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Theberton parish today in relation to some of its neighbours

Theberton is a rectangular parish on the hundred boundary ( marked in purple) between Middleton and Leiston. It's eastern edge is defined by the fenlands of the Minsmere river and its land rises from less than sea level to about 30 metres on the western boundary with Kelsale.

The tortuous countours indicate a glacial landscape that was created by glacial outflows of meltwaters from the Suffolk ice cap. The relatively flat finger of land between 20 and 25 metres was chosen as the site of a World War 2 military airfield.

The western line of its parish boundary with Leiston and Knodishall has been considerably altered in modern times (see following maps).

At this point the Blything communities on the hundred boundary straddle the watershed between the Hundred and Minesmere Rivers. Now, the Minsmere, which becomes the Yox further up its valley, is a very short water course which has been considerably truncated through coastal erosion. The considerable tract of Wetland between Sizewell and Middleton was probably once part of a large estuary on the scale of the Blyth.


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Theberton Parish (modern map)



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Old boundaries: Spexhall, Leiston, Theberton. SF=strip fields

A comparison with the above modern map reveals that the area of pre-War Theberton Parish has been increased by extending the boundary (black dotted line) westwards from Harrow Lane to the old Knodishall boundary with Leiston. The additional area was taken from Leiston.

According to Kelly's 1937 Directory:- By the East Suffolk Review Order, 1934, part of the civil parish was transferred to Leiston-cum-Sizewll Urban District Council and part of Leiston was added to this civil parish.

The main runway of the airfield was built on the site of The Forest and its associated plantations.

The Tithe Map boundaries of Leiston and Knodishall show quite clearly how parish boundaries shifted with changes in land ownership. Very few of these have been documented. The following sections of the Tithe Map boundaries shows how the parochial divide followed field boundaries as these reflected the enclosure of land and the termination of the remains of old strip cultivations. These are maps of social fossils of times past. Unfortunately, they are no longer visible on the ground, and the Tithe Map boundaries between Knodishall, Leiston and Theberton have been reorganised by local government.

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Fossilised strip fields on Leiston Kelsale boundary (SF on above map)


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More strip fields from part of Tithe Map boundary; Friston/Knodishall


These fields are discussed in the Knodishall pages.

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Changes in boundaries of Friston, Knodishall, Leiston, Theberton and Aldringham