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MARKET TOWNS OF SUFFOLK (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Sudbury in 1842

Sudbury, Suffolk, in the Saxon chronicle Suth-beri, is in the hundred of Babergh, on the road from London to Bury, between 15 and 16 miles south of the latter town. It was anciently a place of consequence, and appears to have obtained its name to distinguish it from Bury St. Edmunds. It was of the seats of the woollen manufacture established in England by the Flemings, in the reign of Edward III. Simon of Sudbury, archbishop of Canterbury, who was beheaded by Wat Tyler’s mob in 1381, founded here a college of priests whose yearly revenues at the dissolution were £122, 18 shillings and threepence. There were also a house of Dominican, or Black Friars, a Benedictine cell to Westminster Abbey, and an hospital. The head and body of archbishop Simon of Sudbury were buried in the church of St. Gregory in the town ; and the head, dried by art, was shown as late as the middle of the last century.

The borough comprehends three parishes, All Saints, St. Gregory, and St. Peter ; these have an area of 1,250 acres ; the population in 1831 was 4677. By the Boundary Act, the township of Ballingdon-cum-Brundon (in Hinckford hundred, in Essex, area 730 acres, population in 1831, 823), and some small extra-parochial districts were added to the borough for parliamentary purposes, and the limits thus extended have been adopted for municipal purposes also. The town consists of several streets irregularly laid out ; it is a neat, clean, well built place ; the streets are paved, with flagged footpaths, and lighted. Many new houses have been built, and the town has been altogether much improved of late years. Ballingdon has one street, forming a suburb of Sudbury, with which it is united by a bridge over the river Stour. The three churches are mostly of perpendicular character : they have all been fine churches but some of the tracery and other parts have been much mutilated. The Independents have a meeting-house. The town-hall is a modern building, and there is a neat theatre. The principal manufacture is of silk. By the means of the Stour, which is navigable nearly up to the town for barges, trade is carried on in coals, which are imported, and in agricultural produce, which is exported. The navigation however is very bad. The market is on Saturday ; and there is beside a corn-market on Thursday ; there are two yearly fairs.

According to the census of 1831, 269 men in the borough, and 3 men in Ballingdon, together 274 men, were employed in manufactures, besides women and children.

The living of All Saints is a vicarage, of the clear yearly value of £119, with a glebe-house ; the perpetual curacies of St. Gregory and St. Peter are united ; there joint yearly value is £160, with a glebe-house. They are in the rural deanery and archdeanery of Sudbury and diocese of Ely.

There were in the borough in 1833, eight day-schools of all kinds, with 365 children, viz. 232 boys, 117 girls, and 16 children of sex not stated ; and two Sunday-schools with 233 children, viz. 120 boys and 113 girls. Two of the day-schools were national-schools, and were attended on Sunday by 382 children, viz. 180 boys and 202 girls.

Sudbury was incorporated by charter of Queen Mary in 1554. By the Municipal Reform Act it has 4 aldermen and 12 councillors, with a commission of the peace. It returns two members to parliament ; the number of voters on the register in 1835-6 was 578 ; in 1839-40, 594.

Archbishop Simon of Sudbury, Gainsborough the painter, and Dr. Enfield, a dissenting minister of considerable note, were born at Sudbury.