Monks Eleigh is a small picturesque village, surrounded by open countryside, four miles from Lavenham.
Like many rural villages, it no longer has the range of shops and facilities it once enjoyed. The population is now in the region of 400, but in 1831, it was over 700. Fortunately, 'The Swan' pub still remains, although at the beginning of the 20th century, there were three others.
The village name is derived from its connection for over a thousand years, with the monks of Canterbury, who for many centuries owned the land and dwellings in Monks Eleigh. There has never been a monastery here. Eleigh, it is believed, stems from the name of the previous landowner, 'Illa'.
The village green, with houses on either side, runs up to St. Peter's Church, which dates from 1350 and dominates the village. It once had a spire, but it was demolished in 1845. The panel sided pulpit is over 500 years old. The village green is central and contains the village pump, which dates from 1854 and was used until shortly after 1945.
In addition, the inhabitants have created the Millennium Green. This is not ancient common land and had originally been used as allotments which had become overgrown. Volunteers' hard work cleared and transformed the area into a valuable amenity for the village. It was officially opened as the Millennium Green in the year 2000.
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