Local people were involved and employed in other trades required for life in the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries, including blacksmiths, saddlers and wheelwrights, millers, shoemakers, joiners, carpenters, shop-keepers and carriers, as well as those working on the land.
Matilda Barbara Bentham-Edwards, novelist, essayist, and poet, was born at Westerfield Hall on 3rd March 1836. She could claim an inheritance of literary tastes and genius from both sides of the family. Her first poetical efforts, “The Golden Bee”, was accepted by Charles Dickens and presented to the public in his magazine, “All the Year Round” in 1860. She also wrote the book called “Reminiscences” (1898) and readers were greatly entertained by her descriptions of life and customs in Westerfield in the 1850’s, and her frank appraisals of village personalities. Neither the Rector, nor the Schoolmistress, nor the frequenters of the Swan – were spared. When her mother and father died, she and her unmarried sister carried on the farm at Westerfield Hall.
The “Eastern Union Railway” sponsored a railway from Ipswich to Bury St. Edmunds in 1849 and a branch from Ipswich to Woodbridge in 1847, but 12 years were to pass before the line was opened and a station sign displayed at Westerfield. In 1854 the Eastern Union, the East Suffolk and several other groups joined with Eastern Counties Railway under centralised management. In 1862 Eastern Counties and a number of smaller companies were amalgamated to form the “Great Eastern Railway Company”.
The illogicality of a boundary running through the middle of Westerfield – part within the Borough of Ipswich, and part in Suffolk Coastal, came up for renewed discussion as a result of concerns felt by both parts of the village about the possible route for an Ipswich Northern By-Pass in 1977. After much discussion and debate, the Boundary Commission recommended the boundary changes needed to bring unification of the village within Suffolk Coastal, and this was finally implemented in 1985, leading to the first elections to the newly established Westerfield Parish Council in April 1986. Democracy had come home.
We wish to acknowledge help we have received from the historical research and papers written by the late Mr. S.F. Watson of Westerfield over 40 years ago, and also from information found in the ‘Westerfield 1087-1987’ book, the joint authors of which were Mr. N.G.Perkins and the late Dr. A.J.C. Hyde, both of Westerfield, and for assistance by others who have given helpful support.