travelling from Wherstead Ostrich (more
the Oyster Reach) to Shotley Gate may have noticed that they pass two
'Boots'. The most obvious is The Boot public house at Freston – sadly
closed and boarded up since 20010 – the path
across the road runs eventually to our local, magnificent folly
Freston Tower which overlooks the River
Orwell. But miles
past Woolverstone Village (close to Woolverstone
Hall and, oddly, the Royal
Harwich Yacht Club), Chelmondiston and onwards, the road passes a
second Boot. It is clearly named in raised capitals, painted black on a
white cement cartouche facing the road. Our picture, taken from a
position facing towards Ipswich shows a second, blank cartouche and the
overhead spotlight just below the sofit which used to illuminate it.
There is a smaller cartouche with traces of lettering on the opposite
wall, facing towards Freston. We
never saw the Boot in its role as a public house, but it reopened as a
restaurant for many years. It has now reverted to a private dwelling.
top heavy design of:
is redolent of many old Tolly Cobbold pubs of
yore. Given the smaller 'THE', surely the whole thing could have been
moved down to occupy the centre of the cartouche. Perhaps the designer
- if such a thing existed at Tolly
Cobbold's brewery over the river - forgot
that capitals don't have descenders (e.g. 'p' or 'q')? Or perhaps the
word 'Inn' was originally intended below.
The cartouche facing Shotley Gate (shown below) bears
some damage at the top, presumably made by a broken light fitting
dangling in the wind. Careful inspection shows the large characters
'TOLLY' with 'ALES AND STOUT' beneath. There may have been other
letters at a later date, all subsequently whitewashed over.
iron signpost below lies not too far away from
The Boot. If you turn right as you enter Chelmondiston and travel down
to Harkstead church, the lane opposite will bring you very shortly to
this small junction bearing the sign:
We're not aware of any
other sign which uses this spelling of the small village which is
customarily called 'Erwarton' these days. The home of 130 to 150
people, The parish of Erwarton lies between those of Harkstead, Shotley
and the Stour estuary to the south. One of the smallest villages in the
county stands shoulder-to-shoulder with one of the largest: Shotley. In
1870-72 John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales
used a third spelling of 'Arwerton', which is a transliteration of the
current name. Such is the curiosity of Suffolk nomenclatures; this why
we include the signpost below.
The Suffolk CAMRA site (see Links)
Erwarton is a small hamlet on the River Stour where legend has it that
heart of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, is buried in the
church.*** It was recorded in Domesday as "Eurewardestuna" and
"Alwartuna". A local jetty was once supposedly used to import horse
manure from various local towns to fertilise the nearby fields and may
have resulted in some local coin finds. The current Ewarton Hall was
rebuilt in 1575 and partly re-built in 1858. The gatehouse (c.
1549-1575) is said to be one of the most imposing in the region... The
parish name is Arwarton, which reflects an older name for the village;
on John Speed's 1610 map it appears as "Arwerton". See also John
Speed's map of Ipswich.
[***technically this means that Erwarton is a village, only settlements
with no church are 'hamlets'.]
Erwarton gatehouse, the Hall behind it
Not far from Erwarton Hall is this intriguing tablet set into
the wall (and hiding under the gutter) of an old building next to the
road. It is known as Parker Long House and was originally three
'The Gift of
ar'. to the
Poor of Erwarton
Sir Philip Parker-a-Morley-Long,
3rd Baronet (1682 – 20 January 1741) was an English politician. Born at
Arwarton, Suffolk, the son of Sir Philip Parker, 2nd Baronet, and Mary
Fortrey, he took the name of Long on inheriting the estate of Whaddon
in Wiltshire from his cousin Sir Walter Long. The original Coat of Long
was, through some error, allowed to him by the College of Arms. This
would explain the use of the word 'Long' in the inscription; 'Bar'.'
refers to 'Baronet'.
He served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Harwich 1715–1734. On 20
January 1741, John Perceval, 1st Earl of Egmont wrote in his diary:
"This morning died my brother-in-law Sir Philip Parker, at 3 o'clock,
choked by one of those fits he has had for 12 weeks past at sundry
He succeeded his father and grandfather of the same name: res[ectively,
Parker, 1st Baronet (c. 1625–1690) and Sir Philip Parker, 2nd Baronet
(c. 1650–c. 1698).
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Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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