A Suffolk England 'Home'


The parish church of St. Mary, Cratfield in the north-east of Suffolk, England. My ancestor William Barber was the parish clerk in the 1830's. His wife Elizabeth's brother, Joshua Moore, was the proprietor of the Cratfield public house, now called the Cratfield Poacher.

The church has a superb 15th century Seven Sacrament font, one of the finest in England. The West Tower of the church was built in the 15th cenutry, the oldest part of the church itself being 14th century. Above the tower entrance door there are several beautifully carved figures on the spandrels which depict a wildman, a dragon and a woodwose. There are 20 pews from the Jacobean period; each with poppyhead ends. There is a rood screen from the 15th century now standing against he nave's west wall. Nearby are several grave slabs two of which have ancient brass inscriptions.

Robert Barber, son of William and Elizabeth was born in 1814 and came to the Guelph area of Ontario in 1836. He married into another family from Cratfield, the Jonathan (and Dinah Short) Oakes, marrying Harriet their daughter later that year. They had been 'sponsored' by the parish to come, the leaders of the parish concluding it was cheaper to send them away, in the long run, than to keep them on the parish 'dole' in those impoverished times.

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