Eye  Suffolk


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Eye like this:

EYE, a town, a parish, and a sub-district, in Hartismere district, Suffolk. The town stands at the terminus of a branch from Mellis of the Great Eastern railway, 20 miles N of Ipswich. It was known to the Saxons as Eay, signifying "an island;" and it took that name from being nearly surrounded by a rivulet. ...

It is irregularly built, and contains many thatched houses. It is a seat of petty sessions and of a county court; it had a castle, built by the Malets, soon after the Conquest; and it has a head post office, ‡ two banking offices, two chief inns, a modern town hall and corn exchange, gas-works, a church, two dissenting chapels, remains of a Benedictine monastery, the Hartismere workhouse, a grammar-school, with £40 from endowment, alms-houses with £22, and other charities with £389. The church is large and handsome. The Benedictine monastery was founded by the Malets; was a cell to Bernay abbey; contained the Red Book, or St. Felix's copy of the Gospels in great Lombard letters; and was given, at the dissolution, to the Suffolk family. The grammar school has two exhibitions at Cambridge. A weekly market is held on Tuesday; and a fair, on Whit-Monday. Flax-working, brewing, and iron-founding are carried on. The town was chartered by King John, and is a borough by prescription; it is governed, under the new act, by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors; and it sent two members to parliament from the time of Elizabeth till the act of 1832, and now sends one. The municipal borough is conterminate with the parish; and the parliamentary borough includes also the parishes of Braiseworth, Brome, Denham, Hoxne, Oakley, Occold, Redlingfield, Thorndon-All Saints, Thrandeston, and Yaxley. Pop. of the p. borough, 7, 038. Houses, 1, 405.-The parish, or m. borough, comprises 4, 320 acres. Real property, £11, 564. Pop., 2, 430. Houses, 489. The property is subdivided. The manor was given, by William the Conqueror, to Robert Malet; belonged to the late Marquis Cornwallis, who took from it the title of baron; and belongs now to Sir EdwardKerrison, Bart., of Oakley Park. A leaden box, containing several hundred Roman gold coins and medals, was found, in 1781, in a field near the town. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Norwich. Value, £451.* Patron, Sir E. Kerrison, Bart.—The sub-district contains thirteen parishes. Acres, 19, 042. Pop., 6, 547. Houses, 1, 278.

Eye through time

Eye is now part of Mid Suffolk district. Click here for graphs and data of how Mid Suffolk has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Eye itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Eye in Mid Suffolk | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 22nd April 2019

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