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MARKET TOWNS OF SUFFOLK (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Clare in 1842

Clare is in Risbridge hundred, 18 miles south-south-west from Bury. The area of the parish is 3,410 acres. The population of the parish in 1831 was 1,619, from one-third to one-half agricultural. The town is on the north bank of the river Stour. The streets are wide, but not paved or lighted, and the houses generally are of mean appearance.

The church, which is in the centre of the town, is a fine large building ; it has a handsome octagonal font of perpendicular character, and a brass eagle on a pedestal, with the wings expanded, forming the reading-desk. There are places of worship for Baptists and Independents.

On the south side of the town are the vestiges of an old castle; the site may be traced, and it appears to have comprehended an area of about twenty acres. The mound on which the keep stood, and some fragments of the walls of the keep, yet remain. Near the ruins of the castle are the remains of a priory of regular canons of St. Augustin ; part of the buildings are occupied as a dwelling, and the chapel is converted into a barn.

The lordship of Clare gave name to an illustrious family, and the titles of earl of Clare and duke of Clarence were derived from it. There is a weekly market, and there are two small yearly fairs. The living is a vicarage in the rural deanery of Clare, in the archdeaconry of Sudbury, and diocese of Ely, of the clear yearly value of £195, with a glebe-house. There were in the parish, in 1833, twelve day-schools of all kinds, with 265 children, viz. 116 boys and 149 girls ; and three Sunday-schools, with 310 children, viz. 143 boys and 167 girls.