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A visit to Suffolk, September 2009

by John Minter

My wife Pauline and I decided to spend a few days in Suffolk to visit some of the places in the south of the county which are associated with the Minters. Although we travelled everywhere by car it struck me how close together some of the villages are and it would not be surprising if some of the groups treated separately on this site were in fact related. The challenge remains however to find the links.

We stayed at a B&B in the village of Monk Soham, a few miles north of Ipswich. The B&B is called the Firs Farmhouse and is owned by John and Jean Richardson and I can strongly recommend it as a place to stay especially if you like quietness, a good breakfast and a very comfortable room.

Saturday 12 September
The morning was spent visiting the following villages and their churches. We invariably found our way to the village church and spent time searching for Minters in the graveyards and inside the churches. We were lucky: the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust's annual sponsored bike ride was in progress so all the churches were open and each had someone in attendance to answer questions.

It was noticeable how badly many old gravestones have worn, some to the point where they are illegible (although infra-red might pick up traces of the original inscriptions). So I cannot claim that my graveyard search was exhaustive, partly because of the state of the headstones and partly because of lack of time. Where I did find something it is recorded. Where I found nothing there is just my picture of the church.  By the way there is an excellent website, www.suffolkchurches.co.uk, which has pictures of Suffolk churches which are better than mine and also descriptions of each parish.

The five villages below are within a very small area, probably no more than 5 miles across.

Witnesham

St Mary's, Witnesham

Tuddenham St Martin

St Martin's, Tuddenham

Tuddenham St Martin was the home of William Minter and his wife Elizabeth. In the early 18th century William was Lord of the Manor and lived at Tuddenham Hall just outside the village. William's tomb is just inside the door of the church and is inscribed:

Here resteth the Body of
WILLIAM MINTER of Tuddenham Gent
who departed this Life
the 4th day of July 1739,
Aged 85 Years.
Also ELISABETH his Wife,
who departed the 9th day
of September 1729,
Aged 56 Years.

Above this inscription is the crest or coat of arms pictured below. The left-hand side is the coat of arms used on the welcome page of this website. Stella Herbert has been trying to authenticate the coat of arms with the College of Arms but so far without success, even though it has been found in a number of books on the subject of family coats of arms. The right-hand side of the coat is thought to be that of William's wife.

Just inside the church door, on the right as you enter, there is a wall plaque inscribed, inter alia, as follows:

In 1738 WILLIAM MINTER
Lord of the Manor, left the residue of
the Rent of this Land to be laid out
yearly towards "the clothing of such
"Poor People of the Town of Tuddenham
"as any two of the Trustees for the time
"being should direct".

After visiting the church we decided to find Tuddenham Hall. We cheekily drove into the property and met the current owner John Clement who was hedge-trimming. He allowed us to take a peek at the house, which is much as it must have been when William Minter lived there over two hundred years ago:

Tuddenham Hall

Westerfield

St Mary Magdalene, Westerfield

Culpho

St Botolph's, Culpho

Grundisburgh

St Mary's, Grundisburgh

We didn't find any Minter gravestones at Grundisburgh but inside the church is a Roll of Honour for King and Country, 1914 - 1919 (sic) which contains the following names:

Minter B. Suffolk , Private
Minter L.H. R.F.A Gunner
Minter W. Royal West Kent Private

The identity of these three soldiers has yet to be established.

Having completed our morning tour of these parishes we headed to Woodbridge for lunch which we had at the Riverside Restaurant on Quayside. It's a modern place with tables inside and out and is clearly doing well judging from the owner's Maserati which was parked outside.

We then drove to Essex to meet Stella Herbert and her husband Christopher at their house in Great Bardfield. Stella belongs in the 'Eyke group' and has contributed much to these pages. She had invited Tinch Minter, who represents the 'Marlesford group' to tea as well. We spent several happy hours talking Minters, looking at Stella's garden and very interesting house. Among the things we discussed was the relationship between the currently separate Suffolk groups: the fact that Tinch's father knew Sir Frederick Minter of the 'Ipswich group' as Freddie suggested that there might be a link between Marlesford and Ipswich. Additionally, Tinch said she was thought there was a connection with the 'Wickham Market(2)' group. So there is plenty of food for thought there. The picture below shows, from left to right, Tinch Minter, Stella Herbert and Christopher Herbert.

Sunday 13 September

Sunday was a 'Gregory day' - a chance to visit my cousin Julia and her husband Nalim, and Julia's parents Charles and Sylvia Waite, at the Julia's home in Roydon, Essex. We caught up on family news and had a very good lunch.

Monday 14 September

Another day of village visits, this time in the south east corner of Suffolk. The places we visited were a bit more spread out from one another than those we went to on Saturday but still near enough to make me think that there could be connections between them. The parishes we visited in this area are not the only ones with Minter connections but time didn't allow us to visit all the locations we'd have like to go to.

Marlesford

St Andrew's, Marlesford

The graveyard at Marlesford contains the graves of (at least) five Minters of the 'Marlesford group':

In Loving Memory of
WILLIE JAMES MINTER
WHO DIED OCTOBER 27th 1896
IN HIS EIGHTEENTH YEAR
The Lord is my Shepherd

In Loving Memory of
HARRY HARPER MINTER
ELDEST SON OF
HENRY AND ELIZABETH
MINTER
WHO DIED DECEMBER 18th 1886
AGED 20 YEARS
ALSO OF
RICHARD DUNNETT MINTER
WHO DIED OCTOBER 17th 1886
AGED 3 YEARS AND 9 MONTHS
Come to me all that are weary
heavy laden and I will give you rest

In Remembrance of
HENRY MINTER
    Who died June 23rd 1898
Aged 61 Years
Thy will be done
Also of
ElLIZABETH his Wife
who entered into rest Decr 20
1907
Aged 66 Years
Graciously look upon our afflictions

There is a gravestone next to these dedicated to Elizabeth Harper, widow of Samuel Harper. Elizabeth and Samuel may have been Elizabeth Minter nee Harper's parents. Halina Pludowska has kinding provided the following transcription of the inscription:

In Affectionate Remembrance of

ELIZABETH HARPER

Widow of

Samuel Harper

of Wickham Market

Who Died June 18th 1885

Aged 73 Years

Nothing in my hand I bring

Simply to thy cross I cling



Campsea Ash

St John the Baptist, Campsea Ash

Eyke

I forgot to take a picture of All Saints church. According to the National Burial Index there are several Minters buried there but I could not find any gravestones bar one which might bear the name Minter. It was too faded and lichen-covered to be sure.

Note added in May 2013: Thanks to Jackie Pooley I've been able to look at the results of the 1981 Women's Institute Churchyard Survey of Eyke Churchyard. The survey found the grave of Matilda Minter, nee Fosdike, who died aged only 19 in 1824, and her infant son Robert. The full survey can be found at www.eykevillage.info.

Within the church a history of the church mentions the West Window in the following terms:
'The Archdeacon refers to Mr Minter being paid £11.11.3d in 1832 for a new window for the West end. He also mentions an extremely ugly "house window" being replaced by "the most beautiful one" by the late Rector (his father) J G Darling who died in 1893.'

Before continuing our tour we decided to visit Aldeburgh for fish and chips at the Golden Galleon in the High Street - excellent. On the way to Aldeburgh we drove through Butley, which has Minter associations, and Orford, where we stopped briefly to look at the river.

While in Aldeburgh I found in a second-hand bookshop a copy of the modern (2007) edited reprint of 'Parson and People in a Suffolk Village - Richard Cobbold's Wortham, 1824 - 77'. This is a wonderful book and the 2007 version has coloured prints, including that of the 'eccentric tramp', also known as the 'scamp of the county', George Minter. George lived from about 1806 to 1862 and features in the 'North Suffolk group'. Also featured in the book are William and Maria Minter of Wortham.

Boyton

St Andrew, Boyton

Boyton is a very remote village. St Andrew's church is a very short walk from the Mary Warner Homes which are set on three sides of a large courtyard and which were originally almshouses.

I found five Minter graves in the graveyard, close to one another on the right just after the entrance:

In
REMEMBRANCE OF
ELIZABETH
THE BELOVED WIFE OF
WILLIAM MINTER
WHO DIED 9TH MAY 1878
AGED 77 YEARS
-
A GOOD AND VIRTUOUS WIFE A
FOND MOTHER

Elizabeth pre-deceased her husband by several years: his tombstone is flaking away and parts are already missing:

In
Loving Memory of
WILLIAM MINTER
WHO DIED IN HIS ?? YEAR
JANRY 2ND 1895
HE WAS A FAITHFUL SERVANT OF --
DOCK FARM FOR 70 YEARS
-
--- ING FOR THE MERCY OF --
---S CHRIST UNTO ETERNAL ---  

The next two gravestones are for William's sons John and David:

In Loving Memory Of
JOHN MINTER
WHO DIED 9TH MARCH 1899
AGED 63 YEARS
-
HERE THE WEARY REST

IN
LOVING MEMORY OF
DAVID MINTER
WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE
3RD JUNE 1901,
AGED 68 YEARS
-
O GLORIOUS HOUR O BLESSED ABODE
I SHALL BE NEAR AND LIKE MY GOD
AND EVERY POWER FIND SWEET EMPLOY
IN THAT ETERNAL WORLD OF JOY
-
ALSO OF
SARAH ANN HIS WIFE
WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE 8TH SEPTEMBER
1921
AGED 87 YEARS
-
THOU SHALT GUIDE ME WITH THY COUNSEL
AND AFTERWARD RECEIVE ME TO GLORY

The final headstone is the open book type, lying almost flat on the ground. It's for Nathan Minter who died May 23 1943 aged 72 years and his wife Margaret Pheba Minter, died April 2_ 1954 aged 83(?) years. Nathan was the son of David Minter. It's not clear whether he and his wife are buried here or simply remembered here.

Shottisham

St Margaret's, Shottisham

This was our final church visit, where I hoped to find a trace of John Minter of the 'Eyke group' baptised on 10 February 1688/89 at Campsea Ash. We have no death details for him but his wife Ann (nee Finch) is said to have died (or been buried) at Shottisham on 13 July 1747. I didn't find anything.

Tuesday 15 September

We headed home, arriving mid-afternoon having completed over 850 miles since leaving on Friday. Despite all the driving we both felt we'd had a very enjoyable long weekend.