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Sudbury, Suffolk

SUDBURY, SUFFOLK, a market town and municipal borough of England, chiefly in the Sudbury parliamentary division of Suffolk, but partly in the Saffron Walden division of Essex. Pop. (1901), 7109. It b'es on the river Stour (which is navigable up to the town), 59 m. N.E. from London by the Great Eastern railway. All Saints' parish church, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles and tower, is chiefly Perpendicular the chancel being Decorated. It possesses a fine oaken pulpit of 1490. The church was restored in 1882. St Peter's is Perpendicular, with a finely carved nave roof. St Gregory's, once collegiate, is Perpendicular. It has a rich spire-shaped font-cover of wood, gilt and painted. The grammar school was founded by William Wood in 1491. There are some old half-timbered houses, including one very fine example. The principal modern buildings are the town-hall, Victoria hall and St Leonard's hospital. Coco-nut matting is an important manufacture; silk manufactures were transferred from London during the 19th century, and horsehair weaving was established at the same time. There are also flour-mills, malt-kilns, limeworks, and brick and tile yards. The town is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. The borough lies wholly in the administrative county of West Suffolk. Area, 1925 acres.

The ancient Saxon borough of Sudbury (Sudbyrig, Sudberi, Suthberia) was the centre of the southern portion of the East Anglian kingdom. Before the Conquest it was a borough owned by the mother of Earl Morcar, from whom it was taken by William I., who held it in 1086. It was alienated from the Crown to an ancestor of Gilbert de Clare, gth earl of Gloucester. In 1271 the earl gave the burgesses their first charter confirming to them all their ancient liberties and customs. The earl of March granted a charter to the mayor and bailiffs of Sudbury in 1397. In 1440 and again in 1445 the men and tenants of Sudbury obtained a royal confirmation of their privileges. They were incorporated in 1553 under the name of the mayor, aldermen and burgesses of Sudbury, and charters were granted to the town by Elizabeth, Charles II. and James II. Its constitution was reformed by the act of 1835. It was represented in parliament by two burgesses from 1558 till its disfranchisement in 1zz 844. The lord of the borough had a market and fair in the century, and three fairs in March, July and December were held in 1792. Markets still exist on Thursdays and Saturdays. Weavers were introduced by Edward III., and the town became the chief centre of the Suffolk cloth industry after the Restoration.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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