A brief history of the beginnings of
Letter to America
If you are reading this in America you may be wondering what a chain of electricity pylons running through the countryside of eastern England has to do with you. And the answer is quite a lot.
To show the relevance of the Stour Valley to the United States of America we must go back to a time before the USA existed, before the time of King James 1st of England, to a time when this part of England was both one of the most highly populated, the most wealthy and the most literate. The wealth came from the wool industry and with wealth came education. When the King James Bible was published in English, the lay clergy of the villages around the Stour valley could finally read and understand it, drawing their own interpretation of it. At this time the Church was highly influential in controlling the populous but the new and independent interpretations of the message of the Bible lead to many independent churches being set up and Sudbury, for example, had a remarkable number considering the size of the population at that time.
So the independent churches taught a Christian understanding that differed from the "official line" from the Church of England and seeing that this Church no longer controlled the people, an edict went out to the clergy at the behest of the Crown. "Teach it our way or else" was, in essence, the message. But the independent clergy and their congregations did not heed the dictate and a period of religious repression ensued.
And so, rejecting this repression, around 20,000 people left this part of England for America. A full 1/3 of the colonists who set up the New England settlements came from here. Look at the map of this area, then compare the names on it with the names of the communities in New England, many are the same. There is yet more evidence of links to this area. You rightly swear allegiance to your flag and sing of the Star Spangled Banner. The original flag was, we are told, over 40ft long but where did the fabric for it come from? Cross Street, Sudbury, Suffolk, England. There is no plaque to mark the place but back then No. 77, Cross Street was a warehouse storing a fabric called "bunting" from which the flag was made. The colonists sent home for the fabric that they could not source in their new land.
So if you, like us, value your heritage, then this valley is an important heritage site for your nation which should not be spoiled with pylons and other unnatural and ugly paraphernalia.
Indeed it should be restored, preserved and seen as one of the birthplaces of some of the most fundamental aspects of your nation, your culture and your constitution. If you want to know where your underlying belief in freedom of expression of Christian belief came from, the answer is probably here, in and around the Stour Valley. We hope you will come and see this lovely place for yourself but if your visit is some way off, please help us ensure that National Grid, which operates in and is partly owned by your country, shows the appropriate respect for what is an American heritage site, the Stour Valley.