St Mary's Church, Huntingfield, Suffolk


William and Mildred Holland

The Reverend William Holland 1813-1891, of Boston Lincs, M.A. of Lincoln College Oxford 1840, was Rector of Huntingfield with Cookley in the Diocese of Norwich 1849-1891. In 1835 he married Mildred Keyworth Holland 1813-1878 at Skendleby Lincs. In 1881 he was married for the second time to Mary Elizabeth McKee, widow.

The memorial stones to William and Mildred, who both died at Huntingfield, are to the left of the entrance gates in the churchyard.

William Holland's accounts for the renovation of St Mary's Church for the years 1859-1878 list a record of the work done with the names of the tradesmen involved. (Ref: Suffolk Record Office Deposit No 12758 [F,C,57] Minute Book for 1862). His notes show that the work in the church, including furnishings and paint for the ceiling, came to 2,034.10s.0d, of which he gave all but 400.

140 years later a successful appeal was made to the Heritage Lottery Fund for grant aid to clean and conserve the painted ceiling and to repaint the interior walls. The target cost was estimated at 120,932. Generous grant aid also came from Entrust through the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, from the Council for the Care of Churches, the Heveningham Hall Country Fair Trust, the Barbara Whatmore Charitable Trust, and from 71 private donations. The P.C.C. is extremely grateful for all this generosity.

The church was closed on 3 November 2005 and opened again on 25 February 2006. The architect in charge was Alan Greening of Southwold, the contractor R&J Hogg of Coney Weston Suffolk, and the conservator was Tom Organ of the Wall Paintings Workshop, Faversham Kent.

Further research Little is known about the couple who devoted so many years to the church at Huntingfield. They were cousins; there were no children. The Holland family arms are displayed by angels in the chancel roof. By what right of connection are they there?

It is difficult to believe that Mildred Holland, talented artist, left no other examples of her skill behind, no sketches, plans, diaries, letters. Where are the family records? and with whom? Research is continuing among public records to discover family connections, but they do not put flesh on the bones of this benevolent Rector, and his artistic wife. Help to discover their story would be gratefully received.