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History of Westerfield

Buildings of Westerfield

Interesting Facts

History of Westerfield

Westerfield is a small village. Nonetheless, it has a recorded history many centuries old. The earliest evidence of human occupation is in the late Stone Age, stone mace and flint axe head found in the village and now in Ipswich Museum. Centuries later, the influence of the Roman occupation was revealed when a number of Roman coins were found close to the Main Road and several burnt clay cinerary urns of the Roman-British period were unearthed near the railway crossing.

Westerfield name

Following the Romans’ departure, the Saxons crossed the North Sea to settle in the coastal areas of Suffolk and arrived at a clearing in the forest north of Ipswich which, later, the Norsemen found and named WESTREFELDA - “Vestri” meaning “more to the West”, and the Anglo-Saxon ‘field’ meaning a clearing. Over the years, the name has been changed to WESTRESELDA, WESTFIELD, WESTERFEUD, WESTERFELD, WESTERDEFELD and WESS-ER-FEL (which remains a familiar pronunciation to Suffolk countryfolk) and eventually, at a date unknown, to the present WESTERFIELD.

Westerfield in Norman Times

In 1086, the Doomsday Book, (the survey of England ordered by William the Conqueror), lists details of 21 holdings of land in the parish. Included therein is reference to the Manor, held prior to the Conquest by a Saxon freeman, but by 1086 it was held by Earl Alan of Brittany, who was married to the Conqueror’s daughter Constance. The lands of the Manor covered an area of 120 acres. Earl Alan also held land in Westerfield whose valuation was included in Ipswich; perhaps early evidence of the divided allegiance of Westerfield inhabitants for many years, between those living in Ipswich Borough, and those in the county.