You don't have to leave Ipswich far behind to reach the most profoundly rural of the villages of the Shotley Peninsula, and this may come as a surprise, because Freston Tower, of which more in a moment, is a well-known structure, and the Boot, the village pub, is a familiar sight on the main Shotley road along the north of the Peninsula. The main village street runs off beside it. But this soon becomes a narrow, winding lane, rising and dipping between high hedges, before reaching the surprise of this church, and then beyond it a pretty, largely 19th century settlement.
Freston's is perhaps the most harmonious of the three neighbouring churches in this part of the Shotley peninsula. Woolverstone may have the finer setting, and Wherstead the grandest aspect and most dramatic view. But Freston's secretive graveyard is a pleasing, peaceful place. As with its two neighbours, this church was almost entirely rebuilt by the Victorians, but in a rather jaunty style, including an Arts-and-Crafts-ish octagonal vestry on the north side with a little chimney above it. On the south side is the surprise of the flamboyant wooden life-size figure of Peace, holding her laurel wreath high, and surmounting the parish war memorial. She looks for all the world as if she is on holiday here from the main square of a small French market town.
Not far off, the life-size figure of a little boy, wearing a dress in the Edwardian manner, rests smilingly beside a cross on a grave. He is little Humphrey Jervis-White-Jervis of Freston Hall, a member of a family with a rather unusual triple-barreled surname, who died at the age of 4 in 1900. He had a younger sister who was born the same year that he died. Her memorial is three along from his, but very modern; incredibly, she did not die until the mid-1990s.