In 1985 the Coddenham Village History Club came into being through the legacy left by Cannon William Murrell Lummis in the form of a written History of Coddenham compiled by both him and his father over many years. Cannon Lummis only spent the days of his youth in the village, but throughout his life he researched and collected information about Coddenham; adding to and expanding on the work done by his father. He made four copies of the History of Coddenham, two of which are now in the Ipswich Record Office. A copy was given to the Coddenham National School and is now lost. The fourth copy had remained in the village & those who read it were intrigued by its content and felt strongly that this History of Coddenham was important and should not be forgotten. That it must be shared with everyone who was interested and that more research should be undertaken and records kept of important events, so ensuring an ongoing history of the village for the future.
- A house survey of the village was completed in 1987 and updated in 1997.
- Excavating at a Romano-British dig site at a farm in the village 1987-2010
- Affiliated member of Suffolk Local History Council.
- Produced a “Year Book” for the Millennium year to record a year in village life in general and the celebrations, which took place.
- Made several small publications of recollections, local poetry etc. to raise funds for the village.
The History Club meets, in general, on the evening of the third Tuesday of the month in Haysel House. Most meetings involve a talk by a visiting speaker on a historical theme, with preference being given to topics concerning Suffolk and East Anglia. We have a Social evening during the year and also an evening visit to a local place of historical interest. This year we had a guided tour of Pakenham Water Mill. The club has a large collection of local records and working meetings are held regularly for members of the club to work on or browse through the records at the house where they are stored. A newsletter is circulated twice a year containing news of the club's activities and articles of local interest.
The annual subscription is £7 for adults and £3 for students under 16. Meetings are free to members, visitors £3. New member welcome
The recent “Who do you think you are” programme featuring Danny Dyer came very close to Coddenham with his relationship to the families of Tollemache of Helmingham and Gosnold of Otley. Although outside the programme’s remit, a little more research finds even closer links between Coddenham and those families.
In 1655 Matthias Candler wrote that the manor of Veyseys or Vesseys, “otherwise called the priory,” once belonged to John Gosnold. In 1557 he, or his uncle Edmund, and another Coddenham man, George Loosen, denounced Thomas Spurdance as a Protestant. Spurdance was burned at the stake in Bury. Both Gosnold and Loosen were impoverished in consequence, Candler wrote.
John’s son Robert, having no inheritance, became a soldier, but joined the Essex revolt against Elizabeth I and was imprisoned. He was described later as “a counterfeit papist.” If his father had kept to the “old religion” the family’s misfortunes could be explained by the backlash of religious intolerance.
Tollemache Choppyne’s name suggests a marriage between a Tollemache daughter and one of his near ancestors. In Candler’s day he was one of “the chief inhabitants” who formed the parish meeting that until 1894 wielded more authority than either of its successors, the PCC or the parish council. The name survives at Choppins Hall.
The chief inhabitants had presumably taken the engagement “to be true and faithful” to Parliament “without King or House of Lords” but would have rejected the Levellers’ proposition of 1647 that “the poorest he in England hath a life to live as the greatest he.” That would have entailed universal male suffrage, which had to wait another three and a half centuries. Not until after the Great War was the franchise extended to women aged 30 or more. Another decade had to pass before all adult women could vote.
In each of the last two years of the Great War 7 Coddenham men died. As well as the first of those centenaries the year just begun should see Article 50 enacted, for Brexit negotiations to begin. These, whether as a direct result of the June referendum or by vote in Parliament, as the Supreme Court decides, may begin to tell us who we think we are.
John Pelling, 01449 760676, email@example.com
Working meetings are held at Ivy Farm House, High Street,
Coddenham, where our records are kept. These evenings are for anyone wishing to research, work on a project, or just browse through the material we have collected over the years. See newsletter for dates
Chairman Sylvia Harris
Vice-chairman Ian Jeffrey
Treasurer Susan Ashford
Minutes Secretary Shirley West
Programme Secretaries Christina Jeffrey
Archivists Sylvia Bickers
History Recorder John Pelling
Adults £7.00 Students (16 and under) £3
Meetings are usually free to members.
New members welcome