Two classic Suffolk 'estate' villages, separated by the Black Bourn and retaining their separate identities until well into the 20th century - then each with its own simple medieval church, its school, pub, shop and bakery.
The combined Parish of Honington with Sapiston was established in 1972 when a new Rectory was built in Honington; the Sapiston Parsonage House sold and St Andrew's, Sapiston declared 'redundant', its care transferred to the Redundant Churches (now Churches Conservation) Trust.
Although no longer a Parish Church, St Andrew's continues to have its place in our community, both with feature services throughout the year and the churchyard open for burials. Sapiston School was closed in 1926 but remained in community use until about 1960 - and on demolition in 1986 its classroom screen was incorporated into All Saints, Honington to separate the west end of the nave from the Tower base.
Honington, with its Post Office and Pub, as well as its central active church of All Saints (listed Grade I) could be said to have assumed the ascendancy as Sapiston lost its own facilities - but, with a vibrant Village Hall in its midst and continuing frequent use of St Andrew's, today's Sapiston residents retain a spirited sense of identity from their neighbours only a few hundred yards to the west.
This marked sense of a separate but now corporate identity is perhaps a measure of the strength of our parish. Not so many years ago, the prosperity of the two villages was integral with the Euston Estate but now, although links remain strong, very few parishioners remain in Estate employ. Instead we have a heterogeneous community of some 360 adults, perhaps more pensioners than young children, with a social mix of professionals, artisans, agricultural workers and some civil employees of the adjacent RAF establishment. Enterprising management of the village Pub has encouraged community activities which supplement the long established Women's Institute and thriving Over 60's Club alongside more transient groups such as Indoor Bowls and Dance Clubs.
Our highly regarded and recently extended VC Primary School of 150 pupils benefits not only by the parental support from its recruitment area of adjacent villages and RAF Honington but also from the pastoral attention and involvement of the resident Team Vicar and School Governor.
Sense of 'community' is something in which the two villages take a certain pride and comfort. Over the last 20 years a spirit of support and involvement in 'church' events as part of our village life has been encouraged and most noticeable is the regular participation of many villagers who are rarely to be counted at a Service - yet willingly contribute to the 'through the year' life of our churches.
Particularly noteworthy among this involvement is the success of our annual Country Fair at Euston Park - the Rural PasTimes Event - which is now in its 16th year. Started as a 'fundraiser' for some repairs to the roof of All Saints, this event - predominately Honington/Sapiston led with support from adjacent parishes of Euston, Fakenham Magna and Troston - has become a well-known feature of the summer calendar, attracting participation from as far afield as Lincolnshire and Dorset and attendances of the order of 12,000 local visitors to the one-day event in June. To date over £250,000 ( - yes, Two Hundred & Fifty Thousand !) has been shared between local St Nicholas Hospice and the four Parish Churches.
It is an example of a Church led activity which would be impossible without strong local community participation. We take some pride from its success