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MARKET TOWNS OF SUFFOLK (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Stowmarket in 1842

Stow-Market is in the hundred of Stow, 12 miles north-west of Ipswich, on the road to Bury, from which it is distant 14 miles east-south-east. The parish has an area of 1,240 acres : the population, in 1831, was 2,672, about one-sixth agricultural. The town consists of one main street along the Bury and Ipswich road, and of some smaller ones ; the streets are for the most part paved, and lined with tolerably good houses ; indeed several of the houses are very good, and the town is lighted with gas.

The church is spacious and handsome, built of flint and stone: the architecture is partly decorated, partly perpendicular. The tower, which contains a peal of eight bells, is surmounted with a light and elegant wooden spire, the whole being 120 feet high. There are places of worship for Baptists and Independents.

There is a small manufacture of rope, twine, and sacking ; an iron-foundry; and a great number of malt-houses. Near the town are hop-plantations, brick-yards, and a water-mill. The Gipping has been made navigable up to the town, and a considerable quantity of corn and malt are sent in river-craft down to Ipswich to be shipped there : timber and deals, coals and slate, are brought up from Ipswich for the supply of the neighbourhood. The bank of the river forms an agreeable walk. There is a well-supplied corn, cattle, and general market on Thursday ; and there are three yearly fairs.

The living is a vicarage united with the adjacent vicarage of Stow-Upland, in the rural deanery of Stow, the archdeaconry of Suffolk, and the diocese of Norwich : their joint clear yearly value is £281, with a glebe-house. There were in the parish in 1833, seventeen day-schools, with 199 boys and 188 girls, together 387 children : one day and Sunday national school, with 64 boys and 42 girls, together 106 children ; and two Sunday schools, with 141 boys and 139 girls, together 280 children.