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Hadleigh, Suffolk

Historical Description

Hadleigh, a market-town and a parish in Suffolk. The town stands on the river Brett, at the terminus of a branch of the G.E.R., 9½ miles W by S from Ipswich, was known to the Saxons as Headlege, possessed for some time the rank of a corporate town, but surrendered its charter in the reign of James II., and is governed since 1894 by a parish council. It is a seat of petty sessions, and a centre of considerable country trade. The town is neatly built, comprises a main street nearly a mile long, besides other streets, and has recently been much improved. It still contains, however, many ancient houses dating from the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries, and many of the fronts are highly ornate, carved, pargeted, and gabled. Its chief public buildings are a town-hall erected in 1851, a police station, in which the petty sessions are held, a corn exchange, and several blocks of almshouses. The church is an ancient building of flint in the Early English and Perpendicular styles, and contains an old font, three brasses, and the supposed tomb of Guthrum, the famous Danish sea-king, who is thought to have been buried here in 889. One of the brasses, of date 1592, is to a native of the town, a learned and eccentric divine of the name of Alabaster. There are also a mission church on Hadleigh Heath, and Baptist, Congregational, and Primitive Methodist chapels. The town has a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.), a bank, and some good hotels. A weekly market is held on Monday. The town was formerly noted for the manufacture of woollen goods, but this trade has declined. There are now extensive malt-ings and corn mills, and a manufactory of cocoa-nut matting. Area of the parish, 4318 acres; population, 3229. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ely; net yearly value, £492 with residence. Patron, the' Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr. Roland Taylor, the ancestor of Jeremy Taylor, and rector of Hadleigh, was burned on Aid-ham Common in 1555, and the spot where he suffered is commemorated by a stone. The rectory house which he inhabited has been much modernized, but still bears on the doorway the date 1490. It was in this rectory also that the scheme for publishing the celebrated "Tracts for the Times" was arranged in 1833. One archbishop and four bishops have been numbered among the rectors of Hadleigh.

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 
Civil parishBoxford 
Poor Law unionCosford 

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

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Hadleigh from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Hadleigh 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:

Postal districtIP7
Post TownIpswich