When Aldringham was described in the eighteenth century as "a mean village," the worthy chronicler was forgetting that from one point of view, at least, Aldringham was quite a pleasant place in which to live. For Aldringham seems to have been something in the nature of a smugglers' headquarters, and many a story has been handed down about the activities of these old-time "free traders," who found this little Suffolk village, situated within easy reach of the coast, a veritable asset for the temporary hiding-place of spirits and lace and other merchandise from the Continent. In fact, many a cargo of contraband, landed on the sandy beach at what is now called Thorpeness, has found its way across the lonely heath to Aldringham, there to remain quietly until opportunity occurred to convey it further afield.

And naturally enough the inn at Aldringham played a prominent part in these illicit affairs, in which connection it is only necessary to instance that on one occasion the preventive officers made an extensive capture in its yard. a capture which included several hundred gallons of the best "Hollands." Therefore, this Aldringham hostelry, which for a sign exhibits a depiction of a "Parrot and Punchbowl," can be classed amongst those refreshment-houses of Suffolk which have had a very real bearing upon local history.

But thrilling though the story of the smugglers appears after the lapse of years for, after all, everybody seems to have a sneaking regard for these picturesque and reckless lawbreakers. Aldringham "Parrot," as it is familiarly known, possesses an interest entirely apart from the activity of those who pitted their quick wits against the forces of the Crown in days gone by, for Aldringham "Parrot," with its old beams-uncovered only a short time ago-and its general atmosphere which seems redolent of the seventeenth century rather than the present, is a place of some note so far as age is concerned. In fact, this pleasant inn has stead, sturdily and boldly for well over three hundred years, and as a matter of further interest it was occupied by one family alone from 1604, or thereabouts, until a century ago.

In recent times the hostelry has been altered somewhat. Its old-time thatch has given way to tiles, whilst the sign mentioned above has replaced one which had been in existence since the day that the inn changed its name from the "Case Is Altered" to the more euphonious "Parrot and Punchbowl." Even now, however, this Aldringham inn still retains something of the atmosphere which makes such places so attractive to those in search of local colour and full-blooded romance.

Every traveller along the highway is aware of the "Parrot," but how many have discovered the Aldringham house of worship? In fact, the Church of St. Andrew here is almost hidden from view, to the right of the road leading to Thorpeness. But St. Andrew's is certainly situated in a very charming spot, with the spacious almshouses, erected and en dewed by the late Mrs. Ogilvie some thirty six years ago, for company whilst the churchyard here resembles a quiet pleasant garden more than anything else, with its neat shrubs and its air of infinite peace and restfulness.

And on the fringe of the churchyard, where the wind blows free from the ocean and the spreading countryside around, is a touching memorial to Lieut. Alexander Waiter Ogilvie, and "that great host of heroes who made the supreme sacrifice" in the War. A glorious position, indeed, for such a token from the living to the dead, and one more in keeping with the spirit of those who died than others, more ornate perhaps, and yet lacking the saving grace of human understanding.

But how to write of Aldringham Church? The task is not without difficulties, for the building we see to-day is practically new, considerable alterations having occurred towards the end of the last century-necessary alterations, it is true, for the church was then almos in ruins, so that the available accommodation was quite insufficient for those who sought to worship within its walls. Therefore, the building was shortened somewhat, and the Western part reconstructed, which explains the rather curious little bell-cot, whilst a South porch and a North vestry were erected at the same time.

Therefore, it is not surprising to find that the general appearance is definitely modern, and yet there is a certain air of the past here also, for quite a number of early features have been preserved, and these assist to dignify the aspect of the building. Then, every window is stained, and the dim, coloured light caressing the interior exerts a strangely appealing influence, emphasising the beauty of the older work, and giving the new additions a beauty they would lack otherwise.

Before dealing with the interior, however, it is advisable to notice the broad buttress on the South of the structure, which buttress seems to have supported originally the steps leading to the roodloft, whilst as a further point of interest it contains a stone with sundial affixed, and although this latter is only to be discerned by careful inspection it is not the less interesting on that account.

Then the North, South and East walls of St. Andrew's date from the fourteenth century, and there is a priest's doorway of the same period. Or, rather, it is better to say that the outline of a very impressive doorway can be traced, as, unfortunately, this has now been filled in.

As far as the interior of the church is concerned, the most interesting item it retains is undoubtedly the font, for this belongs to the Perpendicular period, and, what is more, it is in a very fine state of preservation indeed. Certain restoration has occurred, of course, but those responsible for this undoubtedly performed their task in a most conscientious manner, so that to-day the visitor sees an object of beauty looking much the same as it must have done when first it came into being, an object which is peculiarly significant in a building whose general outline through the force of circumstances has undergone such striking changes as Aldringham Church.

Of the various modern insertions in the building, most of which owe their existence to the generosity of high-souled local benefactors, there is no necessity to write, whilst the monuments, as one would anticipate, are all new. It is, however, advisable to notice the truly long list of the Aldringham men who played their parts in the war, and then, as a pathetic reminder of those who failed to return, is a tablet showing their names.

And, having said so much, we must delve into other matters, and, as a beginning, the name of ALdringham-cum-Thorpe is obtained through the fact that Aldringham and Thorpe were united for ecclesiastical purposes some time ago. The old-time Thorpe, of course, has now become Thorpeness, presumably to distinguish it from many other places of the same name, and very few people need telling of Thorpeness as it is to-day. For this pleasant garden village has become quite a fashionable resort in recent years, with its isle-dotted "Meare"-reminiscent of a small broad, and infinitely appealing to kiddies through its many allusions to the realms of phantasy and fiction-its we11-planned golf course, and its numerous means for the entertainment of visitors in search of a seaside holiday without the blatancy which too often asserts itself at the more popular resorts. Thorpeness, in fact, is a new place, catering for a distinct demand, and, although the old-time inn, the Dolphin, retains much of its early atmosphere, it has experienced certain alterations more in keeping with its present environment.

Thus, we will leave Thorpeness, for other things claim our attention, and first of all we will discover something of the manor of Aldringham, which, towards the end of the 12th century, was the lordship of the great lawyer and Lord Chief Justice, Ranulph de Glanville, and it remained in the possession of his family until the time of Maud de Glanville, whose husband was Sir William de Vescy. Through this, the manor passed to the latter, and, as a proof of the influence of the De Glanvilles, it is said that in 1326 Sir William was created Earl of Suffolk in the right of his wife.

The daughter of these two married Robert de Ufford, and in 1308 their son was summoned to Parliament as baron, whilst the next owner of the manor, another Robert de Ufford, became a knight of the garter, and eventually Earl of Suffolk. In due course, however, the estate passed into the hands of the famous de la Poles, and although it is impossible to tell their story here, a brief glance at the history of one member of the line, and an unfortunate member at that, can be scarcely out of place.

This was Edmund de la Pole, who, as almost everybody knows, met with a tragic end, although an end common enough in those violent times. He was, of course, a nephew of the fourth Edward, his mother being the King's sister, and in 1480, or thereabouts, he was sent by his royal uncle to Oxford. And if one may believe the letters of his instructors there he was something of a paragon in both learning and conduct, although one cannot help thinking that had the youth been of plebian blood his university reports might have been different! However, despite this auspicious start, Edmund de la Pole was fated to lead a far from sheltered existence. His brother very foolishly played a prominent part in the disastrous attempt of the misguided Lambert Simnel to seize the throne of Henry the Seventh-indeed, he seems to have been one of the ringleaders-and was killed in the battle at Stoke, near Nottingham. Therefore, his estates were seized by the Crown, but King Henry, having a certain consideration Edmund de la Pole, agreed to return a portion of these on condition that Edmund paid him the sum of five thousand pounds-by instalments, it is true, but a terrible price for that. Henry, however, was none too generous in money matters, and although he kindly added as a sort of make-weight the de la Pole's "chief place" in London, there is no doubt his terms savoured of harshness, to say the very least.
But, in any case, with the family fortunes partially restored, Edmund de la Pole soon came into the limelight. In 1492 he fought at the seige of Boulogne, and two years later was the chief challenger at a tournament held at Westminster to celebrate the creation of Prince Henry as the Duke of York, and in token of his prowess was presented with "a ring of gold with a diamond."

Following this, he filled several important positions of an official nature, and in 1496 again proved his fighting capacity against certain rebellious elements in Cornwall. It was about two years afterwards that the haughty nature of the man became apparent. In a fit of anger he killed, and although forgiven by the King, de la Pole was deeply annoyed that one of blood and lineage should have to account his actions in the same way as a person of lowly birth-a somewhat interesting sideline on the mentality of the nobility in those turbulent times !

Eventually, Edmund fled the country, having become nervous of Henry's intentions, and though he returned voluntarily and met with no ill-usage, he afterwards journeyed to the Tyrol, there to bargain with the Emperor Maxmilian, who, seemingly, was opposed to King Henry, and was quite willing-on conditions-to assist in placing Edmund de la Pole on the throne. For a time things looked promising. Maxmilian agreed to put anything from 3,000 to 5,000 men at de la Pole's disposal-again on conditions. But eventually the Emperor backed out, and although it is impossible to follow Edmund de la Pole's future career in any detail, it is noteworthy that he led a very miserable existene on the Continent, and after being incarcerated was handed over to the ruler he had hoped to supplant.

The outcome, of course, was a foregone conclusion. He was bundled into the Tower-that boneyard of high hopes and thwarted ambitions -there to remain for a long time, until, in fact, Henry the Eighth had worn the Crown for some four years. Then the end came suddenly, not, apparently, through any further misdeeds of Eumund, but owing to the action of his brother, Richard-brothers seem to have sorely afflicted this particular de la Pole!-who had joined the French army, joined the troops of England's ancient enemy and most bitter foe!

It was the final straw. Edmund de la Pole went to the block, and thus passes out of this story. As far as the manor is concerned, this, of course, was seized by the Crown, and, although the manor, was not mentioned for many years - only the rectory being referred to-both manor and rectory seem to have passed at the end of the eighteenth century to Sir Joshua Vanneck, ancestor of Lord Huntingfield,

Not an uninteresting story, that of Aldringham; but to many people its association with the activities of the old-time smugglers lend it an almost romantic air. For it is a curious fact that when reading of desperate encounters between smugglers and preventive men, even the most law-abiding folk seem to have a sneaking regard for the law-breakers, due, perhaps, to the brush of time, which over the years has coloured the dark deeds of these reckless fellows with the golden tints of cool courage and high adventure.

YEOMAN. April 20th, 1934