It will surprise many people hear that quite a number of the tiny streams which meander lazily through the Suffolk countryside were at one time broad enough and deep enough to be navigable by craft of no inconsiderable size. Such, however, was the case, so that to discuss the "Port" of Frostenden' is not so ridiculous as it may appear to those familiar with the village at the present day for Frostenden, although situated within a I short distance of the coast, suggests nothing; pertaining to maritime activity. Indeed. Indeed all that exists in the form of a waterway is a brook in the sparsely populated district known as Frostenden Bottoms--a district with one or two cottages and a small shop as the chief signs of activity in a countryside of winding, narrow lanes some distance from a road of any importance.

But at the time that the Domesday Survey was undertaken, Frostenden was dignified with the title of a seaport, and undoubtedly the little stream we see to-day was once the scene of some activity. Also, in the days of Edward the Confessor a salt-works existed in the parish, and although this was discontinued a few years later it at least does something to put Frostenden on the map as far as history is concerned.

It is a somewhat far cry from Frostenden Bottoms to the chief portion of the village, which stands, of course, on the main Great Yarmouth road. Here, however, there is little of interest from a pictorial point of view, and we will therefore hurry to the pleasant position where the church and Hall are to be discovered, and from which can be obtained a beautiful prospect of the wooded country around, with the busy highway running through, although at this distance the sound of its traffic seems hushed somewhat, so that practically all we hear is a steady hum contrasting with the soft sound of the wind sighing through the tree branches.

Like several houses of worship in this part of the country, the church of All Saints at Frostenden is distinquished by a round tower, and this of course, gives it an uncommon and at the same time dignified air. The main body of the building consists of chancel, nave, aisle and South aisle and South porch, the latter possessing over its doorway a sundial dating from the eighteenth century.
Also, the porch has a good groined roof, adorned with quaint heads and figures, whilst in the centre is a depiction of the "Pelican in Her Piety". Then, the door is very fine and massive, and close to this, on the South wall of the nave, is a plain stoup once used for Holy Water.

Of the general appearance of All Saints' interior it can be said that it has obviously been beautifully and conscientiously preserved, and although restoration occurred, it was performed with tact and consideration -- notably the careful renovation performed by a former rector, the Rev.J.N.F.Ewen, in 1890. The church,in fact, although the possessor of many new and attractive
features, still exhibits a great deal of ancient work, and that it harmonises so successfully is a matter for congratulation.

Yet this particular building suffered the loss of many ancient treasures through the activities of Will Dowsing, who destroyed amongst other things, "20 superstitious Pictures .. St. Andrew with his Cross, and St. Catherine with her Wheel" not to mention two "Crosses on the Steeple." And that these later aroused the especial ire of the iconoclast is suggested by an entry from his diary in which he states that a "high Constable, of the Town" had seen "an Irish man ... bow to the Cross on the Steeple and put off his hat to it!" A terrible example of idolatry, indeed, viewed through Master Dowsing's prejudiced eyes!

Several old floorstones, from which the inscriptions have disappeared are in existence near the tower, which, incidentally, possesses a very narrow arch and the little lancet windows typical of the Norman period, which always seem to suggest the bowman's loopholes of some grim castle of old. Also, in the rubble of the tower are two querns - rough kinds of ancient handmills- and although only the ruins are visible, they are of considerable and uncommon interest.

These of course are on the outside of the tower, but we must now return to the interior of the church, and perhaps we cannot do better than inspect the font, for here is a very well-preserved affair indeed, so much so, that it is difficult to credit the fact, that it first came into being during the fifteenth century. Octagonal in shape, its ornamentation includes plain shields and Tudor roses, whilst it is crowned by an old cover exhibiting attractive carving.

And, having mentioned this example of woodwork, it is advisable to notice the several ancient benches, some of them being remarkably fine - especially two which have been embodied in the reading-desk. Also, the pulpit, although modern, is an excellent specimen of the wood-worker's craftsmanship.

Another outstanding survival is the piscina in the South wall of the chancel, which originally was obviously of the double type, as one complete arch and part of another remain, the latter having been cut through for the insertion of a window. This particular piscina is beautifully preserved, and exhibits very fine ornamentation; and there is another of the angle kind in the aisle dating from the Early English period, and although this has been restored considerably, its appearance is striking.

The ancient staircase formerly leading to the rood-loft, still remains in part, and if its condition is not so good as one often discovers, it is a relic of some interest. Amongst the monuments is a really imposing affair on the North wall of the chancel, referring to William Glover whose death occurred in 1660, and who in the struggle between King and Parliament went against his liege.

The Glovers were associated with the manor of Frostenden, which provides a fitting opportunity of discovering something about this. And at the time of the Domesday Survey we find that Ralph Baynard was tenant-in-chief, although about the middle of the thirteenth century it was vested in a certain Gilbert, who took his surname from the village. By 1316 however Robert de Biskele, or Bixley, as it seems to have been spelt in later days, had obtained the property, and in the hands of his family it remained for some years; and after various vicissitudes, during which it was divided into three parts, the whole of the manor was acquired by William de la Pole, the same who was created Marquis of Suffolk in 1444.

As most people are aware, however, Edmund de la Pole was attainted for high treason, for which crime he paid the penalty on the block in 1513 upon which Frostenden was granted by the Crown to Thomas, Lord Howard. The latter of course, died without issue, upon which the estate reverted to the Crown, and was eventually given to Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk. Apparently however, Brandon had no particular interest in his new estate, for a year or so later he exchanged it with the Eighth Henry for other properties, and in 1540 the latter bestowed it to Anne of Cleves for life.

Eventually, of course, it found its way back to the Crown, and was presented by Queen Elizabeth to the Morse family, and from this particular line it was purchased by John Glover, whose death occurred in 1573.

And the Glovers who removed from High House, Campsea Ash to Frostenden Hall were here for a good many years, as it was not until the end of the eighteenth century that the manor was purchased by Sir Thomas Gooch, of Benacre Hall. Eventually, however it was acquired by the Overlands, who are here today.

To other manors in Frostenden known as Coldham and King's, but little of importance emerges in respect of these. Frostenden Hall, which as we have noticed earlier stands in close proximity to the church, is a pleasant edifice, even although it suggests little of the age which saw its erection. For actually, Frostenden Hall came into existence three hundred years and more ago, but such considerable changes have occurred that it exhibits few signs of its ancient origin, even although it possess a dignity and attraction and a certain imposing appearance which in themselves are definitely inviting. As we left the church after mentioning the monument to William Glover, it is as well to notice that several memorials to the line are in evidence, including a very fine affair on the South wall referring to another William Glover whose death occurred in 1726. Unortunately, however this is partly obscured by the organ, but even so some of its features are plain for all to see.

The same family is commemorated by various floorstones bearing dates of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; and there is also a large eighteenth century slab to some of the Barkers. Much more might be written about this exceptionally interesting building, set so delightfully amidst the green and russet of the countryside -and incidentally two places of worship are recorded as existing in Frostenden at the time of the Domesday Survey - but beyond mentioning the rather uncommon appearance of the East Window, a with its low arch, its double zig-zag ornamentation and its tracery, which latter was carefully renewed at the restoration of the church, no more can be recorded.

Before finishing, however, it is as well to notice the War Memorial in the churchyard, and the list of those who fought, in the church near the tower, on which, as one usually discovers in a district, within close reach of the North Sea, the Navy is well represented. As far as Frostenden village is concerned, however, there is practically nothing to say, for as I conveyed earlier, only a few not particularly interesting looking houses are in evidence.

But the district where church and hall stand is pleasant enough in very truth-pleasant with the attractions of rural beauty which Suffolk so extensively retains, whilst that other part of the village-the neighbourhood known as Frostenden Botttoms - shares equally with the place of worship and the old manor house in Frostenden's history. For was it not here that the ancient, port, of Frostenden once existed, so that even in these less exciting days there is something of romance in the thought of the seamen of old steering their craft along the river which now is little else, but a tinkling, streamlet, wending its way through the green meadows of a placid and undisturbed countryside?

Yeoman