The History of Suffolk site

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History of Suffolk

Post Office Directory of 1865.

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SUFFOLK, one of the largest English shires, is a seaboard county on the east coast, and derives its name from having been occupied by the South folk of the East English, who established their kingdom here; the North folk occupying the other part of the kingdom, whence its name of Norfolk. Suffolk is of a half-moon shape, joining on to the south of the oval of Norfolk. Its seacoast is low, and forms its eastern and south-eastern border. On the north it is divided from Norfolk by the Yare; Waveney, and Little Ouse; on the west the Lark divides it from Cambridgeshire; and on the south the Stour is the boundary against Essex. The greatest length is near 70 miles, and the greatest breadth is 52 miles, the area being reckoned at 1,515 square miles and 918, 760 acres.

The population in 1801 was 214,404;  1811, 233,963; 1821, 271,541; 1831, 296,317 ; 1841, 315,073; 1851, 337,215; and 1861, 337,070.

The country is chiefly of diluvial formation, running up to chalk in the north-west, and with districts of Norfolk crag and London clay. The shore is low and marshy, and defended by sandbanks and crag cliffs. The rivers afford much convenience for agricultural purposes and for navigation. The northern districts are supplied by the Waveney and the Yare, navigable from Bungay, and running by Beccles to the sea at Yarmouth, which is the chief port for North Suffolk, though a good deal of traffic is carried on by the Lake Lothing, cut from the Waveney to Lowestoft, which is one of the most rising ports on the coast. The north-eastern district is watered by the Little Ouse, Lark, and Linnet, which are feeders of the Great Ouse, and run down to the port of Lynn. The southern border is supplied by the Stour, which is navigable from Sudbury, and runs to the port of Harwich. The Orwell, or Gipping, which joins the estuary of the Stour, runs by Ipswich to the middle of the county at Stowmarket, to which place it is navigable. Further north the Debden runs a navigable course for some miles up the country to Woodbridge, but its springs are as far up as Debenham. The Alde, or Ore, is a small winding river, of which Orford is the port. The Blyth is a small navigable river in the north, running up to Halesworth, and of which Southwold is the port. Thus most of the towns in Suffolk have river navigation, and there is hardly a part of the country 10 miles from a navigable stream. Harwich is a useful port, and so are those of Ipswich, Lowestoft, and Yarmouth; Woodbridge, Orford, Aldborough, and Southwold are of minor importance, but none of the havens on this coast can be considered first class, being so much obstructed by banks and shifting sands. For East Suffolk the chief places of trade are Harwich, Ipswich, Lowestoft, and Yarmouth, the first and last places lying out of the shire. Aldborough, Southwold, Felixstow and Lowestoft are frequented as watering-places, and many of the small towns on the coast are fishing stations.
The railway communication has hitherto been afforded by two chief lines, the Cambridge line, with a branch to Newmarket and Bury St. Edmund's, giving a communication to Brandon and West Suffolk, and so to Norwich; the Colchester line, and the Eastern Union, accommodating Ipswich and the eastern parts, including branches to Maldon, Braintree, Harwich, Sudbury, Hadleigh, and Bury, running through the middle of the shire, and by means of the Lowestoft branch reaching the north-eastern parts, and from Marks Tey, through Sudbury to Bury . The East Suffolk line of railway, from Lowestoft and Yarmouth (via Beccles and Halesworth), joins the Eastern Union at Woodbridge, to London, which considerably shortens the route from London to Lowestoft and the south-eastern parts of the county. The Waveney valley branch, from Tivetshall via Bungay, joins the East Suffolk at Beccles. All over the district are numerous good turnpike roads.
The tillage of Suffolk is in a high Condition, though the soil generally is not what would be called rich, and is susceptible of great improvement. It is estimated that there are about 40,000 acres of rich loam, 80,000 acres of marsh land, 450,000 acres of a heavy loam or wet clay, 150,000 acres of sand on a subsoil of crag and occasionally rich, and 100,000 acres of poor sand, on chalk. The tillage, of course, varies according to the nature of the soil ; but the Suffolk farmers, in all departments, bear a high character for practical and scientific skill. The makers of agricultural implements have great reputation at Ipswich, Bury St. Edmund's, and Stowmarket; at the latter place are extensive chemical manure manufactories, paper and gun cotton works, and brick making; malting is carried on there very extensively.
Suffolk is chiefly under tillage, but the breeds of horses and pigs have some fame. The productions are cement stone (for Roman cement), lime, marl, whitening, bricks, gun-flints, salt, corn, horses, cattle, a poor cheese, butter, malt, hops, beer, &c. The manufactures are at Sudbury and Beccles, and are small, but include silk, velvet, flax, linen, woollen, bunting, horsehair, etc.; and the fisheries are on a narrow scale, chiefly sprats and herrings. Lowestoft is the chief fishing town, and supplies the London market,
Suffolk is in the Norfolk circuit, and is divided for electoral purposes Into East and West Suffolk. It is also divided into the Geldable portions, or portions in which the king holds the chief rights, and the Franchises, in which the lords have the chief right, of issues and forfeitures. The franchises arc those of St. Etheldred, including- the hundreds of Carlsford, Colneis, Loes, Plomesgate, Thredling and Wilford; St. Edmund's, including the hundreds of Babergh, Blackbourn, Cosford, Lackford, Risbridge, Thedwestry, and Thingoe, nnd the half hundred of Ixning; and the Dukedom of Norfolk, including scattered manors and parishes, his chief territories in these parts being in Norfolk. The sessions for St. Edmund's are held at Bury, and for St. Ethelred at Woodbridge. St. Edmund's was the territory of the great abbey at Bury and it still returns a separate grand jury at the assizes. The Duke of Norfolk appoints a coroner and returns all writs in his franchise.
Assizes are held at Bury and Ipswich alternately, and quarter sessions are held for each division at Bury, Ipswich, Beccles, and Woodbridge. At the two former towns arc county gaols; at the two latter houses of correction. There are borough prisons at Ipswich, Bury, Sudbury, Eye, Southwold, Aldborough, and Orford; but most of these are little used, particularly since the diminution of arrests for debt. Each division of the county returns two members to Parliament, as do also the boroughs of Ipswich and Bury, but Eye returns only one member. Sudbury has been disfranchised. Orford, Aldborough, and Dunwich were disfranchised by the Reform Bill. Ipswich is the election place for East Suffolk, which includes the hundreds of Blything, Bosmere and Claydon, Carlford, Colneis, Hoxne, Loes, Lothingland, Mutford, Plomesgate, Samford, Thredling, Wangford, and Wilford; the polling places are Beccles, Framlingham, Halesworth, Ipswich, Lowestoft, Needham, Saxmundham, Stradbroke and Woolbridge. Bury is the election place for West Suffolk, which is formed by the hundreds of Babergh, Blackbourn, Cosford, Hartismere, Lackford, Risbridge, Stow, Thedwestry, and Thingoe; the polling places are Bury St. Edmund's, Botesdale, Clare, Hadleigh, Lavenham, Mildenhall, Stowmarket, Sudbury and Wickham brook.
The number of parishes is about 520. mostly in the diocese of Norwich and archdeaconry of Suffolk, but some are in the archdeaconry of Sudbury and diocese of Ely.
The chief towns are Ipswich in the east, a flourishing seaport, shire town, and borough, with 37,950 inhabitants; Bury St. Edmund's in the west, an inland capital and shire town, with 13,318 inhabitants; Lowestoft, a considerable shipping and fishing haven in the north, with about 10,663 people; Sudbury, a borough in the south-west, with 6,879 people and some manufacturers; Beccles, with 4,266, and Bungay, with 3,805 people, in the north, considerable manufacturing towns; Southwold, on the sea-shore, a fishing and bathing place, with 2,032 people; Woodbridge, a haven in the south, with 4,513 people; Stowmarket, a town, with 3,531 people; Eye, a borough in the north, with 2,430 people; Hadleigh, a town in the south, with 2,779 people. Orford, Clare, Debenham, Framlingham, Halesworth, Lavenham, Mildenhall, Saxmundham, Brandon, Haverhill, and Nayland are small country towns. Ipswich. Bury, and Lowestoft are the only towns of note, and as the manufactures are on a limited scale, and the trade confined to the sale and shipment of agricultural produce, the towns are generally small.

The County Lunatic Asylum is situated at Melton: it was formerly a house of industry for the Loes and Wilford hundreds, and was purchased by the county magistrates in 1827, and opened in 1829 for the reception of pauper lunatics: its average number of patients is about 270. F. G. Doughty, Esq., chairman of the house committee; John Kirkman, M.D., resident physician; S. N. Davis, Esq., assistant medical officer; Rev. T. W. Hughes, chaplain; Mr. Pizey, clerk; George Durrant, house steward.
The County Gaol is an extensive building at Southgate, Bury St. Edmund's: it was erected in 1803, at an expense of £30,000, and is calculated to contain 140 prisoners, with a separate bed for each. Harvey Aston Oakes, Esq., treasurer; Rev. Edward Cornish Wells, M.A., chaplain; Charles Smith, Esq., P.R.C.8., surgeon; Patrick McIntyre, governor.
The Suffolk General Hospital, at Bury St. Edmund's, 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. Right Hon. The Earl of Stradbroke, president; William Robert Bevan and Peter Huddleston, Esqrs., treasurers; Rev. Alfred John Perry, B.A., chaplain; John W. Goodwin, Esq., physician; Harry Fuller, house surgeon; William Gross, secretary ; Miss Ann Musgrave, matron.
County Police.—Eastern Division: John Hatton, Esq., Saxmundham, chief constable. Western Division: Capt. F. C. Syer, RN., Bury St. Edmund's, chief constable.
Coroners for the County.—F. B. Marriott, Stowmarket (for the North-Eastern district); B. L. Gross, Ipswich (for the South-Eastern district); E. Lawrance, Ipswich (for the Duke of Norfolk's liberty); C. C. Brooke, Woodbridge (for St. Etheldred's liberty); G. A. Partridge, Bury St. Edmund's (for Bury St. Edmund's liberty).
Members of Parliament.— East Suffolk: Lord Henniker, Thornham hall, Eye, and Worlingworth hall, Framlingham, Suffolk, and 6 Grafton street, Bond street, London W; and Sir Fitz-Roy Kelly, Q.C, The Chauntry, Ipswich; and Connaught place W, 2 King's Bench walk, Temple EC, and Carlton club, London SW. West Suffolk: Major Windsor Parker, Clopton hall, Rattlesden; 20 Duke street, St. James's SW, and Carlton club, London SW; and Lord Augustus Henry Charles Hervey, Ickworth, Suffolk, and St. James's square, London.

List of Hundreds and places therein, in 1865

The historical trade directory and census listing of all of London, Essex, Kent, Suffolk, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Sussex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire Oxfordshire, and Dorset. If you are searching for a historical address, try the census and street directory database. This is a Victorian view on the streets of london and the south of England.

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