Map of Suffolk


"SUFFOLK, a maritime county on the E. coast of England, is bounded N. by Norfolk, E. by the German Ocean, S. by Essex, and W. by Cambridge. It lies between 51 56' and 52 37' N. lat., 0 23' and 1 46' E. long. Its greatest length from Southtown, a suburb of Great Yarmouth, on the N.E., to the south-western border, is 68 miles, and the extreme breadth 52 miles. The area is 1,481 square miles, or 947,681 acres, of which about 820,000 acres are arable land, meadow, and pasture. The population in 1801 was 214,404; in 1851, 337,215; and in 1861, 337,070. In the earliest times of which we have any record, it was inhabited by the Iceni, a British tribe, and subsequently formed part of the Roman province of Flavia Caesariensis. It was afterwards occupied by the Angles, and formed part of the kingdom of East Anglia. In 654, Penda, king of Mercia, attacked the East Anglians, and in a battle fought near Blytheburgh, slew their king. The Danes early commenced their ravages along this coast, and in 871 defeated and took prisoner Edmund, king of East Anglia, whom they put to death for refusing to renounce Christianity. His body was removed from Hoxne to Bury, which received in consequence the name of Bury St. Edmund's, and a monastery was erected to his honour. In the division of the kingdom under Alfred the county was included within the Danelagh, and at the time of the Norman conquest was held by Gurth, brother of Harold II. The surface of this county is generally flat, or gently undulating, there being no eminence in the whole county worthy of notice. The highest ground lies towards the W., through which, some miles to the W. of Bury, and thence to Thetford, runs a chalk dyke, which crosses this part of England in a north-easterly direction. This ridge separates the watershed of the N. from that of the S. of the county, the streams on the upper side flowing into the Little Ouse and Waveney, while those on the lower side fall into the Stour and Orwell, or directly into the German Ocean. The north western districts bordering on Cambridgeshire partake of its marshy, fenny nature, and in some places the land is secured from overflow of the rivers by large embankments along their course. The coast line, 52 miles in length, is for the most part regular, and convex to the sea. The bays are generally shallow, and the headlands have little prominence. The principal harbours are formed by the estuaries of the Orwell and Stour on the S.E., and of the other rivers which flow into the German Ocean. The shore is in most places low and sandy, and occasionally marshy; but low cliffs, composed of alternations of clay, sand, and gravel, are found on both sides of the estuary of the Deben, and at some other points. These are being slowly undermined by the sea, while at some places the reverse occurs, and accessions of land are being formed by the accumulation of marine deposits. Lowestoft, Southwold, and Felixstow are much resorted to as watering-places. " (There is more of this description).

From The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson © 2003


Archives and Libraries


Simon Knott's bibliography of Suffolk and its churches.

See also Church History and Maps.



Church History

Suffolk is renowned for the quantity and quality of its historic churches, many built with the profits of the wool trade.

Civil Registration

There are six main Registration Offices in Suffolk for civil registration. They operate an appointment system for personal visits but you can telephone them or email your enquiries.

If you are seeking family history information the Suffolk Record Offices at Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds or Lowestoft hold the appropriate records.

Suffolk Parishes were grouped into areas called Hundreds which were used as sub-county areas for administrative and taxation purposes until 1834.

Description and Travel

Britten's Suffolk Heritage Coast by Clive Strutt : ISBN 978-1-907938-52-8.
Benjamin Britten was born on the Suffolk coast, lived most of his life along it, and was inspired by it when writing his music. This collection of photographs truly celebrates everything best about the county.

Information on Travel & Tourism in Suffolk.


You may find it worthwhile searching in the GENUKI Gazetteer.


Historical Geography

Search for information on Suffolk and places therein in Vision of Britain.

Search for information on Suffolk and places therein in British History Online.


Suffolk Heritage Direct is provided and managed by Suffolk County Council on behalf of a growing partnership of heritage organisations, societies and local interest groups from across Suffolk.

The Framlingham Historical Photo Archive contains a selection of photographs which capture the town of Framlingham and its people over a period of approximately 100 years.

Bartholomew Gosnold was born in Suffolk and his family seat was at Otley Hall, Otley, Suffolk. In 1607 he was instrumental in establishing the first English settlement in America at Jamestown, Virginia.

The Foxearth and District Local History Society has prepared a useful history of Essex and Suffolk.


Military History

The Suffolk Regiment Museum.

The Suffolk Regiment in 1914-1918 recorded in "The Long, Long Trail".

The Parham Airfield Museum is home to the US 390th Bomb Group Memorial Air Museum and the Museum of the British Resistance Organisation - The Auxiliary Units.

Bawdsey Radar Museum - Bawdsey Quay, IP12 3AZ. The museum is based in wartime concrete bunkers including the old Transmitter Block - the first radar station in the world. See website for opening times and admission charges.



Poor Houses, Poor Law, etc.

The Workhouse provides general information about the development of the Poor Laws.

For Suffolk a good starting point at this site is the Map of Poor Law Unions for east England.

Probate Records

When a person dies, probate is the act of proving a will, or if none has been made, deciding who will adminster the deceased's estate.

All three branches of Suffolk Record Office have comprehensive indexes to the wills proved in Suffolk. In addition, they also hold printed indexes to wills proved in the Consistory Court at Norwich from 1370 to 1857, and the Prerogative Court of Canterbury from 1701 to 1800, see Suffolk Probate Records.


There are many societies addressing various activities within Suffolk.

Due to their diverse nature and quality it would therefore be invidious to single out or implicitly recommend any particular society.

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