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Martlesham (Suffolk)

Martlesham shown within Suffolk
OS grid reference TM250467
District Suffolk Coastal
Shire county Suffolk
Region East
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district IP12
Dialling code 01394
Police Suffolk
Fire Suffolk
Ambulance East of England
European Parliament East of England
UK Parliament Suffolk Coastal
List of places: UKEnglandSuffolk

Coordinates: 52°04'24?N 1°16'55?E? / ?52.07327, 1.28181

Martlesham is a village in Suffolk, England about two miles (3 km) South-West of Woodbridge and 6 miles (9.7 km) East of Ipswich. It is often referred to as "old Martlesham" by locals in order to distinguish this old village from the much more recent Martlesham Heath development. Also at Martlesham Heath is BT's Research and Development Centre, now called Adastral Park.

[edit] History

It is believed that there was a Roman settlement at Martlesham and in the parish there have been some 26 finds dating from the Roman occupation. These include pottery, brooches, coins and tesserae. Of particular note was the 19th century find of a small bronze statue of a horse on a plinth, bearing a Latin inscription indicating that this was an offering dedicated by a woman named Simplicia to the god Mars.

Martlesham was mentioned in the Domesday Book, which recorded that it consisted of two and a half carucates of land (equivalent to about 300 profitable acres). At that time there were 10 villagers; 10 smallholders; 12 acres of meadow; 1 mill; woodland for 16 pigs; 5 cobs; 20 cattle; 27 pigs; 212 sheep; and 12 beehives. There was 1 church with 36 acres and 1 free man.

Martlesham remained a strongly agricultural area, but the main settlement shifted over the years from the highest ground (where the church and hall are situated) to the point where the main London to Great Yarmouth road crosses the River Finn, a tributary to the Deben. By the mid-15th century, a bridge had been built across the river at this point.

White's 1844 directory of Suffolk describes Martlesham as "a neat village near the confluence of a rivulet with the Deben" and states that it has in its parish "510 inhabitants, and 2,558 acres (1,035 ha) of land, partly in rich marshes washed by the tides of the Deben, and partly a large, sandy, and unenclosed heath, extending about 2 miles (3.2 km) S.W., and affording pasturage for numerous herds of sheep and cattle."

In 1917, the Experimental Aircraft Flight of the Central Flying School was transferred from Upavon, Wiltshire to a site on the heathland at Martlesham and, on 16th January, 1917, Martlesham Heath Airfield was officially opened as an experimental airfield. It continued in this role after the end of World War I and became a significant RAF base during the Second World War. Douglas Bader was based at the RAF base during the later stages of the war, and a public house "The Douglas Bader" now resides on Martlesham Heath.

After the closure of the airfield, the lease of its site was sold to Bradford Property Trust, who went on to develop the "New Village" of Martlesham Heath to the southwest of "Old Martlesham".

The headquarters of the Suffolk Constabulary are based in Martlesham.

[edit] References

  • John Morris (Editor): Domesday Book - Suffolk (Part Two), Phillimore, 1986. ISBN 0-85033-481-0
  • William White: History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Suffolk, 1844
  • Gordon Kinsey: Martlesham Heath, Terence Dalton Ltd, 1975. ISBN 0-900963-48-4
  • Paul Firman: Martlesham - The Good and Bad Old Days, The Martlesham Monthly, ISBN 0-9542004-0-3

[edit] External links

(Source: Wikipedia)
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