The Medieval Combat Society
Location: Acton, Suffolk
Opening Information: 11 am-3 pm Monday to Friday, late May – mid August, when volounteers are available to open the church. For the latest opening and access information, see the website.
Acton is mentioned in the Domesday book as Aketune, Land of Ranulf or Pevrell with a church which had 30 acres of land. The current Church was built around 1250 and the canopied tomb on the noth side of the Chancel is probably the founders tomb. In the 15th Century the South aisle and the porch were added with the Jennens family vault below. In the late 19th Century the tower was pulled down and was rebult in 1923 with the bells rehung in 1926.
Monument of the founder
Andrew de Bures, son of Robert de Bures, (d April 1360), and Andrews son Robert (d October 1361) The brass was present in 1620 but had disapeared vby 1826.
Robert de Bures located in the north aisle, said to be "The finest military brass in existence" - Victoria and Albert Museum. A now lost inscription around the brass is reported to have said that whomever should pray for his sould would have 40 days pardon. The shield is cut from a seperate piece of latten so may come from a different brass. The brass is in superb condition, with a replica for brass rubbings to be made. The brass shows a coif-de-mailles, over a hawberk which was usually worn over a gambeson. Mail Chausses are worn on the legs and feet with pryck spurs. On the hands are worn fingerless mittens of mail with a slit allowing the hands to be removed. The knees have guards made of boiled leather. A long armless surcoat is worn with a slit at the front for riding and gathered at the waist by an ornamental cord called a Cingulum. Across his shoulder is a strap to carry his shield and across his waist a sword belt.
Robert was born in 1255 and died in early September 1331, the brass is thought to have been made before his death, even as early as 1302. Robert was the son of a farmer Robert de Bure, (b 1235), and the grandson of Nicholas de Bures. Robert married Alice and later wife Hilary Le Fermer in 1311, (d 13 December 1331), Robert had no children by Hilary, but did through his first marriage and was succeeded by his eldest son Andrew de Bures (b 1302, d 12 April 1360), Roberts second son was William de Bures (b about 1303). His 3rd son was Michael de Bures (b 1304, d after 1373). Roberts 4th son was John de Bures born 1305, died about 1320.
In 1283 Robert escorted home French troops in the service of Edward I. Between 1283 and 1295 Robert fought in Wales helping to crush rebellions. In 1287 Robert was ordered to bring with himself 100 foot soldiers to help suppress the revolt of Rhys ap Maredudd in Wales. During this time Robert was the Bailiff of Queen Eleanor and custodian of Haverford West Castle for the Queen. After 1285 Robert was employed on commissions of enquiry and on judicial commissions mainly in Northern England. After the death of Philip de Montgomery, Robert was appointed in the autumn 1295 to keep the forest of Cannock, Staffordshire ,for which he paid the king 10 marks a year until 2 July 1306 when Anne Montgomery the heiress reclaimed her inheritance. At the end of the 13th Century Robert was granted the Manor of Acton. In 1302 Robert obtained the Manor of Bansfield in Wickhambrook. In July 1303 Robert was in Scotland with Edward I and was appointed to look after the peace in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. After 1307 Robert was Steward to the estate of Clare, owned by the Earls of Gloucester. In 1309 Robert gained lands in Waldingfield and on 26 August 1310 was given permission to marry Hilary widow of John de Hodoboville. Through the marriage in 1310 Robert gained the Manor of Acton Hall. At about this time Robert left his appointment as Steward of Clare. In 1316 Robert acted as a commissioner of arrayin Suffolk to raise troops for war in Scotland. In 1322 after Edward II defeated the rebels at Boroughbridge, Robert was given the custody of the rebels lands in Norfolk and Suffolk. By 1331 Robert held land in 15 Suffolk villages including Kettlebaston, Lavenham, Cockfield, Monks Eleigh, Great and Little Waldingfield, Long Melford, Sudbury and Bures. Robert also had the Manor of Foxearth in Essex.. On 13 August 1331 a few months before his death, Robert had been given license by king Edward III to grant 29 acres of land in Acton and 60 acres in Great Waldingfield to the Crutched Friars of Whelnetham who would appoint two chaplins celebrate forever a daily mass for the souls of Robert and his ancestors
Alice de Bures, Alice de Bryan was born about 1360 and died in 1435, she married Guy de Bryan, grandson of the lord Bryan, with whom she had 2 daughters. Her household accounts survive from 1412 to 1413 and give insight to lower nobility family life.
Henry de Bures, died 1528