Suffolk is a farming county with a rich agricultural heritage. In this new book, inspired by his weekly column in the East Anglian Daily Times, Peter Hopper features eight of Suffolk's most ancient and interesting farming estates, revealing their history through the stories of the generations of families that have lived and farmed there. He has uncovered a wealth of fascinating detail through interviews and research, and his account is illustrated with photographs of some of the most picturesque corners of the county. The moated St John's Manor Farm, at Battisford, near Stowmarket, has existed for more than 1,000 years and was once owned by the Order of St John, the Knights Hospitaller, while Glemham Hall at Little Glemham has been home to the Cobbold brewing family since 1923. The first member of the family to live there was Captain John (Ivan) Murray Cobbold, the first chairman of Ipswich Town after the club turned professional in 1936.
Priory Farm, at Preston St Mary near Lavenham, boasts the splendid and historically important timber-frame barn that was once used as the famous auction rooms in the popular TV series Lovejoy, and a Roman site on the farm was excavated by Channel 4's Time Team. Kentwell Hall, at Long Melford, regularly hosts Tudor re-creation days, which give visitors a flavour of what it would have been like to live and work on the estate in the 16th century. With his journalist's eye, Peter Hopper has picked out gems of information and interesting asides to add depth to his survey of these historically important farms. Readers will learn about an attempt to reintroduce a butterfly extinct in the county, discover how many oaks it took to build an average mediaeval house in Suffolk, and read about the hoarder who eventually established a farm museum to display his collection.
Peter Hopper retired in 1996 after 45 years in newspaper journalism, the last 27 years as Agricultural Editor of the East Anglian Daily Times. He initiated a special weekly series featuring 100 farming families in Suffolk and North Essex, which won a national award and provided the inspiration for this book. Peter is also an Honorary Life Vice-President of the Suffolk Agricultural Association, which runs the annual Suffolk Agricultural Show, an event which he covered as part of his work for more than 25 years.