History of All Saints' Church, Blyford
Notes of Interest
In 1644 The Rev.Wm. Raymond was ejected by Suffolk Committee for Scandalous Ministers, for alleged gross immorality!
In 1774 the Blyford Estate comprised three manors, six farms; the Inn and the church were bought by Richard Dresser (whose plaque can be seen beneath the Altar table). His daughter married Richard Day (both are buried at St John’s churchyard, Ilketshall). John, son of Richard Dresser, lest his estate to his nephews, Jeremy Day, a bachelor, who was Rector of Hethersett, Norfolk. Jeremy brought up six nieces and nephews, all orphaned under the age of ten years. His plaque can be seen on the wall of the chancel.
In the 17th century, a parishioner Jane Taillour, bequeathed to the church, sufficient wax to make tapers for “12 lights burning afore the rood in ye rowel”.
There is a plaque above the choir stalls of Edmund Freeman, b. Blyford 1788. Killed in action against two French frigates at Guadeloupe, W Indies aged 21 years.
Also in the Chancel on the wall opposite his plaque, hangs a wooden cross brought back from Flanders at the end of the first world war., bearing the name of Capt. W. E. Day killed in action 5th June 1916.
In the year 1803 several men from the Blyford village joined a volunteer company which was founded to defend against a Napoleonic invasion!
During the early 19th century, the church was connected with Brandy smuggling when cargos, having been landed at Dunwich, were brought to the Queen’s head Inn (Opposite the church). Surplus kegs of Brandy were reputed to have been brought across to the church and stored under the Altar and pews!
Statement of Significance of Blyford Church
1086 Church plus 12 acres existed
1300 Chancel added – the font is 13th century
15th c Porch and Tower added
1643 30 ‘superstitious’ paintings destroyed by Wm Dowsing
Altar table is a beautiful Elizabethan example with carvedcushion legs (only one of just two such tables in the country)
1875 Restoration work carried out
1982 Extensive repairs work to upper part of Tower
1997 Floodlighting installed – donated by Capt. Hill to commemorated his 50 years association with BlyfordChurch
1999 Repair work to external rendering, together with repair and painting to interior carried out, also new soak away system installed.
2000 Re-ordering of west end of church to make a ‘community area’
2005 Installation of cold water tap at north edge of churchyard bringing a water supply to the church for the very first time.
2010 Repair work to external wall, chancel, and doorways
Statement of Significance of Blyford Village
1066 Manor held by Edwin
1086 Manor held by Godric the Streward
12th c Owned by the de Criketot family
1281 Owned by the de Bavant family
1313 Owned by the de Mikelfield family
1546 Links with the Hobart family of Trimley St.Martin
16/17c Links with Sir Henry Wood of Bromeswell
18th c Owned by John Dresser (who grave is under the altar table)
1891 R.H. Day was incumbent of BlyfordChurch
1909 The estate now owned by Richard Jeremy Day
1944 The estate eventually sold to Capt. Hill of Wenhaston
At the time of the first National Census in 1801, the population of the parish was 163; its highest recorded population was 223 in 1841, but it steadily declined as people were forced to migrate to the towns and cities in search of employment. Blyford is now one of the least populated places in Suffolk, with a current population of approximately 86.
The village now consists of social and private dwelling houses, two working farms, one public house (dating from the 16th century) and the church.
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We have copies of the following records:
Baptisms: 1783-1820, 1813 - 1929
Marriages: 1769-1829, 1783-1831, 1837-1944, 1945-1964
Burials: 1784 - 1820, 1813 - 1993
We also has copies of Marriages, Burials and Baptisms from 1695 - 1727.
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The church of All Saints, Blyford was appropriated to Blyford Priory before the year 1200 by Ralph de Criketot. It retains some fine specimens of Norman architecture.
The two doorways have stood where they are for over 900 years, one with pillars carved with chevrons and the other with twisted columns and zigzagging round the arch. They are the doorways through which the Normans came into the church having been re-fashioned in the 14th and 15th Centuries. The medieval tower has a grotesque head at each corner, and three gargoyles, and there are fine faces on the drip-stones of the upper windows. A fierce gargoyle looks down from either side of the doorway and there are lions over the west door. The font is 13th Century, and the sanctuary has a fine Elizabethan altar table with bulbous carved legs. The registers, of which copies are kept in the church, date from 1695.
The church is mentioned by Leonard Thompson in his book on East Coast smuggling, as being a hiding place for contraband liquor.
In the churchyard: wrought by a mason artist, is a memorial to a servant in husbandry, who died at the age of 21. He was a ploughman, and is depicted with a couple of Suffolk Punches, an old wooden plough with Whipple trees, and is himself wearing a smock and characteristic hat.
In the churchyard there is also the grave of Bishop Pollock of Norwich, with the stone carved as a replica of his Bishop’s key. Beside it is the grave of Canon Moore.