A. D Bayne.

Royal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) online

. (page 34 of 70)
Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 34 of 70)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

fisheries, which have been a constant source of wealth and employment to
the inhabitants from the foundation of the borough to the present time.

The principal shipowners of the port are Messrs. Stone, Johnson, Blake,
Foreman, Barber, and Veal. Smackowners : Messrs. Smith and Sons,
Hewitt and Co., Attwood, Hawes, Parsley, E. and A. Brown. Exporters
of corn : Messrs. Watling and Bunn, Gambling and Press. Exporters of
malt : Messrs. Dowson and Watling, Combe and Delafield. Importers of
Coals : Messrs. Bessey, Blake, Girling, Moyse, Barber. Importers of
timber : Mr. E. H. L. Preston, Messrs. Jecks and Ranson, and Mr. Saul.


The new structure on the South Quay is more useful than ornamental.


and it was erected and completed in 1868. Thoug^li not a building o£
imposing exterior, it is of great extent, having a wharf frontage capable
of accommodating a large fleet of trawling cruisers, as well as the crowd
of luggers that usually unload at the qu.ay sides. It is upwards of 750 feet
in length and forty feet in width, and the floor is flagged with Caithness
stone. The building is spanned by a queen post roof, supported on 148
iron columns, and there are many fish offices for the salesmen. Water is
supphed by nine pumps, and the interior is well lighted from thirty-six
sky lights, ten feet by six feet each, being inserted in the east side of the
roof, the structure being entirely open to the haven, but enclosed in the
rear, with openings through to give access to the tramways. From the
quay to the platform of the market, there is an incline, which allows of
its being placed at such a level above the rails and the road, that the
" swills," " peds," " baskets," and boxes can be transferred easily into
the railway trucks or carts of the fish owners. The total cost, including
land, &c., was £20,000, and the value of the fish landed here in 1869
was £250,000.


Yarmouth was formerly the principal station for the herring fishery,
and in the reign of Edward III. various statutes were passed for the
regulation of a fair held in the town. For a long time the fishery made
very little progress, and tiU a recent epoch the Dutch captured by far the
larger proportion of the fish taken on these eastern shores. At length
vigorous efi'orts were made by the Government to stimulate people to
explore this field of labour by means of bounties, but with little success.
In the present century the fisheries have been more fully developed, and
caused an extensive carrying trade.

Mr. I. Preston in his history states that in 1819 about 250 boats and
nearly -3000 men were employed in the herring fishery, and that the
capital employed was nearly £400,000. The mackerel fishery employed
from thirty to thirty-five boats of from twenty-five to forty tons each,
and from 350 to 400 men were engaged in that fishery. The quan-
tity of mackerel caught in the season was from 700,000 to 1,200,000,
and the yearly produce of sales from £6000 to £8000. A large portion
was then conveyed to the London market. The mackerel fishery begins
in May and ends in July. About one hundred vessels are now engaged
in it of from forty to fifty tons measurement, rigged in what is called
" lugger " fashion and carrying ten hands each. Generally this fishery
employs 3200 tons, with 100 boats, and 1000 men, and produces about
£15,000 yearly. This town has always had a high reputation for the
herring fishery, which usually begins about Michaelmas and continues till
Christmas. About 200 boats of thirty-six to fifty tons, and 1300 men


and boys, are employed in this fishery, wliich produces about 100,000
barrels yearly.

The fisheries have been found of very great importance as sources of
railway traffic, the average catch for seven years having been twenty
lasts per boat. During the season, one boat has been Ijnown to bring in
forty-three lasts of 13,200 each. In a good season like that of 1869, each
boat ought to make £450 to £500 ; but the season is not always good.
It is wonderful, while there are in the seas around this island such
shoals of fish of every kind, that fisheries as a branch of industry have
not been more extended, especially as we have such unfp.iLing stores of
salt for the preservation of fish and such rapid means of conveyance to
aU parts of the country. Millions of our population have been at various
times in an almost starving condition, while unlimited quantities of whole-
some food were in the seas around them. However great the extent of
business hitherto caused by the fisheries may have been, it is small
compared to what it might become if this branch of industry were carried
out on a comprehensive scale by well-organised companies. If half or
quarter of the capital now sunk or lost in railways had been invested in
the fisheries, it would have been far more beneficial to the country. There
might be fishing stations within fifty miles of each other, aU around this
island ; and ten times the number of persons who are now able-bodied
paupers might be employed with a far less amount of money than is
now expended yearly for their maintenance. With a well-organised
system, there might be always a steady supply. The great obstacle
at present to the use of fish as food is the uncertainty of price, arising
from the uncertainty of supply. Sometimes there is a scarcity and some-
times a glut of fish, but the laws of their migration are constant in their
operation, and the supply of this kind of food might be rendered as
regular as the supplies of any other kind of food. Associations might
be formed round the coast for fishing operations over large tracts of
water, where no rent and no taxes would have to be paid, and would be
found more profitable than the same extent of land ; and the benefits
accruing would be unlimited supplies of food, employment for many
thousands of men, nurseries for seamen, and indefinite increase of our
export trade. Industrial pursuits would be widely extended in every
direction, and the hardy people along our coasts would be trained to
peaceful habits. Nurseries for seamen would be estabhshed, it being well
known that fishermen generally prove the best sailors. England will
most surely maintain her supremacy on the sea by increasing the
number of her sons,

■WTaose march is on the mountain wave,

"Whose home is on the deep.



f^UFFOLK is a maritime county, bounded on the east by the North
) Sea, on the west by the county of Cambridge, on the north by that
of Norfolk, and on the south by Essex. It extends from 51 deg. 56 min.
36 sec. (north latitude), and from 23 min. to 1 deg. 44 min. (east longi-
tude), and comprises an area of 1512 square miles, or 967,680 statute
acres. The river Waveney, flowing from west to east, divides the two
counties of Norfolk and Suflblk, which are similar in physical features,
stratification, soil, climate, and productions ; similar in their natural
history, botany, flora, and fauna ; similar as to their agriculture, and their
inhabitants in every period.

Geologists exploring the Norfolk and SuS'olk coast have discovered a
deeply -buried forest, containing the remains of plants and trees of
species, which still exist, associated with the bones of the hippopotamus,
rhinoceros, mastodon, elephant, beaver, and other animals. Sir Charles
Lyell says that " the least interrupted series of consecutive documents to
which we can refer in the British Islands when we desire to connect the
tertiary with the post tertiary periods, are found in the counties of Norfolk,
Suffolk, and Essex.^' The celebrated geologist, in reference to the Suffolk
coast, states — " The cliffs of Suffolk, to which we next proceed, are some-
what less elevated than those of Norfolk, but composed of similar alter-
nations of clay, sand, and gravel. From Gorleston in Suffolk, to within a
few miles north of Lowestoft, the cliff's are slowly undermined. Near the
last-mentioned town there is an inland cliff" about sixty feet high, the
sloping latus of which is covered with turf and heath. Between the cliff"
and the sea is a low flat tract of land called the Ness, nearly three miles
long, and for the most part out of reach of the highest tides. The point
of the Ness projects from the base of the original cliff" to the distance of
660 yards. This accession of land, says Mr. Taylor, has been eff"ected at
distinct and distant intervals by the influence of currents running between


the land and a shoal about a mile off Lowestoft called the Holm Sand.
The lines of growth in the Ness are indicated by a series of concentric
ridges or en\bankments enclosing limited areas^ and several of these
ridges have been formed within the observation of persons now living.
A rampart of heavy materials is first thrown up to an unusual altitude
by some extraordinary tide^ attended with a violent gale. Subsequent
tides extend the base of this high bank of shingle^ and the interstices are
then filled with sand blown from the beach. The Arundo and other
marine plants by degrees obtain a footings and, creeping along the ridge,
give solidity to the mass, and form in some cases a matted covering of
turf. Meanwhile another mound is formirg externally which by the like
process rises and gives protection to the first. If the sea forces its way
through one of the external and incomplete mounds, the breach is soon
repaired. After a while, the marine plants within the areas enclosed by
these embankments are succeeded by a better species of herbage affording
good pasturage, and the sands become sufficiently firm to support

Of the gradual destruction , of Dunwich, once the most considerable
seaport on this coast, we have many authentic records. Gardner, in his
history of that borough, published in 1 754, shows, by reference to docu-
ments beginning with Domesday Book, that the clifis of Dunwich, South-
wold, Eastern, and Pakefield have been always subject to wear away. At
Dunwich, in particular, two tracts of land which had been taxed in the
11th century, in the time of King Edward the Confessor, are men-
tioned in the Conqueror's survey, made but a few years afterwards, as
having been devoured by the sea. The losses, at a subsequent period, of
a monastery, at another of several churches, afterwards of the old port,
then of 400 houses at once, of the church of St. Leonard, the high road,
town hall, gaol, and many other buildings, are mentioned, with the dates .
when they perished. It is stated that in the 16th century not one
quarter of the town was left standing, yet the inhabitants retreating-
inland, the name was preserved. There is, however, a church of con-
siderable antiquity still standing, the last of twelve mentioned in some

In 1740, the laying open of the churchyard of St. Nicholas and St.
Francis in the sea cliffs is well described by Gardner, with the coffins
and skeletons exposed to view, some lying on the beach and rocked

In cradle of the rude imperious surge.
Of these cemeteries, no remains can now be seen. Eay also says, " that
ancient writings make mention of a wood a mile and a-half to the east of
Dunwich, the site of which must at present be so far within the sea.^^
This city, once so flourishing and populous, is now a small village, with


about twenty houses aud a liuudved inhabitants. There is an old
tradition^ " that the tailors sat in their shops at Dunwich^ and saw the
ships in Yarmouth Bay -j" but when we consider how far the coast at
Lowestoft Ness projects between these places, we cannot give credit to
the tale, which, nevertheless, proves how much the inroads of the sea in
times of old had prompted men of lively imagination to indulge their
taste for the marvellous.

Gardner^s description of the cemeteries laid open by the waves reminds
us of the scene which has been so Avell depicted by Bewick, and of which
numerous points on the same coast might have suggested the idea. On
the verge of a cliff which the sea has undermined are represented the
unshaken tower and western end of an abbey. The eastern aisle is gone,
and the pillars of the cloister are soon to follow. The waves have almost
isolated the promontory, and invaded the cemetery, where they have
made sport with the mortal relics, and thrown u]3 a skull upon the beach.
In the foreground is seen a broken tombstone, erected, as the legend tells,
'^ to perpetuate the memory " of one wliose name is obliterated, as is that
of the county for which he was " Gustos Rotulorum.^'

A cormorant is perched on the monument, defiling it, as if to remind
some moralizer, like Hamlet, of " the base uses " to which things sacred
may be turned. Had this excellent artist desired to satirise certain
popular theories of geology, he might have inscribed the stone to the
memory of some philosopher who taught ^"^tlie permanency of existing
continents" — '^the era of repose" — 'Hhe impotence of modern causes."

The incursions of the sea at Aldborough were formerly very destruc-
tive, and this borough is known to have been once situated a quarter of a
mile east of the present shore. The inhabitants continued to build
further inland, till they arrived at the extremity of their property, and
then the town decayed greatly, but two sandbanks thrown up at a short
distance now afford a temporary safeguard to the coast. The sea now is
twenty-four feet deejj where the town formerly stood."

The aborigines of Suffolk and Norfolk were a Geltic tribe, named the
'' Iceni," a bold, warlike people, of whom few vestiges have been traced,
but whose seat of government appears to have been at Dunwich, the
ancient site of which place is now covered by the sea. In the first
century of our era, the Roman legions advancing from the district of the
Trinobantes in Essex entered Suffolk, and made roads which traverse the
county from south to north. They built camps at Walton, Dun^dch, aud
Burgh Gastle on the banks of the Waveney.

Of Eoman camps, Suffolk presents few examples, but this will create
no surprise when we advert to the description Tacitus has given of the
strongholds of the " Iceni. (Annals 6213.) Septum Agresti Aggerc, a


low bank surrounded by a quickset, a type of fortifications wkich in its
permanent features very slight, would naturally disappear. Of the
Romano-British typj of earthwork which in fact was but a type of the
Roman ones, there are no examples in Suffolk, which is probably
accounted for by the fact that the Romans left the much more formidable
strongholds of Burgh, Walton, and the walled city of Colchester, in
Essex, thus relieving the inhabitants of the east coast from the necessity
of erecting this kind of earthwork, imposed on Sussex by the absence of
all fortification constructed of masonry. Suffolk possesses thirty-five
camps and other fortifications, but of one-half the recorded descriptions
are so vague as to render any classification impossible.

After the invasions of the Gothic tribes, the Angles and Saxons, the
territory now comprised in the counties of Suffolk, Norfolk, and Cambridge,
was formed into the kingdom of East Anglia about the year 527, and the
relative position of this district obtained for its inhabitants the name of
Southfolk, in contradistinction to those of Norfolk, whence by contraction
its modern name. Dunwich, once a large city, was the first capital of East
Anglia, and the seat of the bishopric which was founded by Felix, a priest
of Burgundy, brought about by Segebert about 630. Felix was very
successful in converting the inhabitants of his diocese in Suffolk and
Norfolk, and he caused the erection of many Churches and Monasteries,
most of which are now demolished.

The earliest mention of Norfolk and Sufiblk appears lo be in the ninth
century (a.d. 895.) After this period, they were frequently mentioned as
separate counties, and more particularly in the reign of Edward the
Confessor, who made Suffolk a separate earldom, and bestowed it on
Gurth, Harold's brother. Documentary records of the Anglo-Saxon period
are scanty, but we gather from the names of places some hints that may
throw a little light on the early history of East Anglia, and indicate who
were the early settlers in the district.

There ai'e some remains. of monastic buildings erected in the Anglo-
Saxon period. A little north of Burgh Castle are a few vestiges of a
monastery built by Furseus, who, under the patronage of Segebert, the
first Christian King of East Anglia, and Felix, the first bishop of the
diocese, collected a number of religious persons, and placed them under
the monastic rule at Burgh, then called Cuobersburg, after the name of a
Saxon Chief who resided there. On the death of Segebert
Furseus quitted his monastery at Burgh, and went to France, after which
time the establishment dwindled down to nothing, and became the habita-
tion of some Jews.

There are several churches in Suffolk, portions of which lay claim to
Saxon antiquity, as the tower of Flixton near Bungay, and others with round


towers near the coast. Normau architecture is of frequent occurrence in the
churches of the county. Several of these also display magnificent timber
roofs^ which exhibit a combination of boldness^ picturesque effect, and
geometrical skill. The gateways of Bury Abbey attest the grandeur of
that wealthy establishment, and at Butley, Sibton, Herringfleet, Bungay,
and Leiston, there are more or less picturesque remains of ancient
monastic splendour. There are other remains at Ipswich, Sudbury,
Blythburgh, Clare, Campsey Ashe, Dodnash, Gorleston, Kersey, Ixworth,
Orford, Wangford, Mendham, &c.

Of castellated architecture the following recall the stern magnificence
of feudal times : — Orford, with its polygonal keep ninety feet in height ;
Framlingham, a mere shell of a proud Norman fortress ; Bungay Castle,
with its massive ruins ; Haughley Castle, Mettingham Castle, Wingfield,
and others of ancient date. Ancient mansions are seen in diSerent parts
of the county, of which the most remarkable is Hengrave Hall ; knd
there are many elegant seats, the principal being the residence of the
Duke of Grafton at Euston Park ; Heveningham Hall, the seat of Lord
Hunting-field ; Flixton Hall, the seat of Sir A. Shafto Adair, Bart.

The soil of Suffolk is so exceedingly variable, that it is difficult to define
the localities of each. The heavy land district constitutes what is known
as central Suffolk. ^ The eastern sands extending from the mouth of the
Deben to Yarmouth are very light, and much of the district from Beyton
to Mildenhall, and from Newmarket to Brandon, consists of a blowing
isand on a light chalky clay. The Fen district is limited to the extreme
north-west corner of the county and is of small extent. The quantity of
pasture land is much reduced. The quantity of arable land is much
greater, and is carefully cultivated.

Suffolk takes a high rank as an agricultural county, but of late years
a much smaller proportion of its population than formerly has been
dependent on agriculture for subsistence. The net rental of property in
Suffolk was estimated in 1851 at £912,062, probably now more than a
million sterling. The property is much divided, and there are no estates
so large as to create a decided political preponderance, and there are
more proprietors occupying their own land in Suffolk than in any other
county. On the heavy lands, farms seldom exceed 300 acres in extent.
On the light lands, farms vary from 300 to 1500 acres. The rotation of
crops and manner of cultivation in the heavy land district are — First year,
fallow, tares, beet or turnips ; second year, barley ; third year, half clover,
half peas, or beans alternately ; fourth year, wheat. There is much
variation in the course of cropping among the small farmers ; but on the
best cultivated farms this may be taken as the general course. On the
light lands, a different course of management is adopted ; but it is generally


farmed on the four-course system. Thorough drainage is much practised
in the county.

Suffolk is famous for its breeds of horses^ including thoroughbred stud
horseS;, hunters^ and cart stallions. The latter are of great size, and extend
over a wide area of cultivated land ; and for uniformity of character in
colour, symmetry, and size, they are unrivalled. The county is also cele-
brated for its breeds of cattle, sheep, and pigs.

Suffolk scenery is generally quiet in the Eastern Division; gentle
undulations sprinkled here and there with copse and plantation, gi-eat
breadths of grain for many a mile, everywhere meet the eye. Though it
has some features in common with Norfolk, the tourist cannot fail to
note that St. Edmund's county is more varied in surface and softer of
aspect than its neighbour beyond the Waveney. For scenes of rural ease
and plenty, there is no part of our island that contents the eye so fully as
this part of East Anglia, and there is eveiy thing that denotes settled
habitation and long possession, as if the same families had always dwelt
in the homesteads.

The Western Division of the county, more especially the north-west
corner, near the river Ouse, in the hundred of Lackford, is noted for the
preservation of game, and in few districts do pheasants, partridges, hares,
and rabbits thrive better. For this reason there are thousands of acres
mainly devoted to the preservation of game. The Great Warren on the
south-west side of Thetford is a noted game preserve. It comiDnses near
3000 acres of land, on which myriads of conies of a peculiar kind are
■ preserved in addition. The warren is bounded on the north by the river
Ouse, on the south and east by the Canon's farm, and the west by the
estate of the Duchess of Cleveland on the Suffolk side of the river. The
warren land is composed of a peculiar soil, admirably adapted for game.
The surface is a hght sand, lying upon a recently upheaved and disturbed
stratum of chalk, which underlies the whole length and breadth of the
warren. A great part of it is covered with a minute and lichen-like
vegetation, crowned with the fern -like brake, which somewhat resembles
a sort of miniature plantation. A numerous gang of game preservers,
called the warraners, are constantly employed by the proprietor in watch-
ing the myriads of silver-grey rabbits, wild fowl, and other game, which
are the sole occupiers of the soil. The '^ Warren Lodge " stands in the
centre, and is the home of the chief warrener, whose wife manages for
the rest of the keepers. Some of these men rarely quit the scene of
their duties, and they become so accustomed to their ^'home upon the
warren," that they seem to care little for the society of other men. They
generally wear a long blouse or slop which reaches below their knees.
Thus attired, they prove to be skilful gamekeepers, and they are exceed-


ingly cunning in concealing themselves from tlie observation of any
would-be poachers who may venture on their preserves.

This is a well-watered county ; the principal rivers are, southward, the
Stour, the Gippiug, the Orwell, the Deben, and the Ore ; northward, the
Waveney, the Little Ouse, and the Lark, beside numerous smaller
streams. The Stour first meets the tide at Manningtree, in Essex, and
expands into a broad estuary, which at high water presents a beautiful
appearance, but at low water shrinks into a narrow channel. Proceeding
eastward, it is joined near Harwich by the Orwell ; and their united waters,
having formed the Port of Harwich, flow into the North Sea between
that town, in Essex, and Languard Fort, at the south-eastern extremity of
Suffolk. The Stour divides the counties of Suffolk and Essex, and is
navigable up to Sudbury, in the south-western part of Suffolk. The
Gipping is formed by the confluence of three rivulets in the middle of the
county at Stowmarket, from which place it was made navigable to Ipswich
in 1793. Below Ipswich, it assumes the name of Orwell, expands into a
broad estuary, and continues its course to its junction with the Stour
opposite Harwich. The Orwell is navigable for ships of considerable
burden up to Ipswich, and its banks are adorned with beautiful scenery,
woods, ]3arks, and seats of the gentry. The Deben rises near Debenham,
and at Woodbridge expands into an estuary, and flows thence in a
southerly direction to the North Sea, to which it is navigable for large

Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 34 of 70)