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"SUDBURY, a parish, market town, and municipal borough, chiefly in the hundred of Babergh, county Suffolk, but including the parish of Ballingdon-cum-Brundon, county Essex, 20 miles S.W. of Ipswich, and 7 S.E. of Clare. It is a station on the Marks Tay branch of the Great Eastern railway. It is situated at the bridge over the river Stour, which is navigable hence to Manningtree, and here divides the counties of Suffolk and Essex. It is a place of great antiquity, and was the Saxon Sudberie, or South Burgh. At the period of the Norman survey it had a market and mint, and was settled by Edward III. with a colony of Flemings, who introduced the manufacture of woollen cloth, and that branch of trade continued to flourish for some time. There are manufactories of bunting, and seven extensive manufactories for silk, velvet, satin, plush, and other rich fabrics. It was first chartered by Queen Elizabeth, and returned two members to parliament till 1843, when it was disfranchised for bribery. Under the Municipal Act of 1835 the town council consists of a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors. The corporation revenue produces about £850 per annum. The population of the borough in 1851 was 5,225, and in 1861, 6,879. The houses are in general well built, and of late years the town has been considerably improved. The streets are paved and lighted under an Act obtained in 1825. It contains a new townhall and borough gaol, erected by the corporation on Market Hill; a corn exchange, a savings-bank, two branch banks, union poor-house, and literary institution, with museum and library attached. Quarter and petty sessions are held in the townhall, in which assemblies also take;place.

Sudbury is the head of a Poor-law Union, embracing 18 parishes in Essex and 24 in Suffolk. It is also the seat of New County Court and superintendent registry districts. The Reform bounds include the old borough, containing the parishes of All Saints, St. Gregory, and St. Peter, with the extra-parochial district of St. Bartholomew's, and the parish of Ballingdon, in Essex. It is also the capital of the archdeaconry and deanery to which it gives name in the diocese of Norwich. The livings are, All Saints, a vicarage* with that of Ballingdon-cum-Brundon annexed, value £140, in the patronage of Simeon's trustees; and the perpetual curacy of St. Gregory, with that of St. Peter annexed, joint value £160. The churches are of considerable antiquity. St. Gregory's, the most ancient, was collegiate until Henry VIII. sold its possessions to Sir T. Paston. It contains a font, and a head, supposed to be that of Symon de Theobald or De Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, a native of this town, who was beheaded by the mob in Wat Tyler's rebellion, 1381, and was buried here. A gateway belonging to the college is still remaining, and that of an Austin friary. St. Bartholomew's was the site of a Benedictine priory. The site latterly became the property of Sir J. Marriott, by whose order the priory-buildings were taken down in 1779. The charities produce about £350 per annum, including Carter's bequest of £100 for coats and gowns to 100 poor persons, and St. Leonard's hospital, originally founded for lepers in the reign of John, but now let in three tenements, and the rent of which, together with that of 5 acres of land, are applied towards the support of the poor. The Duke of Grafton, of Euston, takes the title of baron from this place. Gainsborough, the artist, and Enfield, compiler of the "Speaker," were natives. Market days are Thursday and Saturday, the former for corn and sheep, and the latter for pigs, &c. Fairs are held on the 12th May and, 10th July, chiefly for earthenware."

Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)


Church History

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

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Historical Geography

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