Chevington All Saints church in which many of our Nunn ancestors spent time for some reason either to be baptised (note the font inset image), married or for a funeral service. Photos: Warren Nunn 2004.

Suffolk forms part of the East Anglian plain and consists almost wholly of an undulating region which rarely attains an elevation of 400ft. The highest ground, between Haverhill and Bury St Edmunds, reaches 417ft at Rede. In the 11th century, the term “freeman” applied widely. Some were large landholders, others were mere peasant occupiers. Suffolk was mainly an agricultural county, and the peasants, free and unfree, were chiefly occupied in the cultivation of the arable. The manorial estates were usually divided into the lord’s demesne and the land of the tenants to which corresponded the demesne ploughs and the men’s ploughs, though this distinction is not always apparent. The centre of the manor, the outward visible sign of the lord’s authority, was the hall or man-house, the aula, halla, mansio, or, as it is once called, the caput manerii. The stock on the manorial farms is recorded: the ploughs, and plough-oxen (boves), the “beasts” (animalia) and animalia otiosa, or cattle used for other purposes than ploughing, the rounceys (runcini) and horses (equi), the sheep and goats, the pigs and the bees” Sheep were widely farmed. The type of crops farmed included wheat, barley, oats, peas, beans, rye, hops, flax, potatoes and sugar beet.*

*Details from the Victoria History of the Counties of England

We first meet in the Nunns in the late 1600s through Thomas Nunn and we are assuming that his forebears probably also lived in the region near Bury St Edmunds.

Thomas probably came from peasant stock and it is likely he worked on a manor. Life in those days centred on working on the land and also on religion. It would been an influence on the lives of the workers, even though they may not have been believers.

Bury St Edmunds was home to Franciscan monks from 1238. The monks were in dispute with the friars of the parish church at St Mary. The monks took their dispute to the Pope and, later, to Henry 111. The friars initially won the right to establish buildings in the area. But the story did not end there. After the death of Alexander IV, the monks laid their case before his successor, Urban IV, with the result that the new Pope ordered the friars to pull down their buildings and abandon the ground. The friars obeyed and reconciliation was effected between them and the monks on November 19, 1262. They continued there until the dissolution of the church, but not without incident.

During riots in 1327, six friars sought to re-establish themselves in the town. The whole convent of the Franciscans, together with the town chaplains, made at this time solemn procession through Bury, a thing they had never done before, as though to encourage the populace. Assuming that our forebears were in this area at the time, the event would have been the talk of the town.

NOTE: I’m happy for anyone to reproduce this information. It is my own work and I would appreciate a credit thus – Original work of Warren Nunn,