The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk: Volume 1. Originally published by WS Crowell, Ipswich, 1846.
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ILKETSHALL ST. JOHN.
This is a small parish, containing about 740 acres of land, with a population of only 71 souls, according to the last census. It is now the manor of the Rev. Jeremy Day, of Hetherset.
The advowson of St. John's Church was conveyed in the year 1267, by Sir James de Ilketshall, with one acre of land, which he held of Robert de Meynwaryn, to the Prioress of Bungay; whose successor, with monastic rapacity, obtained its appropriation in 1307, as has been already shown. It passed with the other possessions of Bungay Nunnery, in the sixteenth century, to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, and lapsed to the Crown, on the attainder of his unfortunate grandson, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It has never been re-granted; and is one of the Crown livings in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor.
There is an ancient and singular intrenchment in this parish, about three quarters of a mile eastward of the church, which consists of a conical hill encircled by a moat, and strengthened with a breastwork and outer ditch on the south. The hill, which is now not more than fifteen feet high, is about ninety feet in diameter at the base; and the breastwork measures one hundred and eighty-six feet, from east to west, which is its greatest extent, projecting only one hundred and eleven to the south. The whole site is closely planted with trees and underwood. Though decidedly not a Roman work, its position near the Roman road, called Stone-street, proves it to have been a speculatory fort, some how or other connected with that military way. It was probably raised by the Danes, who had a more important fortress on the north side of the river, at Earsham. A spoon, part of a brooch, and a spur, all of brass, have been dug up on the mound, but they are of an age many centuries posterior to the Danish dynasty in England.
The church is a small unpretending edifice, comprising a nave and chancel only, with a square tower at the west end, open to the body of the church. The whole fabric is in sound condition, and most reputably kept. In the tower is one bell with this legend:
Sancte Petre, ora pro me.
A lancet window on the north side of the chancel shows this to be the very edifice existing when the benefice was granted to the Nuns of Bungay. The font is octangular, and bears the arms of Mowbray and Bigot.
Monuments.—Thomas Colman, celebrated for his virtues, hospitality, and devotion in God's house of prayer, fell asleep without sigh or groan, Feb. 18, 1695.
Richard Chase, M.A., Minister of this parish, and Rector of Hempstead cum Lessingham, and Ellingham in Norfolk, died March 23, 1785, aged 70 years.
Samuel Crisp, A.M., Rector of this parish and Ellingham, died July 4, 1717, aged 69.
Ann, relict of John Gooch, of Bungay, was buried Sept. 3, 1679.
In the church-yard are altar-tombs for Richard Day, Gent., of Yoxford, who died May 2, 1811, aged 40. Cathe. his wife died 13th August in the same year, aged 36. Richard Day, Gent., died Sept. 16, 1802, aged 55 years. Sarah his wife died Jan. 10, 1818, aged 69.
Rectors of Ilketshall St. John.
Estimatio ejusdem xiij marc: Synodalia per an: ixd. Denarij S. Petri, ivd. ob.
The parish registers commence in 1538.