A community perspective from the 1840s to 1920s contains entries for the community from the Suffolk Directories of White (1844) and Kelly (1929) and William Dutt’s gazeteer of Suffolk (1927; first prepared in the 1890s)


THEBERTON, a pleasant village, on an eminence, 6 miles N, by W. of Aldborough, and 3 miles N.E. by E. of Saxmundham, has in its parish 580 inhabitants, and 2050 acres of land, bounded a the north by the river Minsmere, which empties itself through a smal1 haven into the sea, about 3 miles E. of Theberton. In 1810, an act of parliament, was obtained for draining the low marsh, called the Minsmere Level, and lying within the parishes of Leiston, Theberton, Dunwich, Middleton-cum-Fordley, and Westleton.This level comprises 1459A., and is now well drained and cultivated. Harry White, Esq. of Halesworth, is clerk to the drainage commissioners. Theberton includes the hamlet of EAST BRIDGE, 1 mile E. of the church. The Rev. Charles Montagu Doughty, B.A., is lord of the manor of Theberton, and resides at the Hall, a handsome white brick mansion, in a small but well wooded park, built in 1792, by the late George Doughty, Esq., who served the office of sheriff. But a great part of the soil belongs to Lord Huntingfield, and Thos.Milner Gibson, Esq., M.P. The latter is one of the representatives of Manchester, and resides at Theberton House, (1 mile E. of the village,) a commodious stuccoed mansion, which was much improved in 1830, and has a beautiful lawn, pleasure grounds and gardens, comprising about 50 acres. The Church ( St.Peter) is a small antique fabric, with a round tower, containing four bells. A gallery was erected at the west end in 1841. The benefice is a discharged rectory, valued in K.B. at £26. 13s. 4d., and in 1835 at £354. It is in the patronage of the Crown, and incumbency of the Rev. Henry Hardinge, B.A., who has 13A. 3P, of glebe, and a good residence. The patronage was formerly in Leiston Abbey. An Infant School was built here by subscription, in 1838, at the cost of £120.

BurleySml. shoemkr. & shopkeeper
Douhty Rev Chas. Montagu, B.A., Theberton Hall
Eade Wm. land agent
Gibson Thomas Milner, Esq. M.P.Theberton House
Hardinge Rev. Hy. B.A. Rectory
Hill Hammond, gardener I
Kitt Sarah, shopkeeper
Pipe Wm. shoemkr. and parish clerk
Rouse James, beer house
Todd Edward joiner
Tongate Wm. grocer and draper
Ward Mary Ann. schoolmistress
Waller John, corn miller
Waller Thos. vict. White Lion

Bailey Roger
Bailey Thomas

Agissing Abm.
Ablett John
Barber James
Brown Rebert
Candler Edmund
Geater Thomas
Johnson Joseph
Kitt Zach
Plant Henry
Rivers George


Theberton is a parish and pleasant village, on the summit of a slight hill, 2.5 miles from the sea, about 2.5 miles north from Leiston station on the Aldborongh branch of the London and North Eastern railway, and 4 north-east from Saxmundham, in the Eye division of the county. Blything hundred, petty sessional division and union, Halesworth and Saxmundnam county court district, rural deanery of South Dunwich, archdeaconry of Suffolk and diocese of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich. The church of St. Peter is a thatched building of rabble and flint with stone dressings, in the Norman and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, nave, south aisle, south porch, and a round embattled western tower, octagonal in the upper stage, ornamented with flint and freestone, and containing 5 bells: the church retains a fine Norman doorway: several stained windows were inserted in 1848, and the south aisle rebuilt at the expense of the late Charles Montagu Doughty: there is a memorial window to the Right Hon. Thomas Milner-Gibson P.C., M.P. (d. 1884); in 1915 a window was inserted in memory of Lt Col. C. H. M. Doughty-Wylie VC, CB, CMG who fell leading the assault at Sell-el-Bahr 26 April 1915; in the south isle are monuments to the Doughty family and a brass to Henry Montague Doughty Esq who died 26 January 1916. There are 300 sittings: in the churchyard there is the grave of 16 German airmen, the crew of Zeppelin L48. brought down in Theberton, June I7th, 1917. The registers date from the year 1548. The living is a discharged rectory, net yearly value £412, with 8 acres of glebe and residence, in the gift of the Crown, and held since 1922 by the Rev. Thomas Johnston Bayly M.A. of Trinity College, Dublin. There is a Primitive Methodist chapel at East Bridge, rebuilt in 1882. The late Miss Harriet Cavell, of Leiston, left in the year 1883 the sum of £1,200; the interest is distributed to the poor: there are also two other small charities, known as the Gannon charity and the Theberton poor fund. Theberton House, the seat of L. E. Meinertzhagen esq. is a handsome mansion, surrounded by a finely-wooded lawn and park of nearly 100 acres, about a mile south of the village. Theberton Hall, at present (1929) unoccupied, was erected in 1780 by George Doughty esq. and is a mansion in the Italian style, surrounded by a well-wooded park of nearly 100 acres, and commands a fine view of the sea, which is 3 miles distant. L. E. Meinertahagen esq. Mrs. Doughty-Wylie and the trustees of the 1st and last Baron Peckover are the principal landowners. The soil is various-heavy, mixed and light; subsoil, sand, gravel and clay. The eastern part is a low, swampy tract, called Minsmere Level, which, by draining and sluices erected at very great expense, has been rendered good pasture land.

The chief crops are wheat, barley, beans, peas and roots. The area is 2,000 acres : the population of the parish, which comprised the hamlets of East Bridge, 1 mile south-east of the church, and POTTER'S STREET, half a mile distant, in 1921 was 477.

Sexton, Ernest John Folkhard.
Post Office, Letters through Leiston, Suffolk, which is the nearest M.O. & T. memory of Lt.-CoL C. H. M. Doughty-Wylie V.C., C.B.,C.M.G. who fell leading the assault at Sell-el-Bahr, 26 April, 1915; in the south aisle are monuments to the Doughty family and a brass to Henry Montagu Doughty esq. who d. 29th Jan. 1916:


Theberton Church (2 m. N. of Leiston) is chiefly Perp., but with interesting remains of Norm. work, notably the N. doorway. Note also (1) the font; and (2) in the churchyard, near the S. porch, a quaintly inscribed tomb to " Honest John Fenn" (1678). The E. portion of this parish, a well-drained tract of marsh, is known as Minsmere Level.