"HADLEIGH, a parish, market, and post town, in the hundred of Cosford, county Suffolk, 7 miles N.E. of Nayland, 10½ W. of Ipswich, and 64 from London. It is situated on the river Bret, and is a station on the Eastern Union section of the Great Eastern railway. It was formerly incorporated, but lost its charter in the reign of James II. The town is well paved and lighted with gas, and contains some good streets, the principal one being three-quarters of a mile in length. The chief buildings are the corn exchange, townhall, and police station, in which the petty sessions are held every three or four weeks. It is also a polling place for West Suffolk. Here is an iron foundry, machine works, and an extensive silk-mill employing a great number of hands, also malt-houses and corn-mills. The parish cemetery is situated on the way to Corham Street, a hamlet about 1 mile W. of the town. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Ely, value £929, in the patronage of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a commodious structure, with a tower crowned with a lofty spire, and containing eight bells. The exterior of the church was repaired in 1855 at an outlay of £1,100. In the interior is an ancient font with a singular Greek inscription, which reads equally as well backwards as forwards. There is also a handsome window by Hedgeland, and a tomb shown as that of Guthrum, the Dane. The register dates from 1558. The rectory house has been greatly modernised of late years, but the doorway bears the date 1490. Dr. Rowland Taylor, once a rector of this parish, was burnt in 1555 on Haldham Common. There are several almshouses, amongst which are those in George-street for 32 persons, to which a chapel is added. They were chiefly founded by Dr. William Pykenham. There are National schools for both sexes, also British and free schools. The Independents, Baptists, and Primitive Methodists have each a chapel. Market day is Monday. Fairs are held on Whit Monday and one day in September, the latter for lambs, sheep, and cattle."
Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)