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MARKET TOWNS OF SUFFOLK (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Orford in 1842

Orford is in Plomesgate hundred, 21 miles from Ipswich through Woodbridge. There was a royal castle here in the time of Henry III, who granted a charter to the town, which was previously a borough by prescription. It is now, like Dunwich, a mere village ; the market has been given up ; and as the borough was disfranchised by the Reform Act, the corporation, which was kept up for parliamentary purposes, will probably become obsolete. It is untouched by the Municipal Reform Act. It has an income of less than £100, and its jurisdiction is growing into disuse. The area of the borough and chapelry of Orford, including the adjacent hamlet of Gedgrave, is 2,740 acres : the population in 1831 was 1,302.

The village consists of ill-built houses irregularly laid out, on the north-east bank of the river Alde or Ore, which is navigable. The chapel, when entire, was a large building : the nave alone is now used, and is separated by a wall at the east end of it from the chancel, which is more ancient, and has been allowed to fall to ruin. There are some curious portions in the nave. The ruin's of the chancel are of Norman architecture : the piers are much varied, and some of them of singular shape. There is a curious font.

Only the keep of the castle remains : it is a polygon of eighteen sides, with walls 90 feet high, and has three square towers in its circuit, which overtop the rest of the building. The architecture is Norman. Not far from the town, on the sea-shore near Orford Ness, are two lighthouses. The chapelry of Orford is in the parish of Sudbourne, and the benefice is united with the rectory of that parish ; they are in the rural deanery of Orford, archdeaconry of Suffolk, and diocese of Norwich : their joint clear yearly value is £577, with a glebe-house. There were in the borough in 1833 ten day-schools of all sorts (chiefly dame-schools) with 252 children ; and two Sunday-schools with 316 children, viz. 146 boys and 170 girls. There is a lending library for the use of the borough and the parish of Sudbourne. Orford gives the title of earl to the Walpole family.