Merrill, 1928, reprint 1983
a Parish in Suffolk - Chapter V,
in England, is about seventy miles northeast from London.
It is situated at the head of the estuary of the Orwell,
just as Ipswich, in New England, stands at the head of
tide water on the Ipswich River. The Massachusetts town
in three hundred years has grown to a population of 6272,
while the population of the English town in the same period
has increased from about 6000 to 75,000.
village lies three miles south of Ipswich. It is an ancient
settlement, and from its soil the plow has brought to
light many evidences of occupation by Romans and by early
Britons. In Doomsday Book the place is described under
the names Querstede and Wervesteda. The name of the village
and parish is in our day generally pronounced Wersted
or Warsted by the residents, the a in the latter case
having the sound of a in father.
short ride by electric railway through Ipswich streets
carries one to Bourne bridge, which marks the boundary
of Wherstead parish. Near the bridge, on the Wherstead
side, stands the Ostrich Inn, as it stood at the time
of the New England migration. In those days, however,
oysters were still found in Orwell waters, and the name
Oyster Ridge had not been corrupted to the
name of the exotic bird whose effigy now adorns the swinging
signboard of the roadside tavern.
walk of fifteen minutes from Bourne bridge, along the
macadamized highway leading southwest to Manningtree and
London, brings one to the village. The road is shaded
much of the way by oaks and other trees. High untrimmed
hedges or bank walls often hide the fields.
fields, when in viewas I saw them shaded by the
threatening clouds of a gloomy day in June, 1910--showed
deep shades of green, brightened sometimes in the foreground
by the hectic flush of wild poppies. The soil is light
loam: the chief crops wheat, barley and roots.
village is a scattered array of cottages lining a crooked
lane which branches off from the high road on the east.
The village is devoid of stores or public house, and the
only industry, aside from agriculture, is carried on in
a modest smithy. There is a brickyard near the railroad.
Wherstead church is not seen from the high road, nor generally
from the village. It stands apart, near Wherstead Park
and the Mansion, where the owners of many
of the broad acres of the parish have lived. The church
shows a mixture of Norman and Gothic architecture, and
is believed to date, in some of its parts, from about
1100. It is built of small stone, mostly of a flinty character,
with gray sandstone trimmings, and has a red tile roof.
The square tower, ivy-grown, dating from about 1400, contains
three bells, one of which is about five centuries old.
The newest bears the date 1675. The church is small, seating
only 122 people.
was looking through some old engravings in a book shop
in Ipswich, in search of nothing in particular, when I
came upon the picture of Wherstead Church which is reproduced
on the previous page. Extensive restoration and repairs
were made in the old edifice in 1863, but without changing
its character in any material respect. As represented
here the building must have been familiar to all who knew
Wherstead in the time when the foundations were laid for
the New England beyond the sea. The churchyard, attractive
and well kept, is entered by a stile. In the center is
the church, while around about
in his narrow cell forever laid
rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
and gentry, clergy and humble rustics, many in graves
now unmarked, lie in the same soil, social distinctions
effaced at last.
VIEW DOWN THE ORWELL
site of the church is 150 feet above the Orwell. The view
from this point, up and down the stream, is called one
of the finest in the Eastern Counties. Its picturesqueness
is enhanced in no small degree by the little spots of
color furnished by the red and brown sails of the straightie
bargesfreight-carrying vessels of moderate
size engaged in coastwise traffic. The picture on the
opposite page is taken from Zinckes book on Wherstead
parish. The tower, in the distance at the right, is in
the parish of Freston. It has been a conspicuous landmark
since before the time of the Newbury settlement.
you have further information on the book, "A Merrill
Memorial" and would like to share it with others,