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Famous Thurlow resident commemorated 400 years since his death




Thurlow Primary School have been celebrating the life of a local philanthropist and benefactor, Sir Stephen Soame, who died on May 23, 1619.

Pupils dressed in Tudor costume last Thursday and paraded behind Sir Stephen’s funeral bier to Little Thurlow Church, where they showcased what they had learnt in school about Tudor life.

The school’s participation came through its collaboration with the Soame400 project; a series of events being held to mark the 400th year of Sir Stephen’s death and commemorate his life.

Thurlow Primary School pupils dressed in Tudor clothing as part of the Soame400 celebrations. Picture by Mark Westley.
Thurlow Primary School pupils dressed in Tudor clothing as part of the Soame400 celebrations. Picture by Mark Westley.

Jackie Betts, Year 5 and 6 teacher at the school, said: “The children have been learning about the Tudor period through art and drama, through poetry and Tudor games.

“In addition, they have been lucky to have been put through their musical paces by Tom Appleton from “The Come and Sing Company” where they have explored and performed work by artists such as William Shakespeare, Thomas Morley and Robert Herrick.”

Staff and pupils at Thurlow Primary School don Tudor clothing as they celebrate the legacy of Sir Stephen Soame. Picture by Mark Westley.
Staff and pupils at Thurlow Primary School don Tudor clothing as they celebrate the legacy of Sir Stephen Soame. Picture by Mark Westley.

Sir Stephen was Lord Mayor of London and lived at Little Thurlow Hall , where he died at the age of 77, and he provided almshouses for the elderly and a school for the young, both buildings still in existence in Lt Thurlow.

On Sunday, May 19 a service to rededicate the memorial to Sir Stephen in the church in Little Thurlow was led by the Right Reverend Dr Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and Rev Stuart Mitchell.

A launch and lunch was organised for more than 150 villagers and guests, led by the Bishop and the last Lord Mayor of London, Mr Charles Bowman, who walked from the church to Little Thurlow Hall to enjoy an al fresco lunch.

Entertainment was provided by the Beatitude Choir and the Capriol Society, the latter being dressed in period costume.

A charity has been formed in Sir Stephen’s name to enable pupils of Thurlow Primary to be taught to read music and have the chance to learn to play a stringed, or similar instrument

Also a further aim is to promote The Soame Heritage Trail along the Stour Valley from Great Bradley via Little Bradley, Little Thurlow, Great Thurlow,Great Wratting and Little Wratting and to bring together these communities as they were 400 years ago.



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