2 to 3 million years bp The submergence of Britain towards the end of the Neogene Period led to shelly sands known as The Crags being deposited in what is now East Anglia. The presence of fossil shells of species similar to the present indicates that environmental conditions were close to those of modern-day England. It likely that these deposits were laid down in a shallow sea.
1.8 to 1.3 Million years bp The earliest exposed geological layer on The Millennium Green can be found in The Folly. This is the layer known as The Westleton Beds which forms part of the shelly sands known as The Crags (see above).
40000 to 70000 years bp The glacial wash known as Head was deposited in the middle of the Devensian glaciation. A band of Head runs through the centre of Folly Meadow. The climate at this time would have been cool with tundra being the dominant landscape.
Last few thousand years of the current Holocene epoch-The Alluvium river deposits were laid down. This can be found at the bottom of Folly Meadow and in Angel Meadow, Chestnut Meadow, Lester’s Piece, Two Acres and Blyth Meadow.
(For a more detailed description of the above please go to the Geology page).
1066 Three manors where recorded in the town of Halesworth during the time of the Norman conquest. Manor 1 was held by Aelfic, Manor 2 held by five freemen and Manor 3 by Gunnar of Halesworth (Edric of Laxfield was the overlord of this last manor). It is not known whether any of the land which now makes up the Millennium Green was part of these Manors.
1086 Three manors where recorded in the town of Halesworth (then known as Healesuurda) at the time of the Domesday Survey. Manor 1 was held by Bigot of Les Loges (Tenant-in-chief Eark Hugh of Chester), Manor 2 held by Count Alan of Britanny and Manor 3 by Robert of Vaux (Tenant-in-chief Roger Bigot). It is not known whether any of the land which now makes up the Millennium Green was part of these Manors.
1759-61 The construction and opening of the Blyth Navigation including the Halesworth stretch known as the New Reach.
1840 Tithe Map- the following information has been collated from the study of this map;-
A large proportion of what is now the Folly belonged to James Johnson of Hill Farm (who was also the occupier). This field was known as Stone Hill (for obvious reasons). A small, but nonetheless very precious, remnant of the pre gravel extraction hill top remains on the east side of the Folly.
A small portion of the Folly, the corner on the west side, was known as Castle Meadow and was land gifted to the town by Charles and Francis Keeble- a bank/earthwork feature is still visible in the Folly that could have once formed the boundary between Stone Hill and Castle Meadow.
The northern part of Folly Meadow belonged to Charles Keeble and was grazing land, the lower third of Folly Meadow (including the ‘arable weed triangle’) was actually in the parish of Holton in 1840. The drainage ditch appears to be the parish boundary.
Chestnut Meadow was also in the parish of Holton in 1840- the parish boundary was the Town River however this followed a slightly different course with a meander sweeping around the Chestnut Tree and placing it south of the Town River in the parish of Halesworth.
Angel Meadow, owned by Martin George in 1840, is known to have been grazed at points in its history.
The part of Lester’s Piece north of the drainage ditch belonged to Joseph Brown a butcher.
1850s Construction of the Halesworth – south line and therefore the creation of the embankment (and the various arches that allow access under it) that cuts across the valley and effectively cuts what is now the Millennium Green in two.
1856 Coin- While digging a geological test pit in Folly Meadow a 1856 Emperor Napoleon III 5 centimes coin was found around 14 inches below the surface, it was minted in Rouen. How it found it’s way to Halesworth remains a mystery but an educated guess, based on the find spot (near the Halesworth- south railway embankment) and the date, would suggest it was connected to the building of the 1859 railway line- railway engineers from Britain often crossed the channel during the mid 19th century to offer their expertise to their French counterparts.
1859 Opening of the Halesworth- south line
.1870s Construction of the Halesworth to Southwold railway line.
1879 The Halesworth to Southwold Railway line opens.
1880s A ‘limekiln’ is marked on the 1880s OS Map at the northern end of Angel Meadow. It is no longer shown on the OS Maps of the 1900s. It is possible that a ‘limekiln’ existed on the site a hundred years before this date or earlier still.
1884 After decades of decline The Blyth Navigation finally becomes redundant including the Halesworth stretch the New Reach,
1884 A Rifle Range is shown on ‘Blyth Meadow’ on the OS map from this year.
1884 A small range of agricultural/storage buildings are shown on the 1884 OS map adjacent to the ‘limekiln’ site on Angel Meadow, by 1904 this range appears to have been reduced to one ‘stable’ building. A galvanize structure is built a right angles to the ‘stable’ after 1904.
1929 The Halesworth to Southwold Railway line closes.
1939-45 Two pillboxes are erected either side of the railway embankment (one on the Blyth Meadow side the other on the Chestnut Meadow side). These form part of the Blyth stop-line which in turn is part of a larger WW2 defensive network in Suffolk. Another part of this defensive network can be seen in The Folly- an anti-tank block now sits almost totally hidden under some ivy.
1940 The meanders in the Town River are straightened to allow the river to flow quicker and therefore decrease the threat of flooding on valuable grazing marsh.