Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for SUFFOLK

SUFFOLK, a maritime county; bounded, on the N, by Norfolk; on the E, by the German ocean; on the S, by Essex; on the W, by Cambridgeshire. Its boundary-line, along most of the N, is the rivers Little Ouse and Waveney; along most of the S, the river Stour; along part of the W, the river Lark. Its greatest length, from E to W, is about 50 miles; its greatest breadth, from N to S, is 30 miles; its length of coast is 50 miles; its circuit is about 212 miles; and its area is 947,681 acres. The coast consists largely of crag and clay cliffs, with fine views. The interior is mainly level; has few considerable elevations; and rises, in the extreme NW, into a chalk ridge. The chief streams, besides those on the boundaries, are the Blythe, the Alde, the Deben, the Gipping, the Orwell, and the Bret. Lower eocene rocks, chiefly London clay, form a small tract in the S, to the E and SE of Sudbury, another small tract around Saxmundham, and a narrow belt along the coast to the S of Aldborough; upper tertiary rocks, chiefly crag, form a considerable belt on the sea-board, all to the S of Lowestoft; and upper chalk rocks form all the rest of the area. Brick clay and chalk are the only minerals of any note. The soils are very various; and pass from the heaviest clay, through strong fertile loams, to the lightest sand. About 820,000 acres are arable, meadow, and pasture. Agriculture is advanced and skilful. The long fallow for barley is practised on the clay lands, and the four-course shift is followed for turnip-lands. The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats, rye, pulse, buckwheat, turnips, carrots, tares, cole-seed, clover, and sainfoin; and minor crops are chicory, hemp, and hops. Farms are large; but many estates are small; and leases from 7 to 14 years are common. The cows are a light red polled breed, and rich milkers. The sheep are chiefly of the Norfolk and Southdown breeds, number about 500,000, and yield about 9,000 packs of wool. The horses are chiefly "the Suffolk punches,'' well adapted to farm-work. The manufactures include silk, velvet, linen, woollen, horse-hair, paper, chemical mannres, and agricultural implements; but, except in agricultural implements, are of small amount and little note. The navigations are aggregately large and facile; but have not induced a corresponding amount of commerce. Railways traverse all sections of the county, and are tolerably well ramified. Roads, so long ago as 1814, comprised 322 miles of paved Streets and turnpikes, and 2,962 miles of all other highways for wheeled carriages.

The county contains 438 parishes, parts of 4 others,. and 11 extra-parochial tracts; and is divided into two electoral sections E and W, and into 5 boroughs, parts of 2 others, and 20 hundreds. The registration county takes in 36,505 acres from adjoining counties; gives off 53,841 acres; comprises altogether 930,345 acres; and is divided into 17 districts The towns with upwards of 2,000 inhabitants each, are 13; and the smaller towns, villages, and hamlets, are about 550. The chief seats include 15 of noblemen, 18 of baronets, and amount altogether to about 195. The county is governed by a lord lieutenant and custos, a high sheriff, about 60 deputy lientenants, and about 190 magistrates; and is in the Home military district, the Norfolk judicial circuit, and mostly in Norwich diocese, partly in Ely diocese. The summer assizes are held at Ipswich; the lent assizes at Bury-St. Edmunds. A county jail is at each of these towns; and a borough jail is at Ipswich. The police force, in 1864, exclusive of that in Ipswich, Southwold, and Sudbury, comprised 204 men, at an annual cost of £15,072; and the crimes committed, in that year, were 272, the persons apprehended 200, the known depredators and suspected persons at large 1,117, the houses of bad character 168. The parliamentary electors in 1865 were 6,769 in the E section, and 4,269 in the W section. The Poor rates of the registration county, in 1863, amounted to £177,341. Marriages in 1863, 2,430,-of which 497 were not according to the rites of the Church of England; births, 11,008,-of which 865 were illegitimate; deaths, 7,670,-of which 2,823 were at ages under 5 years, and 271 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 24,342; births, 108,930; deaths, 67,937. The places of worship within the electoral county, at the census of 1851, were 519 of the Church of England, with 141,417 sittings; 90 of Independents, with 30,419 s.; 91 of Baptists, with 24,112 s.; 8 of Quakers, with 2,380 s.; 3 of Unitarians, with 1,270 s.; 84 of Wesleyans, with 13,779 s.; 72 of Primitive Methodists, with 7,526 s.; 2 of the Wesleyan Association, with 395 s.; 5 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 518 s.; 3 of Brethren, with 400 s.; 10 of isolated congregations, with 1,780 s.; 3 of Latter Day Saints, with 233 s.; 4 of Roman Catholics, with 544 s.; and 1 of Jews, with 37 s. The schools were 398 public day-schools, with 27,387 scholars; 672 private day-schools, with 13,944 s.; 541 Sunday schools, with 37,470 s.; and 38 evening schools for adults, with 829 s. Real property, in 1815, £1,151,305; in 1843, £1,717,325; in 1860, £1,899,129,-of which £267 were in quarries, £4,932 in canals, £35,870 in railways, and £6,356 in gasworks. Pop. in 1801, 214,404; in 1821, 271,541; in 1841, 315,073; in 1861, 337,070. Inhabited houses, 72,975; uninhabited, 3,523; building, 221. Pop. of the registration county, in 1851, 336,156; in 1861, 335,409. Inhabited houses, 72,714; uninhabited, 3,568; building, 230.

The territory now constituting Suffolk was inhabited by the ancient British Iceni; was included, by the Romans, in their Flavia Cæsariensis; became part of East Anglia and the Danelagh; and took its name of Suffolk by corruption of South-folk, designating its inhabitants in contradistinction to the North-folk in Norfolk. It was ravaged by Sweyne the Dane in 1010; and it became the scene of frequent tumult and warfare after the Norman conquest. An earldom of Suffolk existed before the conquest; and passed to the Malets, the Bigods, the Clares, the Magnavilles, and others. Ancient British, Saxon, and Danish remains are chiefly earthworks, few and inconspicuous. Roman stations were at Stratford, Ixworth, Burgh, Dunwich, and Wool-pit. Roman roads connected the Roman stations, and went to Colchester. Ancient camps occur in five places; and ancient baronial castles were at eleven. Abbeys were at three places; priories, at seventeen; nunneries, at five; and collegiate churches, at four.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a maritime county"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 2nd order divisions")
Administrative units: Suffolk AncC
Place: Suffolk

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