Thursday, July 06, 2006

Alpheton Suffolk


5pm 6 miles in 48.30

Week to date mileage 13

Month to date mileage 31

Average weekly rate 31.7

Average Monthly rate 138

Year to Date 847

Life time 8625

On the A134 road between Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury is the village of Alpheton. It is about
7 miles from Bury and stands on a bendy section of the road after a fairly straight drive from Bradfield Combust which is mainly roman road. Back in the 1960's apparently they diverted the original road to Bury and as a result much of the passing trade to the village was lost and as a result services such as the post office and the Red Lion closed. This pub was known locally as the alf eaton Lion.

Hence when I parked the car next to the large garage services this now seems to be the only business apart from farming I could see in the village. The population of the village is approx 250 and this compares with 370 in 1851.

I ran down Church Lane and headed toward the church of St Peter and St Paul. Here there is a lovely view across undulating, yes undulating Suffolk fields and hedgerows full of wild flowers. A beautiful site of the church and Alpheton Hall stands out in the distance. From the position of the church which is behind Alpheton Hall you would be forgiven as a stranger to assume that this is a private chapel. As I approached the road ends at the Alpheton Hall and there are plenty of keep out signs. However a concrete path runs round the farm and hall and you can then enter the graveyard. The date of the church is unknown but according to the interesting Aplheton Website it may date to the 10th century and have been a private chapel to the residents of Alpheton Hall.

I ran back past the hall and took the first farm track heading over fields which took slightll up hill to Shimplingthorne Woods. I could then have turned left and followed a path which would have taken over to Shimpling Street a recent visit of mine took me to the Bush pub there. However I turned right and got a surprise as I ran past 2 farm labourers lying flat out on the ground in a field. They couldn't be more at rest and I can only guess at what they made of me as I ran past using a lot of energy!

After running through a number of wheat fields I was back in the village of Alpheton. I headed up what was the Old Bury Road until I picked up another farm track through a field of beetroot. The footpath was becoming increasingly difficult and I waded through grass and wild flowers up to my waist to reach Clapstile Farm. I returned back to the car and had a look at the village sign which looks a little lost. Normally these are found at the heart of a village but this one is really set in a layby near next to the car garage. However it is a very interesting village sign as it tells the storey of how Alpheton was founded.

Aefflead, whose husband Byrthnoth, Earl of Essex, was killed at the battle of Maldon, on the Blackwater River in Essex, in 991. The battle was one of many against the invading Vikings from Scandanavia and might not have been of note if Byrhtnoth had not decided to make a stand and fight, rather than paying the Danegeld which was, as usual, demanded by the invaders.

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