Kentford is a small village of about 180 dwellings situated on an east/west line on the old main road between Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds. The River Kennett, which has changed its route many times over the centuries, flows north through the villages of Kennett and Kentford and forms, in part, the boundary between the two parishes and the counties of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
Although the earliest known reference to the village is from the 11th Century when it was variously known as CHENETEFORDE / CHENETEFORT / KENTEFORD / KENNETTEFORD (Cynete = ford giving 'Ford over River Kennett'), there have been settlements here since the Palaeolithic Era (500000BC - 10001BC) as demonstrated by the large number of archaeological finds throughout the area. The many ring ditches and barrows have mostly been ploughed or quarried out and destroyed but a fine example of a Neolithic ceremonial axehead can be seen in Moyses Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds.
The ancient Icknield Way ran through the village with probably an extension by the Romans towards Bury St Edmunds.
In 1299 the absentee landlord of the village was Richard Bygod, Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshall of England. He came to Kentford on a visit with his Duchess and retinue and ate up all the produce. His Bailiff, William Latimer, lived in a manor house and there were 14 full time labourers. The Prior of Ely held 12 acres behind and beside the church, Beatrice of Cavenham lived on the site of the Cock. After Richard Bygod's death in 1306 the Inquisition post mortem for Kennett in Suffolk (Kentford) showed 17 acres of arable land worth ½d per acre, 8½d a year.
In 1563 Kennett and Kentford were described as 56 acres of demesne land consisting of pasture and meadow, 338 acres of 'arable' land and 400 acres of warren and heath, a total of 794 acres out of a total of 2,225 acres for the whole manor. The Cock Inn is also mentioned as the site previously know as Cavenham's.
"The Warren and Heath grounde well replenished with Coneys conteyning by estimation fower hundred acres adjoining towards the northe upon the warren of mr Ryvett Citizen of Llondon southe and east upon the Lordship of Moulton & upon Kennett & Kentford" (on the borders with Herringswell?)
The heath was rented out for a 'sheepwalk', allowing for 80 wethers and the warren was expected to produce "Twentie couple of good coneys, tenne dosan of larke, two dosen of plovers, tenne quarters of barley malte"
There was also reference to a Tan Office - 66' x 16.5', with one small shed, which is believed to have been on the north side of Bury Road in the eastern bend of the river.
Civil War came to East Anglia in 1645 when Suffolk opted for the Puritans. In June 1647 the HQ of the Parliamentary Army was on Kentford Heath. Discontent broke out among the troops about arrears of pay among other problems. They had marched to Kentford Heath where they were visited by Generals Cromwell, Fairfax, Ireton and Lambert; King Charles I was being held at Newmarket at the time.
The Enclosure Award of 1827 covered 798 acres - 99% of the village - and in 1843 the Tithe Map has the names of those who owned the land at that time.
The village school - the National School - was built in 1892, approximately 45 children attended, supported by voluntary contributions. Miss Mary Ann Charlton was the mistress. Older children attended school in Gazeley.
The first Parish Meeting was held at the Schoolroom on 25th March 1895
Nothing Changes! (from Parish Records)
1915 - Complaints were made to West Suffolk County Council about the bad state of the Main Road running through the village.
1927 - Complaints were made to the County Council about the state of the pathway by the church, asking that it "be put in a proper state of repair, it being the only pathway through the village."
1928 - Following complaints from inhabitants, letters were written to a number of local trainers asking that horses were not allowed to use the footpaths which was considered to be both dangerous and a nuisance to pedestrians.
1936 - Traffic 'frequently places Pedestrians in a dangerous position'
1937 - Introduction of a 30mph speed limit through the village and improvement of the raised footpath in front of the church
1938 - The East Anglian Electric Supply Company submitted plans for an electricity supply. The Parish Meeting declined the offer of a refuse collection in the village - it was not thought necessary
1947/8 - The Eastern Electricity Board was asked to make a supply available to residents on Bury Road
1951 - Street lighting was to be installed in Bury Road, a footpath was requested for Herringswell Road and the footpath along Bury Road required attention
A sub committee was formed to survey footpaths in the village for the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 as it related to Rights of Way. (By 1952 the survey of the various rights of way and footpaths had been completed. In 1953 the Chairman of the sub committee wrote that there were no rights of way in the village!!!!)
1957 - The County Surveyor was asked to deal with the flooding occurring at the Herringswell Road junction after rainfall. This had been going on for some years with no effective action. The next year it was reported that the County Surveyor had only undertaken to make observations. Even three years later there had been no action
1962 - Three pairs of two-bedroom bungalows were built by the District Council in Herringswell Road immediately to the south of the railway.
In 1975 the A45 (now A14) bypass opened, thus removing much heavy traffic from the village (for the time being!)
In 1976 the first Parish Council was elected with five Councillors and the first meeting was held on 20th May at the Village Hall
Recent housing developments - Moulton Avenue and Edgeborough Close (68 dwellings in all) plus two business premises - were transferred to Kentford from Moulton Parish in April 1984.
The long awaited main sewerage scheme for the village was completed in 1992.
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