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Local History Group

Have you any old photographs of Rattlesden, Rattlesden Folk or Farming Scenes from years gone by? The Local History Group are creating an archive for Rattlesden and would be grateful for any pictorial contributions. You can either donate your old photo's or lend them to us to copy, so that we can have a comprehensive pictorial history of the village. This information would be available for displays and for people coming to the village to research their family history. Please contact Bridget Goodchild on 736122

Local Interest CD

In 1985 the fruits of John Howson’s research into the traditional folk music of Mid-Suffolk were published as an A4 book under the title Many a Good Horseman. Alongside the book were a number of cassette tapes which were later put onto double cassette and are now available on CD (Find out more...)

History of Rattlesden

The name of the village occurs in the Domesday Book in varying forms:   Ratlesdena, Rachestdena and Rastedena. Hollingsworth in his "History of Stowmarket" says that the village took its name from its having been an encampment of the Danes in the 9th century i.e Ratesdana from Rates = boat and Doenas = Danes.   This   perhaps points to the arrival of the Danes by boat up the River Gipping.
WhalebonesRattlesden has long been connected in tradition with navigation. Over 650 years ago, a spring by Orwell Meadow (part of which is now  Rattlesden's recreation ground) was acknowledged in Ipswich as being the source of the River Orwell. The poet Lydgate, writing 550 years ago, named Rattlesden as the landing place of the Caen stone, which was brought for the building of Bury St. Edmunds Abbey 450 years before his day. In 1814, a visitor to the village was shown a ring on the church door and was told that it had been  made from an anchor in the river bed. Later that century, the owner of a nearby house set up the Whalebones across the stream and provided a village landmark for decades to come.   When they eventually rotted, they were replaced in 2000 by wooden replicas, made by a craftsman who lives in the village.

US MemorialDuring the Second World War, Rattlesden Airfield became a base for the US 447th bomb group, flying B-17 bombers.   As with many villages, close links developed between the squadron and local people.   After the war, the village erected a memorial to the fallen from the squadron.   Veterans and their families still visit the village regularly and receive a warm welcome.  

Immediately after the war, the airfield was   used as a food depot .   Subsequently, it housed Bloodhound missiles until 1966, when the land was sold.   Today, it is the home of Rattlesden Gliding Club.

Below is a raw color footage filmed by the crew of the B-17G christened "A Bit O' Lace." This aircraft was attached to the 709th Bomb Squadron, 447th Bomb Group stationed at RAF Rattlesden, England. Includes footage of wartime London, scenes around Rattlesden, and in-flight mission footage.

Farming History

Farming in the 1920's - Fred Knott kept Fen Farm in Rattlesden in 1923. (Read his diary...)