Lordship Close

the site of the most noteable of many springs of fresh water

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Lordship Close' page

'Lordship' on the 1686 map

Lordship Close is so named because it is built on land called 'Lordship' on the earliest map we have of Orwell, drawn in 1686.  It may have been the site of the lord of the manor's house before 1509, when the manorial lords were resident here, and the map shows a mysterious mound on which there may at one time have been a house, a fort, even an early church or temple.  We may never know; very frustrating  !  What is known is that this was the site of the most noteable of many springs of fresh water along the High Street and Fishers Lane. There was a similar mound in Wimpole.

To quote the 19th century local historian Revd. Conybeare:

"Orwell itself lies, as usual, just off the road, on the southern slope of the hill.  Half a century ago it was the prettiest of villages, with its eponymous "well," shaded by magnificent trees, gushing from the hillside, in the midst of a prehistoric earthwork, just below the noble church. But, about 1870, the earthwork, unhappily, was found to contain "coprolites" (worth probably about £100 after the expenses of getting them had been paid). For this paltry sum the whole place was destroyed. Well, trees, earthwork, all are now gone; only the church is left, perched on its slope high above the village street."

The village Board School was built on part of the site in 1889 and during the 20th century the rest was laid out as allotments.  Ten years after the closure of the school  in 1962 the newly-formed Orwell Preservation Society put forward a plan to demolish the school building and set up a new village green on Lordship, but the District Council, owners of Lordship, had other ideas.

Photo:Lordship bungalows under construction 1985

Lordship bungalows under construction 1985

Plans were approved for a sheltered housing development of nineteen bungalows on the allotment land, and construction work began in February 1985.  Three new allotments were provided to the rear of bungalows in Fishers Lane.

Photo:Maurice and Betty Pearce, first residents of Lordship Close

Maurice and Betty Pearce, first residents of Lordship Close

Not long after the first residents had moved in the Silver Pippin Club was founded with the aim of bringing together the residents of Orwell's two sheltered housing units for friendship and entertainment. (The Silver Pippin was an apple tree that had grown on Lordship for many years.) The club met every Tuesday in the former school building, now the Community Room, and coffee mornings were held there on the first Thursday in each month.  Orwell Friendship Club now meets there on alternate Wednesdays, and the building also contains laundry and shower facilities for the residents of Lordship Close.
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Lordship Close' page

This page was added by Martin Grigor on 09/01/2013.

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