Mendlesham (St. Mary)

MENDLESHAM (St. Mary), a parish, and formerly a market-town, in the union and hundred of Hartismere, W. division of Suffolk, 15½ miles (N. N. W.) from Ipswich; containing 1340 inhabitants. This place formed part of the possessions of Hugh Fitz-Otho, who, in the reign of Edward I., obtained for the inhabitants the grant of a weekly market and an annual fair, the former of which has been long discontinued, and the latter become of very little importance. The town consists chiefly of two long streets, parallel with each other, containing well-built houses, and approached in all directions by excellent roads; the environs are pleasant, and the air salubrious. The parish comprises 3944 acres. The road from London to Norwich, viâ Ipswich, passes through the eastern part. The living is a vicarage, endowed with one-third of the rectorial tithes, and valued in the king's books at £14. 9. 2.; patron and incumbent, the Rev. Henry Thomas Day, LL.D.; appropriators of the remainder of the rectorial tithes, the Dean and Chapter of Chichester. The appropriate tithes have been commuted for £540, and the vicarial for £580: the glebe comprises 25 acres, with a house, considerably improved by the present incumbent. The church is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a lofty square embattled tower, and a north and south porch embellished with grotesque sculptures; the pulpit, reading-desk, and cover of the font, are enriched with elaborate carvings. Above the north porch is an apartment, in which are preserved some pieces of old armour. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyans. In 1473, Robert Cake bequeathed some land which, with other benefactions, produces about £380 per annum, partly applied to instruction, but chiefly distributed among the poor. About the close of the seventeenth century, an ancient silver crown, weighing 60 ounces, was found here; and in 1758, a gold ring, bearing an inscription in Runic characters, was turned up by the plough.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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