View of Framlingham Castle in Suffolk

American Connections in the East of England

From Puritans to pugilists. Eastern England has strong historical links with North America, from founding fathers to a Hollywood hero. Walk in the founding fathers footsteps and discover modern day East Anglia.

Lincoln and the New World

Hingham Church, Norfolk, UK

In April, 1637, a 15-year-old boy left his native Norfolk for a new life. Samuel Lincoln’s descendants would go on to make history. Born in 1622, Samuel was baptised at St Andrew’s Church, Hingham, near Norwich. He emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, along with his employer Francis Lawes, a weaver from Norwich and his family.

Like many of the Hingham congregation he was a Puritan, and found a safe haven in New England. His new town must have felt familiar; founded only four years earlier, south of Boston, it was called – Hingham.

Samuel went on to have 11 children, and lived until 1690. His greatgreat- great-great grandson Abraham Lincoln became the 16th American President in 1861. A bust of Abraham Lincoln sits in Hingham church today, and the village sign depicts a group of emigrants waiting for a ship on a quay.

A strong constitution

Play Pooh Sticks in East Anglia

In Britain we say: “Every man’s home is his castle.” The phrase comes from a Cambridge educated barrister and judge called Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634). Born in Mileham, Norfolk, he studied law at Trinity College and went on to be an influential legal figure during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I.

He often incurred the displeasure of the latter for his independent views and defiance of Royal prerogative. His court rulings later influenced opposition in America to the 1765 Stamp Acts (no taxation without representation) which led to the War of Independence. The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures by the State without a warrant, was inspired by Coke’s assertion that our home should indeed be a castle.

A city on the hill

Sudbury, Suffolk

John Winthrop (1587-1649) was the second governor of Massachusetts, and founder of the city of Boston. He was born at Groton Manor, near Sudbury, Suffolk, a son of the minor gentry. In religion he was a Puritan, which put him at odds with the established Church of England and the government of King Charles I. Like many of this persuasion, he emigrated to America in 1629. Winthrop’s words to his followers have gone down in history. “We shall be as a City upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us”. His speech was read out at the funeral of  President Ronald Reagan.

Winthrop also founded the town of Ipswich, Massachusetts, in 1634. Named after Suffolk’s county town, a major historical East Anglian port, it is one of a number of places in the USA with Suffolk place names. Others include Sudbury, Framingham and Haverhill, all in Massachusetts. Like Ipswich, Sudbury has a rich colonial history, and was founded in the 1630s. Its militia troops fought British Redcoats at the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775. Today it is known for its clams.

An English country garden

Huttleston Broughton (1896-1966) was heir to a huge American fortune. His father had made his money from mining and railways, while his mother, Cara Leland Rogers, was daughter of the multimillionaire Henry Huttleston Rogers. Although born in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Broughton moved to Britain with his family at the age of 16. He fought as a Life Guards lieutenant during the First World War.

During the mid-1920s, by which time he had been elevated to the peerage as Lord Fairhaven, he bought a dilapidated house and estate near Cambridge. Anglesey Abbey can trace its roots to a medieval institution, but the brilliant gardens and house you see today are all Fairhaven’s work. On his death in 1966, he left Anglesey to the National Trust, and modern visitors can enjoy its vistas, avenues, rare trees and statues.

www.nationaltrust.org

An English country garden

Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
Huttleston Broughton (1896-1966) was heir to a huge American fortune. His father had made his money from mining and railways, while his mother, Cara Leland Rogers, was daughter of the multimillionaire Henry Huttleston Rogers. Although born in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Broughton moved to Britain with his family at the age of 16. He fought as a Life Guards lieutenant during the First World War.

During the mid-1920s, by which time he had been elevated to the peerage as Lord Fairhaven, he bought a dilapidated house and estate near Cambridge. Anglesey Abbey can trace its roots to a medieval institution, but the brilliant gardens and house you see today are all Fairhaven’s work. On his death in 1966, he left Anglesey to the National Trust, and modern visitors can enjoy its vistas, avenues, rare trees and statues.

www.nationaltrust.org

A fighting man

Jem Mace, Norfolk

Bare-knuckle fighter Jem Mace, the ‘Gipsy King’, was heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Born at Beeston-next-Mileham, Norfolk, in 1831, there is a memorial stone beside his father William’s grave in St Mary’s Church.

In 1870, on the banks of the Mississippi, near New Orleans, he fought a celebrated bout against American pugilist Tom Allen to see who would be world champion.

A hard fought scrap ended in the 10th when Allen’s arm was dislocated. In a gesture of mutual respect, the English boxer walked to the opposite corner, clapped Allen on the back, and said: “Tom, you are a game man and I wish you well.”

Mace died in poverty 40 years later in Anfield, Liverpool. There is a display about Mace at Swaffham Museum, Norfolk, and a life-size statue of him and Allen at LaSalles landing, 12 miles from New Orleans. Mace was the last licensee of the long-gone White Swan inn, Norwich, where you can view a plaque marking the spot.

Archie’s adventures

Cary Grant, North by Northwest

Hollywood leading man Cary Grant (1904-86) was born Archie Leach in Bristol. He was a bit of a bad boy. After being expelled from school aged just 13, he ran away and joined Ipswich’s Bob Pender Stage Troupe as a stilt walker. He also appeared at the now demolished Hippodrome, in Norwich. The troupe visited the USA in 1920.

Young Archie decided to stay in the States, change his name – and have ago at acting. He didn’t do too badly…