Our small but thriving, rural Suffolk village is located 6 miles south-west of Ipswich and is included in the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
For more information about Bentley, see Our Village pages.
A little of Bentley's History...
In 1086, the Domesday Book described Bentley (population 31) as having: “12 acres meadow, woodland for 42 pigs, 8 cattle, 7 pigs, 42 sheep, 1 mill at Dodnash”
The Domesday Book also mentions St Mary’s church, with its 30 acres of free land; the early history of the parish is interesting, with Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Roman finds reported within the parish, and a Roman road forming part of its northern boundary. Around 1230 Dodnash Priory (founded in 1188 in East Bergholt) moved to Bentley, and its Augustinian monks served the parish until it was dissolved shortly before the Reformation.
We still have many fine examples of listed buildings in the village, some dating back to as early as 13th or 14th century. The influential and wealthy Tollemache family came to live in Bentley shortly after the Norman Conquest and lived here for over 400 years before moving to Helmingham Hall. They established many of the major houses in the north of the village close to St Mary's Church. The Church has Norman roots and the nave is believed to date back to 12th century.
In 1674, the number of inhabited houses was 39, and it didn’t change significantly until the coming of the railway station in 1849 (Bentley had its own station until the Beeching cuts in 1966). In 1851, the number of inhabited houses had rocketed to 94. In 1951, following the construction of a council housing estate, it had grown to 157; and in 1981, the number was 309. Population at the last census in 2011 was 776.
In terms of public houses, the village boasted three in 1912; the village has bought the last remaining one, the Case is Altered, and runs it as a community pub, with a community-owned shop in its grounds.
Bentley Parish Council is grateful for the support of Community Action Suffolk which took over the hosting of our website platform on 1 November 2016. If you have any concerns about this website, please contact the the Village Correspondent via the Clerk to Bentley Parish Council. (e-mail Joy Scott).
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Suffolk Coronawatch Bulletin - 26th November
Volunteers (and paid workers) needed for Suffolk Covid-19 vaccination centres
Christmas waste and recycling collection schedule
Message from Village Playing Field Trustees re use of the Village Playing Field
Help stop the spread of Covid-19 - Self isolation advice & financial help
Home, But Not Alone phoneline goes live again from 3rd November