk in the company of fifteen ramblers and three dogs!

The route started up Gravel Hill then branched off left following the footpath, meeting up with the bridle path which runs to the south of Stoke by Nayland Golf Course. Turning right onto the bridle path we headed back to Gravel Hill then picked up the footpath passing Poplars Farmhouse and up to the Stoke Road where we turned left onto the permissive path leading up to Rowley Wood and Stoke by Nayland. We returned to Nayland via Gravel Hill once again. The walkers were blessed with warm weather and thankfully the threatened rain held off.

Click to view map (pdf)

Footpath Walk

The Results of the Nayland Test Pit Dig

Latest News:
Click to view the Lithics Report from the Nayland test pit dig which has come through from Access Cambridge Archaeology.
Hopefully the bone report will be available within the next couple of weeks and then the full report on the test pit excavations in the village will be published. Updates available on the Access Cambridge Archaeology website

There were almost 100 people in the Village Hall on Monday 29th September to hear Dr. Carenza Lewis's review of the Results of the Nayland Test Pit Dig which took place last October. The audience included volunteer diggers from outside the village along with site owners, representatives of Nayland Primary School, the Parish Council and the Nayland Scouts.

Dr. Lewis described the finds from each of the 33 pits which have been analysed by experts at the MacDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge and an interesting picture of the origins of Nayland has emerged.

There is evidence of Roman activity in the form of shards found in undisturbed layers on the west side of the village, near to the A134/Bear Street junction and then on the Stoke Road in the east but nowhere in the village centre.

There were only 2 sites in the village showing evidence of the late Anglo Saxon period (Thetford Ware), one of which was not far from Court Knoll which is thought to be a Norman moated site.

The grand finale of Dr. Lewis's fascinating talk was to discover how the Nayland finds compare with average finds of each period in the context of the bigger picture in East Anglia.

  • 6% of Nayland pits produced 2+ sherds of Roman pottery (regional average is 7%);
  • 6% of Nayland pits produced 2+ sherds of Late Anglo-Saxon pottery (c. 850-1100 AD) (regional average is 9%);
  • 50% of Nayland pits produced 2+ sherds of High Medieval (c. 1100-1350 AD) pottery (regional average is 35%).
  • 72% of Nayland pits produced 2+ sherds of Late Medieval (c. 1350-1550 AD) pottery (regional average is 19%).
  • 76% of Nayland pits produced 2+ sherds of Post-Medieval (c. 1550-1800 AD) pottery (regional average is 51%).

The general feeling of the meeting was that we should arrange another smaller dig in the future to advance our knowledge of the origins of the village , if funding can be found. It would also be good to dig some test pits in Wiston.


Test Pit Dig - the resulsts meeting
Dr Carenza Lewis addressing the meeting
and a display recording the dig


Suffolk Local History Council’s Societies’ Day 2013

This annual event was held at Elmswell on the 16th March and, to represent our society, founding member Wendy Sparrow attended, accompanied  by member Michele Bradshaw.   Many history societies from all parts of Suffolk were  present with their displays and publications for sale.  It was an interesting opportunity to converse  with members of other societies and there were talks by some of them during the day.

Wendy gave a short talk about the formation of our society in 1974 and explained  that although it is called a conservation society, history is at the heart of everything we do.   She described some of our many activities over the past forty years and in particular the unprecedented  achievements of 2012:  the purchase of the second piece of land adjoining the Nayland Meadow, previously purchased in 2004, and the history and importance of the whole field to the village; the acquisition of the original Constable pencil sketch and its relevance to our Constable painting in St James’ Church;  the adoption of the BT red telephone box in Bear Street and the Society’s organisation of the Test Pit Dig in October which involved  many residents and friends of the village.  She spoke about the annual Open Gardens, always a record breaking event, which is the Society’s main fundraiser, enabling such purchases as the Constable sketch, and to the many events planned for 2014, our anniversary year.

Finally she told the meeting about the news received the previous day that Nayland  had been voted one of the ten best places in the East of England in which to live.  One of the reasons for the award of this accolade was undoubtedly the existence of the many  thriving organisations in the village, which includes the Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society.

The Chairman of the Local History Council, who organised the day, commented that our Society’s achievements were impressive and that it was good to hear from such a successful group and to see how broad the scope of local history societies can be.

Suffolk Local History Council’s Societies’ Day

Wendy Sparrow and Michéle Bradshaw

'Old world' village in Sunday Times top ten
Nayland one of the great places to live in the East
Essex County Standard - 15 March 2013

Residents are not surprised, saying the village has a lot going for it.

"There is a lovely diverse community and there are thriving organisations for every leisure or past-time," said John Alexander, Chairman of the Nayland Conservation Society.

'It has the whole winning package'

The list was compiled by Sunday Times journalist Eleanor Mills. During her research, she looked to find a balance between working life and home life for residents.


Community Achievement Awards 2013 : Andora Carver

Andora moved to the village of Nayland 34 years ago and has been a key ingredient in making the village the vibrant community that it is today. Starting out in the late 1970s as a playgroup committee member and volunteer, she has worked tirelessly on behalf of St James' Church, in particular, co-ordinating the Annual Church Fete which over the years
has raised many thousands of pounds. The annual Autumn church Jamboree sale is held in her barn at the centre of the village and raises huge amounts of money for the church.

Andora has helped with many Community Council events, with 'Carvers Barn' becoming a focus for community events such as the Village Players performance or the storage of a German 'doodlebug' discovered in a nearby field. In 2010 Andora also arranged the villages important Constable bi-centenary exhibition m the Church.

For over 20 years Andora has volunteered to support a variety of causes firstly as Secretary of the 240 member, Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society. She has been at the heart of so many of its projects & campaigns. Andora co-ordinates the annual Nayland with Wissington Open Gardens, held continuously since 1978, with over 20 gardens filling the village with visitors in June, raising thousands of pounds for local conservation projects, publication of local history books and  photographic collections, she is also Chairman of the  Suffolk Preservation Society's Babergh District Committee.

  Andora Babergh Achievement Award

Andora was a key instigator in securing for the village, a threatened piece of land adjacent to the River Stour, which she was determined would become a conservation meadow and wetland. She was instrumental in securing public participation and appealing for financial contributions. An amazing £65,000 was raised in 4 months from an appeal to residents and friends of the village.

Amongst her other achievements Andora has been the coordinator for a major Heritage & Lottery funded community archaeological "Managing a Masterpiece" project, involving Cambridge University. Andora's home, garden and barn became the HQ for the weekend event and she arranged 34 pit sites, as well as recruiting and organising over 100 volunteers and providing Saturday lunch and even Sunday Tea!

The Parish comments "Andora's many achievements in our village and the surrounding Vale have been constant and durable. Her efforts in fighting for and promoting a respect for our heritage & past, have been equalled by her hard work in creating a modern, breathing and lively community with an eye on its future. If only we could patent Andora Carver!".

Horkesley Park Application is refused by the Planning Committee

We are delighted to report that Colchester Borough Council Planning Committee members voted by 10 votes to 4 to refuse the Horkesley Park planning application at the hearing in Charter Hall last night.

The reasons for refusal have yet to be fully defined by the Council but they included:

  1. The benefits identified in the report on viability cannot be verified because of lack of information.   (This is because a substantial part of the report was redacted - i.e. blacked out - and members were unable to see it.  They felt the plan might not be viable and could fail.)
  2. It would be a large scale development in a rural area.  The amount of traffic generated would be unsustainable in this location.  
  3. It would have an adverse impact on the AONB.

Very many thanks to everyone for support in writing to object to the application and to those who were able to attend the hearing.

UPDATE: CBC have issued a statement regarding the refusal of the application on their Horkesley Park webpage

We will keep you informed of any further developments.


CBC Planning Meeting
Click for the complete image

The Walsh Collection

A collection of about 70 postcards and photos of Nayland and Wiston, including the East Anglian Sanatorium, was presented to the Society by Mrs. Sarah Blake, a member of the Walsh family, in December 2012.  We are most grateful to her and will record these images as the Walsh collection.

Some of the scenes are new to the archive and a selection have been added to the Photo Gallery page.   

Martin Wright has offered a bottle of champagne to the first person who can positively (with proof) identify the occasion and people involved in the tea party at the Queen's Head. Click to view larger image.


Walsh Collection

Special Offers

3 packets of assorted greetings cards for £10 
(save 50p) 

10 Nash Postcards are now reduced to £1 
(£1.50 with envelopes)

Star Buy

Nayland: Suffolk Town & Village,
A Walk Around Historic Nayland
and Nayland & Wiston: A Portait in Photographs
for £6 (usual price £10)

more details on Publications page

Available from:
the Post Office, Forget Me Not,
12 Mill Street (01206 262970) or 17 Fen Street.



Successful Nayland Test Pit Dig

Latest News
A Public Meeting with Dr Carenza Lewis will be held on 29th April 2013 at 7.30pm in Nayland Village Hall.

Watch for the results as as they come through - currently available is the Pottery Report, a Test Pit Location Map and a Pottery Distribution Map (also available here).

Thirty four test pits were dug in Nayland over the three days from 5th to 7th October. The briefing sessions by Carenza Lewis were very well supported with about 70 people attending each one on the Friday and Saturday.   Residents, friends and visitors of all ages worked together and there was a feeling of excitement throughout the village.   Balloons and some notices inviting people to come and see what was happening, encouraged casual visitors to view the work.

Several interesting finds were uncovered including some fragments of Roman pottery, and worked flints, 2 Elizabethan coins, medieval pottery, tiles and a lot of Victorian artifacts and glass bottles.

Summary from Dr. Carenza Lewis

Based on our spot identification of those incoming finds we had a chance to look at (which in many cases won't include those made later on Sunday, which were handed in a the last moment).

The evidence clearly suggests that in the prehistoric period people were living at the western end of the present village, where Test Pit 1 (105 Bear Street) found very fresh-looking flint flakes from tool-making, probably in the Neolithic period. So this area may have been the first permanent settlement at what is now Nayland.

There's no evidence for any settlement continuing after that for a very long time, until about 1200, when the village appears to be founded. A lot of pottery dating to 1200-mid 14th century was found, especially in pits along Bear Street and around the church at Alston Court .

It's quite unexpected that the village doesn't appear to have its roots in the late Anglo-Saxon period, most of our villages do originate with settlement in this period, although it's less common in South Suffolk and Essex.  Newlands Lane and Fen Street may have been slightly later extensions to the settlement.

What's really remarkable is the amount of later medieval pottery found - although we'll need to wait for the final assessment, at the moment it looks as if Nayland is a member of the minority of settlements which didn't see some severe contraction in the post-Black Death era - in this it is similar to Long Melford, but very different to Clare.

But all of these preliminary views will have to await final assessment of all the pottery. Watch our website at for the results as as they come through.

Photographs: Please send these via email to:
or on a disc to: Dr. Carenza Lewis, MacDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3ER

We are extremely grateful to Managing a Masterpiece and the National Heritage Lottery for funding and arranging the dig.



Test Pit Dig

Click to view the photograph album of the weekend (pdf 2Mb)

Test Pit Dig   Test Pit Dig

Bear Street Telephone Kiosk

Latest News
A small article about the restoration of the K6 phone box appears in the Summer 2013 issue of Conservation Bulletin (pdf 3.2Mb), on page 41.

New glass telephone panels, to match the original have been installed and refurbishment of the BT Kiosk is complete.   Thanks to the very careful work of John Padget.  

A couple of shelves have been fitted so please look out any old books and magazines and pop them in.

We are still asking for other ideas, but options may be limited with no security and we don't want it to become a fly posting zone. If it is deemed necessary at a later date a lock may be fitted. 

A sign inside the box will read: This K6 BT Kiosk was removed from Wiston and adopted by the Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society who have funded its refurbishment.  Babergh District Council made a contribution towards the cost of its removal. Work was carried out by John Padget in September 2012.   We are also grateful to John Parsonson for his help and advice.

John Parsonson, who lives opposite to the BT Box wrote:

After an absence of some 14 months, Saturday 12th May 2012 saw the return of the iconic K6 telephone Box, by the Fire Station, in Bear Street, Nayland.

The Kiosk was looking somewhat worse for wear having spent most of its life, some 70 years, at Wiston. Thanks are due entirely to the Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society, and in particular to the sterling efforts of the Chairman, John Alexander and Andora Carver, for its return. The Box is now the property of the Society. It was 'adopted' by the Society last year and required quite a lot of renovation.

K6 Telephone Kiosk
John Padget, Andora Carver, John Parsonson & John Alexander
Telephone Box

John Constable, R.A - Altarpiece Sketch

We are delighted to announce that at a Christie's auction of Old Master Drawings in London on Tuesday 3rd July, the Conservation Society purchased an original sketch by John Constable.

The subject is a pencil drawing showing the reredos (decorated stone screen) at  St. James Church, Nayland indicating how the proposed altarpiece might look in situ.

It is inscribed ‘Pray turn your Mind to some good subject soon’ and below ‘Inside surround right 4 feet 1 in – by 3 feet 2 in -

The hammer price was £1,200, added to which is Christie's commission of 25% plus VAT on the commission, making a total of £1,560 which will be met from Society Funds. ’

Constable's Sketch

An enlarged framed copy of the sketch is now hanging in St. James Church, together with a 'paddleboard' describing the background to the sketch. The original work has been framed and will be kept in a secure place.  It will displayed at the Society’s open meetings.

In the same way that the David May photo collection we purchased has proved so worthwhile, we know the same will apply to our very own ‘Constable’! We are delighted that we were successful in bringing this unique work back to Nayland.

Postcards of the sketch are available at Forget Me Not or from the Hon. Secretary at 12 Mill Street, Nayland. Cost 40p each or 10 for £3.50, excluding postage. Further details on Publications & Gifts page 

More on the Achievements page

The Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park
Application No. 120965

Bunting and Sons have now submitted a new application for 'The Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park'. Details can be viewed on CBC's planning page for this application

Click to read our comments on the application (pdf 19Kb). We strongly advise you look at the application so that you can form your own views and send any comments that you think appropriate.

Letters and comments must be sent by July 26th to: Colchester Borough Council, Application 120965, Environmental and Protective Services, PO Box 889, Rowan House, Sheepen Road, Colchester CO3 3WG. Or email to or use the form on the CBC website.

Having considered this details of this application we trust the Planning Committee will decide that the application does not accord with the Colchester Development Plan and is contrary to a number of key areas of the NPPF, and reject the application.



The Dedham Vale Society

and Stour Valley Action Group

have commented on this application

on their websites

(click to view)

Open Gardens

It was a very successful afternoon on 17th June with a lot of people enjoying a relaxing stroll through the village.  Fifteen gardens were open on the day, of all shapes and sizes.   The surplus looks to be over £2,500.  

Very many thanks to everyone who came and supported us, to those who worked so hard preparing their gardens and to the ladies who baked such lovely cakes and helped out with the teas in the village hall.

Our next event is the talk by James Grinter on Reemans and Royalty on Tuesday 26th June in Nayland Village Hall.  7.40pm for 8pm. Everyone is most welcome.


  Open Gardens

Land at Horkesley Road - Lot 3

We are very pleased to inform you that the Conservation Society acting through the Nayland with Wissington Land Company Ltd (the "Land Company") has agreed to purchase two-thirds of Lot 3 and that our offer has been accepted by the Vendor.

Click to read the complete letter on the purchase of Land at Horkesley Road (pdf 357Kb)

Click to view the original letter of Appeal for Land at Horkesley Road (pdf 97K)

  Thrift Farm Land For Sale

Early May Bank Holiday Footpath Walk

Despite the very wet weather over the past month the May Walk went ahead as planned on 7th May. 

This year’s route took us up Water Lane until we turned right onto the footpath opposite Josselyns, we turned left onto the path at the edge of Creak's Grove, continuing across School Lane and exiting onto School Road. Before Malting Farm we picked up the footpath on the right and headed towards Bottengoms, the former home of the artist John Nash, now occupied by his friend and author  Ronald Blyth.  From here we headed south towards Garnons where we turned right onto the track leading to the bottom of School Lane.  Shortly afterwards we turned left entering the Willow plantation and crossed the Stour on the bridge at the midway point between the Church and the Mill. Turning right after the bridge we picked up the Stour Valley path taking us back to Nags Corner. Eight walkers and two dogs braved the weather!


  Footpath Walk 2012

Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park

Bunting and Sons have announced a new application for Horkesley Park Heritage and Conservation Centre will be made following public consultations to be held on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th of May from 3pm-9pm at the Women's Institute Hall in Great Horkesley. Click to read the full press report in the Essex County Standard 27 April 2012 (pdf 254Kb)

We will decide how to react when we have seen the scope of the new application. We strongly advise you to visit the presentation so that you can form your own views and make any comments to them that you think appropriate.

  Horkesley Park

Life President of the Society

At our AGM on 13th March 2012 Barry Wakefield wase elected as Life President of the Society. His  words of thanks in accepting his election:

I feel honoured to have been elected as Life President of the Conservation Society.   Thank you very much.   I hope I can provide support to the committee, recalling the contributions of two predecessors, Denis Halliday and Jock Neighbour.

Some of you may remember that I chaired the Committee for a number of years and thus have some background.   I find, indeed, that I have retained copies of the Society's Constitution, one being dated 1974!  I note from them that the Society was established for the public benefit of the parish of Nayland with Wston and its immediate neighbourhood.   The constitution includes the verbs 'to stimulate', 'to promote', and 'to secure', particularly associated with features of public and historic interest.   Not straight-forward tasks.

Possibly, a thumbnail description of the activities of the Society might be to conserve the area as an on-going living entity.   With that in mind, I emphasize tonight the concerns expressed in the chairman's report about the state of the White Hart and the future of the old bus station (in Mill Street).

  Barry Wakefield


Richard's Wood

At our AGM on 13th March 2012 Richard Wiles was thanked for all his hard work on maintaining the planted areas near Horkesley Lock and the Nayland Meadow and in recognition of this we have decided to name the Meadow planted area Richard’s Wood, which he has graciously accepted.  


The Thorpe Collection

Samples of a collection of postcards have recently been donated to the Society and include some new views of the village as well as studies of members of the Thorpe family.  Many of the postcards were sent to Margaret Thorpe between 1906 and 1911. 

We are most grateful to the donor for this collection.

A few of these can be viewed on the Gallery page

  Thorpe Collection

Nayland Christmas Fair

The Society's stall did brisk business at the Community Council Christmas Fair on November 27th. 

Our new footpath map proved to be the most popular item.


  Christmas Fair

English Elm planted in Nayland

The English Elm (Ulmus procera), which has regularly appeared in the paintings of Constable and Gainsborough, has sadly become a rarity in England as a result of the ravages of Dutch Elm Disease.

However a number of trees have proved to be resistant to the disease. A local nursery, King & Co of Rayne near Braintree, has been producing disease resistant stock by micro propagation from cuttings taken from local, disease free mature trees.

The Society has acquired three such specimens, each approximately eleven feet high, and has planted a tree in each of the southwest and northeast corners of the allotment field (with the approval of the Parish Council). A third tree will be planted in the Society’s meadow. 

It is to be hoped that in future years the noble profile of the English Elm will once again be seen in Nayland.


John Alexander & Mike Hunter are pictured
planting one of the trees, November 2011

  Elm Tree Planting 2011


New Footpath Map

Our new footpath map is now available showing walks
in and around the village. 

It is available from the Post Office, Forget Me Not,
12 Mill Street and 17 Fen Street.

Price £2.


  New Footpath Map



Jubilee Beech Tree, Bear Street

The Society has retained a slice of the Jubilee Beech Tree which had to be cut down last autumn due to disease.  The Parish Council have recently planted a hornbeam as a replacement. 

The slice split in half naturally after drying out and the Society has retained one half which has been engraved with the dates of planting and felling.   The other half has been given to Nayland Primary School.   The engraved slice will be on show at all our Open Meetings.


Jubilee Tree

Meadow Project

Excavation of silt from the flood catchment area has been completed. This was part of the Environment Agency's scheme to dredge the river near the Mill Lade and the Weir earlier this year.  The resulting silt from the dredging was piped into the meadow and having sunk during the summer, the catchment area was reinstated.

Annual maintenance of cutting and removing the dead grass on the wildflower belt has taken place. This helps to remove nutrients from the soil which in turn weakens the grass while improving conditions for wildflower seed germinations. The piled up cuttings in turn create a suitable overwintering habitat for small mammals and grass snakes.

Please let us know if you see any interesting or unusual species of birds, insects, butterflies, etc so we can make a note in our records.



Wildflowers - July 2011

AGM Report and talk on The Tendring Hall Estate

Our AGM on Tuesday 8th March was one of the best attended ever with almost 100 people packed into the Village Hall.  

The Officers and Committee were re-elected with the addition of Mike Hunter as a co-opted member as follows:
Chairman  John Alexander, Vice Chairman Martin Wright, Hon. Treasurer Jennie Jenkins, Hon. Secretary Andora Carver, Committee: Margaret Dowding, Pauline Heigham, Jill Badman, Clemency Doxey, Andrew Eldridge. 
Co-opted member:  Mike Hunter

Tendring Hall

Hector Wykes-Sneyd gave a fascinating talk about the history of Tendring Hall and the Estate which comprises 3,000 acres of land and woodland, 45 buildings (including 25 listed buildings), 1 ancient monument and employs 3 full time workers.

The Manor of Tendring was mentioned in Domesday and in 1749 Admiral Sir William Rowley purchased the Estate.   The family have owned it ever since.   The house was designed by Sir John Soane in 1784 and built at a cost of £9,000.  The park was laid out by Humphrey Repton.

The house was used by the army in the War and the decision was taken to demolish it in the 1950s because the cost of repairs was prohibitive.  Unfortunately all that remains of the house today is the front door portico which is a listed building. 

In 1968 Sir Joshua Rowley entered into a contract with the National Trust to protect the landscape and buildings.

Tenanted farms range from the highly technical production of onions and potatoes to
traditional farming using draught horses.

The water meadows are predominantly let for summer grassland grazing and there are also bat willow plantations which bring in a regular annual income.  There is a 10- 20 year rotation with 150-250 trees being harvested annually.

The shoot has benefits for both estate vermin control and land habitat which results in very diverse birdlife on the estate.  There is also a collection of veteran oaks on the estate which are several hundred years old.  The woods are managed to produce final crops of largely oak and chestnut.

Redundant barns are conserved rather than demolished and the 17th century watermill at Thorrington Street is still in working order.   There is an 18th century dovecote in the park and the estate has provided many local amenities including village allotments, a cricket ground, and a hardcore road from Shaddelows Farm to the A134 to relieve traffic in Nayland.

The ethos of the Trustees of the estate is to be aware of their obligations towards their tenants, staff and the local communities whilst operating a successful business to safeguard the Estate for future generations.