Great Waldingfield

Great Waldingfield, in the heart of Constable and Gainsborough country, is situated about three miles north-east of Sudbury on the B1115 to Lavenham, and has a present population of about 2000. Mentioned in the Domesday book (when it was known as Walingafella Magna), its origins go back even further, with plentiful evidence of Bronze Age settlements.

In the later part of World War II, Great Waldingfield was home to some 3000 men and women of the 486th Bomb Group of the USAAF 8th Air Force (the 486th Bombardment Group (Heavy) in full), with B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators flying over 6000 sorties.

The village itself spans 2 sites, the largest being the area astride the B1115 (“The Heath”) which has grown up since the arrival of the USAAF in World War II. There is also another small group of buildings nestling behind the church, many of which date back to the 16th Century when the village was thriving as a result of the wool trade, and where there was a Post Office, shop and smithy until just after World War II. The Grade-1 listed Church of St. Lawrence marks the centre of a Conservation Area extending to a radius of perhaps 400 yards, and which contains numerous areas of beauty, peaceful footpath walks and wonderful views.

The village school is of an innovative design by John Blackie in the late 1960s, featuring a sunken central hall, and with curved brick walling.