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"FRAMLINGHAM, a parish, market and post town, in the hundred of Loes, county Suffolk, 7 miles W. of Saxmundham, 14 N.E. of Ipswich, and 87 from London by road, or 90 by rail. It is situated on the river Alde, and is the terminus of a branch line of the Great Eastern railway. A castle of immense strength was built here in early times; some say by Redwald, King of the East Saxons, towards the close of the 6th century, and rebuilt by the famous Hugh Bigod. Edmund the Martyr was besieged in it by the Danes. Queen Mary retired to it on the death of her brother, Edward VI., and here received intelligence of the proclamation of Lady Jane. The Mowbrays long held possession of this demesne, which afterwards passed to the Howard or Norfolk family, and was by them sold to Sir Robert Hitcham, who presented it to Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. The town is ancient, and the principal trade carried on is in corn. It is a polling-place for the eastern division of the county, and petty sessions are held here fortnightly on Friday. It contains a good market-place, corn exchange standing on the site of an ancient cross, bank, savings-bank, and police station.

There are free and subscription libraries, and societies for the promotion of agricultural and domestic science. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Norwich, of the value with the curacy of Saxted annexed, of £1,201, in the patronage of Pembroke Hall. The church is a handsome structure of flint, with a fine tower nearly 100 feet in height, containing a peal of eight bells. The interior of the roof is elaborately carved, and supported by pillars of an octagonal form. It is dedicated to St. Michael, and contains many tombs, effigies, and monuments of the Howards, Fitzroys, Earl of Surrey, and others. The earliest date of the register is 1560. The charitable endowments consist of Sir Robert Hitcham's almshouses for twelve persons, with free school, Mr. Thomas Mills' almshouses, with free school, and other bequests for the poor, producing upwards of £700 per annum. The Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians have chapels, and there are several schools for the instruction of the youth of both sexes. Extensive remains of the ancient castle are still standing; they consist of massive walls, towers nearly 60 feet high, and a gateway carved with numerous heraldic devices. In the neighbourhood are some fine old oak-trees. The Master and Fellows of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, are the lords of the manors of Framlingham and Saxted. Saturday is market day for grain and general produce. Fairs are held on Whit Monday and Tuesday, and on the 11th October."

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



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Description and Travel

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  • A description of Framlingham transcribed from Stephen Whatley's "Gazetteer of England" (1750) by Mel Lockie, 2011.
" FRAMLINGHAM, (Suffolk) 74 cm. 86 mm. from London, is a large old T. with a castle, supposed to have been built by some of the first Ks. of the East-Angles; the walls, yet standing, are 44 foot high, 8 thick, with 13 towers 14 foot above them, 2 of which are watch-towers. To this castle the Pfs. afterwards Q. Mary I. retired, when the lady Jane Grey was her competitor for the crown. After it had been in sundry families, the last of which were the Veres Es. of Oxford, and the Howards Ds. of Norfolk, it was sold, together with the Lp. to Sir Rob. Hitcham, who gave them to Pembroke-Hall, Cambridge. The T. stands pleasantly, though but indifferently built, upon a clay hill, in a fruitful soil and a healthy air, near the source of the r. Ore, by some called Winckel, which runs through it to Orford. It has a spacious place for the Mt. on S. and a large stately Ch. built all of black flint, with a steeple 100 foot high. Here are 2 good almshos. one founded by Sir Rob. Hitcham, in 1654, who also founded a fr. sc. here; the other, about 1704, by the trustees of Mr. Mills, a baptist-minister. Its Fairs are Whit-Mon. Tu. and Wed. and Sept. 29. "


1831, Topographical Dictionary of England, Samuel Lewis

FRAMLINGHAM, a market-town and parish in the hundred of LOES, county of SUFFOLK, 18 miles (N.E. by N.) from Ipswich, and 87 (N.E.) from London, containing 2327 inhabitants. This place is of very remote antiquity, having been one of the chief towns of the Iceni, a British tribe in alliance with the Romans, to whom their king, Prasatagus, bequeathed a part of his dominions, in the hope of securing to his queen, Boadicea, the undisturbed possession of the remainder. On the death of Prasatagus, the Roman procurator took possession of the whole, and on Boadicea's remonstrating, ordered her to be scourged like a slave, and violated the chastity of her daughters. Boadicea, in revenge for this outrage, excited the Trinobantes and other tribes to revolt, and heading her own forces with masculine intrepidity, obtained a victory over the Romans, of whom seventy thousand were slain in battle, though she was subsequently defeated and lost her life, or, as some say, took poison. At what time the castle was originally built is uncertain, but it is a very ancient structure, and it is known that a fortress existed here in the time of Redwald, third king of the East Angles, who occasionally retired to it from his court at Rendlesham. The castle was also the retreat of King Edmund the Martyr, who, when pursued by the Danes, fled from Dunwich, and took refuge within its walls, whence endeavouring to escape, when closely besieged, he was overtaken, and beheaded at Hoxne. In 1173, it became the temporary asylum of Prince Henry, whom Queen Eleanor, his mother, had incited to rebel against his father, Henry II. And upon the death of Edward VI., in 1553, Mary retired to this castle, where she was joined by the inhabitants of Suffolk and the neighbouring counties, who, to the number of thirteen thousand, accompanied her to London, to take possession of the crown. The castle was a spacious and noble structure, the surrounding walls including an irregular quadrilateral area of nearly an acre and a half; they were forty-four feet in height, and eight feet in thickness, defended by thirteen square towers of considerably greater elevation, of which, one towards the east, and one towards the west, were watch-towers: the whole was surrounded by a double moat, over the inner of which was a draw-bridge.

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Historical Geography

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