Haverhill (St. Mary)

HAVERHILL (St. Mary), a market-town and parish, in the union of Risbridge, partly in the hundred of Hinckford, N. division of Essex, but chiefly in the hundred of Risbridge, W. division of Suffolk, 20 miles (S. W.) from Bury St. Edmund's, and 56 (N. N. E.) from London; containing 2451 inhabitants, of whom 2152 are in Suffolk. This place was formerly of greater extent than it is at present: it had a castle, of which the only memorial is preserved in the name of a farm now occupying the site; and tradition reports the existence of a second church, of which there are no traces. The greater part of the town was destroyed by fire in 1665, from the effects of which, though it has recently experienced some improvements, it has not entirely recovered. It is pleasantly situated in a valley, and consists of one spacious street, nearly a mile in length, the eastern extremity being in Essex, and the southern in Suffolk; many of the houses have been rebuilt, and the town is amply supplied with water. The manufacture of fustians, formerly carried on, has been superseded by that of an article called "drabbet," used for loose frocks worn by labourers, and in making which about 500 persons are employed. An extensive ale and porter brewery was established in 1800. In 1813, Mr. Richard Roberts introduced the manufacture of silk; and many hands are engaged in the manufacture of straw-plat. The market is on Friday; and fairs are held on May 12th for cattle and toys, and October 10th for toys only. The powers of the county debt-court of Haverhill, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Risbridge, and two adjacent parishes. Constables, aletasters, and other officers, are annually appointed at the court held for the manor. The parish comprises about 2500 acres. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 5.; patron, Sir G. H. W. Beaumont, Bart.; impropriator, J. Sperling, Esq.: the great tithes have been commuted for £656. 14. 6., and the vicarial for £220. The church is a large ancient structure. There are places of worship for Baptists and Independents; and a national school supported by subscription. Numerous coins have been dug up in the churchyard.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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