KNODISHALL-CUM-BUXLOW.

When the Domesday Survey was undertaken some eight-hundred and fifty years ago, Knodishall was returned merely as a hamlet of Saxmundham, and, therefore, the village can claim quite truthfully to have grown in standing throughout the changing centuries. For, actually, the hyphenated name of Knodishall-cum-Buxlow -rarely used although it is-is explained by the fact that a village originally existed known as Buxlow, which parish was consolidated with Knodishall soon after the first George ascended England's throne.

Yet Buxlow seems to have been a place of some importance-speaking from a parochial point of view, of course--for even to-day traces of a house of worship exist, which house of worship, however, was stated by an observer in the middle of the seventeenth century to have been "decayed and ruinated tyme out of minde," although, according to most accounts, it was in use during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. But the amalgamation of Buxlow with Knodishall has resulted in quite a spreading parish, although to discover an actual street it is necessary to journey quite a long way from what one normally considers the main part of a place that is, the vicinity of church and hall-and to visit the district known as Coldfair Green which, situated partly in Leiston, exhibits the few signs of activity usually associated with our Suffolk villages.

However, Coldfair Green cannot be described as really picturesque, whilst, so far as historical interest is concerned, there is little to attract the attention. Therefore, we will retrace our footsteps, partly by way of open heathland, to the church, which, standing on a slight eminence, is surrounded by the sounds and sights of the countryside to which it belongs-the drowsy hum of hastening bees, the seemingly warning chirrup of birds half-frightened at the stranger's approach, the greedy snort of scurrying piglets from the precincts of the near-by Hall, and, permeating it all, the fresh, sweet scent of innumerable flowers.

Yet, near all this there are grim survivals of less peaceful days, the concrete posts erected when the Empire was at war, in themselves a lesson for those who care to read. But connected with St. Lawrence's Church here there is nothing but peace-the peace of a venerable age, the atmosphere which still retains traces of its past fragrance.

A rather curious thing about the building is that it possesses no porch, consisting merely of chancel, nave, modern vestry, and Western tower, the latter having a rather good three-light window over its doorway, whilst below
the tower embattlements are three shields, exhibiting arms, including those of the Jenney family, who were closely associated with the parish from very early times, and whose story will be touched upon later.

Perhaps the first impression one receives of the interior of St. Lawrence's Church is that here is a building which has been somewhat zealously restored, for the plain seating accommodation and the modern chancel roof, combined, of course, with other renovations, certainly conduce to this idea. Yet only a casual inspection reveals the fact that much that is old and beautiful has been carefully retained in the building, objects of interest and attraction which have been in existence for many a long year, and which still remain in an excellent state of preservation.

And in this connection we must not omit the pulpit, for this is one of those affairs typical of the Jacobean period to which it belongs, and exhibiting carving exceptionally intricate and appealing. In fact, the difference between this and in the artistic sense from very contrast.

Another interesting relic is the octagonal font, with its bowl exhibiting sunken panels, and mounted on a sturdy central stem, surrounded by eight pillars. Excellently preserved and a splendid specimen of the Early English period, this particular font still seems to assert the dignity of its years, so that it presents an air in which age and a certain stern beauty are closely intermingled.

Unfortunately, practically only a few fragments of the screen which once divided chancel from nave are now in evidence, for those remaining cannot be described as particularly striking in appearance. Moreover, they have vestry, is another with a trefoiled arch. Here, been removed from their original position and are preserved at the West end of the building.

As Early English work has been mentioned in connection with the font, it is advisable to remark that the Church of St. Lawrence contains even earlier workmanship than this, for one of the nave windows possesses what is undoubtedly an arch, dating from the Norman period, and although it exhibits nothing outstanding it is worth the noticing, for this was obviously the Northern doorway to the nave, although exactly why it has been filled in is a matter of conjecture. However, a tremendous number of our churches have been treated in a similar manner -so many, in fact, that one is apt to lose count of their number.

Still, the Church of St. Lawrence, at Knodishall, is somewhat fortunate in another respect, for, whereas the possession of one piscina is not too general, the existence of two is almost rare. Yet in the South wall of the chancel is a quite good angle piscina, and on the other side, close by the door opening into the vestry, is another with a trefoiled arch. Here, however, restoration has occurred to a considerable extent, but even so it necessarily attracts the attention.

Having commented upon these various survivals in the church, we now come to what is undoubtedly the most interesting of them, commemorating as it does one of a family which for a great number of years was associated with the village, and a family, moreover, many of whose members have attained prominence in various walks of life. The particular relic takes the form of a brass, now very carefully preserved, on the North wall of the chancel, and, although the whole affair is not complete, it is certainly in splendid condition, especially the fact that it has been in existence nearly five hundred years.

Here can be seen the effigy of a certain John Jenney, whose death occurred in 1460, dressed in the armour of the period, whilst the figure of his second wife, Margaret, and an inscription, are also exhibited. As we have seen, however, something more than these survivals were once in evidence, for originally there were other plates, on which were depicted the effigy of the first lady John Jenny married, and three of his children, whilst three shields have also disappeared.

However, the very fact that so much has been retained throughout the changing years is a matter of congratulation, and even to have weathered the storms incidental to the Puritan era is something of a wonder, for, as everybody knows, the iconoclasts were apt to seize upon such things as being idolatrous and superstitious and suggestive of Roman domination. Yet many of them escaped, and undoubtedly our village churches are the richer for their presence.

Whether the ancestor of the Jenney family fought at Hastings beside the Conqueror is a moot point, but some authorities suggest that the name is derived from the village of Guisnes, in the vicinity of Calais, and nobody can deny that the assumption is quite feasible, for, knowing how names have been corrupted at various times, the change from Guisnes to Jenney can be understood readily enough. As far as Knodishall is concerned, there is no definite record when the Jenneys first owned the manor, but they were undoubtedly here about the
beginning of the fifteenth century, and, perhaps, earlier.

The John Jenney whose brass remains in the church was a burgess of Norwich in 1452, but for a bride he journeyed only a short distance from his Suffolk home, his first wife being Maud Bokele, or Bokill, who lived at the near-by village of Friston.

As a family, the Jenneys not only filled several important positions on the male side; many of the female members of the line were linked by marriage with some of the great titled families and landed proprietors. It is, however, to the men that we will confine ourselves, and, although it is only possible to mention one or two of them, it is worthy of note that John Jenney's elder son, Sir William Jenney, Kt., was made one of the judges of the King's Bench in 1677, whilst the younger filled the far more peaceful although certainly less lucrative office of rector at the parish of Ufford.

Allowing the story to lapse for nearly two centuries, we find that in 1634 Sir Arthur Jenney was Sheriff of Norfolk, and that he attained a similar position in our own county eleven years later. Sir Arthur, moreover, is interesting from a purely human, as distinct from official, point of view, for he was married no fewer than four times - which in itself is quite a good advertisement for the responsibilities of wedlock, at any rate!

Knodishall Manor remained in the possession of the Jenney family until the middle of the 18th century, when it was purchased by Edward Vernon, after which it passed through several hands. Unfortunately the old-time residence which for a considerable time housed the owner; of the manor is no more, for some seventy years ago the building was utterly demolished by fire - a fate which has overtaken several of these ancient structures.

A farmhouse, however, has been erected on the site, and still bears the name of Knodishall Hall. Quite a large building, of course - most of these places are-a pleasant cheerful home, set in a countryside of tall trees and thick hedges, of neat fields and ragged heath, and yet, of course, a residence somewhat different from its predecessor, with the memories of an ancient race to permeate every crick and cranny of its mellowed walls.

History, however, is a record of change, and although much there was in other days which the world is the better without yet there were good things, too. And it is only by gaining the eveneer of glamour which age has fastened around so many episodes, and thus lay bare the truth, whether it pleases or revolts, attracts or repels.