The Lost Parish of Brundon
Brundon on the Chapman &Andre map 1774
The parish boundaries around here are not immutible. There have been some changes, and even some livel border disputes in the past. Also parishes have been split off and reabsorbed. In the immediate area, we have Weston and Easton (Weston is east of Easton, puzzlingly), which seem to have been separate entitieas at one time
Brundon, Borley's neighbour to the south along the edge of the river valley issustrates this fluidity rather strikingly. It started out being a manor, part of Bulmer, but established its own church and finally its independence from Bulmer in 1178. The church, which was near Brundon Wood, on the right hand side of the road toward Brundon Hall, thrived for a few hundred years, latterly under the advowson of the Chaplains of St Gregory's College until it finally collapsed into ruins by 1740. The parishioners of Brundon had long since gone to All Saints Church in Sudbury, a rather long treck, but there were Rectors of Brundon until 1635.
At some point, the parish became amalgamated with Ballingdon, which became known as Ballingdon-cum-Brundon (or Billingham over Brunsden). Before 1620, the inhabitants of the area referred to themselves as being in the parish of Brundon, but by 1652, the independence of Brundon was a memory. an order book from that year says
'Whereas there is some difference betweene the Inhabitants of Ballingdon and BRUNDON in this County concerning the repayre of theire highwayes, the Inhabitants of BRUNDON pretendeing they ought to bee severally rated as distinct parishes, Upon hearing and examineing whereof This Court doth thinke fit and Order that the said Inhabitants of Ballingdon and BRUNDON doe joyntly repayre the highwayes in both places and make rates accordingly, untill it appeare that they are distinct parishes, which this Court is not att present satisfied in'.
It had always been rather an anomaly that the people of Ballingdon did not have their own chuch but popped over the bridge to Sudbury and Suffolk. (Brundon Church is marked as Ballingdon's parish church on the 1750 Bowen map of Suffolk). The people of Brundon went too, but unlike their new co-parishioners, they paid no tithes. Sudbury's expansion eventually led to Ballingdon becoming absorbed into the Borough, and Brundon went with it, and became part of Suffolk. This means that the constituency, county, district and parish boundaries all take a tortuous route from Brundon Mill up the Belchamp Brook to Brundon Wood and then along hedges and ditches to the Halstead road.
The little parish therefore has 'moved' from being part of rural Bulmer in Essex, to being an area of Sudbury in Suffolk. The residents will still tell you that they live in Brundon though.