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History of Suffolk - Bury St Edmunds 1865

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BURY ST. EDMUND'S, the capital of West Suffolk, is a borough, shire town, polling place, railway station, market and assize town, in the hundred, union, and rural deanery of Thingoe, archdeaconry of Sudbury, and diocese of Ely, situated on the river Lark, communicating with Lynn, and being connected by railway with Cambridge, Ipswich, Norwich, Sudbury, and Loudon. It is 94 ½ miles from London via Ipswich, and 86 ¾ via Cambridge, 43 south-west from Norwich, 9 north-west from Lavenham, 14 east from Newmarket, 13 south from Brandon, 11 south from Thetford, 6 south-west from Ixworth, 14 ¾ north-east from Stowmarket, 26 ½ north-east from Ipswich, 17 ¾ from Needham Market, and 16 north from Sudbury.
Bury is supposed to have been the Villa Faustina of the Romans, and became a considerable town of the East Anglians. It derived its chief fame and importance, however, from becoming the burial place of St. Edmund the Martyr, King of the East Angles.
The parishes are two, St. Mary's and St. James's. At the Shire Hall are held the spring assizes for Suffolk, and the quarter sessions for the county, and also for the borough, and petty sessions every Wednesday, at 12. This is the place of election for West Suffolk, and a polling place. It is a borough, returning two members to Parliament, and has a municipal corporation, with separate jurisdiction. The corporation was remodelled by the Municipal Corporations Act, and consists of a mayor and the usual functionaries. The market days are Wednesdays and Saturdays: at the former the dealings in corn and cattle are large; the latter is chiefly for provisions. The fairs are on Easter Tuesday, October 2, and December 1. The October fair is the great fair, and much resorted to. The December fair is a great cattle fair. Bury is a grand market for agricultural produce of all kinds.
The town is well built, and is lighted with gas, and there are some good public buildings and private dwellings. There are four churches.
St. James's church was not finished till the reign of Edward VI., who gave £200 towards its completion: it was thoroughly repaired in 1820, when a new gallery was added: it has about 2,000 sittings, of which 250 are free. The benefice is a donative, endowed with a stipend, and is in the patronage of Henry Wilson, Esq., of Stowlangtoft Hall, Suffolk, and held by the Rev. Frank Robert Chapman, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford.
The church of the Virgin Mary was commenced in 1424:
in the chancel is a monument in memory of Mary, daughter of King Henry VII., first married to Louis XII., King of France, and afterwards to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk; she died at Westhorpe, in 1533, and was buried in the abbey church here: the church has been thoroughly repaired, at a cost of between £6,000 and £7,000: the repairs were made under the superintendence of the late Mr. Cottingham, architect, Mr. Nash, of London, Mr. Farrow, of Diss, and the chancel by Mr. Durkin, of this town: it has 2,000 sittings, of which 500 are free. The benefice is a donative, endowed with a stipend, in the patronage of three trustees, viz., the Rev. C. J. P. Eyre, rector of Marylebone, the Rev. Hugh Stowell, and the Rev. E. Clayton, of Cambridge; the Rev. John Richardson, M.A., of Trinity College, Dublin, is the present incumbent.
St. John's church is an elegant structure, built by subscription, at a cost of £6,000, and consecrated October 21st, 1841; it bas 850 sittings, half of which are free. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed by the Marquis of Bristol and Earl Jermyn with £100 per annum out of land at Little Saxham; the Bishop of Ely is patron, and the Rev. Robert Rashdall, M.A., of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, incumbent.
St. Peter's is a new church: a sum of £3,000 was presented by an unknown friend towards its construction, and the site upon which it is erected was given by the Marquis of Bristol.
A Roman Catholic chapel, dedicated to St. Edmund, was erected here in 1837, from designs by C. Day.
The Grammar school, in Northgate-street, was founded by King Edward VI.,and is well endowed.
The Norman tower of the Abbey, erected in the reign of William the Conqueror, and now forming the grand entrance of the churchyard of the two churches, St. James and St. Mary, to the former of which it serves as the bell tower, is considered one of the purest and most perfect specimens of Norman architecture in Europe, and has undergone a complete repair, under the superintendence of Mr. Cottingham, at an estimated cost of £3,000, contributed by the parish and by public subscription.
King Edward IV. founded a college of priests in College street, and the building is now occupied as a workhouse.
There were formerly several hospitals in the town, the principal of which are God's House, at Southgate, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist: St. Nicholas's Hospital, at Eastgate, near the roads leading to Ixworth and Fornham, founded by one of the abbots of Bury; the extensive remains of the hospital and chapel form the principal part of a house: St. Saviour's Hospital, founded by Abbot Sampson, belongs to St. John's College, Cambridge. Without Risby Gate stood an hospital dedicated to St. Peter, founded by Abbot Anselm in the reign of Henry I. In the wall forming the eastern boundary of the Abbey precinct are some arches, commonly known by the name of "The Abbot's Bridge," which seem intended to form an occasional foot-bridge, by means of planks laid from buttress to buttress, through which there are passages, the greatest distance being about 24 feet. There are many other vestiges of ancient structures, of considerable interest from their antiquity and historical association.
The Shire Hall is a modem erection, in the Churchyard, and comprises two convenient courts for the trial of civil and criminal causes.
The Guildhall is used as a county court, and the transaction of the general business of the borough; it is vested in the trustees of the Guildhall feoffment, by whom it is kept in repair, and by whose liberality one wing is devoted to the use of the West Suffolk library, founded 1st November, 1846, and contains 7,000 volumes; it has an ancient porch, and some portraits of local worthies.
The County Gaol, which serves also for the borough and the liberty of St. Edmund, is an extensive building at Southgate: it was erected in 1803 at an expense of £30,000, and is calculated to contain 143 prisoners, with a separate bed for each.
The Police Station is a fine specimen of a Norman house: the age of its erection is obvious, from its general appearance and circular windows.
The Theatre, a neat structure, in Westgate-street, was opened for dramatic performances, October, 1819.
The Corn Exchange, erected in 1802, at a cost of near £5,000, is a handsome structure in the Ionic style; Mr. Lot Jackaman, of this town, was the builder.
The Athenaeum, a large and neat edifice, on the south side of Angel-hill, was established in 1853, by uniting under one comprehensive head three important institutions of the town —the Young Men's Institute (fons et origo of the society), the Museum, and the Archaeological Institute: its present locale, was purchased by the Athenaeum from the shareholders of the Assembly Rooms for the sum of £2,500, the original cost of the building having been £5,000: it comprises a reading-room, library of upwards of 5,000 volumes, museum (with fine ornithological, archaeological, and geological collections), class-rooms, and one of the finest lecture halls in the provinces: a portion of the building, consisting of a news-room and billiard-room on the ground-floor, is occupied by the Gentlemen's Club: the objects of the Athenaeum are the promotion of useful knowledge among its members, and their intellectual and moral improvement, by giving them access to a library, lectures, conversazioni, and concerts, to a museum of natural history and antiquities, to the researches of archaeology, and to the advantages of class instruction, and affording them other opportunities of literary, artistic, and scientific instruction: under its noble president, the Hon. and Rev. Lord Arthur Hervey, M.A., P.S.A., the Athenaeum has risen to a position which, in point of usefulness and intellectual recreation to the town and neighbourhood, the numerous advantages to its immediate members, and commodiousness of structure, yields to no other institution in the country.
The town and neighbourhood are noted for salubrity; and it is worthy of mention that Mr. John Darkin has met with such success in the cultivation of grapes here as to be able to produce from them wines of a class to merit the commendation of connoisseurs. Epernay, Frontignac, Oporto, and other foreign grapes are grown by him in the open air to a perfection in size and sweetness which would appear incredible to those foreigners who look on England as a land of fogs, where the sun never shines.
The Botanic Garden, the entrance to which is under that magnificent remain, the Abbey Gate, is an important acquisition to this branch of scientific study: it was established in 1820: it comprises an area of seven acres; Mr. Robert Pettit is the lessee.
The Suffolk General Hospital, originally an armoury, is a plain but commodious structure, in an open and healthful situation: established, 1826; enlarged, 1846; rebuilt, 1864, at a cost of £13,000.
A weekly newspaper is published every Tuesday evening, the "Bury and Norwich Post," and another on Friday evening, called the " Bury Free Press."
The Guildhall Feoffment Schools.—By a scheme of the Court of Chancery, three schools, known is " The Guildhall Feoffment Schools," were erected in 1843, at an expense of £1,650: they are governed by the 28 trustees of the Guildhall Feoffment, and are supported by the funds (derived from rentals, &c.) of that charity: the schools were founded for the benefit of the children of persons resident, or, if dead, who did reside, within the borough of Bury St. Edmund's, and by an improved scheme, dated 1865, orphans, residing with relatives or guardians, are also admissible.
The Guildhall Commercial School, in Collegc street, provides an education in the usual English subjects, Latin, modern languages, and mathematics, for 150 boys, who pay a capitation fee of £1 per annum: the head muster (Mr. John Jackson) receives a salary of £150 per annum, in addition to the capitation fees, and has three assistant masters.
The Poor Girls' School, Well-street, educates 150 girls in reading, writing, arithmetic, and other useful instruction: the mistress has a salary of £40 per annum, a penny weekly from each scholar, and a good residence: an assistant mistress is also provided by the trustees, with allowances for monitors, rewards, stationery, coals, &c.
The Poor Boys' School, a handsome and commodious building, in Bridewell-lane, affords instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic to 300 boys: the master receives £100 per annum, and a penny weekly from each boy, and the sum of £50 is allowed yearly for monitors, rewards, and other necessaries: the master has also a residence adjoining the school.
The following places are within the jurisdiction of the Bury St. Edmund's county court viz.:— Ampton, Ashfield, Badwell Ash, Bardwell, Barrow, Great Barton, Beyton, Bradfield, Combus, Bradfield St. Clare, Bradfield St. George, Brockley, Chedburgh, Chevington, Clumney Mills, Cockfield, Culford, Denham, Depden, Flempton, Fornhall All Saints, Fornhnm St. Geneveve, Fornham St. Martin, Hargravc, Hawstead, Hengrave, Hessett, Horningsheath, Hunston, Ickworth, Ingham, Ixworth, Ixworth Thorpe, Lackford, Langham, Lawshall, Little Livermere, Livermere Magna, Norton, Nowton, Pakenham, Reed, Risby, Rougham, Rushbrooke, Great Saxham, Little Saxham, Stanningfield, Stanton All Saints, Stanton St. John, West Stow, Stowlangtoft, Thurston, Timworth, Troston, Walsham-le-Willows, Wattisfield, Westley, Great Wheltnetham, Little Wheltnetham, Whepstead, Wordwell.
The population in 1861 was as follows:—The parish of St. Mary, 6,604; St. James, 6,714: and the area of the parishes is 2,934 acres.
Parish Clerks.—St.Mary's, William Crack; St.James's, George Stearn.
Official Establishments, Local Institutions, &c
Postmaster, William Dawson. DAY MAIL.—Letters for London, Colchester, Ipswich, Ncedham, Stowmarket, & Norwich, without extra charge till 11.10 a.m.; registered at 4d. till 10.40 a.m. & at 8d. till 11.10 a.m
NIGHT MAIL.—Letters for Ipswich, Needham, & Stowmarket without extra charge till 8.30 p.m. with extra 1d. stamp till 8.40. p.m.; for London & all other parts, without extra charge till 8.30 p.m. with extra 1d. stamp till 9.10p.m.; registered at 4d. till 8 p.m. & at 8d. till 8.30 p.m
Delivery of letters in the town commences at 7 a.m. from the 15th of February to the 14th of November, the rest of the year at 7.30 a.m. Day mail letters delivered at 2 p.m.; except on Sundays
MONEY ORDERS paid & granted from 9 till 6; Saturdays from 9 till 8
Joseph Alfred Hardcastle, esq. Writtle, Essex; Oxford & Cambridge clubs SW, & 27 Pall Mall, London SW Edward Greene, esq. 12 Westgate street, Bury St. Edmund's

And Last updated on: Thursday, 08-Feb-2018 10:16:23 GMT