Clopton Family Genealogical Society







Each tour is designed to take one day and give the visitor adequate time to enjoy the sights and absorb all the details at a leisurely pace.  There is something to interest everyone from Clopton devotees, history buffs, architect disciples, birdwatchers, military aficionados, garden fanatics, nautical groupies, to Thespians.

Clopton stories relating to all the locations mentioned in the tours below will be published in the coming months.

Please remember it takes a little more time to travel the roads than you might expect.  If you depend on public transportation, you must take transportation schedules into consideration as well.





Lady Mary Waldegrave, daughter of Sir William Waldegrave, Knt., of Smallbridge and his wife, Elizabeth Mildmay.  She was the wife of Sir Thomas Clopton, the youngest son of William Clopton, Esq. and his wife, Mary Perient.  Sir Thomas, the youngest son, was the eventual heir of Kentwell Hall, Long Melford.




You Gotta Have Em



An Ounce of Prevention



Where to Look and What to Ask



A Beginners Guide



Long Melford and Lavenham, County Suffolk



Groton, Hadleigh, and Stoke-by-Nayland, County Suffolk

And Boxted and Colchester, County Essex



A Visit to the Seashore

By Way of Clopton Corner, Otley, and Chillesford



Cambridge University, County Suffolk

And the Lost Town of Clopton, County Cambridgeshire,

And Duxford, County Suffolk



Stowmarket & Rattlesden, County Suffolk,

And Norwich Cathedral, County Norfolk



Wickhambrook, Chipley Priory,

Poslingford, and Clare, County Suffolk



Maldon, Ramsden Bellhouse, Rettendon, Paglesham

And Eastwood, County Essex



County Kent, the Home of Queens,  The White Cliffs of Dover,

And Ferries to Calais, France







The “Other” Cloptons






Whether you are planning a trip to Counties Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, or just want to have a better understanding of the lives of our ancestors, you need to purchase some maps and a book or two.  Yes, there are maps in cyberspace, however, they only give you a snapshot of a particular area.  They are also rather cumbersome and time consuming to boot!  First you need a map of East Anglia.  I would suggest


Official Tourist Map of East Anglia,

published by Estate Publications,

East of England Tourist Board.


            This map lists almost all the little villages you will be visiting and almost all the roads and gives you a sense of how the villages and towns connect.  The guide is very user friendly.  You may order this map from


Landers Bookshop

Hall Street

Long Melford





            Simply include your credit card number with your request, and the staff will be happy to take care of all the rest.  The e-mail address is [email protected] (but don’t send you credit card number via e-mail!).


            A second set of maps will also prove to be an invaluable source of information.  These are the Ordnance Survey Maps of Great Britain.  The Explorer Series depict in great detail (2 � inches to 1 mile) every nook and cranny and footpath and every tiny road of every county in Great Britain.


You will note below a detail from the Explorer Series, Number 196, showing Kentwell Hall and Ford Hall, both Clopton ancestral homes.  (Highlights have been added to assist the viewer).  Of particular interest, these maps show all the ancient foot and bridle paths (the green dotted lines).  Some of these footpaths date to prehistoric times and are still in use today.  They represent the routes our ancestors took to quickly gallop from place to place.



            These maps may also be purchased from Landers Bookshop, however, you will need to know what maps to request.  Information regarding these maps may be found at the Ordnance Survey site at


            The costs of the maps will add up, therefore, we recommend you order just two to start with:


Ordnance Survey Explorer Map Number 196

Long Melford, Hadleigh, Groton, and Sudbury




Number 210 for Wickhambrook, Poslingford, and Clare


The latter map boasts Clopton Cottage, Clopton Hall, Clopton Green, Clopton Green House, a second Clopton Hall, and Chipley Priory (labeled incorrectly, Chipley Abbey).


            There is one modestly priced book we suggest you also order from Landers Bookshop:


Suffolk Parish Churches

Details of over 500 Churches Past and Present

Compiled by Mel Birch

The Castell Pocket Guides

A Pocket Guide to Suffolk Parish Churches

Richard Castell Publishing Limited

Thwaite Eye Suffolk

ISBN 0-948-13448-8


            This book, which easily fits into a pocketbook, will prove to be another invaluable guide as you plan your tour.  Each entry gives the location of the church and a brief description of the features.  Mercifully included is a Glossary of terms for those who do not know their Squint from their Tympanum.


            A second book which is highly recommended is Historic Houses Castles * Gardens, The Original Guide to the Treasurers of Great Britain & Ireland, a Johansens Publication.  It may be ordered through any bookstore or see their web site at


            This is an excellent book even if you never set foot in Great Britain.  It is filled with stunning photographs, giving a brief overview of each entry, location, days of operation, admission charges and internet addresses when available.  Also included are maps which will help those designing tours.  Johansens publishes a series of books for a number of countries.


While not absolutely necessary, you may wish to consider purchasing three books, Knights on Suffolk Brasses, Ladies on Suffolk Brasses, and Suffolk Heraldic Brasses, by Thomas Mariner Felgate, which contain examples of Clopton brass effigies, like the one found below in Tour One of Margery Francis (or Francys), and many other Clopton kith and kin.  The set is available from the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust.  To obtain copies send your request to:


Christopher Bird


Suffolk Historic Churches Trust

Brinkleys, Hall Street

Long Melford

Sudbury, Suffolk  CO10 9JR



            If you are interested in brasses, you will find these books a fount of information.  His illustrations pick up many of the details which are lost in photographs.  This set is a Must Have for those who want to know the subtle history lessons gleaned from the images of those who have gone before us.


            To fully appreciate the many arms you will see on your trip, we highly recommend you purchase An Introduction to Heraldry, by Stefan Oliver (A Quantum Book, Chartwell Books, Edison, New Jersey, 2000.  ISBN:  0-7858-1248-2).  It is available at any major book shop including Barnes and Noble.  An excellent book filled with many colorful and lavish illustrations.  Dismayed by the laborious and often obscure language found in the vast majority of books on the subject (almost calculated to drown any interest the novice may have) the author set out to write a book that would stimulate interest in Heraldry and not frighten off the beginner.  He succeeded and produced a book that is refreshingly easy for the tyro to understand and the scholar to appreciate.  Several photographs of Clopton arms are included as well as those of many allied families of the Cloptons.








            You will be touring some of the most charming Medieval villages in East Anglia.  The countryside is dotted with fairytale thatched roofed cottages and gently rolling hills.  You will visit homes and churches that gave comfort and protection to your grandfathers and grandmothers hundreds of years ago.  It will prove to be one of the most delightful and rewarding vacations you can possibly imagine.  You will absolutely fall in love with the country and her people.  Don’t forget your camera!


[Helpful Hint:  The villagers are friendly and simply cannot do enough to assist you.  Just because these people live in medieval villages does not mean they have medieval mind sets.  They are well read and well traveled.  Don’t patronize them nor expect them to be impressed because you are a Clopton descendant.  The English are very mindful of manners, so remember to say “please” and “thank you,” and all the other rules of etiquette your mother tried to drill into your head.]




A thatched roof cottage in Lavenham




                You will be touring some of the most charming Medieval villages in East Anglia.  And those villages are often served by tiny little Medieval roads.  If you think driving on the left side of the road is the most exciting challenge you will face, you have another think coming.  Although the main roads are fine, the further into the interior you go, the more the roads narrow.  Many times you will find yourself on paved pig paths with no room for two automobiles to pass.

            If the idea of negotiating the byways and highways of Great Britain by private automobile, your life passing before your eyes every five minutes, is not your idea of a fun vacation, all is not lost!  Thousands and thousand of people in Great Britain do not drive; they take public transportation, and so can you.  You just need to do a little advance planning.  The British Tourist Authority stands ready to help you.  You may contact them at their website specifically designed to assist Americans at


            All you need to do is tell them at what airport you will be arriving and what your destination is.  They will be able to assist you with information regarding railroads and buses (called coaches).  Once you get to your destination you will want to visit the Tourist Information Centres (TIC’s) which are found all over Britain.  There you will be able to obtain local bus (Coach) schedules.


[Helpful Hint:  If you ask villagers about the buses (coaches), they will probably roll their eyes and say “Oh, they are terrible!”  And if you ask why, they will reply “They stop at every little village from point A to point B”  Bingo!  That’s just what you want.  You want to visit those little villages.  If you are dependent on public transportation, you may wish to stay at one of the larger towns which will give you access to the greatest number of bus routes.  When using the British rail system check your ticket.  Many British trains have assigned seats just like airplanes.  Make sure you are in the right car and the right seat.]



Once you get to your destination from the airport, walking is another option.  All of Britain is crisscrossed with walking paths.  In fact, it is possible to walk anywhere on the island.  The British take their walking seriously, and the paths, some dating to prehistoric times, take the visitor through private yards and fields and forests.  Most of the villages are separated by only a walk of two or three miles.  When finding oneself walking on private property, never, ever leave the path.  That is considered rude.  And if you go through a gate, always shut the gate door behind you.  And don’t forget to wear good, water proof walking shoes.



Those choosing the take advantage of the many footpaths will often find themselves traveling through private property.  The thoughtful owners of The Red House, in Cavendish, have provided a little step for the traveler to climb over the fence and a door for a canine companion.


If one wishes even more information than is found on the Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps – see above – Landers Bookshop also carries a series of Footpath Maps by Wilfrid George.  Footpath Map of Long Melford (published by the author, 43 Linden Road, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, IP15 5JH) features every detail one could image of not only Long Melford but also Acton, and the paths leading to Lavenham to the northeast, Great Waldingfield to the east, Bury St. Edmunds to the north, and Glemsford and Clare to the west.




The fifteenth century pargetted house at Clare



[Helpful Hint:  Take an umbrella, wet weather jacket, and a sweater.  Look at the latitude of England and you will discover it is north of most of the United States.  Although the sea breezes keep East Anglia rather mild, it rains often and is cool much of the time.  This is no time to make a fashion statement with shoes.  Wear comfortable shoes which won’t get soaked through.]





The ugly news is you will be touring some of the most charming Medieval villages in East Anglia.  And that spells trouble if you have a physical handicap, especially if you have problems with mobility.  When making reservations at a hotel you must ask very specific questions.  Don’t accept their assurances they have handicap accessible rooms.  You may find they mean the room is on the first floor but that doesn’t necessarily mean the bathroom is properly equipped for your disability.  And you might find you are unable to get into the hotel dining room.  Restaurants throughout the area pose a problem; you may be able to get into the restaurant but don’t count on being able to use the restrooms - they may be on the second floor.  Churches and historical houses often require visitors to navigate stairs. 


[Helpful Hint:  You will find at least one ATM machines in almost every village and in all the super stores (large grocery stores).  The cost to exchange money is less using the ATM’s.]



LODGING will take you to a listing of the best of Great Britain’s Bed and Breakfast and Hotel lodging beginning with The Red House in Cavendish, about four miles west of Long Melford.  Before you visit this site, a word or two of advice:  When a room is described as en suite, that means the bathroom is attached to the bedroom, and is truly private.  Otherwise, when making inquiries, you would be wise to ask the host exactly where the bathroom is in relationship to the room and also if one is expected to share the bathroom with others.

Please keep in mind that in order to incorporate modern conveniences into medieval houses, bathrooms are sometimes found down the hall, down one flight of stairs and take a left, first door on the right.  A certain amount of inconvenience, however, is mostly outweighed by the charm of it all.  If you have any kind of physically limitations relating to mobility, be sure to discuss with the host how many steps you will be required to get around within the house.

At many hotels and B&B’s, the cost of the room includes a full English breakfast.  Take advantage of this option.  In most villages the pubs and restaurants do not serve food from about 2:00 or 2:30 in the afternoon until 6:30 or 7:00 at night, although some restaurants feature teas in mid-afternoon.  If you find yourself of an evening tired of restaurants and you just want to slip into bed and read a good book, you will find that grocery stores carry sandwiches, individual salads, crisps (potato chips) and canned drinks.


[Helpful Hint:  If you are dependent on public transportation you should ask the host where the nearest bus (coach) stop is in relation to the house.  You may also wish to ask about taxi service.  A Silver Award is the highest rating that may be achieved in B&B’s.  Don’t automatically assume that hotels will have bathrooms in each room.  Many older, less expensive, hotels have a community bathroom on each floor.]









Lady Bridgett Crane was the daughter of Robert Crane, Esq., of Chilton.  She was the third wife of Francis Clopton, Gent., of Long Melford.  Francis Clopton was the son of Sir William Clopton, Knt., and his third wife, Lady Thomasine Knyvet.



The line of descent of the dead Cloptons mentioned in the tours, unless otherwise noted include:



Thomas Clopton +  Katherine Mylde

William Clopton + Margery Francis

John Clopton + Alice Darcy

William Clopton + Thomasine Knyvet

Richard Clopton + Margaret Playters

William Clopton + Margery Waldegrave

Walter Clopton + Margarete Maidstone

William Clopton + Elizabeth Sutcliffe

William Clopton + Ann Booth



Katherine Mylde + William deTendring

Alice deTendring + John Howard

Henry Howard + Mary Hussey

Elizabeth Howard + Henry Wentworth

Margaret Wentworth + William Waldegrave

George Waldegrave + Anne Drury

Edward Waldegrave + Joan Acworth

Margery Waldegrave + William Clopton

Walter Clopton + Margarete Maidstone

William Clopton + Elizabeth Sutcliffe

William Clopton + Ann Booth



Walter Clopton + Alice FitzHugh

William Clopton + Amitia or Ivetta Grey

Johane Clopton + Roger Beauchamp

John Beauchamp + Margaret Holland

Margaret Beauchamp + Oliver St. John

John St. John + Alice Bradshaw

John St. John + Sybil Jenkyn

John St. John + Anne Neville

Cressit St. John + John Boetler or Butler

John Boetler or Butler + Jane Elliott

Elizabeth Boetler +William Claiborne, Sr. Secretary for Life of Virginia



Walter Clopton + Alice FitzHugh

William Clopton + Amitia or Ivetta Grey

Johane Clopton + Roger Beauchamp

John Beauchamp + Margaret Holland

Margaret Beauchamp + Oliver St. John

John St. John + Alice Bradshaw

John St. John + Sybil Jenkyn

John St. John + Anne Neville

Cressit St. John + John Boetler or Butler

John Boetler or Butler + Jane Elliott

Elizabeth Boetler +William Claiborne, Sr. Secretary for Life of Virginia



Thomas Clopton +  Katherine Mylde

William Clopton + Margery Francis

John Clopton + Alice Darcy

William Clopton + Joan Marrow

Elizabeth Clopton + Geoffrey Gates

Dorothy Gates + Thomas Josselyn

Henry Josselyn + Anne Torrell

Thomas Josselyn + Theodora Cooke

Henry Josselyn, Deputy Governor of Maine



Alice Clopton + John Harleston

John Harleston + Margaret Berdewell

Margaret Harleston + Thomas Darcy

Roger Darcy + Elizabeth Wentworth

Thomas Darcy + Elizabeth de Vere

Mary Darcy + Richard Southwell

Richard Southwell + Bridget Copley

Katherine Southwell + Leonard Mapes

Francis Mapes + Anna Loveday

Thomas Mapes + Sarah Purrier




Long Melford and Lavenham, County Suffolk


Long Melford features more dead Cloptons than any other spot in East Anglia.  The official site of Kentwell Hall, the magnificent ancestral home of the Clopton family in Long Melford, is found at  This site features a lovely selection of photographs of Kentwell Estates.  A second site featuring a number of photographs of the estate is found at  The visitor may tour the house and the grounds.  The tours are self guided.  The hosts have thoughtfully placed throughout the house guides to each room.  Plan to spend no less than two hours at Kentwell, more if there are special activities.  There is a nice gift shop, a tea room, and an adequate number of clean restrooms.



Even the drainpipes are fun at Kentwell Hall!


            Holy Trinity Church is a Must See stop for Cloptons.  Tours are given at specific times, and should not be missed.  The windows in the church feature the Cloptons and their allied families.  Tombs and brass effigies are located within the church.  If you are lucky, the guide may take you up into the bell tower to see the bells and learn a little about the art of bell ringing.  Plan to spend at the very least an hour; longer, if you take the guided tour.  There is a well stocked gift shop and one restroom.




Rubbing of the monumental brass found at Holy Trinity Church of Margery Francis (or Francys), of County Norfolk.  She was the wife of William Clopton, Knt., of Long Melford.  Her children were John Clopton, Sheriff of Norfolk & Suffolk, the great benefactor of the church whose image is found in one of the stained glass windows, and Elizabeth Clopton, who married Robert Cavendish and John Gedney.  The headdress indicates the brass was not engraved until after 1480; the headdress and the heraldic costume were not seen in effigies created at the time of her death in 1424.  She is shown with a Butterfly headdress, her forehead plucked of hair.  Beneath the transparent veil, rarely shown in brass, her hair is swept back into a decorated net, or caul.  Her kirtle, a close fitting costume, usually with buttoned sleeves, displays her parental arms of Francis.  Over her kirtle she wears an heraldic mantel showing her husband’s arms of Clopton.  Only the upper part of the canopy survives, with the badge of the House of York (a white rose) and a large angel with outstretched hands.  Suffolk Heraldic Brasses, T. M. Felgate, East Anglian Magazine, Ltd., Ipswich, 1990, p. 108-109, plate 37.  Mr. Felgate added the top dexter (left) Clopton shield of arms which is missing but is on record.  An inscription, now missing, but on records as Hic jacet Margeria Clopton nuper uxor W’mi Clopton ac filia et heres Eliae Frauncheys armigeri que obijt 12 die Junij A’o D’ni 1424 cujus anima propitietur Deus, Amen.  Mr. Felgate contends that the absence of indents for this and other missing parts confirms the present brasses have been relaid.  In other words, she may not have been buried in the spot where the brass is now found.  The effigy is 36 inches long, deeply engraves, and in excellent condition.  The arms on kirtle, mantle, and shields were all originally inlaid with color.


            It is now time to take a break and visit the village of Long Melford for some retail therapy.  There are many antique shops, several book stores, and at least one shop featuring paintings and reprints of the area.  If breakfast has worn off, or if you just want to rest your weary feet and enjoy some liquid refreshments, Long Melford has many fine pubs and restaurants.


            Now it is back to the tour and onto Melford Hall, the magnificent home of our Aunt, Mary Clopton, and her husband, William Cordell, Knt.  See Two Hundred Men in Velvet.  The self guided tour of the house and gardens will take at least one and a half hours.  Mary Clopton was born and raised at Fore Hall, now called Ford Hall, about a mile north of the village.  It is a wonderful house with the remains of a moat behind it.  It is a private home, however, a public footbath will take you close enough to take photographs of the exterior.


            Lavenham is about four miles northeast of Long Melford, and is one of the most picturesque villages in East Anglia.  Ford Hall is next to one of the exciting little roads leading to this quaint village.  You may find Lavenham so interesting you may want to schedule an entire day to visit this charming place.  While the fa�ade on shops in Long Melford is primarily Victorian, Lavenham has maintained their Medieval exteriors.  A favorite tourist stop, you will find not only a plethora of interesting architecture but also many shops and fine restaurants.  The tourist bureau is very large and offers a host of information.  There is a large public parking space for automobiles and buses across from the church, and an adequate number of clean restrooms.  You will want to visit the church.  See A Goodly Sweet Child. 




Groton, Hadleigh, and Stoke-by-Nayland, County Suffolk

and Boxted and Colchester, County Essex


            A few miles southeast of Long Melford is St. Bartholomew’s Church, Groton, the church of William Clopton, armiger, Lord of Castlings Manor, the husband of Margery Waldegrave.  It is a simple country church famous for its association with the Winthrop family.  It is believed that all William and Margery’s 12 children were baptized at St. Bartholomew’s.  William and Margery and most of their children are buried there.  Near by is Castlings Manor, the Clopton home for many years.  The house is in private hands, however, a public footpath will put your close enough to take photographs of the house.  See Midnight Romps & Wilted Roses and Brief Communion.



Hadleigh Guildhall as seen from the Church


            Hadleigh is the next stop.  At Hadleigh is found the Guildhall built in 1438 by William Clopton, Knt., the husband of Thomas Knyvet, Joan Marrow, and Katherine Hopton.  A contract between the town and William Clopton specified that one red rose plus two cents interest, was to be paid to him each year as rent.  In the mid 1980’s some Clopton cousins did a little research and discovered that the payments had stopped in 1472.  In June of 1984 Gene Carlton Clopton led a merry group of 80 Clopton descendants to collect 512 years worth of roses.  Considering interest, the group good naturedly requested the town pay up to the tune of 1,303,364 roses.  A compromise was reached, and the Cloptons settled for five roses, one for each century.  Once a year the town of Hadleigh now places one red rose on the tomb of William Clopton at Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford.




Tomb of William Clopton at Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford



Hadleigh was also the home of William Clopton, Knt., Lord of Toppesfield Manor and his wife, Amitia or Ivetta Grey, of Buckenham Castle, County Norfolk.  Our most royal lines come from the marriage.  Their daughter Johane Clopton married Roger Beauchamp, 2nd Baron Beauchamp of Bletsho.  Johane married into one of the most eminent and powerful families, the Beauchamps.   A companion in arms of the victorious William the Conqueror, the family was represented by the Earls of Warwick and Albemarle, and, the Barons of St. Amand, Barons of Bletsho, Hache, Kydderminster and Powyke.  Counted among her direct descendants are most of the Kings and Queens of England who have held the throne since Henry, VII.  There is a Toppesfield Manor at Hadleigh, however, it is not the home occupied by the Cloptons.


[Helpful Hint:  One can well imagine that it costs a fortune to maintain these churches.  The congregations, not the government, are responsible for securing the funds necessary to restore, preserve and maintain these ancient buildings which are so important to our Clopton heritage.  Many of the congregations are composed of very few people.  You will note that each church has a collection box for offerings – usually in a slot in the wall by the main door.  Please give a generous contribution in addition to any church literature you might purchase at the gift shops.]


The Church of Saint Mary, at Stoke-by-Nayland, is the final resting place of our “double grandmother,” Katherine Mylde.  It is located about 6 miles southwest of Hadleigh.  It is next to the timber framed guildhall and is considered one of the loveliest and most ornate churches in Suffolk.  The north chapel is the earliest, dating from the early 14th century.  Brass funeral effigies in the south chapel include those of Dame Katherine Mylde, the widow of Sir Thomas Clopton, and the second wife of Sir William de Tendring, whose brass is near by.  Also in the south chapel are the brasses of their daughter, Lady Alice de Tendring and her husband Sir John Howard.  Near by is the brass of Lady Katherine Moleyns, the wife of their grandson, Sir John Howard.  The Register dates from 1545.



Although much weathered by time, the arms of de Tendring

And the Howards are featured above the door of

The Church of Saint Mary


A few miles to the south finds us at St. Peter’s Church, Boxted.  Walter Clopton and his sister, Anna Clopton, the children of William Clopton and his wife, Margery Waldegrave of Groton, married Maidstone siblings, Margarete Maidstone and John Maidstone.  They were the children of Robert Maidstone and his wife, Margaret Wade.  This is where William Clopton, the husband of Elizabeth Sutcliffe, was baptized and where he grew up.  The Maidstones and the Cloptons of Groton were staunch Puritans.  A grandson of Anna Clopton and John Maidstone was caught in the loft of the belfry of the church urinating on the heads of men.  The Vicar struck him, whereupon the naughty lad called the Vicar a “bishop’s brat and a piscopal priest.”



This photograph does not do justice to the charming

Fa�ade of St. Peter’s Church, Boxted.

It is reminiscent of a fairy tale church.


This should take you into the early afternoon, and if you aren’t too tired, a visit to Colchester should be just what the doctor ordered.  This is a nice sized town and offers some excellent shopping opportunities and boasts a Pizza Hut and Burger King for those in need of a junk food fix.  There is a large public parking deck right down town, so you don’t have to worry about finding a parking place.  Colchester Castle is the main attraction.  Most of the castle is devoted to a museum.  A guided tour is a must do.  There is a gift shop, snack bar and an adequate number of clean restrooms.  Colchester offers so many learning opportunities you may wish to schedule an entire day to tour the city.  The Castle was turned into a prison, and one of our Clopton kinsman, William Clopton, son of Francis Clopton and Anne Shorte, was imprisoned there briefly.

                In seventeenth England, the law was supposed to apply to everyone, but in reality, it depended on who did what to whom.  A clear case in point is that of our naughty kinsman.  On the recognizance of John White and Rob[ert] Lucken, both of Takeley, yeomen, "William Clopton, of Rayne, Gentleman," who, on March 4, 1652, was indicted for "not having the fear of G[o]d before his eyes but being moved an seduced by the motion of the devil, at Takelay, assaulted Mary wife of Matth[ew] Aylett being of the age of 30 [y]ears and above, without her consent and against her will did feloniously abuse, ravish and carnally did know her."

            April 26, 1652 finds William committed to the Gaol in Colchester Castle by Mr. Christ[opher] Muschamp, Esq. "for being charged upon the oath of Mary wife of Matt[ew] Alet[t] of Takeley labourer, that he hath by violence against her will had [c]arnal knowledge of her on 4 March last in the house of William Meads of Takeley alehousekeeper."  Takeley is about 10 miles west of Rayne.

            Had our bad boy raped a woman of his equal social standing or one of superior ranking, he would have been in very serious trouble indeed.  Fortunately for him, but not the lamented Mrs. Aylett, Mr. Aylett was merely a laborer.  A check through the seventeenth century records of County Essex find only twelve occurrences of the Aylett name, the men described mainly as yeomen and colliers.  One Mary Aylett of Fairestead, in 1614, was found guilty for her "lewd and incontinent life." It seems a Richard Meade of Terling "living idle and out of service, and being found naked in the house of the above said Mary Aylett," also found himself in hot water.  Whether this is the same Mary Aylett is not known.

            At any rate, our "Gentleman" cousin is "set at li[b]erty" on April 27, "having given security for good behaviour."  No further mention of the unpleasant incident is recorded.  On the same day that William is released, poor Peter Loveday, no gentleman, he, is indicted for petty larceny, "confessed it, to be whipped and set at liberty."




A Visit to the Seashore,

by way of Clopton Corner, Otley, and Chillesford, County Suffolk



A typical seaside scene at Aldeburgh

Where brave fishermen still make their living

Daring the forces of the North Sea


            Certainly no visit to East Anglia would be complete without a visit to the seashore, and Aldeburgh is our destination, northeast of Ipswich.  But have no fear!  There is a dead Clopton sighting or two along the way.  A few miles northeast of Ipswich one will find the villages of Clopton Corner and Clopton.  Clopton is a Saxon word meaning “homestead by a hill,” or, “town of the hill farm,” and there is no evidence that any family with the surname of Clopton was ever associated with these villages.  Although Clopton Church is charming, there aren’t any dead Cloptons anywhere to be had.


            A few  miles north of Clopton Corner one finds Otley Hall.  A stunning medieval hall, with a moat, it is rich in history and architectural detail.  It was the home of the Gosnold family for over 300 years beginning in 1401.  Time simply does not permit us to going into all the familial connections, so let us just say that the Cloptons are connected to the Gosnolds through several marriages, including that of Margery Clopton to Thomas Doggett.  Margery was the daughter of William Clopton and his wife Margery Waldegrave.  Bartholomew Gosnold came to the New World in 1602 and named Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.  He returned again in 1606/7 to found the Jamestown Colony, the first English speaking settlement, 13 years before the Mayflower landed.


One may go directly east to Aldeburgh or go south into Woodbridge and then into Chillesford, where the visitor will find the final resting place of Agnes Clopton, the wife of Hamond Claxton, and the daughter of William Clopton and Margaret Jermyn.  Their daughter, Agnes Claxton Smythe, is also buried there.



Many of the churches are reached by pleasant little

Drive ways such as this leading to the church at Chillesford



Looking across the churchyard at Chillesford Village on a foggy day



            A few miles northeast will take you into Aldeburgh, certainly one of the most interesting seaside villages in East Anglia.  It is such a lovely area that consideration must be given to spending a night or two there.  But be warned: it is a favorite spot for vacations so advance reservations are strongly suggested.  Aldeburgh has become “the place” for wealthy Londoners to have a vacation home.  This will also place you within an easy drive of either Southwold to the north, or Flixstowe to the south.



This quaint medieval building at Aldeburgh contains

an outstanding little museum, including Roman artifacts

which the visitor may touch.




Cambridge University, County Suffolk,

the Lost Town of Clopton, County Cambridgeshire,

and Duxford, County Suffolk


            Many of our ancestors attended Cambridge University.  It is a charming campus and the visitor will find ample photo-ops.  At Cambridge the visitor will find the United States War Cemetery.  The town contains many unique shops and many book stores.


About 15 miles southwest of Cambridge, in County Cambridgeshire, between Wrestlingworth, and Croydon, one finds the site of the medieval village of Clopton.  There is nothing left of the village, but archeological investigations have revealed the placement of the village and marketplace.  At the time of the Domesday Book, Clopton was already well established with two manors and at least nineteen households spread out along the hillside.  Tax returns of the 14th century show a fairly wealthy population of between five and six hundred people.  A Robert Clopton, Lord Mayor of London in 1441, purchased the village.  One of his children, William, inherited Clopton Village, who eventually sold the village to John Fisher, Sergeant-in-Law, for 200 pounds.  By 1533 the Clopton Church was pillaged and in ruins, and in 1561, the parish of Clopton contained only two houses and was merged with the neighboring village of Croyden.  There is a 11 mile walking path called The Clopton Way, offering commanding views over much of south west Cambridgeshire, which takes approximately 4 hours to complete.


While on the return trip to the Long Melford area, one may wish to visit the Imperial War Aircraft Museum, about 15 miles southeast of Cambridge and the Lost Village of Clopton, just outside of Duxford.




Stowmarket, and Rattlesden, County Suffolk,

and Norwich Cathedral, County Norfolk


            At Stowmarket one finds the Museum of East Anglian Life.  This stop offers a nice change of pace.  The exhibits include a reconstructed post and beam house, representing the most common structure used in building homes of the medieval period.  The visitor is afforded the opportunity to attempt to assemble the various types of timber joints using miniature replicas of the beams.  There are other hands on exhibits and craftsman’s demonstrations.  One fascinating exhibit is devoted to gypsies.  There are clean restrooms on the grounds.  The little town, just outside the gates of the museum, has a well stocked Tourist Information Centre.


            The pride of Rattlesden, just a few miles to the southwest of Stowmarket, is St. Nicholas Church.   Our kinsman, Walter Clopton, son of Thomas Clopton, Esq., of Liston Hall and his wife, Elizabeth Sparrow, was the Rector of this wonderful church.  The medieval ceiling features a superb double hammerbeam roof with sixty-six beautifully carved hovering angels.  The angels carry a rich assortment of emblems of the Apostles and saints.



Sixty-six large carved angels adorn the ceiling at St. Nicholas Church


            The next stop is Norwich Cathedral, northeast of Stowmarket.  Parking is hard to find within the city, therefore it is recommended that those arriving in private automobiles may consider parking outside the city in one of the park and ride facilities served by buses (coaches).  Norwich Cathedral is believed to be the only Cathedral in Great Britain displaying the Clopton arms.  The Cathedral has a library and a gift shop located in the Cathedral’s restaurant.  The Cathedral has an ample number of clean restrooms.  See Saint Crispin’s Day.  The town offers some excellent shopping opportunities.


            One may wish to spend an extra day or two in Norfolk.  The visitor will find at Norwich the Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden and the Hoveton Hall Gardens.   This flat country boasts some of the most glorious coastline which has a unique network of inland waterways.  The Norfolk Broads, to the east of Norwich, attracts birdwatchers and boaters from around the world.




Wickhambrook, Chipley Priory, Polslingford,

And Clare, County Suffolk


            There is little tangible evidence left of the most ancient English Cloptons, however, one may enjoy retracing the pathways and byways once trod by our ancestors.  See Of Norman Blood.



The magnificent window at Clare features two

Clopton Shields, one large one at the top right,

And a smaller one in the second, lower.




Detail of the large Clopton Shield at the top right




Maldon, Ramsden Bellhouse, Rettendon, Paglesham,

and Eastwood, County Essex


            It is now time to pack bag and baggage and relocate to a Hotel or B&B in the southeast  portion of County Essex.  All Saints Church at Maldon, about 8 miles east of Chelmsford, has one of the most interesting exteriors in East Anglia.  Several members of the D’Arcy, or Darcy, family and the Cloptons married throughout the centuries.  A large statue of Sir Robert D’Arcy (1385-1448) portrayed as a knight of the Lancastrian period is found in one of the outside niches.  Sir Robert was a Member of Parliament for Maldon in 1422 and several times represented the County of Essex.  Sir Robert built a large home in Maldon, which became known as D’Arcy’s Tower and after 1576, the Moot Hall.  Upon his death he left money for the founding of a D’Arcy chantry.  This was housed in the portion of All Saints’ which Sir Robert had built before his death and known as the D’Arcy Chapel.  The D’Arcy arms include three cinquefoils and there are frequent cinquefoils incorporated in the carvings throughout the church.  See Where Mightier Do Assault Than Do Defend.  The quayside of Maldon, locally known as the Hythe, is an ideal place to view the Thames sailing barges.


            To the southwest is the Church of St. Mary the Virgin.  The ancestors of Thomasine Knyvet were long associated with this church, and when she inherited Ramsden Bellhouse, her husband, William Clopton, became the Patron to the church, and his brother, Thomas, its Rector.  It is a delightful church with an interesting and colorful history.



Elaborate doorway to the Church of St. Mary the Virgin



A few miles east of Ramsden Bellhouse is Rettendon, the last church of The Reverend William Clopton, husband of Elizabeth Sutcliffe.  He was a Puritan and was cast out of the pulpit for his refusal to support the Anglican Church.  The next stop is Paglesham, southeast of Rettendon, the final resting place of Elizabeth Sutcliffe.  Paglesham is just across the River Crouch from Burnham-on-Crouch, which is the sailing Mecca of County Essex.  The last week in August is dubbed Burnham Sailing Week, and the river is filled with sailors.  Paglesham also has a horse race track.



Old tombstones are often found at many medieval churches

Pushed to the side, some used as border for flower gardens.

This one at Rettendon lies next to the wall of a building.


And then southwest to Eastwood, where William Clopton, their son, and the patriarch of the American Cloptons was born.  The Reverend William Clopton died at Eastwood, about 10 miles southeast of Rettendon, although his burial place is not known.  A hotel or B&B in the vicinity of Eastwood would be a good place to spend the night.  It is close to the seaside city of Southend-on-Sea.




County Kent, the Home of Queens, the White Cliffs of Dover,

And Ferries to Calais, France


            County Kent borders County Essex to the south.  Canterbury is on the River Stour.  The River Stour runs northwards and forms the border between Counties Essex and Suffolk.  Canterbury is the center of the Anglican Church and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.  The cathedral houses a magnificent collection of twelfth and thirteenth century stained glass and the tomb of the Black Prince.  Haver Castle and Gardens near Edenbridge was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, one of the unfortunate wives of Henry VIII.  See


One simply cannot miss visiting the wonderful seaport villages of Kent.  The renown white Cliffs of Dover are about 16 miles southeast of Canterbury.  It is at Dover the visitor can catch a ferry to Calais, France.  Situated at the point on the European mainland close to Britain, Calais is an ideal location for visitors coming for a day trip or a short stay.  The Tourist Office, with English speaking staff, is available to assist the traveler.  To find out the details of traveling to Calais from England and information regarding exploring the area, see


            Leeds Castle, Maidstone is known as “the loveliest Castle in the world,” and was the home of six of the medieval Queens of England, as well as Clopton descendant, the infamous Henry VIII.  See





            There are so many books readily available regarding London tours that it is not necessary to make recommendations except to say that the Tower of London is a Must See considering how many Cloptons and their kith and kin resided there at one time or another.  You may find that it pays to join a tour group.  The only practical way to get into the Tower of London and other popular sites is on a tour.  Lines are long for the general public; tours get right in.  Also consider taking a bus (coach) tour of the city.





The “Other” Cloptons


            Stratford-upon-Avon is not – I repeat is not – in London.  It isn’t even considered part of Greater London.  The home of William Shakespeare and The Cloptons of Warwickshire is about 20 miles southeast of Birmingham in County Warwickshire.  It takes a good two hours to drive from Stratford-upon-Avon to Heathrow airport.  It was at Stratford’s Clopton Manor that Ambrose Rookwood, a descendant of Alice Clopton and her husband, John Harleston, stayed before setting off to London to blow up Parliament.  See Two Hundred Men in Velvet.  The Cloptons of Warwickshire and William Shakespeare formed a close friendship and Shakespeare is buried modestly in the church which boasts the elaborate tombs of several Cloptons.  There is also a Clopton bridge.