an attempt to trace the history of Siam Garden in Gaol Lane on behalf of
the residents whose houses overlook the site, I was given the opportunity
to look at an ancient document concerning Siam Place. Although it
gave no clue to the garden's origin it did contain a valuable piece of information
which enabled me to identify the exact location of a 'lost' 14th century
Manor called Place's presumably after the family who first owned it.
of the Manor as it was in 1604 and details of its ownership are given
in a pamphlet published by Alan W. Berry (now out of print) a Freeman
of Sudbury and an historian. Following that description and using the
information from the Siam Place deed and a large scale Ordnance Survey
map C.1890 I was able to identify the site of Place's Croft.
Having located Place's Croft (in yellow above), I now had to fmd a piece of land used as a cattle pound described in 1604 as The Triangle and situated between Duckpit Lane to the east arid Scalder's Way to the west. Duckpit Lane ran from Acton Green to the river where the Ducking Stool was placed. I had already identified Scalder's Way while researching another property as the road, which bisects the Croft on the one-way system. The Triangle is still there and forms the South Side of The Croft.
House, Yard and Orchard
The origins of the Manor are obscure and the earliest references are Court Fines dating from after the Reformation in 1547, 1549 and 1550. The fact that part is sited inside the Great Ditch with Place's Croft outside, suggests that this was a manor created when the town was expanded by Elizabeth De Burgh around 1327-1340 when the Ditch was filled in.
The only family I can trace with the name of Place was John Place of Lavenham, a very wealthy Cloth Merchant, but his will of 1440 has no mention of property in Sudbury.
In the 17th century the Daniels of Acton Place owned it. After that various parts were disposed of mainly to the Andrews brothers who acquired Simon's College. Interestingly the Manor was held on a one thousand year lease and according to Mr. Berry's pamphlet the principal interest in the residue of the lease was acquired by Robert Andrews in 1717. He was the father of Robert Andrews painted by Gainsborough in 1748.
Lane and Scalders Way
All of this gives a fascinating insight on the Croft area of Sudbury before it was all swept away to make room for the 18th and 19th century Weaver's houses, which in turn have given way for a traffic system.
dated 6 December 1345, from Simon Theobald to his parents Nigel and Sarah
his wife of all lands and tenements which he had by gift from his father
in Sudbury and Melford, has as a witness Johanne de Place.
concerning the transfer of land from Nigel Theobald at Holgate in Sudbury
to St. Bartholomew's Priory names Robert ate Place as playing an important
role in the transfer. 13 July 1357.
So Place's Manor was situated less than 200 yards from the Theobald's house by St. Gregory's Church. This therefore goes some way to confirm a 14th century date for the creation of the Manor.©Barry Wall 2008
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