The village of Lidgate is on the ancient trading route between Clare and Exning. There is evidence of Roman occupation, although it is thought that the village was attacked during a Viking invasion of the area. The village name means ‘swing gate’ and it was listed in the Domesday Book in 1086 as having 20 acres of meadow and woodland for 25 pigs. The record also notes that there were 5 cattle, 55 pigs, 147 sheep and 13 goats in the village.

It is thought that there has been a religious building on the current church site since Saxon times, although much of the current structure dates from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. There is graffiti in the church which has been attributed to the fifteenth century poet John de Lydgate.

The castle has been a fortified site since Saxon times, although was rebuilt in the twelfth century. It fell into disrepair in the fourteenth century and parts of the building were used in the construction of the church.

Lidgate was once a larger settlement, at one stage comparable in size to Clare. There is some evidence that the village stretched further towards Wickhambrook.

Nearby to Lidgate, the stone bridge dates to around the fourteenth or fifteenth century and it was part of a packhorse route between Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge. Hinchliffe, in his packhorse book, notes though that “the notice alongside the bridge quotes an early fifteenth century date, but since Moulton was a market town at the end of the thirteenth century, it is possible that there was a bridge on the site to serve local market traffic before the current structure”. There was a similar bridge in nearby Kentford, but more of that in another post.

Historically, the bridge was financed by the Church and Bridges Estate which had been established in the early sixteenth century. Although they must have done a decent job for some centuries given that it’s still there, the West Suffolk county planning committee met in June 1962 to authorise expenditure of between £45 and £50 to repair the bridge. At the same time, they asked the Ministry of Works to take over the cost of repairing the bridge from the church charity.

The Lidgate Star

The pub is open from 16:00 to 23:00 on Mondays to Fridays and from 10:00 to 23:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. Home-made pizzas are available between 18:30 and 22:00 every day of the week (between 12:00 and 22:00 on Saturdays) and food is served on Saturdays between 10:30 and 22:00 and on Sundays between 10:30 and 15:30 and from 18:30 until 22:00.

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The Lidgate Star, The Street, Lidgate, Suffolk, CB8 9PP


01638 500275

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