"ALDEBURGH, (or Aldborough), a parish in the hundred of Plomesgate, in the county of Suffolk, 24 miles to the N.E. of Ipswich, and 94 from London. It is a seaport and municipal borough, with a separate jurisdiction. It was formerly a market town. It was also a parliamentary borough, returning two members, from the reign of Queen Elizabeth, who conferred on it the elective franchise, till the passing of the Reform Act, by which it was disfranchised. It is very pleasantly situated on the river Alde, in the vale of Slaughden, with a fine sea view to the east, a good beach at low water, and high ground behind it, and has become a favourite resort for sea-bathing. There is a beautiful walk along the beach, of nearly two miles, and many pretty summer villas facing the sea, besides a spacious hotel. It lies near the East Suffolk line of railway. Its charter of incorporation was conferred by Charles I., under which it is governed by two bailiffs and thirty-four burgesses, twelve of whom are capital, and the rest inferior. The townhall is ancient and built of timber. Most of the inhabitants are seafaring people, and many of them pilots, who go far out in their cutters to meet incoming vessels. The herring and lobster fisheries constitute the chief occupation of the other part of the population.
The port has about forty small vessels belonging to it, which are employed in the coasting trade. Orford is a subport. The harbour is good, and there is a custom-house near the quay, also a coast-guard station, brewery, and some boatbuilding. A subscription library, a theatre, billiard tables, and assemblies offer amusement to the summer visitors. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Norwich, value £383, in the patronage of F. J. V. Wentworth, Esq., of Slaughdon House, who is lord of the manor. He is a descendant of the Earl of Strafford, who had the title of Viscount Aldborough. The church stands on a hill west of the town, and has lately undergone entire reparation. It is built of flint, and, with its tower, which is embattled, and surmounted by a turret, forms an important landmark. It is dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul, and contains a handsome stained window, representing the four Evangelists and the Adoration, besides many fine monuments; the most notable is one to the memory of the poet Crabbe. In the middle of the 16th century, it stood ten times farther from the shore than it does at present, the sea having encroached on the town, and destroyed the market-place and one whole street. There are three chapels, belonging to the Independents, Baptists, and Wesleyans. Great Casino is the residence of the Hon. A. Thelluson. Adair Cottage, of Sir R. S. Adair, Bart. Aldborough was the birthplace of the poet Crabbe. Markets were formerly hold on Wednesday and Saturday, but are now discontinued, and fairs, chiefly for toys, on the 1st March and the 3rd May.
Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)