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Suffolk, England

Historical Description

Suffolk, a maritime county, bounded on the N by Norfolk, on the E by the German Ocean, on the S by Essex, and on the W by Cambridgeshire. Its boundary line, along most of the N, is the rivers Little Ouse and Waveney; along most of the S, the river Stour; along part of the W, the river Lark. Its greatest length from E to W is about 50 miles, its greatest breadth from N to S is 30 miles, its length of coast is 50 miles, and its circuit is about 212 miles. The area of the ancient county is 952,709 statute acres. The administrative county, which includes the civil parishes of Ballingdon, Haverhill, and part of Bulmer in Essex, and the parish of All Saints, Newmarket, in Cambridgeshire, and which loses parts of the civil parishes of Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, and St Cuthbert and St Mary, Thetford, in Norfolk, has an area of 947,724 statute acres; population of the ancient county, 371,235; of the administrative county, 361,790. The coast consists largely of crag and clay cliffs, with fine views. The interior is mainly level, has few considerable elevations, and rises in the extreme NW into a chalk ridge. The chief streams, besides those on the boundaries, are the Blythe, the Alde, the Deben, the Gipping, the Orwell, and the Bret. Lower eocene rocks, chiefly London clay, form a small tract in the S, to the E and SE of Sudbury, another small tract around Saxmundham, and a narrow belt along the coast to the S of Aldborough; upper tertiary rocks, chiefly crag, form a considerable belt on the seaboard, all to the S of Lowestoft; and upper chalk rocks form all the rest of the area. Brick clay and chalk are the only minerals of any note. The soils are very various, and pass from the heaviest clay, through strong fertile loams, to the lightest sand. Agriculture is advanced and skilful. The long fallow for barley is practised on the clay lands, and the four-course shift is followed for turnip lands. The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats, rye, pulse, buckwheat, turnips, carrots, tares, cole-seed, clover, and sainfoin, and minor crops are chicory, hemp, and hops. Farms are large, but many estates are small, and leases from seven to fourteen years are common. The cows are a light red polled breed and rich milkers. The sheep are chiefly of the Norfolk and Southdown breeds.

The horses are chiefly "the Suffolk punches," well adapted to farm work. The manufactures include cotton, silk, velvet, linen, woollen, horse-hair, paper, cocoa-nut matting, chemical manures, agricultural implements, railway plant (at Ipswich), gun-cotton (at Stowmarket), making on a large scale, and coach and ship building. Coprolites are found in large quantities, and gun flints for export are still manufactured at Brandon. The fisheries on the coast are important, and immense quantities of herring and mackerel are taken by the Suffolk fishermen.

According to the census returns issued in 1893, the chief occupations of the people of the county were:—Professional, 5582 males and 4086 females; domestic, 1049 males and 22,823 females; commercial, 10,676 males and 182 females; agricultural, 45,244 males and 626 females; fishing, 1187 males and 5 females; industrial, 42,567 males and 14,910 females; and " unoccupied," including retired business men, pensioners, those living on their own means, and others not specified, 21,960 males and 95,013 females; or a total in the county of 128,265 males and 137,645 females. The number of men employed in the leading industries was as follows:—Agricultural labourers, 33,643; general labourers, 4490; farmers, 3724; gardeners, 3049; and boot and shoe makers, 2451. The chief occupations of women were— domestic service, with a total of 18,508; millinery and dressmaking, 5772; and tailoresses, 2114. There were also in the county 356 blind persons, 333 deaf, 196 deaf and dumb, and 1266 mentally deranged.

The navigations are aggregately large and facile, and there is hardly a part of the county more than 10 miles from a navigable stream, but they have not induced a corresponding amount of commerce. Railways, chiefly lines of the G.E.R. system, traverse all sections of the county, and are tolerably well ramified.

Suffolk is divided for administrative purposes into two counties—East and West—and also contains the county borough of Ipswich and part of the county borough of Great Yarmouth. The administrative counties also include the seven municipal boroughs of Aldeburgh, Beccles, Bury St Edmunds, Eye, Lowestoft, Southwold, and Sudbury. The administrative county of East Suffolk contains 318, that of West Suffolk 176, and the county borough 14 entire civil parishes; there are besides six parishes which are partly in the county borough and partly in the administrative county of East Suffolk, and six which are partly in West Suffolk and other administrative counties. The ancient county contains 448 entire ecclesiastical parishes and districts, and parts of 15 others. It is situated partly in the diocese of Ely and partly in that of Norwich. For parliamentary purposes the county is divided into (1) the Northern or Lowestoft, (2) the North-Eastern or Eye, (3) the North-Western or Stowmarket, (4) the South or Sudbury, and (5) the South-Eastern or Woodbridge divisions. It includes the parliamentary boroughs of Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich, and part of the borough of Great Yarmouth, There is one court of quarter sessions for the two administrative counties of East and West Suffolk, being usually held at Ipswich for East Suffolk, and then by adjournment at Bury St Edmunds for West Suffolk. East Suffolk is divided into eleven, and West Suffolk into eight petty sessional divisions. The boroughs of Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Sudbury, Eye, and Southwold have separate commissions of the peace, and the three first named have also separate courts of quarter sessions. H.M. Prison is at Ipswich, and is a massive building, originally erected in 1786, but which has since undergone considerable alteration and enlargement. The County Lunatic Asylum is at Melton, near Woodbridge, and is a plain building of brick, opened in 1829 for the reception of lunatics, and greatly enlarged and improved in 1886. The Suffolk General Hospital is at Bury St Edmunds, and is a plain but spacious building, rebuilt in 1864, and having accommodation for about ninety in-patients. The Suffolk Reformatory for boys at Thorndon, near Eye, was established as a philanthropic institution in 1856 by the late Sir E. C. Kerrison, Bart., and was taken over by the county in 1887. It has accommodation for eighty boys, who are employed on the land. The county is governed by a lord lieutenant and custos rotulorum. There are two county councils—that for East Suffolk consists of 19 aldermen and 57 councillors, and that for West of 16 aldermen and 48 councillors. The council for East Suffolk meets at Ipswich, and that for West Suffolk at Bury St Edmunds.

The territory now constituting Suffolk was inhabited by the ancient British Iceni, was included by the Romans in their FIavia Cæsariensis, became part of East Anglia and the Danelagh, and took its name of Suffolk by corruption of South-folk, designating its inhabitants in contradistinction to the North-folk in Norfolk. It was ravaged by Sweyne the Dane in 1010, and it became the scene of frequent tumult and warfare after the Norman Conquest. An earldom of Suffolk existed before the Conquest, and passed to the Malets, the Bigods, the Clares, the Magnavilles, and others. Ancient British, Saxon, and Danish remains are chiefly earthworks, few and inconspicuous. Roman stations were at Stratford, Ixworth, Burgh, Dunwich, and Woolpit. Roman roads connected the Roman stations, and went to Colchester. Ancient camps occur in five places, and ancient baronial castles were at eleven. Abbeys were at three places, priories at seventeen, nunneries at five, and collegiate churches at four.


Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Archives and Libraries

Suffolk Record Office - Bury St Edmunds
77 Raingate Street
Bury St Edmunds
IP33 2AR
Tel: 01284 741212 (Searchroom)
Tel: 01284 741212 (Public Service Manager)
Email: bury.ro@suffolk.gov.uk

Suffolk Record Office - Ipswich
Gatacre Road
Ipswich
IP1 2LQ
Tel: 01473 584541 (Searchroom)
Tel: 01473 584560 (Public Service Manager)
Fax: 01473 584533
Email: ipswich.ro@suffolk.gov.uk

Suffolk Record Office - Lowestoft 
Clapham Road 
Lowestoft
NR32 1DR
Tel: 01502 405357 (Searchroom)
Tel: 01502 405358 (Public Service Manager)
Fax: 01502 405350
Email: lowestoft.ro@suffolk.gov.uk


Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

List of Registration Districts in Suffolk from 1837 to 1974.


Directories & Gazetteers

The Historical Directories web site have a number of directories relating to Suffolk online, including:
Kelly's, Pigot, Slater, etc.

We have transcribed the entry for Suffolk from the following:


Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Suffolk is available to browse.


Maps

Old map of Suffolk circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)

Old map of Suffolk circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)


Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Suffolk papers online:


Parishes & places

Acton
Akenham
Aldeburgh
Alderton
Aldham
Aldringham
Alnesbourne Priory
Alpheton
Ampton
Ash Bocking
Ashby
Ashfield or Ashfield with Thorpe
Aspall
Assington
Athelington
Bacton
Badingham
Badley
Badwell Ash or Little Ashfield
Bardwell
Barham
Barking
Barnardiston
Barnby
Barnham
Barningham
Barrow
Barsham
Barton Mills
Battisford
Bawdsey
Baylham
Beccles
Beck Row
Bedfield
Bedingfield
Belstead
Belton
Benacre or Binacre
Benhall
Bentley
Beyton or Beighton
Bildestone
Blackbourn
Blaxhall
Blundeston
Blyford
Blythburgh
Bosmere
Boulge
Boxford
Boxted
Boyton
Bradfield Combust or Burnt Bradfield
Bradfield St Clare
Bradfield St George
Bradwell
Braiseworth or Breisworth
Bramfield
Bramford
Brampton
Brandeston
Brandish
Brandon
Brantham
Bredfield
Brent Eleigh or Brent Ely
Brettenham
Brightwell
Brockford
Brockley
Brome or Broome
Bromeswell
Browston
Bruisyard
Bucklesham
Bungay
Burgate
Burgh
Burgh Castle
Burstall
Bury St Edmunds
Butley
Buxhall
Buxlow
Campsea Ash or Ashe by Campsea
Capel St Andrew
Capel St Mary
Carlton Colville
Cavendish
Cavenham
Charsfield
Chattisham
Chedburgh
Chediston
Chelmondiston
Chelsworth
Chevington
Chillesford
Chilton
Chilton (Clare)
Clare
Claydon
Clopton
Cockfield
Coddenham
Cold Dunghills
Combs
Coney Weston
Cookley
Copdock
Corton
Cotton
Covehithe or North Hales
Cowling or Cowlinge
Cransford
Cratfield
Creeting St Mary
Creeting St Peter
Cretingham
Crowfield
Culford
Culpho
Dagworth
Dalham
Dallinghoo
Darmsden
Darsham
Debach
Debenham
Denham (Bungay)
Denham (Bury St Edmunds)
Dennington
Denston
Depden
Dodnash or Dodneis
Drinkstone
Dunningworth
Dunstall Green
Dunwich
Earl Soham
East Bergholt
Eastern Union Rail
Easton
Easton Bavents
Edwardstone
Ellough or Willingham All Saints
Elmsett
Elmswell
Elveden
Eriswell
Erwarton
Euston
Exning
Eye
Eye Hill
Eyke
Fakenham Magna
Falkenham
Farnham
Felixstowe
Felsham
Finningham
Flempton
Flixton (Blundeston)
Flixton (Bungay)
Flowton
Fordley
Fornham All Saints
Fornham St Geneveve
Fornham St Martin
Foxhall
Framlingham
Framsden
Freckenham
Fressingfield
Freston
Friston
Fritton
Frostenden
Gazeley
Gedding
Gedgrave
Gipping
Gisleham
Gislingham
Glemsford
Glevering
Gorleston
Gosbeck
Great and Little Wratting
Great Ashfield
Great Barton
Great Bealings
Great Blakenham
Great Bradley
Great Bricett
Great Cornard
Great Finborough
Great Glemham
Great Redisham
Great Thurlow
Great Waldingfield
Great Wenham
Great Whelnetham
Groton
Grumford
Grundisburgh
Gunton
Hacheston
Hadleigh
Hadleigh (Boxford)
Halesworth
Halfway House
Hardwick
Hargrave
Harkstead
Harleston
Hartest
Hasketon
Haughley
Havergate Island
Haverhill
Hawkedon
Hawstead
Hazlewood
Helmingham
Hemingstone
Hemley
Hengrave
Henham
Henley
Henstead
Hepworth
Herringfleet
Herringswell
Hessett
Heveringham
Higham (Bury St Edmunds)
Higham (Hadleigh)
Higham (Station)
Hightown
Hinderclay
Hintlesham
Hinton
Hitcham
Hobbles Green
Holbrook
Hollesley
Holton
Holton St Mary
Holywell Row
Home
Homersfield
Honington
Hoo
Hopton (Lowestoft)
Hopton (Thetford)
Horham
Horningsheath
Horsecroft
Hulver
Hundon
Hunston
Huntingfield
Icklingham
Ickworth
Iken
Ilkeston Junction
Ilketshall St Andrew
Ilketshall St John
Ilketshall St Lawrence
Ilketshall St Margaret
Ingham
Ipswich
Ixworth
Kedington
Kelsale cum Carlton
Kentford
Kenton
Kersey
Kesgrave
Kessingland
Kettlebaston
Kettleburgh
Kirkley
Kirton
Knettishall
Knoddishall
Lackford
Lakenheath
Landguard
Langham
Lavenham
Lawshall
Laxfield
Layham
Leavenheath
Leiston
Letheringham
Levington
Lidgate
Lindsey
Linstead Magna
Linstead Parva
Little Bealings
Little Blakenham
Little Bradley
Little Bricett
Little Cornard
Little Fakenham
Little Finborough
Little Glemham
Little Redisham
Little Thurlow
Little Waldingfield
Little Wenham
Little Whelnetham
Livermere Magna
Livermere Parva
Long Melford
Long Melford (station)
Lound
Lowestoft
Marlesford
Martlesham
Masons Bridge
Mellis
Mells
Melton
Mendlesham
Metfield
Mickfield
Middleton
Milden
Mildenhall
Monewden
Monk Soham
Monks Eleigh
Monks Risbridge
Mothers Gate
Moulton
Mutford
Mutford Bridge
Nacton
Naughton
Nayland
Nedging
Needham Market
Needham Street
Nettlestead
Newbourn
Newmans Green
Newmarket
Newton near Sudbury
No Where House
Normanston
North Cove
Norton
Nowton
Oakley
Occold
Offton
Old Newton
Onehouse
Orford
Orwell Park
Otley
Oulton
Ousden
Ouse, The Little, or The Brandon
Pakefield
Pakenham
Palgrave
Parham
Peasenhall
Peddar Way
Petistree or Pettistree
Pettaugh
Playford
Polstead
Poslingford
Preston
Purdis
Ramsholt
Rattlesden
Raydon
Raydon (Orford)
Rede or Reed
Redgrave
Redlingfield
Redmore or Redmere
Rendham
Rendlesham
Reydon
Rickinghall Inferior
Rickinghall Superior
Ringsfield
Ringshall
Risby
Rishangles
Rougham
Rumburgh
Rushbrooke
Rushmere (Ipswich)
Rushmere (Lowestoft)
Rymer
Santon Downham
Sapiston
Saxham
Saxmundham
Saxtead
Semer
Shadingfield
Shelland
Shelley
Shimpling
Shipmeadow
Shotley
Shottisham
Sibton
Sicklesmere
Sizewell
Sloven
Snape
Somerleyton
Somersham
Somerton
Sotherton
Sotterley
South Cove
South Elmham All Saints cum St Nicholas
South Elmham St George
South Elmham St James
South Elmham St Margaret
South Elmham St Michael
South Elmham St Peter
South Stoke
Southolt
Southtown, West Town, or Little Yarmouth
Southwell Park
Southwold
Southwood Park
Spexhall
Sproughton
St Bartholomew
Stanford Passage
Stanningfield
Stansfield
Stanstead
Stanton
Staverton
Sternfield
Stoke Ash
Stoke by Clare
Stoke by Nayland
Stoke St Mary
Stonham
Stonham Aspal
Stonham Earl
Stonham, Little, or Stonham Parva
Stow Upland
Stowlangtoft
Stowmarket
Stradbroke
Stradishall
Stratford St Andrew
Stratford St Mary
Stratton Hall
Stuston
Stutton
Sudbourne
Sudbury
Sutton
Swefling
Swilland
Syleham
Tannington
Tattingstone
The Aide
The Blythe or Blithe
The Bret or Breton
The Deben
The Gipping
The Lark
The Orwell
Theberton
Thelnetham
Thorington
Thorndon
Thornham Magna and Thornham Parva
Thorpe (Aldringham)
Thorpe (Ashfield)
Thorpe by Ixworth
Thorpe Morieux
Thrandeston
Thurston
Thwaite or Thwaite St George
Timworth
Tostock
Trimley St Martin and Trimley St Mary
Troston
Tuddenham St Martin
Tuddenham St Mary
Tunstall
Ubbeston
Ufford
Uggeshall
Walberswick
Waldringfield
Walpole
Walsham le Willows
Walton
Wangford
Wangford with Henham
Wantisden
Warren Houses
Washbrook
Wattisfield
Wattisham
Wellington
Wenhaston
West Row
West Stow
West Town
Westerfield
Westhall
Westhorpe
Westleton
Westley
Weston
Weston Market
Wetherden
Wetheringsett
Weybread
Whatfield
Whepstead
Wherstead
Whitton cum ThurIeston
Wickham Market
Wickham Skeith
Wickhambrook
Wicks Bishop
Wicks Ufford
Wilby
Willingham
Willisham
Wingfield
Winston
Wissett
Withersdale
Withersfield
Witnesham
Wixoe or Whixoe
Woodbridge
Woolpit
Woolverstone
Wordwell
Worlingham
Worlingworth
Wortham
Wrentham
Wyverstone
Yaxley
Yoxford

Population

The population of Suffolk in 1801 was 214,404; 1811, 233,963; 1821, 271,541: 1831, 296,317; 1841, 315,073; 1851, 337,215; 1861, 337,070; 1871, 348,869; 1881, 356,893; 1891, 374,781; and in 1901, 373,353, consisting of 181,846 males and 191,507 females.
The population in 1901 was, East Suffolk, 255,800 - males, 124,166; females, 131,634. The population of West Suffolk was 117,553 - males, 51,680; females, 59,873.
The population in 1911 of East Suffolk (including the county borough of Ipswich), was 277,155, viz.:- males, 135,431, and females, 141,724; and West Suffolk, 116,905, viz.:- males, 57,945, and females, 58,960.

Map of Suffolk