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PUBLISHED: 12:20 02 September 2013 | UPDATED: 12:20 02 September 2013

The 1630 Manor House

The 1630 Manor House

Archant

Martin Warwick explores a quiet hamlet with a chalk stream running through it

This scattered hamlet, or village, I’m not too sure which, stands in a wide valley floor with a clear chalk stream running through it. There’s a grand manor house dating back to 1630 but there was one here long before that as this is where William the Conqueror gave Richard de Aguila a huge tract of land for services rendered. The hamlet gets half of its name from this fortunate vassal, the other part from the chalk stream’s crossing point.

Tucked under the trees is a tiny Grade II-listed church built in 1842 by G. and H. Osborn, Consisting of flint and rubble-stone walls it has a stone bell-cote, on top of the west front, which houses a single bell. Set into the west wall, outside, is a tympanum from the earlier church with two wyverns and inscriptions ‘MAHALD DE LEGELE’, the church’s patron in 1099AD, and ‘ALVI ME FECI’. The old school, situated 300 yards from the church, is now a fine stone house named after the hamlet and, in the next field a fairly new wooden footbridge takes walkers across the chalk stream.

From the flint-and-rubble farm buildings at the T-junction, which forms the hamlet’s centre, one road is signed for a distant town not far from the sea whilst the other directions, both with two-word names, lead resolutely inland. From this signpost, a bridleway heads through Manor Farm to rise up onto the surrounding chalk downs.

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