Clopton Rose Service
In 1436 William Clopton, Lord of Toppesfield Manor, granted land for a Guildhall and market to the Town of Hadleigh, the rent to be one red rose per annum.
In 1983 Gene Clopton discovered that rent was 500 years in arrears. The people of Hadleigh duly paid up, but because of their past history of payment, Gene demanded that the rent be paid in advance henceforth and this has been done ever since.
On Trinity Sunday each year during the morning service at Long Melford Church, the Mayor of Hadleigh puts a single red rose on the tomb of Sir William Clopton, which lies at the back of Long Melford Holy Trinity Church, as rent payable for the Town Hall Complex. This is considered to be the oldest payment of rent anywhere in the country.
The photograph shows Hadleigh Town Mayor, Councillor Yvonne Free, accompanied by her Deputy, Councillor Bill Wilson, the Rector of Holy Trinity Church Rev'd Matthew Lawson and the Chairman of the Long Melford Parish Council, Councillor Liz Malvisi at this year's service.