Great Waldingfield, in the heart of Constable and Gainsborough country, is situated about three miles north-east of Sudbury on the B1115 to Lavenham, and has a present population of about 2000. Mentioned in the Domesday book (when it was known as Walingafella Magna), its origins go back even further, with plentiful evidence of Bronze Age settlements.
In the latter part of World War II, Great Waldingfield was home to the 3000 or so men and women of the 486th Bomb Group of the USAAF 8th Air Force (the 486th Bombardment Group (Heavy) to give it its full title), with B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators flying over 6000 sorties.
The village itself spans 2 sites, the largest being the area astride the B1115 which has grown up since the arrival of the USAAF in World War II. There is also another small group of buildings nestling behind the church, many of which date back to the 16th Century when the village was thriving as a result of the wool trade, and where there was a Post Office, shop and smithy until just after World War II.
Along with other nearby villages and local picturesque settings Great Waldingfield was chosen for the filming in July 1994 of an episode of the BBC series "Lovejoy", (Series 6 Episode 2: "Day of Reckoning" - originally planned as Episode 8). Sadly the script required the action (based in and around the church) to take place during the hours of darkness so it is quite difficult to identify the relevant pieces in the programme, but they are at around the 30-minute mark.
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