Hengrave lies about four miles north of Bury St Edmunds on the A1101. The lord of the manor had a Lancashire accent and a background of trade but his pockets were full of good English gold. He was Thomas Kytson, soon to be a knight, a merchant who dealt in expensive materials like satin, lace and velvet in a constant trade with Flanders. He made his fortune shrewdly but spent it lavishly, settling at Hengrave in the 16th century having created the stunning magnificence of the Hall, which was 13 years in the making.
Sir Thomas lies now in the more modest proportions of the parish church nearby but even now impresses the stranger with the great alabaster monument which seems almost to fill the chancel. There are other tombs too, to the Darcys and the Gages. At the time that the manor belonged to Lord Darcy, it happened that his beautiful second daughter was pursued by three equally eligible young suitors. They were Sir George Trenchard, Sir John Gage and Sir William Hervey. Between them they made the girl's life an agony of indecision and on being importuned for the hundredth time she declared that she would marry them all. This in fact she did in that order as one after another died.
By her second marriage the manor came into the possession of the Gages. Sir John occupied himself mainly in writing a full history of Hengrave but he is also generally give the credit for introducing that succulent fruit, the greengage.
If anybody would like to expand this series please do. I would just ask that you let Smokeypugs know first so they can keep track of the Village Sign numbers and names to avoid duplication.