Somewhat difficult to find is Westhall, for after leaving the small town of Halesworth the traveller can easily mistake the way. Westhall, in fact, seems far from the busy roads where traffic passes and repasses in all the rush of modern existence, and into the village itself runs a narrow lane, strewn with the russet leaves of Autumn. Not that there appears a village of any size to discover, as Westhall is one of those scattered places where the only land mark to tell the visitor his where-abouts is the place of worship of the inhabitants.

And the church of St. Andrew at Westhall is a landmark, indeed, for high and lonesome it stands, with its only neighbours a cottage, thatched and typical of its surroundings, and a farmhouse, by which stacks are reared like bulwarks. St. Andrew's, in fact, seems somewhat isolated, and in its very solitude wears an
almost subdued look, as though apologising for its centuries-old existence, whilst in the green and pleasant churchyard is the subtle air born of quieter days than ours, and which only such friendly country surroundings are able to retain.

This pleasant, old-world atmosphere extends to the interior of the church itself, for the whole place seems to breathe of peace and restful content. Consisting of chancel, nave-the roof of which is thatched-a South aisle with a tower at its West end, and a North porch containing a massive and ancient door. St. Andrew's, whose register commences in 1559, possesses several features dating from Norman times, notably in the aisle, where there is an excellent arch and a fairly good doorway belonging to this period. The floor is tiled, but the nave and aisle retain some floorstones, although so ancient and worn through the tread of countless feet are they that little of the inscriptions remain to relate their story. One, however, in the aisle tells of some of the Woolnoughs who died during the eighteenth century, whilst there is another covering the remains of Edmund Bohun, representative of, an ancient race, and whose death occurred in 1734.

The most interesting memorial in connectionn with the Bohun family is to be seen in their chapel at the East end of the South aisle, where exists the tomb of Nicholas Bohun, bearing the date 1602, above this being a brass containing an inscription, lengthy and detailed, telling the genealogical story of the line. And this tomb, with its somewhat patchy and cold appearance, seems scarcely worthy of so great a race, for a mighty race they certainly were, lords of several manors, connected with some of the flower of English chivalry, and with the blood of royalty coursing faintly through their veins.

In fact, the Bohuns were related to the Dukes of Buckingham and of Gloucester, with the Dukes of Norfolk and the Earls of Essex, and as for their heritage of kingly blood, was not their ancestor Thomas Plantaganet, himself a descendant of that warlike and aggressive prince, who made military history in both Scotland and France-Edward III.?

Apart from their noble connections, however, the Bohuns produced several members of some note, and one at least has left a name behind of some importance and of lasting fame. This was Edmund Bohun, an eminent writer on historical and political matters, and an antiquary of more than ordinary distinction, who was born at Ringsfield in 1644 and died at South Carolina, where he was Chief Justice and Constable of England. His chief work, and the one which is most remembered, was the "Geographical Dictionary." which was issued towards the end of his career. For fourteen years, or so he made his residence at Westhall Hall, a residence erected in 1570, but unfortunately this old home of an old race no longer exists, at least in its original form, for about sixty or seventy years ago a new building reared itself on the foundations of its predecessor.

One of the most interesting items in Westhall Church is the fifteenth century octagonal font, which bears the representations of the Seven Sacraments.

This particular class of font is almost entirely confined to East Anglia, only two others existing in other parts of the country, and the delicate workmanship gives them an appearance at once pleasing and attractive whilst they also possess a certain value through representing the customs and costumes of the period which saw their birth. There is a splendid five-light window at the East end, and in some of the others a quantity of stained glass has fortunately been retained.

Another relic of considerable attraction is the lower part of the ancient rood-screen, on the panels of which are painted sixteen figures, and some of these are quite well preserved so well, in fact, that one can appreciate the skill of the person engaged on the task, and almost wonder at the delicate touch and sense of colour which these old-time artists possessed so acutely, For what picture of to-day, however well conceived and cleverly perpetrated, will retain its beauty as long as the work of these ancient wielders of the brush?

Unfortunately, St. Andrew's seems somewhat bare of inscriptions, but the centuries-old appearance gives it an air of beauty and of interest, contrasting in its restful simplicity with the flamboyant architecture of today. The remains of some ancient oak benches, carved and coloured by time, also add to the old world effect of the building, whilst on the wall of the aisle faint markings seem to tell that here a fresco formerly existed.

A door covers all that remains of the steps which once led to the roof-loft, and here again the atmosphere of age is emphasised, for these stairs are broken and dilapidated, almost pitiful-looking in their appearance of neglect and disuse, and in the South wall of the chancel is a piscina and sedilia. Although only one manor exists in Westhall at the present time, for several centuries this consisted of four, the most important one bearing the name of the village, and which, at the time of John Lackland, was the property of the Crown. In the following reign, however, it was granted to Hubert de Burgh, and during three centuries was held by the Swillington and Hopton families, afterwards going to Edmund Knevitt, from whom, in 1622, it was purchased by Edmund Bohun. The three other manors were also held by members of this line at the same time.

Compared with many other villages of Suffolk, no larger and as far off the beaten track, Westhall has very few items of interest or historical association. Even the old hall was merely a residence, and built many years after the days of chivalry had waned, and thus holds no associations of a nature which goes to the making of the more thrilling side of history. Despite this, however, Westhall can claim associations with a people who lived many centuries before the inhabitants of England were welded into a more or less composite race- years before the rude Saxon gained a footing on our shores-long before the fierce and ruthless raiders of the North struck terror into the hearts of our ancestors, and burned and slayed, pillaged and destroyed wherever they ravaged and conquered - ages before the haughty Norman hunted and made sport where peaceful farmsteads flourished. Here, in fact were discovered during the middle of the last century many ornaments of Celtic work, and other remains of this ancient people, and these can now be seen in that national treasure-house of things strange and historical, the British Museum.

Although to the stranger Westhall seems so small a place - scarcely a village at all, in fact--it possesses another religious edifice besides the church, a chapel for the Primitive Methodists, which was erected in 1878. and enlarged some twenty years later, whilst there is a public elementary school dating from 1856.

Altogether, Westhall seems a curious contradiction-one of those villages where two or three houses and a church are apparently all that it really contains, and yet its broad acres support a population much larger than parishes with an imposing street and an air of some consequence. But on those same broad acres is an industry which many a townsman scarcely realises or understands, and, though cities contribute their quota to the wealth of nations, although the teeming thousands, begrimed by hours of factory toil, help to keep the wheel of prosperity turning, - although keen-faced financiers pull the strings of the world's market, yet it is in the rural parts of this and other lands where mankind's greatest necessity originates, for if there was no sowing of seed and reaping of corn where would we obtain our staple food? And, although the world can live without machinery, without bread it must cease to exist, and, therefore, those responsible for the cultivation of the fields are performing a task which, primitive in a way, perhaps, it is yet impossible to overrate.

YEOMAN. November 2nd, 1928.