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History of Ufford, by Eric Sharpe

We are very grateful to the family of the late Eric Sharpe for allowing us to publish here his work on the History of Ufford.

The work was published in the parish magazine for ufford during the 1990's. 

Ufford Place

The dwelling Ufford Place is, unfortunately, long demolished and other houses built in its place. However, you can read all about the history of Ufford Place.

History of Ufford

For many years, it was thought that Ufford’s name evolved from that of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wuffingas and the fact that there was a ford with a hard gravel bed across the River Deben close by. But recent research into English place-names by Dr Keith Briggs reveals that the name was recorded in 1075 as “ufforda” and in 1086 as “uffeworda”. The derivation is a combination of Uffa (the Old English genitive of Uffan) and “worð” an Old English term for an enclosure. Hence, the name means “Uffa’s enclosure” and curiously, Ufford, a village in  Cambridgeshire has an identical origin and history.

Recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 Ufford had 146 acres of arable land, 9 ½ acres of meadow, 14 freemen, 2 boarders, 2 ½ ploughs and 1 mill. It is believed that this is still on the same site. There is no reference to a church in Ufford, but 2 were recorded in Bromeswell and 2 at Bredfield. It is probable that one of the churches at Bromeswell could be the Ufford church.

Crown Farmhouse on the High Street is the oldest remaining dwelling in the village; a traditional Suffolk Long-house built in the 16th Century. Many other Listed buildings date back to the 17th and 18th Century and can be found throughout the village, scattered in between later housing developments.

The village has evolved from two distinct settlements; the western part known as “Upper Street” (as shown on 1888 OS map) centered on the London to Great Yarmouth coaching route. This was a toll road in the 1800s and became the main London to Great Yarmouth trunk road until the by-pass was built. The original core of the village - termed “Lower Street” on the 1888 OS map - centered around St Mary's Church and the Ufford Place estate. These 2 parts of the village are linked by School Lane and by Spring Lane.

The lower part of the village, now a Conservation Area, is a particularly attractive collection of traditional buildings, which remain somewhat hidden away. There are no main roads through this part of the village and, up until the Second World War it remained relatively isolated and un-developed.  

Ufford boasts some 25 listed buildings, among which are included the now disused stocks and whipping post. Oldest by far is St Mary’s Church which dates back to 11th century and houses the 15th Century 18 ft hanging font cover "said to be the most beautiful cover in the world”

All six of the Manor houses of Ufford no longer exist. The last, Ufford Place, was sold upon the death in 1956 of Major Eardley Blois Brooke and then later destroyed in a fire. Fortunately the gates and piers survived as does The Orangery, now a private house.

Acknowledgements and thanks to Dr Keith Briggs for his research and advice; his work is published in ‘A Dictionary of Suffolk Place-Names’.

Lower Street, Ufford c1900  Lower Street, Ufford 1998