Great Finborough, Suffolk

Great Finborough, Suffolk

Great Finborough is a civil parish and rural village of 755 people increasing to 808 at the 2011 Census, about three miles (4.8 km) south west of Stowmarket and near one of the sources of the River Gipping.

It has two schools, a pub and an active church.

Finborough Hall, purchased in 1794 and rebuilt by Roger Pettiward (d.1833) and sold in 1935 by the Pettiward Estate, in 2015 is used as Finborough Hall School.

Great Finborough has a Primary School, Great Finborough CEVC Primary School, founded in 1873. The original buildings, to which two new classrooms were added in 2000. The school's catchment area includes Great Finborough and the neighbouring village of Buxhall; places are offered first to children from the two villages and then to others from beyond the catchment area up to the school's intake limit.

The primary school is a feeder for Stowmarket High School, to which pupils transfer at the age of 11.

The independent school Finborough School is also located in the village. About 250 pupils attend the school, which includes Nursery, Pre-Prep, Prep School, Senior School and Sixth Form.

St Andrew's church is the Church of England church. The current church is Victorian, apart from the Tudor porch, and the spire nearly reaches 300ft. There has been a place of worship on the site for over 1,000 years and in 1086 the church as well as Finborough Hall were recorded in the Domesday Book.
There was also a Congregational chapel built in 1862 which is now a private residence.

Inside St Andrew's church the side chapel is filled with monuments dedicated to the Wollaston family who played a big part in the Finborough Estate. They owned the Estate for a century and there are monuments dedicated to nearly all the family members. The Pettiward family also played a big role, they took control of the estate after the Wollaston's and owned it until the mid 1930s.

The connection with the Pettiward family meant that it gave its name to Finborough Road in Earls Court, London, developed as part of the Pettiward Estate and later the Finborough Theatre.

The Bog Race is a key part of village life. It happens on Easter Monday every year. It is a battle between Haughley and Great Finborough. The race starts at the pub, The Chestnut Horse, where 15 or so men from Haughley and Great Finborough get considerably drunk and are taken to a nearby farm, Boyton Hall, where they have to race over the fields, about a mile, to get to the pub with the scroll. The first man at the pub with the scroll wins and is declared the winner over-all and then, that village has won for that year.

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William Skrene, a prominent judge of Irish birth, became Lord of the Manor of Great Finborough in about 1390.

John Green Crosse was born at Boyton Hall, near Great Finborough, in 1790. He became a surgeon in Norwich.

John Peel and his wife Sheila lived in a cottage nicknamed "Peel Acres" from the 1970s onwards from which many of his shows were broadcast in his later years. After his death in 2004, Peel was buried at St Andrew's Church in the village.

Others include William Wollaston, enlightenment philosopher and author of The Religion of Nature Delineated, whose son and grandson were MPs for Ipswich; and the Pettiward family who took over Finborough Hall from the Woolastons.

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