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Framlingham, Suffolk

Historical Description

Framlingham, a market-town and parish, and head of a petty sessional division and county court district in Suffolk. The town stands near the source of the river Ore, and at a terminus of a branch line of the G.E.R., 18 miles NE by N of the town of Ipswich. It dates from very ancient times, was early inhabited by a great mixture of diverse races, and took thence the name of Fremdiingham, signifying " the town of strangers." A castle was built at it in the 6th century by Redwald, one of the earliest Saxon kings; was the retreat of King Edmund in 870 after the battle of Thetford; was besieged by the Danes, who compelled Edmund to flee, and held possession for 50 years; was retained by the Crown during two reigns after the Conquest; passed in the time of Henry I. to the Bigods, and was rebuilt by them; went through various hands to the Mowbrays and the Howards; reverted in the time of Henry VIII. to the Crown; was the retreat of the Princess Mary during the efforts of her opponents to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne; was given back by Queen Mary to the Howards; reverted again, in 1572, to the Crown; was given back once more by James I. to the Howards; passed by sale in 1635 to Sir Robert Hitcham; and was given by him to Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. The castle was so strong, both by nature and by art, as to be proof against all sorts of attack which could be made upon it before the invention of gunpowder. It was defended on one side by a lake called the Mere, on the other by a double ditch, and was approached by a causeway commencing at a grand gateway, but it was long ago reduced to a mere shell, and is now represented by only the gateway at the commencement of the causeway-the battlemented outer walls, 8 feet thick, 44 high, round an area of fully 1½ acre-and thirteen square towers or turrets, 58 feet high, two of which are barbicans.

The town is tolerably well built, and has a very spacious market-place. An ancient cross formerly stood in the centre of the market-place, but has been taken down. A workhouse was erected within the area of the castle, but has been converted into a public hall. There is a corn exchange, a court house, a foresters' hall, and almshouses for twenty poor persons. The parish church consists of stone and flint, is mainly Decorated English, with Later English clerestory, has a nave 64 feet long, 50 wide, and 44 high; octagonal pillars 37 feet high, with moulded capitals, a very rich timber roof, and a tower 90 feet high, and contains a figured font, and some fine tombs and monuments of a number of ' distinguished members of the house of Howard. The living is a rectory, with Saxtead annexed, in the diocese of Norwich; joint net yearly- value, £800 with residence. Patron, Pembroke College, Cambridge. The Albert Memorial Middle-class College, in honour of the late Prince Consort, by the county of Suffolk, was built in 1864; stands not far from the ruins of the castle on a plot of 18 acres, given by Pembroke College, Cambridge; occupies an area of 240 feet by 230; is in the collegiate Gothic style, of red brick with stone dressings; is designed, for the education of 300 boys in a sound but inexpensive course of middle-class training; contains a dining-hall large enough for 500 boys; has, connected with it, but apart, a chapel with a spirelet, and an infirmary, and cost upwards of £25,000— A statue of the Prince Consort, 8 feet high, on a pedestal of 9 feet, stands on a terrace in front of the chief entrance. The town has a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.) A weekly market for corn and provisions is held on Saturdays.' The fairs which were formerly held here have been discontinued, but a gala is held on Whit-Tuesday. Petty sessions are held every alternate Saturday, and the town is also a poll-. ing-place for the north-eastern division of the county. "Jt has a bank, several good inns, and publishes a weekly newspaper. Acreage of parish, 4688; population, 2525.

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


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountySuffolk 
Ecclesiastical parishFramlingham St. Michael 
Poor Law unionPlomesgate 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Framlingham from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Framlingham are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

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

DistrictSuffolk Coastal
Postal districtIP13
Post TownWoodbridge