Beccles  Suffolk


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

BECCLES, a town, a parish, and a subdistrict, in Wangford district, Suffolk. The town stands on the river Waveney, and on the Eastern Counties railway, amid pleasant environs, 8½ miles W of Lowestoft. It belonged anciently to Bury Abbey; and suffered severely, in 1586, from fire. It is now well-built; and comprises several streets, which diverge from a spacious market-place. ...

The town hall was built in 1839, and is used as a courthouse. The corn exchange was formerly the theatre. The assembly-room is a handsome building, with a public library attached. The house of correction is a substantial and commodious structure; but is now used only as a police station. The parish church is later English; consists of nave, chancel, and aisles, altogether 148 feet long and 61½ feet wide; was renovated in 1859; and has a tower, 92 feet high, built about 1515, detached a short distance from the SE corner, and commanding a fine view of the surrounding country. Another church, or a chapel, connected with an hospital for lepers founded in the time of Edward III., stood at Endgate. A new cemetery has been formed, comprising 5 acres, beautifully laid out, and containing two chapels. The town has chapels for Independents, baptists, and Methodists, a free grammar school with income of £184, another free school with £197, further charities with £290, a head post office,‡ a railway station, two banking offices, and two chief inns. A weekly market is held on Friday; and a fair also is held on Whit-Monday. The Waveney is navigable hence to the sea, making Beccles a sub-port to Yarmouth; a good coal, corn, and malt trade is carried on; and a weekly newspaper is published. The town was incorporated by Queen Elizabeth; is governed by a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councilors; possesses a common of about 900 acres; and has a corporate income of about £2,200; and is a polling-place for East Suffolk. The parish is co-terminate with the borough. Acres, 1,892. Real property, £16,381. Pop., 4,266. Houses, 984. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Norwich. Value, £370. Patron, the Rev. E. Holland. The subdistrict comprises thirteen parishes. Acres, 18,181. Pop., 7,221. Houses, 1,558.

Beccles through time

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

How to reference this page:

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


Date accessed: 20th April 2024

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