All Saints, Ellough, Suffolk

 

Ellough is a small settlement nestling in a narrow valley a couple of miles south of Beccles, in Suffolk.  The church of All Saints stands dominantly and a little austerely on the hill above the valley.  This site may have had a religious significance long before a Christian church was built here, as the name Ellough is likely derived from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "heathen place".  The church dates from the 14th century, the font from the 15th.  Restoration took place in 1882 but today the church is no longer in use for worship, although it remains consecrated.  Thankfully it is now in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust which was set up in 1969 to care for Church of England churches no longer needed for parish use, and which are architecturally or historically important.

I last visited the church in July 2004.  The northern churchyard has mostly been cleared of gravestones long ago but the south side has not.  This was most fortunate as I found the graves of my great-great grandparents, David and Sarah Harper with three of their children nearby. The headstones were still in reasonable condition and mostly legible.  The church is always open and so I was able to see the ancient font where I expect my great-grandfather James Harper and grandfather Oscar Harper were both christened.

This is a peaceful spot with little traffic over the narrow country lane which runs past the church.  The sounds of birds and the occasional snort from horses in an adjacent field provided the background here.  Looking around and over the valley that is Ellough, I doubt that very much has changed since my great-great grandfather worked at Ellough Hall 150 years ago.

Another view of All Saints can be found at Simons Suffolk Churches.  Simon has a very comprehensive site covering a great number of Suffolk churches, with links to other counties as well.  Well worth a visit.

updated 9th March 2008
 


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