History

Stratford St Andrew Village Sign

Stratford St Andrew is a small village on the banks of the River Alde. The name comes from the ford by which a Roman road crossed the river and from the church to which the village is dedicated. Pigs, sheep, goats and a mill are listed in the Doomsday Book of 1086. The church is of flint and stone of the early English type and has now been converted into a residential dwelling.

There are 141 adults on the electoral role and 72 residences.

Little remains of the mill shown on the village sign, and the black swan on is a reminder of a coaching inn of that name which, sadly, no longer exists.

The coat of arms leads us to the story of a famous lawyer called Ranulph de Glanville. These are the arms later described to him and his descendants. The words “confide recte agens” means “doing rightly, be confident”.

Glanville was born in Stratford St. Andrew and lived during the time of Henry II, and for a short while into the reign of Richard I. His grandfather had crossed with the Normans in 1066 and settled, and held estates and property, in both Suffolk and Norfolk.

Glanville held many titles at various stages throughout his life, among them being Lord of Benhall Manor, Earl of Suffolk, Sheriff of Yorkshire, Sheriff of Lancashire and Lord Chief Justice of England. He founded the priory at Butley in 1171, the abbey at Leiston in 1182 and a hospital at Somerton in Norfolk.

In 1173 Henry II’s sons had consorted with the Scots in a rebellion against their father. In 1174, while Henry was away in France, William the Lion, King of the Scots, crossed the border into England with a mighty army. The chief commander of the English were Robert Stuteville, head of the men of Yorkshire, and Ranulph de Glanville, head of the men of Lancashire and Richmondshire. They encountered the invaders near Alnwick and utterly routed them. It was to Glanville that William the Lion yielded himself as a prisoner. The good news was carried by messenger to Henry.

In 1180 Glanville became Chief Justicar of England and Henry’s right-hand man. He had reached the height of royal favour. In n1182 he was appointed an executor to the King’s will. In 1186 he negotiated a truce with the French King and a peace with the Welsh marches.

Glanville is best known as the reputed author of the oldest of our classics referring to matters of law. Comp[leted in 1187 and entitled “Tractacus de Legibus et Consuetudinimus Regni Anglie (Treatise on the Laws and Customs of England). It is a clear and orderly work which did much to settle the procedure of the royal court and in defining the common law of the land. This book, now referred to as “The Glanville Writs” or simply as “Glanville, is of great value to students of legal and social history – continental and well as English – and is well know in France and Germany.

In 1189 Henry died. Glanville was present at the coronation of his successor, Richard I (Richard The Lionheart). When Richard was raising money for the crusade Glanville contributed handsomely and joined him. In October 1190 Glanville died at the Siege of Acre in Palestine. Not from the infidels sword, but as a victim of the eastern climate.

Stratford St Andrew is thus associated with an active, versatile, eloquent and wise man who was ready at short notice to lead an army, negotiate peace, or decide a cause, and whose great and stirring deeds have helped to mould the destiny of our nation.

During his lifetime he became extremely rich. A Sunday Times survey, comparing Medieval wealth with that of today, mentioned Glanville. He was comparatively wealthier than Bill Gates of Microsoft.

Glanville married the daughter of the Lord of Parham and his wealth was divided between their three daughters.