South Elmham St. Michael

Photo:  Rod Morris

The village of South Elmham St Michael is to be found in the open, undulating landscape of northeast Suffolk, between Bungay and Halesworth, with its wide and unbroken stretches of arable farmland, large commons, scattered farmhouses and cottages with the very characteristic high-pitched roofs.

St Michael's is the most easterly of the seven South Elmham parishes with its church set next to a large village Green that traces its origins back to 1321.  The other South Elmham parishes (known collectively as 'The Saints') are named All Saints, St Cross, St James, St Margaret, St Nicholas and St Peter. To further complicate matters the village of Homersfield is locally referred to as South Elmham St Mary. The origin of the name Elmham is attributed by some to Aethelmaer, the Saxon Bishop of East Anglia prior to the Norman Conquest. Others believe that the name derives from the elm trees that grew here in abundance right up until the ravages of Dutch elm disease in the 1970s.

Photo:  Rod Morris

The Village Green in South Elmham St Michael was actually moated by the medieval inhabitants to keep the livestock secure and still today, in the correct light conditions, a 'carnser' or causeway across the Green is visible where village folk would cross on their way to the Church. The parish church is a Grade 1 listed building with its main structural components comprising of a Chancel, a superb timber roof to the Nave, a timber framed south porch and a simple square west tower in flint with stepped flush work and a stone panelled parapet.

Photo:  Rod Morris

On the North wall of the Nave hang two rolls of honour to the South Elmham St Michael residents who went to fight in both the world wars. They read as follows:

St Michael's South Elmham


WAR 1914 - 1919

Peter Potkins
Sidney Reynolds
E Smith
Edgar William Head
D Woodgate
George Forster
George Upson
Arthur Barber
Harry Baldry
Samuel Baldry
John Page


Dec 1919                                       WLW



St Michael South Elmham

Roll of Honour

Those who fought in the war
1939 - 1945

William Adams

Harry Adams

Reginald Bray

George Taylor

William Taylor

Elsie Taylor

Monica Watling

All returned safely

It is a very remarkable thing for a village with a population of less than 50 people to provide such a high percentage of their inhabitants to serve in the King's uniform and even more remarkable that they should all return from both the world wars of the 20th Century. We will never know the horrors that these brave sons and daughters of Suffolk had to face, but we can still share in the joy of their safe return. South Elmham St Michael is truly a very thankful village.

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