"CLARE, a parish in the hundred of Risbridge, in the county of Suffolk, 16 miles S.W. of Bury St. Edmund's, 8 W. of Haverhill, and 9 N.W. of Sudbury, its post town and nearest railway station. This is a place of great antiquity, having been a frontier town of the kingdom of East Anglia. Here are the remains of a castle, on the site of which Earl Aluric, in Canute's time, founded a chapel, afterwards made a cell to Bec in Normandy by Gilbert de Clare, son of Richard de Tonbridge, to whom William the Conqueror gave the honour, which included 95 lordships. It was afterwards presented by Edward III. to his son Lionel, with the title of Duke of Clarence, a title which has ever since become appropriated to the royal family. There are likewise the remains of an Augustine priory, founded in 1248 by Richard de Clare, who removed the chapel to Stoke, and also founded a friary. It is now a market town and polling place for the western division of the county. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Ely, value 245, in the patronage of the Duchy of Lancaster. The church, dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul, is a handsome ancient structure in the perpendicular style, and was repaired in 1836, and enlarged in 1851. It contains an eight-sided stone font and a fine lectern. The Independents and Baptists have places of worship, and schools have been recently erected for boys, girls, and infants. The town was lighted with gas in 1853, and possesses a corn exchange, built on the site of the market-cross, a literary institute, and police station, where the petty sessions are held Market day is Monday, and there are fairs on Easter Tuesday and 26th July."

"CHILTON, a hamlet in the parish of Clare, in the county of Suffolk, 1 mile N.W. of Clare. A house stands here which was anciently an Austin priory."

"CHIPLEY, a hamlet in the parish of Clare, in the county of Suffolk, 1 mile W. of Clare. Here was formerly a small priory of the Augustine order"

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



Church History

Descriptions and photographs of churches in the parish may be found in Simon Knott's Suffolk Churches.

Church Records

Description and Travel

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Historical Geography


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TL770454 (Lat/Lon: 52.078619, 0.581565), Clare which are provided by: