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Kessingland, Suffolk

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posted by Happy Snapper alias Chris, Norfolk on Monday 22nd of August 2022 07:39:34 AM

Kessingland is a coastal village and parish in Suffolk. It is located around 4 miles (6 km) south of Lowestoft and borders the parishes of Gisleham, Henstead with Hulver Street and Benacre. It is of interest to archaeologists as Palaeolithic and Neolithic implements have been found here and the remains of an ancient forest lie buried on the seabed. There has been a settlement here since Palaeolithic times. Between the Hundred River and Latmer Dam was once a large estuary which was used by the Vikings and Romans. The sea provided the village with its main livelihood, and at one time the village paid a rent of 22,000 herrings to their Lords, which then made it more important than nearby Lowestoft. The Domesday Book of 1086 records: "Kessingalanda, 'King's land', kept by Roger Bigot, Earl Hugh and Hugh FitzNorman from him, Hugh de Montfort Mill (100 herrings). 43 pigs." Roger Bigod or Bigot was a Norman knight who came to England in the Norman Conquest. Sir Henry Rider Haggard, novelist, spent his summers at Kessingland in a cliff top house called The Grange. He was visited here by his friend Rudyard Kipling. To counter the force of the North Sea and the winds off it, Haggard sloped the cliff on the edge of his property and experimented with growing marram grass upon it. The experiment proved a success, and the slope increased in height rather than decreased. In 1928 The Grange was sold and demolished to make way for a holiday camp. During the early part of World War II, anti-tank defences and gun batteries were installed at Kessingland to help protect the adjacent stretch of vulnerable coastline and the south of Lowestoft itself. As the threat of invasion receded from 1942 onwards, defence levels were reduced, although the advent of V1 flying bomb prompted a shift of focus to anti-aircraft defences. The village comprised two separate communities: the 'beach' and the 'street' and it was not until the 1960's that more housing united the village into a single community. The Suffolk Coast and Heaths area was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1970 and the Suffolk Coasts and Heath Project runs many conservation projects. The village sign depicts the sun at the top, related to Kessingland being on the east coast and one of the first places in the country the sun touches at dawn. The shield with a ship’s wheel and bell relates to those which can be found in the church of St. Edmund; while the fish in the net relate specifically to the fishing industry and the longshore fishermen. The scythe, sickle and wheatsheaf are symbolic of the agricultural heritage away from the beach. The affinity with the sea is reinforced by the lower part of the sign which also bears the three crowns of East Anglia. Not being pierced with arrows they don’t relate to St Edmund, the patron saint of the church.

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  • Published 12.07.22
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