Not many parishes can claim associations with both a family famed in England's stirring story and with a scholar of more than ordinary distinction. Yet such is certainly true of Wrentham, for here we find that one of the manors was owned by the great and noble line of Percy, Earls of Northumberland, and a family whose representatives fought in many a fierce affray in the lawless days of the border. Then, a certain cleric, whose father was the rector of Wrentham, achieved considerable success in the world of language and of literature, and because of this he has won a place for himself amongst the seats of the great.

It was in 1666 that William Wotton came into the world, being the second son of the Rev.Henry Wotton, and, perhaps, it was because of the original educational upbringing by his sturdy sire that accounted for the child's later precocity And certainly the notions of the Rev.Henry Wotton in regard to training the youthful brain were uncommon enough, even although they were certainly effective, or, at least, in this particular instance. For when practically a baby, William was trained in both Latin and Greek, and could read a psalm in the former language when only four years and six weeks old., whilst before another birthday had gone he could master the Greek of St. John's testament!

This, however, was practically only a beginning, for some two months later we find the youthful prodigy commencing the study of Hebrew, which, as will be anticipated, he rapidly mastered. And that his studies were conducted in a strictly regular way will be realised by the fact that they were arranged by his father so that daily he read English at 8 a.m., Latin at 10, Greek at 2. and Hebrew at 4. Not at all a bad schedule for a fledgeling who one would have expected to discover playing in the nursery rather than engaged in serious study.

At the age of five-and-a-half years William Wotton started on Homer and Virgil, by which time he was getting more or less famous, for we find that various men of learning were anxious to examine this remarkable infant. And examine him many of them did, only to express themselves amazed at his depths of knowledge.

When he was less than ten years old Wotton was admitted to Catherine Hall, Cambridge, and after a period entered the Ministry of the church, at one time in his career being chaplain to the second Earl of Nottingham. It is as a writer, however, that he is chiefly known, the first of his books-the prelude to many-being entitled "Reflections upon Ancient and Modern Learning," a standard work of its kind. Apart from his scholastic attainments and literary efforts, he was possessed of a fine memory, was an excellent penman, a great smoker, and the friend of Sir Isaac Newton, whilst late in life he included the Welsh language amongst his studies so effectively that he was able to preach a sermon in that particular tongue.

But now it is time to speak of Wrentham itself-a small town, with a population of roughly a thousand, and one well-known to those who travel the road between Ipswich and Lowestoft. It is here that the town hall stands, in which connection are several interesting facts. For this particular building owes its existence to a Miss S.O.Leman, who, many years ago, bequeathed the sum of two hundred and twenty-five pounds for the benefit of the inhabitants, and it was partly through this gift, and partly because of the generosity of the Rev. Stephen Clissold, M.A., a former rector,that the hall was completed about-the middle of the last century. In 1920, however, it was presented by the trustees as a war memorial, and is an excellent affair, with an imposing-looking clock, and containing a reading-room and library and other effects which improve the amenities of life.

From Wrentham itself to Wrentham church is some distance, and, whereas the former is quite urban in style, the latter is situated in thoroughly rural surroundings. Dedicated to St. Nicholas, and possessing chancel, nave, aisles, South porch, and an imposing and lofty tower, it is the latter-and, incidentally, this contains an excellent doorway, with a canopied niche on either side, and shields and foliage in the spandrels-which must claim our first attention. For this tower, like that of Kessingland in the last war, has played its part in the defence of our shores, as during those fretful days, when anxious eyes were turned on the great Napoleon, and the upstart Corsican was victoriously striding over half Europe, Wrentham church tower was utilised as a signalling post, and a wooden building was erected in the churchyard for the use of the guard. And that the choice of St. Nicholas' tower was a wise one is obvious, for from it an extensive view of coastline and sea can be obtained-an ideal spot for those ever on the alert for the sight of a foeman's sail.

The present church of St. Nicholas-two religious establishments are mentioned in Domesday Book-appears a square-looking building, lacking a chancel arch, and possessing several floorstones of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries referring to the Brewsters, of Wrentham Hall, of which more later. Also, there is an excellently-preserved brass on the North wall of the chancel, which shows the armour-clad figure of Humphrye Brewster, two shields, and an inscription giving the date of his death as 1593, whilst on the opposite wall is another, also in good condition, commemorating the daughter of Robert Ufford, and the wife of - Bowet, this belonging to the beginning of the fifteenth century.

An excellent monument in the chancel refers to one of the Skippon family, and bears an inscription in Latin, and the date 1674, and whilst mentioning this it is advisable to notice that this particular portion of the building was extended about the middle of the thirteenth century, but the remainder of the older work is of somewhat later date.

And now to discover something about the story of Wrentham and the various people who have been connected with its different manors. First of all, we find that, altogether, six manors were mentioned at the time of Domesday, and all of these were owned by the famous William de Varennes, the one known as Southall, being in the occupation of Robert de Pierpont, and in the hands of his descendants it seems to have remained for some three hundred years. Then, however, it came to the line of de Ufford, later passing, through marriage, to Sir Thomas Dacre. Towards the end of the sixteenth century Humphrey Brewster, whose brass has been noticed in the church, purchased the estate.

Another manor, known as Northall, was in the hands of the de Poinings family during the thirteenth century, and by his will, dated 1387, Richard de Poinings gave it to his wife, Lady Isabel, "for the term of her life." And through this particular line we find an association with one of the most striking and remarkable figures in the history of both England and France, a simple peasant girl who became a saint, a woman contemporary writers have credited with supernatural powers, and who because of this was enabled to lead her country to victory against the hated English.

I refer, of course, to Joan of Arc, Maid of Orleans, saviour of her people and cruelly burned to death by her enemies. It was at Orleans, in fact, where the soldiers of the sixth Henry were the besiegers, that Robert de Poinings, of Wrentham, lost his life, and although the manor remained in the hands of his family for some hundred years after that, when it went to the fifth Duke of Northumberland, it eventually passed, like the other, to Humphrey Brewster, and also, like the other, was purchased in 1810 by Sir Thomas Gooch.

The ancient residence of the Brewsters and their home for some two hundred years was erected during the 16th century, and was known as Wrentham Hall, but, unfortunately, no trace of this old-time mansion is in existence at the present day, as it was demolished by Sir Thomas Gooch soon after he bought the estate. One splendid house, however, fortunately, does exist in the place, a building known as Pyes Hall one which does much to bring before the a realistic picture of the past, and the people who moved and had their being sheltered by its sturdy walls.

In Wrentham is a place of worship for the Congregationalists, founded as long ago as 1649. And whilst there are also others for both the Wesleyans and the Primitive Methodists. And whilst on this particular subject it is worthy of notice that from this small town of North East Suffolk some of the Puritans of old travelled across the sea to face a life of hardship and difficulty in order to preserve their freedom of conscience. And that, whatever fate held in store for those zealots they faced cheerfully enough and bravely enough is amply demonstrated by the fact that eventually in the New World there rose a settlement which bore the name of the English town from which its founders sprang.

As far as Wrentham of to-day is concerned, seems a place of activity set in what is virtually the heart of the country, even despite the fact that the broad highway by which it stands is noisy enough with the roar of the ubiquitous motor-coach and the hum of countless cars. Perhaps the country aspect can be no better demonstrated than by the glimpse of the two windmills, in themselves reminiscent of a far more restful age, and suggesting the unhurried efforts of the past struggling against the machine-made attempts of the twenthieth century.

But progress must ever exist, in Wrentham as well as anywhere else, and no one can hope to stave it off. Yet even in the busiest places it is as well to spare a moment for things which have gone before, to cast the mind back for a while into the days of the past, and mentally to visualise the various episodes of an age when chivalry was something more than a name. And in the doing one is sure to find much to enthral and much to interest, even although the old-time problems are not our problems, and conditions were far removed from those prevailing to-day.