Santon Downham 

the heart of the Forest

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Village Hall & Club
360 degree views
Forest Enterprise
Other topics


Most villages would still be clearly recognisable if you stepped back 100 years. But turn the clock back in Santon Downham and you would find a very unfamiliar scene. The area revolved around Downham Hall and its estate, but the hall was demolished in the late 1920s. Much of what has been built since was for the emerging forestry business based in the village. 

One of the village's other claims to fame is that it was almost overwhelmed by sand in the 17th century. Dr Steve Godby And Dr Mark Bateman of Anglia Polytechnic University have been carrying out research into the movement of sand in the region, and they have written a paper on the subject which was published in the journal The Holocene in 2004. We have a copy of their paper.

Few photos survive of the Hall. We were thrilled to meet Marg Kenny Murby last year, whose father Colonel Kenny was the officer in charge at the Hall during the First World War. Mrs Kenny Murby came to visit with her daughter and son-in-law, Willo and Tom Heesom. She saw the area for the first time in some 85 years, and gave us copies of wonderful photographs of both herself and her father in the long-vanished grounds of the Hall. 

We also have a much better understanding of the layout of the area, thanks to the discovery last year of a marvellous hand drawn map. This map is now available for inspection at the Bury Records Office. 

Follow the links below to find out more about many other aspects of the village's past. Flint workings abound in the area - we are very close to Grime's Graves, and people have made archaeological finds in their gardens. Read about the period of the Domesday book and of the Vikings, and of 20th century war time.  And check out the timeline to get a flavour of Santon Downham's history right up to the turn of the millennium. 

Pages in this section:

Palaeolithic Period
Domesday Book
Sand Flood
Suffolk directory
Downham Hall
 2004, designed and maintained by Icehouse Media drawing on material from the Forest Heath District Council 22 villages website, designed by ArtAtac

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Last updated 23 January 2006