BADLEY - History of the Parish

Let me clear up some comments made  on other web sites relating to this Church.
IT IS NOT St. Mary's-in-the-Fields and it is NOT HAUNTED
as picked up by others as being a statement of fact.
The Church IS open at weekends and Bank Holidays (0900 to before dusk)
The key is available at other times as per notice at start of driveway, or by emailing me,
email-addy , or by the notice in the Church Porch.

SATNAV users the Church postcode is IP6 8RU
via  the access track at the top of Doves Hill, on the B1113.

I have recently had contact with people interested in the surname of Badley, I am very happy and more than willing to email you. Unfortunately I cannot give you any information on the surname as there are no references to the name in the church records which go back to 1592. I can however pass on the email addresses of any who do contact me.
I now have the URL of email address :-

Acknowledgements Doveshill Farm New Properties
Badley - Parish Green Farm Roots 'n Shoots
Bibliography Hall & Farm The Walk
Bridge Farm Manor Woodlands Farm
Church Mill

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I acknowledge that the majority of this is the work of Roger Mayhew, which he produced as a school project (HE2 1980/81). I am extremely grateful to him for allowing me to use his work, and this has only been modified in order to bring it up to date or expand on some of the work. Roger would like to thank the people of Badley who assisted him with his project, in particular, Mr. Arthur Scott (dec.), Mr. Ian Morton (dec.), Mr. Peter Mayhew and Mrs. Kaye Roberts.

A map of the Ambrose Crowley Estate, later to become the Ashburnham Estate, dated 1741 which has come to light since Roger completed his project. The Ipswich Record Office have sectioned copies of it (ref: P638), the original map was offered for sale in 1995 by an antique dealer in London. The map is to a scale of 2 chains : 1 inch. The map, at a guess, measures some seven feet by six feet so it is quite large, it is stored rolled up onto poles, the dealers are reluctant to unroll it for viewing, understandably. The Map was recently sold at auction and is now the property of Hew Stevenson at Columbine Hall, Stowupland. Columbine Hall was part of the Poley and Ashburnham estate and was depicted as such on the 1741 map.

This project, to the best of my knowledge, relates to the true history of Badley. I would like to apologise for any relevant information inadvertently omitted and also for any facts gathered in error. If there are any errors, ommissions or references that offend please let me know

I now have copies of the Census Returns for the parish of Badley for 1861, '71, '81, '91, and 1901. I cannot publish them as they could be copyrighted, but I believe that I can refer to them for anybody who has a query about the former inhabitants. Unfortunately there are very few references to who actually lived in a particular property, most are only refered to as 'cottage' and the farms as the occupier being a 'farmer'.

The book  'A History and Genealogy of Badley Suffolk' by Mike Durrant, which goes deeper into the History of Badley

was launched after the Harvest Festival in 2005 at the Church. The book is now available for £5 (was £25).

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Badley, a small parish situated in the east of England in the centre of the county of Suffolk, does not possess any particular claim to fame. Indeed many people living in nearby Needham Market and Stowmarket have never heard of it, and on being told of its location they look at you completely astounded. It appears that Badley is mainly thought of as a no man's land; an unnamed place between towns and villages. Badley is bordered by seven towns and villages; Stowmarket, Needham Market, Combs, Battisford, Creeting St. Peter, Creeting St. Mary and Moats Tye/Little London.

The parish of Badley or Badelea as it was known in olden times, derives its name Badelea which means 'Badda's lea' where lea is an old English word for meadow or glade. The name Badelea is of Saxon origin and in some old records was spelled Badeleia, (hence the format of the e-mail address).

Badley is 1,078 acres of land bordered on two sides by rivers. It's eastern boundary being formed by the River Gipping. The southern boundary being formed by the River Bat, which flows into the River Gipping. The Bat is a small stream flowing through Battisford and is also fed by a spring in Badley. This spring is called 'Our Lady Well', which was known as a medicinal or holy well. This well is situated about half a mile south of the church, it is marked on some OS maps but it is not accesible as it is on private land.

The land in Badley slopes down from the north-west to the south-east corner where the River Bat flows into the River Gipping. The highest point in Badley is in the NW corner at 66 metres (215 feet) above sea level. The lowest point is in the SE corner at the junction of the Bat and the Gipping at 21 metres (68 feet) above sea level. The soil in Badley is a slightly acid heavy loam which is suited to arable farming; generally cereal crops and sugar beet are grown.

The lands in Badley also support the growth of several small woods. Today there are about ten small woods totalling approximately fourteen acres. In 1772 the woodland in Badley amounted to about thirty one acres and it was treated with the care and attention that woodland needs in order to flourish. The woodland was important to the Estate owners as the Ambrose Crowley records show that they did not rent them out. Today the woodland that remains is neglected and as a result is dying.

The 1741 map shows the woods called - Maggots Grove (now Lower Badley Wood) - Lings (Lyngs) Grove, (now appears to have been split into two parts, Ravenspark Covert and Upper Badley Wood) - Rook Wood (gone) - Old Key Field - New Key Field (Keyfield Groves) - Park Grove (Sallow Grove) - Badley Lay Grove (St. John's Grove).

In 1925 Badley was summarised as follows:- 'It has stretches of fair green pastures, studded with venerable oaks and pollards - a pleasant retreat from the noise and bustle of civilisation'.

The River Gipping is no longer lined with pollarded willow trees although a few still remain standing, When Roger was researching this project there were still one or two 'fair green pastures'. A certain amount of mechanisation had then worked its way into Badley life, but the mechanisation has moved at such a pace that virtually all the meadows and a lot of the hedges have dissappeared and it is now looking more like "prairie " land.

In 1925 the land was still worked by men and horses. In those days about forty men worked the land in Badley. Today, with modern farming methods, far more machinery is used in order to achieve optimum efficiency. Therefore far fewer people are required to work the farms. In '81 only four people were employed on Badley farms, although some of the farm owners did most of their own work. Then each farm required a large number of machines and tools, many of which would have been used for only one particular job. The one machine which has become invaluable to farmers is the tractor.

Nowadays it is not unusual on a farm for the tractors to outnumber the men. This may seem illogical to city-dwellers, but a visit to a farm will show that many tractors stand idle, in a shed, coupled to a trailer, plough, cultivator or other farming device. In '81 Roger said there were fifteen tractors in Badley this number has now reduced to something like half that amount. As far as I am aware Green Farm and Mill Farm have there own tractors. Doveshill Farm, Woodlands Farm, Hall Farm and Bridge Farm no longer have any tractors - see the respective farm item.

The population of Badley has decreased significantly this century. This drop corresponds to the decrease in farm labour required but it is now rising due to the increase in the number properties being built. The following figures illustrate this point:-

In the early part of this century several new houses were built in Badley accounting for the increase in population from 1801 to 1921. In recent years six new properties have been constructed, two properties have been converted from a number of cottages housing larger numbers of people to more expensive single cottages housing a single family. Three of the old large (farm) houses are occupied by retired or relatively wealthy people, who came to Badley for 'a pleasant retreat from the noise and bustle of civilisation'. The only real traditional farm/farmhouse left is the Green Farm.

In 1972 it was proposed that Needham Market Parish Council should take over the Badley Parish Council. Fortunately for Badley, Needham Market Parish Council was reorganised to form a town council. Since a town council cannot merge with a parish council, Badley retained its independence. Badley Parish Council only meets when the need arises. Recently (Mar '97) it met to elect a new Chairman due to Mr Ian Morton retiring after serving for more than 25 years, also on the agenda was the question of the footpath over the river at Badley Lock. which are not in the parish but will affect it. The footpath has been re-instated after a lengthy and probably expensive public inquiry.

The 1930's saw the arrival of Badley's first industry, other than farming. The Electricity Board set up their control and electrical distribution centre on the outskirts of Badley. Today the control centre was moved to just outside the parish boundary and has now been resited, but transformers and other heavy plant remain in Badley. A pillbox still stands on this site that was built to defend the distribution centre during the war.

A second pillbox was knocked down when the Stowmarket to Needham Market road was widened. The traffic flow through Badley greatly decreased after the Stowmarket by-pass was built. The departure of all but a few heavy lorries from Badley's only road was a welcome relief to inhabitants of Badley but the traffic in recent years has slowly been increasing.

The main Ipswich to Norwich railway line runs along the outskirts of Badley. However Badley has no Station and Badley residents have to travel to Stowmarket to catch a train. Buses, on the other hand, are a more accessible mode of transport. In '81 they ran at least every hour, but now in '98 they run every 1/2 hour between Ipswich and Stowmarket. There were only two official stops but probably more than a dozen unofficial.

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Church Line Drawing Badley Church has stood since Norman times. It was mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086, it being rebuilt just before then. It is thought that a Saxon church existed on the same site before this. Badley church is a small building constructed to hold the Badley population at the time. The church's entrance is on its south side through a small porch which today is weather-beaten and warped with age. The porch leads to an oak door which possesses a massive lock dating from the days before the Reformation. The door still shows the signs of being bombarded by half inch shot marbles from the days of Cromwell. Some of the shot was found four inches below the ground.

Once inside the church before you lies a floor covered with stone and brass grave slabs and paved with old red quarry tiles. Badley Church was once known as the Poley shrine because there are seventeen Poley slabs. Time has rendered some of the lettering indecipherable, but some of the Poley slabs are still recognisable. The benches in Badley Church are believed to be Fifteenth Century, the carving being associated with that period. The box pews date from the Jacobean period (James 1 1603-25). These pews are situated to the east end of the church and the richer families once paid for the privilege of occupying them. The woodwork on the box pews carry old stencilling of roses, these being the Tudor rose. The octagnal font in the church dates from the Early English period. It is made from Purbeck marble with slightly sunken panels and was once covered with a coat of paint. The cover is of more recent origin, probably 17th or 18th century.

The roof is supported by large oak beams which today are painted dark brown. The rest of the roof is painted white. In 1866 the window set in the east wall was converted from a plain glass window to a picture stained glass window, in memory of Henrietta Moore. On both sides of the window are large old writings which are quotes from The Prayer Book. The age of these writings is not known but they are written in old English, ('s' is replaced by f at the beginning of words). Both plaques stand as high as the window and are about five feet wide.

At the west end of the church stands the tower which houses three bells. The oldest was cast by Roger Reve at Bury St. Edmunds in about 1530 and is enscribed 'Sancte Augustine ora pro nobis'. The other two were cast in 1702 by John Goldsmith of Redgrave. Only 20 of Goldsmith's bells are known to remain, most are in the Waveney Valley but one remained at Darmsden cchurch until recently. The upper part of the tower is built from early Tudor red brick and the belfry is bordered with wooden louvres. The tower was in need of repair as the bricks were crumbling and the louvres decaying, since being taken over by the Church's Conservation Trust most of the repairs needed to the church has been done and it is now in a good state of repair. The west window is the largest in the church, but it was once larger than it is today. The outline of the original arch is still visible showing its true height. Today the west window is of clear glass. The window was destroyed on the visit of Oliver Cromwell's soldiers.

On the south wall at the alter is a monument which was erected to the memory of the last of the Poley line at Badley Manor, Henry Poley. It stands as a remembrance of the longest family line in Badley, displaying the Poley coat of arms. There are three south facing windows in the church. There was once also three north facing ones but only two windows remain today since one Early English window was filled in, probably as a result of Cromwell's soldiers. The only remaining heraldic shield (originally there were three) is in one of the north facing windows. On the north wall there stood a stone and brick staircase leading to the roof, but this has been bricked up for many years.

All the marked graves at Badley church lie to the south of the church. However there is one on the other side of the church. This grave is unmarked as the man's name was unknown. He drowned in the River Gipping in May 1911 and his body was fished out of the water in the north east corner of Badley at the bottom of Roger's father's garden by Jack Mayhew, his great grandfather. Jack placed the corpse in his wheelbarrow and carried him to the church. Since the man's name was unknown he was not allowed to be buried in the front of the church, so Jack Mayhew buried him in the church grounds to the north. A small mound is still visible today behind the church.

In the late 1920's and early 1930's an appeal was made for money to repair Badley Church. The man proposed to supervise the repair work was Mr. William Weir. The estimate for repair was drawn up as follows :-

  • Stripping roof and re-tiling with old tiles
  • £225
  • Repair to tower roof
  • £ 25
  • Repair to south window head of tower
  • £ 15
  • Repair to plaster outside
  • £ 25
  • Repainting down pipes etc,
  • £10
  • Repair to boarding in pews
  • £2-10s
  • Architects supervision
  • £30
  • Total repair cost
  • £332-10s

    Unfortunately this appeal was launched in the middle of industrial depression and money was scarce, but eventually the sum was raised and the work was carried out in 1934-35. Before this restoration was carried out, Badley Church had remained practically unchanged since the time of Oliver Cromwell.

    On 5th February 1643 William Dowsing, a Colonel in the Suffolk Army visited Badley with a number of soldiers with the object of destroying all things relating to the Catholic faith. Of his visit to Badley, Dowsing recorded :-

    "We broke down thirty four superstitious pictures; Mr. Dove promised to take down the rest, twenty eight; and to level the chancel. We took down four superstitious inscriptions, with 'ora pro nobiis' and 'cujus animae propitietur deus'". Translated into English the inscription 'ora pro nobis' means 'pray for us' and 'cujus animae propitietur deus' means 'on who's soul may God have mercy'.

    In the record of his visit to Badley Church the 'picture's' mentioned by Dowsing referred to storied glass stained windows, glass figures of saints and the Virgin Mary. Dowsing's men smashed most of the Medieval glass including two heraldic shields in the windows. They made the chancel a little lower than the nave and tore away 'brasses' from four stones dated 1485 to 1539. A plate was saved from Dowsing and is still owned by the Church today.

    The Church was made redundant in 1986 and was extensively repaired by the Redundant Churchs Commission and is now only used for Baptisms, Funerals ( and Weddings with special permission) . A 'Harvest Festival' service is normally held in late summer/early autumn.* Registers for the Church go back to : 1589 Burials, 1591 Baptisms, 1598 Marriages, 1754 to 1812 Banns. These are in the process of being computerised by me. It is normally open for visitors, especially during the summer, but there has been an increase of vandalism recently so unfortunately it may be locked. Arrangements can be made to make ensure that the church is open at any specific time, further information by e-mail to:

    *The Harvest Festival Services are normally on the Sunday (at 3pm) of the Nation Heritage Open Weekend

    You are all invited to a 'bring your own picnic' on the Church Green after the service, by kind permission of Margaret Scott.

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    Records show that Badley manor was in existence during the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042 - 1066). During his time of reign a Dane called Asceytel (Aeccytel or Afchil as it was spelt in the Domesday Book) owned Badley Manor. St. Etheldreda held 30 acres in lordship as part of the Manor of Barking before 1066. Since the Danes kept very few records, nothing could be found showing the ownership of Badley Manor previous to Dane Aschil. At the time of Aschil's occupation of the manor it was recorded to have consisted of (abreviated latin as in the Domeday Book):-

    During this time of Danish occupation, the parish of Badley had to pay 10d in Gelt, e.g. the parish had to raise 10d as its quota to the Danish Gelt.

    In 1066 the Norman's invaded England and at the time of the survey from which the Doomsday Book was compiled the tenant of Badley Manor was Richard the son of Earl Gislebert, who was of Norman descent. In 1086 when the survey was completed, Badley manor was valued at £4 .

    During the reign of William the Conqueror the size of the Manor was increased by a Carucate and forty five acres of land and twenty six free men. On Richard's death, he was succeeded by his son and heir Gilbert de Clare. The next record of the Manor's ownership was by Ralph de Badele. The Manor remained in the De Badele family for more than two hundred years with Hugh de Badele in 1228, Geodfrey in 1240 and Robert in 1327.

    In 1424 Badley Manor passed to Robert Mortimer who sold it to Edmund Alcock. Edmund Alcock, who died in 1491, left £50 in his will to built a Chantry, whether this was ever built is not certain but some remains of stone work were uncovered and resulted in the Ancient Monument Site. The manor was inherited by hisdaughter Margery, who was married to Simon Poley. Not many years later the manor was in the possession of the Poley family. The Poley family typified the good-natured, hard living squires of the past. On the Subsidy List of 1524 the Manor was owned by Edmund Poley. On his wife's death the manor passed to his son, John Poley, in 1539, who himself died in 1613 leaving the manor to his son Edmund. In 1632 Edmund Poley held licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury to eat meat in Lent providing he gave 6/8s per annum to the poor. Edmund Poley died in 1640 leaving the manor to his son also called Edmund. He was knighted later in his life. On Sir Edmund's death his son Henry inherited the manor. Henry was a politically motivated man. He was a lawyer by profession and was a member of the middle temple. In 1661 he was voted Member of Parliament for Bury St. Edmunds. In 1688 he was voted Member of Parliament for Eye and was again returned in 1690. He was last in the Houses of Parliament in 1705 representing Ipswich. Henry Poley, the only son of Sir Edmund never married and when he died on 7th August 1707 aged fifty four the Poley line at Badley Manor ended.

    Henry's sister, who was married to Sir Richard Gipps (d. 28 Sept. 1681) of Horringer (or Horringsheath) near Bury St. Edmunds, then inherited the Manor. She died 11 November, 1715 aged 67 and left the Manor to their son Richard Gipps the second. His wife Isabella was buried at Badley church on 27 September 1718. The then Major Richard Gipps later sold the manor to John Crowley of Barking. The Crowley family were relatively wealthy. An indication of his wealth was demonstrated during the time of John Poley when money was being donated towards the defence of England against the Spanish Armada. John Poley gave £100 while the Crowley family contributed £500. Major Richard Gipps was the last squire of Badley Manor to live at the Hall, since John Crowley resided at his Barking house. On John Crowley's death in 1727 the Manor was handed down to his son, Sir Ambrose Crowley. Sir Ambrose owned practically all of Barking and Badley and was an Alderman of the City of London. He died unmarried and the Manor was passed to his brother and later to his two sisters, the younger of which married the Second Earl of Ashburnham.

    During the time that the Poley family lived at Badley , they bought most of the land in Badley and they also owned much land in neighbouring towns and villages. All this land passed into the Ashburnham family, which at this time also owned a large amount of other land in Suffolk; Badley being a very small part. In 1917/18, the Ashburnham's sold their land in Badley along with the rest of their estate. As a result of this Badley Manor was split up and the various farms were introduced. The 1741 map indicated who the land was rented/occupied by, and this was more or less how the farms were sold in 1917.

    In the sale Badley Hall Farm and Badley Green Farm were bought by the same person - Mr. Mudd. Mr. Mudd never lived in either of his Badley Farms. Badley Hall was converted into two small farm cottages in which his employee's lived. Later on Mr. Mudd sold his properties in Badley to Mr. William Hunt who made Badley Hall into one farm cottage.

    In 1946 Mr. Hunt sold both his Badley farms. Mr. L. Scott, who had previously owned a farm in Derbyshire, bought the two hundred and thirty acre Badley Hall Farm. On his death in 1968 the farm was then taken over by his son, Arthur assisted by his nephew until Arthur's death in 1997. This has resulted in part (abt.110 acres) of the farm being sold to a farming land ownwer but has left the Hall with abt. 116 acres.

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    In the past Badley Hall was the dwelling of the Squire of the manor. The Hall was a structure raised by the 'Saxon's of old'. The Saxon building stood about fifty yards eastwards from the present Hall where now a Dutch barn stands. There are still signs of the existence of a moat surrounding the barn and there is a pond nearby which was most probably used for the Hall's water needs. At the end of the fifteenth century, probably on the instruction of Simon Poley (the first in line of the Poley's at Badley Hall), a new Hall was erected. It was a large and splendid building designed for a high society gentleman. Among the buildings a dove cote was built, which today is in a poor state of repair. Once it was a prized building which reflected a little of the former glory belonging to Badley Hall. The Hall, Church Green and most of the Walk has now been put into a conservation area,

    To the north of the Hall is an ancient man-made fish pond, emphasising a restful atmosphere of a time less hurried and intensive than our own. The fish pond, as well as being decorative, served a practical purpose. The pond is deep and square and once had sluices for supplying water to the Hall. Today the Hall is on a borehole. The pond which was overgrown, polluted and contained no fish, has recently been cleaned out and I believe restocked with fish.

    The records of the hearth tax payments in 1674 show Badley Hall to have had thirty two hearths, it now has six. At the time only eighteen other Suffolk houses had more hearths.

    Today the Hall is a shadow of its former self. It is 'a building which storm has wreaked and man has harried'. About two thirds of the Hall collapsed during a fierce gale and heavy storm on 26th November 1703. During the storm part of Stowmarket church was also damaged. The collapsed part of the Hall was never rebuilt and only the old oak beams were left standing. At the time of the collapse the Hall was occupied by Henry Poley, an old man only five years from death, who was probably not financially able to have the Hall rebuilt. It was not until the Earl of Ashburnham owned the Manor that these were dismantled and sold as building materials, described as the framework of part of the Hall, that the oak beams were taken down and sold in 1759 .

    The Hall extended about twelve yards northwards towards the pond from today's building. The old boundaries can still be seen during frosts and also in dry summers. The inner walls of the Hall that were exposed by the storm were patched up and plastered to pass for an outer wall. Since then the Hall has had very little work carried out on it. The outer walls were cemented and it was converted into a cottage in the early part of this century. The map of 1741 that I referred to earlier (ref: P638) shows the Hall as being a quadrangle (some previous writers on the Hall suggest that it was E shaped). The fact that only the southwest corner is left, and with two thirds of the original, blown down it could be logical that it was a quadrangle. Although the Hall is shown as being a quadrangle, it had in fact been blown down (in 1703) but it was not totally demolished until 1759. Scaling from the map would make the sides approximately 39 yds (117ft) long and occupied a space of almost 1/3 of an acre. The map also shows an area of water to the SW of the Hall and an avenue of trees similar to the walk extending westerly from the Hall to Badley Lane. There is also a line drawing of the Western face of the Hall showing a pair of iron gates (still there) in the surrounding brick wall, and what looks like an entrance for horse drawn carriages through that side of the Hall to the quadrangle inside.

    The remaining part of the Hall still contains several oak beams and carvings. On the north exposed inner wall there is a large oak beam which is over a foot wide at the centre and tapers to eight inches either side. In the centre of this beam is a weather worn shield; all the other markings are now indistinguishable. The Hall's main entrance was on the east side in the collapsed part of the Hall. The west entrance was then used as the main entrance via a fine pair of iron gates pillared either side leading into a walled garden and to a large panelled oak square doorway with carved spandrils. The Hall had many panel rooms before the storm, but the most splendid part of the Hall was destroyed. Today the Hall's main entrance is on the south side into a very unmodernised and basic kitchen.

    Some of the farm's outbuildings were built from the wooden structural remains of the old Hall. Sadly , because there is so little of the old hall still left standing, it is not possible to restore the Hall to any of its former glory.

    In years to come the Hall and its farm will either be sold as a whole farm and the house will be modernised, or it is more likely that the farm lands will be bought up by another local landowner, and the Hall will be sold off and be renovated to a retirement or country home. (prophetic words - on the death of Arthur Scott in 1998 the Hall Farm was split up between the benificiaries. The buildings with 26 acres of land has been retained by one of the beneficiaries with her part of the farmland. The other benificiary has sold his portion to a local landowner.

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    Originally Badley Walk was a path leading to the front door of Badley Hall. It was a straight meadow nearly a mile long and forty five yards wide. The Walk leaves the Hall eastwards, crosses the church green behind the church and continues until it reaches what is known today as the Stowmarket Road. It is said that a pack road once continued from the road, crossing the River Gipping (probably crossed the river at the Mill) forming a road to Creeting Hall and to the Norwich Road. The Walk was once flanked by fine elm trees to form an avenue from the church green to the road. Mid way down its length, the Walk passes through a wood called Keyfield or Kyesfield Grove. The name Keyfield remains a puzzle. At one time three fields also had the same name, but only one remains today. The wood is split symmetrically by the Walk, and this, coupled with the fact that Badley Walk is man-made, leads us to believe the wood was planted as decoration for the path. However this is speculation as there is no written proof.

    Tradition relates that Queen Elizabeth 1 rode along this walk to be entertained by the Poley Squires at the Hall. Her following was said to have included '200 young gentlemen on horseback in white velvet and 300 graver persons in black with gold chains around their necks'.

    The Walk remained practically unchanged until 1928 when six bungalows were built at the Stowmarket Road end. At that time Mr. Mudd owned Badley Hall and the farm and he provided the financial backing for the project. The six small bungalows were built by Messrs Sparrow, a local Needham Market firm, for £250 each during the time of the depression to create some work for the local people. The bungalows were built for the purpose of renting out. Today they are all privately owned.

    Today only the final stretch of the Walk to the Hall is still a meadowed avenue. The elm trees have been cut down and an elm hedge has grown in their place, and this now suffers from Dutch elm disease. The stretch from the bungalows to the Keyfield Grove has become overgrown with blackthorn and other trees leaving only a walking track through the middle. This piece of the Walk has now been sold by Mr. John Rose to Maurice Sore. Mr Rose basically neglected it after he purchased it in 1952. Mr Rose was actually born at Badley Mill which his parents rented from the Ashburnham Estate until it was sold in 1917/18, they then moved to Kenton. I have been told that when they moved there, they herded their livestock along the road, imagine the chaos that would cause now, a herd of cows on the A140? We are in the process of tidying up the 'wood' to keep it as a managed wood. If you should walk the public footpath along the meadowed (Badley Hall land) part of the Walk, look at the centre portion and you may notice that it is built up in places so as to make a level and even driveway, there is no evidence that it was ever any more than a grass drive.

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    Badley Mill was a water corn mill, its wheel being turned by the water flowing in the River Gipping from Stowmarket. In its later years of operation the mill was used to grind corn for animal feeds, but it is thought that it may have been used to grind corn for flour in its earlier days. In the days when the Poley family owned Badley Manor, the mill was also in their ownership. In those days Badley Mill went by the name of Vaysies Mill and went with a 63 acre farm some of which is in Creeting St. Peter. I believe that the miller's house was called the 'Warrens'. When owned by the Poley's, the mill and its farm were leased out to various people as were many of the fields owned by the Poley family in excess of their requirements. When Badley Mill was mentioned in the lease deals, it was described as a messuage called 'Warrens', a water mill called Vaysies Mill, lands called Veysies, a meadow of four acres and a mour or fen called Horse Fenn. Another spelling for the mill's name was Vessyes Mill. On the 1741 map there is a parcel of land called Horse Fen adjacent to the River Gipping, but it is at the rear of Bridge Farm.

    Badley Mill was in operation up until the late 1920's when it was owned by Mr. Freshwater. It had been sold to him by the Ashburnham estate in 1917. The mill stopped grinding because the water wheel broke. It was judged to have been destroyed by a company occupying premises in Stowmarket called the Silkworks. The Silkworks was a silk processing factory which used the River Gipping for tipping its liquid waste from its various processes. The chemicals from this waste polluted the river and over the years rotted the wood in the water wheel and eventually the wheel broke. Mr. Freshwater took the Silkworks company to court and won his case, the court judging the Silkworks to be responsible for the destruction of the mill's wheel. The court awarded Mr. Freshwater £2,600 compensation, but unfortunately the Silkworks went into liquidation before his claim could be settled.

    Mr. Freshwater never received his compensation and was faced with the additional burden of having to pay his own legal fees. Subsequently, this situation left him in such a financial position that he was unable to repair the broken wheel. Having lost his revenue from the mill, Mr. Freshwater resorted to living off the farm that went with the mill. To this day Badley Mill has not worked since the wheel broke. Mr Freshwater died later and the farm land and buildings were sold off.

    The Mill Farm was purchased by Stephen Farrow (Doveshill Farm) but after the death of his brother Richard the land east of the railway and the farm buildings at the Mill were sold. The original Mill has been converted by the new land owner into a dwelling called Mill Lodge.

    A Mr. Sunshine bought the mill farm house, after the death of Mrs Freshwater, but he let it get into a bad state of repair, such that the windows were all broken and parts of the roof had fallen in. Mill House as it is now called, was later purchased by Avril and Tony Hunt, it was completly restored by them and for eight years they ran it as a Guest House but it has now reverted back to private accommodation.


    The earliest evidence of settlements in Badley was found in 1850 at the rear of the Bridge farmwhen the Great Eastern Railway was under construction. Several bronze bowls were found dating from the year 600. This finding indicated a rich settlement on the west bank of the River Gipping. A poor settlement would have used wooden or earthenware utensils.

    The oldest building in Badley that still stands today is its church. The date of its erection is unknown, but it was mentioned in the Domesday Book. The oldest house in Badley is Badley Hall, the building that stands today being built at the end of the Fifteenth Century. (Both of these buildings are dealt with separately).

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    Very little is known about this farm. The farm lands were part of the Poley estate and were therefore later part of the Ashburnham estate. The age of the farmhouse is unknown, but it is shown on the 1741 map with the surrounding land being let/leased (excluding the woodland, that was retained by Ambrose Crowley). Although the farm is listed as the Green Farm House in the 1861 census the farm was given no name by the Ashburnham's and it is only after they sold it that these two hundred and six acres have been referred to as Badley Green Farm. 'The Green' is owned by Mr. Christenson, whose father bought the farm in the late sixties. The crops grown are mostly cereals and sugar beet.

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    In the 1861 census it listed as Doves Hill Farm House but was once known as Grettesford or Gretford Farm. Mr. Gretford owned the farm in the fourteenth century. In later years it was owned by the Poley's and used as the Dower House by the family. The farm was not recorded with any name when it was owned by the Ashburnham estate; the farm then consisting of one hundred and seventy four acres. The part of Bridge Farm west of the main road was added to it several years ago, forming a two hundred and fifty acre farm. With the sudden death of Richard Farrow in May 1993, as the result of a road accident, the farm land (160 acres?) across the road from the farm was sold off, as was the land between the river and the railway, and I believe also some of the land between the road and the railway, such that Dove's Hill Farm virtually no longer exists. The farmyard and the barns have also been sold for conversation into a dwelling.

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    The two hundred and thirty acre farm was given its name by Mr. Stern, the farm owner in the early 1920's. In 1770 the farm was recorded to have a windmill. However, no other information is available about this windmill apart from the fact that it burnt down before 1885, giving a name to the hill on which it stood (Burnt Mill Hill). The present owner of the 'Woodlands' is Mr. Morton, who bought the farm in 1938. With the growth of their Vending Machine business they no longer farm the land themselves, it is now contract farmed, the farm buildings are now used as commercial units. He also later owned the hundred acres of Badley Bridge Farm land. The tied cottages that originally went with Woodlands have also been sold off.

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    In the 1861 census it is listed as Chain Bridges Farm with 110 acres. The farm house and garden are now owned separately. The farm land owned by Mr Morton (Woodlands Farm) has now been split up and sold off. The water meadows along the river as one lot, the fields by the railway as another, the land across the road is now classed as amenity land, the farm buildings, retained by Mr Morton have now been sold and one barn has been converted to living accommadation and is called Badley Bridge Barn. The piece of land between Bridge Farm and Doveshill Farm now has two large chalet bungalows on it.

    Cherry Tree Farm

    Cherry Tree Farm is not strictly a farm, although in the past it had about 40 acres. Earlier this century the house consisted of two cottages, they fell into disrepair and were later condemned as uninhabitable. About 1950 the property was bought, renovated and converted into one larger house. Since then it has been further modernised and improved several times bringing it up to the desirable residence that it is today.

    The original land which made up Cherry Tree Farm was, the plantation opposite the farm house, the land at Roots 'n Shoots, and the meadow (Copper Field) between them and the farm. This meadow has now been acquired and is now back as part of Cherry Tree Farm which was run as horse stables. The 'farm' has since been resold and is converted into a swimming pool enterprise.

    Doves Hill Cottage.

    Doves Hill Cottage was once a workhouse and later used as farm workers cottages. It stands on the top of Badley Hill beside the Stowmarket Road. It was converted from three small dilapidated cottages into one luxurious house. I think that this is an excellent example of the improvements that can be implemented on what was once condemned property.

    Badley Cottage.

    This was once called Badley Hall Cottage, although it is surrounded by Green Farm land it went originally with Hall Farm. It has at various times been two cottages and a single cottage. It is now a privately owned single cottage. In the 40's it was two cottages and the children that lived there had to walk along the footpaths via Badley Walk to the main road (about 1 1/2 mile) to catch the bus to go to school in Needham Market.

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    As you may well have gathered, Badley has a long and interesting history. What about the future? In Badley's distant past, life revolved around the Manor. Today, obviously, the community is very different. The word 'community' is used hesitantly as the inhabitants of Badley could be described more aptly as a group of individuals. The people generally keep themselves very much to themselves in the true Suffolk way.

    With the decrease in farm labour over the years, Badley's population has changed from a farming community to a mixed community. The old farm cottages have been modernised and extended to form private residences. The only cottages remaining with a farm are those at Green Farm which are now virtually derelict.

    Industrial development is also approaching Badley land. The Munton and Fison factory, which lies on the Stowmarket side of Badley's north east corner, has expanded dramatically over the years. A further piece of land has been bought by I.C.I. and is now being developed for a new factory complex.

    So from the recent trends in Stowmarket and Needham Market, it appears that Badley might be encouraged to follow. However, as long as Badley can keep its independence from the local towns, it may be able to resist any development that may in the future be proposed. Badley acts as an agriculture buffer between Needham Market and Stowmarket and probably all of Badley's population, hopes, that Badley does not become a sideshoot of a town. People would not spend as much money on restoring their houses in Badley if they thought that any development would take place during their lifetime.


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    Typeset into an IBM compatible Computer and Laser Printed by Maurice Sore as a preliminary step to reproducing part or all of it in a booklet of Badley. Some booklets on the history have been given, as a one off basis, to various people. Michael Durrant is in the process of writing a book of the history of Badley, it goes far deeper into the history, layout etc. of the parish, and will have pictures of almost everything of interest in the parish. A reduced version of which may eventually get put onto the web.

    Roots 'n Shoots

    Beside the driveway to the Mill House a new commercial activity has started up as a Garden Centre. This has resulted in a new house being built and several large greenhouses being erected and attracts a lot of activity especially at weekends. This field on the 1741 map was called Kettleby Field and was then rented with the Mill, it later went with Cherry Tree Farm.

    The hamlet of Badley is slowly but surely moving from a purely agricultural environment to a more commercial one. This trend at the moment has only taken place along the road at the Stowmarket end of Badley. Most of the land between the road and the river has been split up to such an extent that it is difficult to keep track of the relative owners. The rest of Badley, west of the road, is still mainly agricultural but more intensive with the removal of hedges and ditches etc.

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    New Properties

    There was a references to new properties being built.

    Please accept my/our apologies for any errors, ommissons or typographical errors. If you do find any please let me know so that I can correct them, also if you object to something in the text I will consider withdrawing the offending material. This is published in good faith and for my love of the parish in which I was born (as was Roger) and spent the first 21 years of my life there. The original project included photos of the various properties these I have not included. I have put some pictures of the church on the web site

    Additional historical matter on the parish or properties etc. would be most welcome.

    Maurice :

    Last update 18th Feb 2015

    Mike Durrant, a local historical writer has written a book on the history of Badley. It is a very comprehensive book of 300 or so A4 pages, hardback and in colour with a lot of genealogy of the former inhabitants of the parish. The original cost was £25 but this has now been reduced to £5.

    e-mail address (as a picture) you will need to write it down and type it in to use it. I am getting to many spam emails and as yet harvesters/spiders cannot convert pictures to usable addresses:


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