A village I know well, just a couple of miles from home, some years ago I
used to drive there four mornings a week to take our son to Nursery
Pre-School and return to collect him at 12 noon. He loved it!
Unfortunately the village was divided into two halves when the Brent Eleigh
by pass road was built some years ago.
You will find the moated Wells Hall and a few cottages and modern bungalows
on one side of the by-pass and much of the rest of the village including
Brent Eleigh Hall and the Church on the other side. The rectory has for
many years been in private hands, the same family having lived there for
Here are some notes from White's 1844 edition
If you wish to double check any names in the 1855 edition please let me
Brent Eleigh is a small scattered village on the acclivities of a
picturesque valley 2 miles ESE of Lavenham and 4 miles W by S of Bildeston.
It has in its parish 289 souls and 1625 acres of land.
Thomas Brown Esq M.D. of London is lord of the manor and owner of most of
the soil and the remainder belongs to William Adair Esq and a few smaller
The manor was formerly held by the Sheltons, who procured the grant of a
Market, long been obsolete.
Afterwards it passed to the Colmans and from them to the Goates.
The Hall is a handsome mansion with pleasant grounds presently unoccupied.
The Church of St Mary is an ancient structure with a tower and three bells
and stands on an eminence, embowered in thriving plantations.
At the end of the chancel is a Parochial Library which was built and
furnished with books by Dr Colman of Trinity College, Cambridge about the
The Rectory valued in KB at GBP8 has a good residence of 9 acres of glebe
and a yearly modus of GBP 393. and 15 shillings awarded in lieu of tithes in
Dr Brown is patron and the Rev Richard Snape is the incumbent.
Here is an Almshouses in six tenements for the residence of poor men and
women, erected by Edward Colman Esq., who in 1736 endowed it with a farm of
77 acres at Preston St Mary now let for about GBP 80 per year. The rent is
applied after paying for the repairs of the almshouses and other necessary
expenses in distributions of clothing, fuel and money among the almspeople
and in providing them with medical attendance. They are generally widows
and widowers chosen by the trustees on the recommendation of the rector.
the trustees in 1828 were Sir William Rowley, bart., the Rev Joshua Rowley,
H. Scourfield and W Gates Esqus. The rent of five tenements called Poor's
Houses is divided among poor parishioners as also is the rent of half an
acre of land at Monks Eleigh, let for 18 shillings a year. In 1698 Edward
Colman left GBP 200 to be laid out to land the rents thereof to be employed
in binding poor boys of this parish apprenticeship to substantial tradesmen
or farmers. This legacy was laid out in the purchase of 3.5 acres of land
at Lavenham, now let for GBP 10. a year. The rector and churchwardens are
Bowers Thomas, carpenter
Everett Francis, beerhouse
Hogger Peter, wheelwright
Pryke Isaac, corn miller
Ruffell William, shoemaker
Snape Reverend Richard A.B. The Rectory
Underwood Thomas, blacksmith
Ayers William, King John *, Cooper Joseph at Bridge Farm, Cooper and
Hitchcock, Fayers Charles at Marles Hall, Watkinson John at Wells Hall,
Woodgate John and Woodgate William.
(Andrew and Caroline King recently sold their farm which had been in their
family for many generations, they have now retired from farming).
Brent Eleigh St Mary parish records are available at the Suffolk Record
Office on just 8 fiche (it is a very small parish) from 1589-1900, the
records have been filmed.
The church is a small church and has lots of interesting wall paintings,
well worth a visit
More photographs and comment on the church at
Read about The Cock Inn the only pub in the village (and I am not sure it is
still open or whether it has now closed down - will have to drive out that
way over the weekend and check ;-)
Cottages to hire in the area for days/weeks - most available for small
occupancy 2/3 people
Best regards to all,
in south Suffolk (Babergh)