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)


WRENTHAM, a large and well-built village, partly on the Yarmouth road, 9 miles S.S.W. of Lowestoft, 5 mile, N. of Southwold, and 8 miles S.E. by S. of Beccles, has in its parish 1020 souls, and 1280 acres of land. At the Domesday survey, Robert de Pierpoint held the manor of the famous Earl Warren. It afterwards passed to the Poinings. In the reign of Edward VI., it was purchased by the Brewsters, who built the Hall, which was taken down several years ago, after the manor had been sold to Sir T. S. Gooch, Bart., its present lord. Part of the soil belongs to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, and several smaller proprietors. The Church (St. Nicholas) is a neat structure, with a tower and five bells. It has recently been re-pewed, repaired, and furnished with 312 additional sittings, at the cost of nearly £700, towards which the Society for Building and Enlarging Churches gave £250, and £243 was levied by rate on the parishioners. The remainder, and the organ, were contributed by the present incumbent, who, in 1842, erected a new Rectory House, at the cost of £1000. The rectory, valued in K.B, at £2I.6s.8d., has now a yearly modus of £578. ls. lld., awarded, in 1839, in lieu of tithes. Sir T. S. Gooch is patron, and the Rev. Stephen Clissold, M. A., incumbent. The pious Bishop Ebor resided many years at the old Rectory House. Here is an Independent Chapel, built in 1778, by a congregation which originated in 1647 ; and also a small Primitive Methodist Chapel, built in 1841.

The National School for children of both sexes and infants,is a neat building, in two large rooms, with a dwelling for the teachers, erected in 1834, at the cost of £745.14s.5d., subscribed by the lord of the manor, the rector, and other contributors, except £131 granted from her majesty’s treasury, and £80 given by the National School Society. About 100 children attend, and each pay 1d. per week. Here is also a large school connected with the British and Foreign School Society, erected in 1837, at the cost of £200 and attended by about 50 children.The Town House has been vested for the use of the poor from an early period, and is in three apartments, two occupied rent-free, and the other let for £3.The Town Meadow, three acres, let for £2, has also belonged to the poor from an early period; and they have £3 a year from the Bull Fen, given in 1632, and an Allotment of 25A.1R.18 P., awarded at the enclosure, in the 37th of George III.,and now let for £37 a year. They have also a yearly rent-charge of 20s.left by Robert Edgar, out of that part of the Frostenden estate situated in Wrentham parish, and belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. The income from these charities is applied in distributions of coals, clothing,etc.

Marked * reside at West end.
Post Office at Mr Edw. Kemball's.
Letters received at 6 morning, and despatched at 8 morning
Artis James, bricklayer
Artis Alfred Joseph, bricklayer
Algar Sarah, baker
Angel Miss Mary Ann
Baldry James, watch and clock mkr
Baxter Wm. beerhouse
Bullock Edward, watch & clock mkr
Chancellor Henry, tailor and draper
Clissold Rev. Stephen, M.A. Rectory
Cutts Francis, shopkeeper
Dade Rebecca, beer house
Exeter Rev. John, curate
Farrer Fredk. veterinary surgeon
Fisk Samuel, beerhouse
Goff Johnson, corn miller
Harmer Affred, surgeon
Harmer John, druggist
Hasilup Samuel, tailor and draper
Hitcham Mrs
Johnson Henry, butcher
Lenny John Grimsby, land agent
Lenny & Croft, land agents and surveyors; and Bury St Edmund's
Lilly Royal Wm. plumber & glazr
Mealing John, cooper & shopkeeper
Mills Joseph, wood turner
Parry, Maria, day & bdg, school
Primrose and Harmer, surgeons
Quadling Wm. ironmonger and joiner
Ritchie Rev.- Independent minister
Roberts Samuel, sawyer
Scarlett Mary A nn, vict. Eagle
Smith Sidney, farrier. etc.
Stutter Miss, British School
* Vincent John Francis, gent
Wright Edward, saddler
Wright Stephen, stationer.etc.
Wright Wm.& Miss S. National Shool
Wroot James, tailor
Wruot Misses Mary and Martha

Burcham Thos. (ironmonger)
Lovett Wm.
Lloyd James
* Wilson Wm.

Allger AlFred
Allger Charles
Fox Samuel
Wilson Thomas
Wooloough John

Baxter W. Wm.
Candler Chas.
Candler James
Carter Willber
* Cottingham W
* Crisp Robert
Goff John
Kent John
Tacon John
* Wigg Neriah

Girling & Scarlett
Martin John
Newson Wm.
Read John
Dade John
Waters John

Cox Stephen

Coaches - daily to Yarmouth. Ipswich,etc.
Carriers - Goldsmith to Norwich,etc.Tues. and Fri.
Martin, to Southwold. Mon.W. and Saturday.


WRENTHAM is a parish and small town a miles from the sea at Covehithe, on the road from Ipswich to Saxmundham, Lowestoft and Yarmouth, 4.5 miles north-by-west from Southwold terminal station on a line from Halesworth, 8 miles south-south-east from Beccles, in the Lowestoft division of the county, Blything hundred, petty sessional division and union, Halesworth and Saxmundham county court district, rural deanery of Beccles, archdeaconry of Suffolk and diocese of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich. The church of St. Nicholas is an ancient structure of flint in the Early English style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and a lofty embattled western tower containing 6 bells: the organ was erected in 1889: in 1831 the church was extensively repaired and the seating extended, and in 1853 it was renovated and the chancel furnished with oak stalls and a north aisle, and a stained window added: the tower commands an extensive view of the coast and sea, and during the threatened invasion by Napoleon I. in 1804, it was used as a signal tower, and a wooden signal-house for the sentinels was erected in the churchyard by order of the Government; there are 370 sittings. The register dates from the year 1693. The living is a rectory, net yearly value £538, with residence and 33 acres of glebe, in the gift of Sir Thomas V. S. Gooch bart. and held since 1933 by the Rev. Francis Rochfort Bonsey M.A. of Hertford College, Oxford. Here is a Congregational chapel, founded in 1649, with sittings for 300 persons, also Primitive Methodist and Wesleyan chapels. A cemetery, la. 3r. 8p. was formed in 1865 at a cost of £235, and is under the control of the Parish Council. Wrentham Town Hall, completed in 1862, from funds provided in part by the late Miss 8. O. Leman, who bequeathed £225 for the welfare of the inhabitants, and in part by the Rev. Stephen Clissold M.A. a former rector, and presented to the parish by the trustees as a war memorial in 1900, is an elegant building in the centre of the village, with a clock; the large hall will hold 400 persons: the reading room, erected in 1858, is available for 130 persons; the library contains upwards of 600 volumes: there is a mural tablet of oak erected in memory of the men of the parish who fell in the Great War, 1914-18. Sir Thomas T. S. Gooch bart. J.P. who is lord of the manor, and William Nelson Overland esq. are the principal landowners. The soil is various; subsoil, heavy. The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats and turnips. The area is 2,334 acres; the population in 1921 was 944. Post, M. O., T. & T. E. D. Office. Letters arrive from Beccles

Cemstery, Ernest Mortimer.clerk to the burial authority County Police Station Shipwrecked Fishermen & Mariners' Royal Benevolent Society; Hon. Representative, W. G. Lilly
Town Hall, Stanley George Sawyer, hon. sec Volunteer Fire Brigade
Carrier to Halesworth.-Edward Goldspink, daily Carrier to Lowestoft.-James Nunn Conveyance.-Motor omnibus calls here from Southwold to Lowestoft.


Wrentham (4 m. N. by W. of Southwold) is a very small town on the road from Lowestoft to Southwold. It is about 2 m. from the sea at Covehithe. Its church was erected in the reign of Henry III., but little of the original work remains. The tower is Perp., with good flint and stone panelling. Note (1) a processional cross recess; (2) against the N. wall of the chancel a brass to Humphrey Brewster (1593), who is represented in armour of the Stuart period; (3) another brass in the S. wall; and (4) fragments of old glass in a window in the N. aisle. The tower commands a wide view of sea and coast, and was used as a signal tower at the time of Napoleon's threatened invasion. Among the rectors was Dr William Wotton, who wrote " Reflections on Ancient and Modern Learning," a work ridiculed by Swift in his " Battle of Books." The Brewsters, above referred to, were a family of considerable importance at the time of the Commonwealth. Robert Brewster, who then lived at Wrentham Hall, sat in the Long Parliament for the borough of Dunwich. The Hall, built by Humphrey Brewster in the sixteenth century, was pulled down in 1810. An old sundial which belonged to it is now at Benacre Hall, and in a house at Holton, near Halesworth, is a stained-glass window with coats of arms of the Brewster alliances. Benacre Hall (see Benacre) adjoins Wrentham, and the picturesque ruins at Covehithe are near by.