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fitted with desks. The store-room for the models is also 100 feet in
length. The drawing office contains a large staff of intelligent draughts-
men, each design being registered for future reference. The smithy
department is about 120 feet by 180 feet, and contains eighty forges,
steam hammers, bending machines, and other machines for saving labor
and improving the quality of the work. The foundry is an interesting
part of the works. Castings can be made here up to thirty tons weight.
The boiler shop is large, and always full of busy workers. The shop
devoted to thrashing machines is 220 feet by 125 feet, and there are other
shops for turning, planing, grinding, &c. ; also store-rooms for materials
and implements. The steam engines employed amount to near 200
horse power, and the whole place seems alive with machinery in motion.
Messrs. Ransome and Co. are manufacturers of improved iron ploughs
in great variety, thrashing machines for horse and steam power, chaff
cutters, turnip cutters, pulpers, corn mills, and every sort of implement.
The works are widely known for the manufacture of patent railway
fastenings, and for the patent solid chilled railway crossings, which have
been proved to be the most durable. We must not omit to mention the
workmen's hall, and a library of 3,000 volumes. The library is managed
by a committee of foremen and workmen, and for a penny per week every
workman has access to ample stores of literature.

EMINENT MEN OP THE TOWN.

Among distinguished natives of Ipswich, we may mention Cardinal
Wolsey, who was born in the parish of St. Nicholas, and received the
rudiments of his education in the Grammar School of the town. Dr.
William Butler, physician to James I. Dr. Laney, successively Bishop of
Peterborough, Lincoln, and Ely. Ralph Browning, Bishop of Exeter, of
which see he was deprived at the commencement of the Civil War. Clara
Reeve, the authoress of the " Old English Baron," whose father was for



A DESCRIPTION OP SUFFOLK. 309

many years minister of St. Nicholas' parish. INIrs. Sarah Trimmer, who
wrote books for the yonng. Thomas Green, author of " Extracts fi'om
the Diary of a Lover of Literature," a very euHg-htened critic. Joshua
Kirby Baldry was an eminent artist, who died in 1829. Ealph Brownrigg,
D.D., was the son of a merchant in Ipswich and a learned divine, who
died in 1659. William Butler, M.D., one of the greatest physicians of
his time, was born here about 1535 and died in 1G18. Robert Clamp, a
native of this town, died in 1808, aged thirty -nine. He was articled to
Joshua Kirby Baldry, who was also a native of Ipswich, after which he
practised as a portrait engraver in London, and many of his productions
are to be seen in a work called " Harding's Biographical Mirror," three
volumes quarto.

THE RIVER ORWELL.

Excursionists in the summer months frequently take pleasant trips
down the river Orwell to Harwich, or Felixstow, or Aldborough, or South-
wold. The Orwell resembles more an arm of the sea than a river,
winding with frequent bold curves between flat muddy banks, that rise
with green slopes to the wooded uplands in their rear. Grimston Hall,
on the north side of the stream, was the birthplace of Thomas Cavendish,
the second Englishman who sailed round the globe, made his name a
terror to the Spaniards in the Pacific, and brought home plenty of gold.

The Orwell is bordered the whole length on both sides by gently-rising
grounds, adorned with seats of the gentry, woods, and parks stocked with
deer and abounding in game ; lawns and well-cultivated lands reach down
to the water's edge, embracing everything that can diversify a landscape.
The stream has the appearance of a lake, and is for its extent one of the
most beautiful salt rivers in England. It is mentioned by Chaucer in the
prologue to his " Merchant's Tale," and by Drayton in his " Poly Olbion,"
and has been the theme of many a modern poet's muse. An unknown
poet wrote the following sonnet on the Orwell :-^

Orwell, delightful stream, whose waters flow,
Fringed -witli luxuriant beauty, to the main !
Amid thy woodlands taught, the muse would fiiiu
On thee her grateful eiilogy bestow.
Smooth and majestic though thy current glide.
And husthng commerce plough thy liquid plaiu,
Though ga-aced with loveliness thy verdant side,
Wliile all arouud enchantment seems to reign ;
These glories still Avith filial love I taste.
And feel their praise ; — yet thou hast one beside,
To me more sweet ; for on thy banks reside
Friendsliip and truth combined ; whose union chaste
Has soothed my soul ; and these shall bloom sublime
When fade the fleeting chaims of nature and of time.



310 HISTORY OP EASTEEN ENGLAND.

LANDGUAED POET

Stands upon the point of land which forms the south-east corner of the
county, at the mouth of the Orwell, and has the appearance of an island
at high water. It is situated on a gently-rising ground, so that from the
walls there is a view in every direction, including one of the Northern
Ocean bursting on our sight. Who has not felt the extraordinary sensa-
tion experienced on first beholding the sea. James Bird asks —

Beats there a heart, which hath not felt its core
Ache Avith a wild delight, when first the roar
Of ocean's spirit met the startled ear t
Beats there a heart so languid and so drear,
That hath not felt tlie lightning of the blood
Flash vivid joy Avhen first the rolling flood
Met the charmed eye, with all its restless strife
At once the Avonder and the type of life 1

The first fort was built at the commencement of the reign of Charles I.,
for its chapel was consecrated by the Bishop of Norwich, September 7th,
1628. It was built chiefly as a defence against the Dutch, who often
threatened our eastern coast. The old fort had four bastions, with fifteen
large guns in each, and stood a little to the north of the present erection,
on the spot which is now the burial-place for the garrison. Near this spot
the Dutch landed 3,000 men in the year 1667, and marching under cover
of some sand hills, lodged themselves within musket shot on two sides of
the fort. After an hour's incessant firing with their small arms, they were
put to flight by the discharge of two or three guns from a small gahot,
which fired upon the shingle and scattered the pebbles so destructively
as to throw the foreign invaders into complete confusion.

The old fort was demolished, and the present one erected in its stead, in
1718; but the soil being unfavourable, the foundations were not laid
without great labour and expense. It is built of dark red brick, with
bastions, curtain, inner and outer defences, a ditch and magazines, and the
usual appurtenances of a military post. Tlie entrance to the fort is by a
drawbridge. Over the gateway is the chapel. On the right are apart-
ments for the governor, and facing the gate are the barracks for the
soldiers, who generally consist of a detachment of two companies. The
fort completely commands the entrance into the harbour, which, though
between two and three miles over at high water, is too shallow to admit
ships of any great burthen, except by a narrow and deep channel on the
Suffolk side.

According to tradition, the opening of the two rivers Orwell and Stour
was anciently on the north side of the fort, through Walton marshes, and
from the soil and situation of Langer common and Langer marshes, it is



A DESCRIPTION OP SUFFOLK. 311

likely that they may have been covered by the sea ; but if so, it must
have been at a very early period, for frequent mention is made in the
court rolls of the manor of Walton of Langer Common in Felixtow,
upwards of two hundred years before any fort was bnilt there.

WALTON (ST. MARY)^

A parish situated at the south-east corner of the county, ten miles south-
east-by-east of Ipswich. It comprises about 1,200 acres of flat land,
generally a rich loam. There is no doubt of this place haviug been a
Roman station, from the variety of Roman urns, coins, rings, &c., found
here. The coins found are of the Vespasian and Antonine families, of
Severus and his successors, to Gordian III., and from Gallieuus to
Arcadius and Honorius. Constantine the Great, it is thought, may have
established a station here when he withdrew his legions from the frontier
towns in the east of Britain, and built forts to supply their places.

The following description of the Roman walls appears in the minutes of
the Antiquai'ian Society in 1722 : — " Some distance east of Walton are the
ruins of a Roman wall, situate on the ridge of a cliff near the sea,
between Landguard fort and the Woodbridge river or Bawdsey haven. It
is one hundred yards long, five feet high above ground, twelve broad at
each end, turned with an angle ; it is composed of pebbles and Roman
brick in three courses ; all round footsteps of buildings and several large
pieces of wall, cast down upon the strand by the sea undermining the
cliff, all which have Roman brick. At low-water mark very much of the
like is visible at some distance in the sea. There are two entire pillars
with balls. The cliff* is one hundred feet high."

So great have been the encroachments of the sea on this part of the
coast within the present century, that no remains of this wall now exist
except a few fragments, which may be seen above the waves at low water.
It is asserted that some miles out at sea, at a place well-known to
mariners, some fragments of walls have been broken off*, being formed
of materials cemented together, and hardened by the water. It is there-
fore supposed that the sea has encroached for many miles on this shore ;
and it is stated in the eleventh volume of the Archceologia that " there
was formerly a town called Orwell, which extended into the sea to the
place now called the West Rocks. '^

Walton Castle was a strong fortress in the Norman period, when Hugh
Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, was lord of the manor and of the ancient castle.
In consequence of this earl and several of the barons having in 1173
taken part with the sons of Henry II. in their unnatural contest with
their father, that monarch in 1176 caused all the castles whose owners had
acted against him in this rebellion to b© razed to the ground, including



312 HISTORY OF EASTEEN ENGLAND.

tliose at Walton and Ipswich. So effectual was tlie demolition of Walton
Castle,, that the stones were carried into all parts of Felixstow and
Trinity, and footpaths raised with them on both sides of the road.

The living of Walton is a discharged vicarage endowed with the
rectorial tithes, with that of Felixtow annexed. A cell of Benedictine
monks, subordinate to the monastery of Rochester, was fomided here in
tbe reign of William II., and continued till 1528, when it was given to
Cardinal Wolsey towards the endowment of his intended colleges. The
Baptists have a chapel here.

Walton and Felixstow are now distinct parishes, but formerly Felixstow
was included in Walton, and so late as the reign of Henry YIII. Cardinal
Wolsey was said to have had an annual income from the church of Felix-
stow in Walton. Walton is a neat and remarkably-pleasant village, con-
taining many good houses, several of which are desirable places of
residence, enjoying beautiful prospects of the surrounding country with an
extensive view of the North Sea.

FELIXSTOW

Is a watering place situated at the foot of a range of bold heights which
are found to be advantageous because of the look-out and the means
they afford for alternations of temperature. Here it was that Felix, a
Burgundian monk, landed about the year 654, the first Christian
missionary and bishop to the East Angles, and from him the place derives
its name. The memory of the good bishop will be perpetuated here in
the name of the village. He founded here a religious house called the
Priory of St. Felix, but all that remains of it is a piece of land called
" The Old Abbey Close," and a fenny close called '' The Old Abbey
Pond." A great quantity of a peculiar herb is found in these pastures,
which at a certain time of the year taints the cream and butter made
from the milk of the cows which have fed upon it with the flavour of
onions. It is extremely difficult to eradicate, and is detested by the
peasantry, who call it " monk^s grass."

Roger Bigod, first Earl of Norfolk, had granted to him after the
Conquest 176 manors in Norfolk, and 117 lordships in Suffolk. Upon
one of these he founded his priory of Benedictine monks, and endowed it
with the manor of the ancient priory of Fehxstow, with the Churches of
Walton and Felixstow, and with the tithes and other appurtenances in
Walton. About the year 1105, the earl gave it as a cell to the Monastery
of St. Andrew at Rochester. This gift was confirmed by King William,
and the monks were ever after called " The Monks of Rochester." The
sit e of this priory, with the great tithes of Walton and Felixstow, were
given to Cardinal Wolsey in the 26th Henry VIII.; but long after his fall,



A DESCRIPTION OP SUFFOLK. 313

in the nineteenth year o£ Queen Elizabeth_, they were granted to Thomas
Seckford, her Master of Eequests, who built the celebrated almshouses
at Woodbridge. The Church of Felixstow must be a very ancient edifice,
but we have no record of the date of its erection. It is in a very
dilapidated state ; the steeple is nearly in ruins ; the rest of the edifice has
been repaired.

At the Point there are signs of the ravages of the sea, the cliff is much
worn, and presents a curious variety of colour — reddish-yellow at the top,
darkening as it descends into brown and black, with horizontal streaks of
yellow and buff. By searching along the base of the cliff, people have
found fossil shells and coprolites which had been washed out of the
hardened clay. Professor Henslow first pointed out the fertihsing
properties of these coprolites, which poor folks now collect for sale.
Geologists say that these curious things are animal deposits of the
antediluvian ages, fossihsed into the appearance and form of oblong-
pebbles. They are found in great beds in other parts of Suffolk.

A rugged, sandy green, and the salt marsh, from which unpleasant
smells arise in the evening, extend along the front of the village for
nearly half its length. If the tourist ascends the hill to the Martello
tower, he will have a broad view all across Langer Common to Landguard
Fort, green marsh and pale dry sand, and out to the tower on the Naze.
The inland prospect is quite rural, with many old farmhouses, and for
many miles in that direction the land is as fertile as any in Suffolk. There
are the Sandlings — acres which produce wonderful crops of carrots. A
great attraction here is the abundance of excellent water supplied by
springs gushing from the cliffs.

The beach is firm smooth sand, good for walkers or bathers. We may
ramble on until the view opens of the bay and estuary of the river Deben.
Beyond appear the lighthouses of Orfordness, standing apparently far out
at sea. Bernard Barton, the Suffolk poet, answers an enquiry for a
beautiful abiding place in these lines : —

On that shore where the waters of Orwell and Debeu
Join the dark, heaving ocean, that spot may be found :

A scene Avliicli recalls the lost beauties of Eden,

And which Fancy might hail as her own fairy ground.

That shore might be a paradise for the poet ; but few ordinary people
would like to live in so lonely a place.

ALDBORO'UGH OR ALDEBURGH (ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL),

A seaport and parish (formerly a representative borough and market town),
having separate jurisdiction, in the union and locally in the Hundred of
Plomesgate, southern division of the county of Sufiblk, twenty-five miles



314 HISTORY OP EASTERN ENGLAND.

(north-east-by-east) from Ipswich^ and ninety-four (north-east) from Lon-
don. This place takes its name from its situation on the river Aide, and was
formerly of very considerable extent and importance, possessing many
valuable privileges. Owing to the encroachments of the sea (which within
the last century has destroyed the Market-place, with an entire street and
a great number of houses), it has been reduced to an inconsiderable town ;
but from the salubrity of the air and the convenience of the shore for
sea-bathing, it has lately become a place of fashionable resort during the
summer. Baths for the accommodation of visitors have been erected, and
machines are in attendance on the beach. The town is situated in a
pleasant vale, rather below the level of high water mark, having the river
Aide on the north, and on the south the navigable river Ore, which flows
from Orford to this place ; it is sheltered by a steep hill, the extended
summit of which forms a magnificent terrace, affording a delightful
promenade and a delightfully-diversified prospect, embracing an extensive
view of the North Sea. The strand, to which the descent from the town
is gradual, consists of firm sand, favourable for bathing and walking. At
the southern extremity of the main street, which is nearly a mile in length,
are a battery, on which during the late war two eighteen-pounders were
mounted ; another of five guns, and a Martello tower for the protection
of the coast. The old houses are in general ill-constructed, but those
erected for families during the season, or for the accommodation of
visitors, are well-built and respectable ; among these is an elegant marine
villa, in the Italian style, built by the late Leveson Vernon, Esq. There
is a Public Subscription Library, situated on the Heads ; a neat and
commodious Theatre is open for a few weeks during the season ; and
assemblies are held occasionally at the principal inns. The trade of the
port consists chiefly in the exportation of corn, and the importation of
coal and timber, in which forty-six vessels, averaging fifty-two tons
burden, are employed. The Custom-house is a neat and convenient
building near the Quay ; and the harbour, which is safe and commodious,
attracts a number of seafaring people and fishermen, by whom the town
is principally inhabited. Many of these are Trinity House pilots, who
form themselves into small associations, and purchase swift-sailing cutters,
in which they traverse the North Sea, frequently approaching the coast of
Norway, in search of vessels requiring assistance. The principal employ-
ment of the other inhabitants consists in the taking and drying of
herrings and sprats, the latter of which are found here in profusion, and
exported to Holland ; soles and lobsters of superior flavour are taken also
in abundance. The market, formerly on Wednesdays and Saturdays, has
been discontinued; the fairs are held on March 1st and May 3rd.
Aldborough claims to be a borough by prescription. The earliest charter



A DESCRIPTION OF SUFFOLK. 315

extant was granted by Henry VIII. in 1529, since which it has received
several others, the last and governing charter being granted by Charles I.
in 1637.

The oflacers of the corporation are two bailiffs, ten capital and twenty -
four inferior burgesses, a recorder, town clerk, two chamberlains, two
sergeauts-at-mace, and others. The bailiffs and capital burgesses compose
the council, which is the governing body ; the former are chosen from
amongst the latter on September 8th, and also act as coroners ; the
capital burgesses are elected for life from among the^ inferior burgesses,
by the common council, who also choose the inferior burgesses, recorder,
and town clerk. The bailiffs, the late bailiffs, and the recorder, are
justices of the peace for the borough, which is co-extensive ^with the
parish. They have power to hold a court of general sessions for the trial
of misdemeanours, which has not been held since 1822 ;2 ^^^o ^ court of
record for pleas to the amount of £30, and a court of pie poudre, both of
which have long been obsolete.

The revenue of the corporation arises principally from the proceeds of
the town marshes, comprising 188 acres of land, used for depasturing
cattle; they were purchased in 1610, and are vested in trustees. The
Town Hall is an ancient building of timber, under which is the common
Gaol, consisting of a single cell, for the confinement of disorderly persons ;
the borough magistrates generally commit to the County Gaol. The
borough first exercised the elective fi'anchise in the thirteenth of
Elizabeth, from which time, until its disfranchisement by the Reform Act
in the second of William lY., it returned two members to Parliament.
The right of election was vested in the bailiffs and burgesses not receiving
alms ; the bailiffs were the returning officers.

The parish comprises, by measurement, 1,150 acres ; it contains a small
portion of good arable land, but it chiefly consists of heath and of land
laid out in sheep walks. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in
the King's books at £33 6s. 8d. ; present net income, £220 ; it is in the
patronage of F. J, V. Wentworth, Esq. There is a manor of thirteen
acres attached to the vicarage. The Church is an ancient structure of
fhnt and freestone, standing on the summit of a hill at the northern
extremity of the town, with a square embattled tower, surmounted with a
turret, affording an excellent landmark for mariners. There are places of
worship for Particular Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyans. A
National School is supported by subscription, and the rental of a quay or
wharf on the river Ore is appHcable to the purposes of education. There
is also a fund of £5 per annum for apprenticing poor children, payable
out of the town marsh, the produce of a benefaction of £100 by Captain
William Lawes.



316 HISTOEY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

Near the Moot Hall stood the cottage in which Ora;bbe the poet was
born, but it fell down about twenty -five years ago by dint of wind and
weather. Judging, however, from engravings, it was like those gloomy
little buildings which still remain. When we last visited the town, in
answer to our inquiries, nobody could say any thing about the birthplace
of the poet, and few knew that he ever lived in the place.

We entered the old Church in which the poet served his first curacy, and
saw a monument erected to his memory on the north side of the chancel,
where his bust, with its ample brow and thoughtful expression, showed
that he was no ordinary man. We read the inscription on the pedestal : —

"To the memory of George Crabbe, the poet of nature and truth, this
monument is erected by those who are desirous to record their admiration of
his genius in the place of his birth."

Thus it appears that the poet was not quite forgotten in his native place,
though while he lived he obtained little honor or profit in his own
county.

DUNWICH.

The ancient Sitomagus of the Romans was a city supposed to have
been inhabited by the Sitones, a Belgic tribe, but where the city was
situated has not been decided by antiquaries. Some suppose it to have
stood on the former site of Dunwich, now covered by the sea. Others
suppose it to have been situated near Thetford, on the Suffolk side of
that town. The Roman legions, leaving the territory of the Trinobantes
about A.D. 58, had to fight their way through the country of the Iceni,
and they appear to have marched from south to north along the coast
through Suffolk, building camps in their progress near Walton, Dunwich,
and Lowestoft. Sitomagus, therefore, is more likely to have been
situated near the coast than so far inland as Thetford. The Roman
vessels which followed the march of the legions along the coast could
easily bring supplies of provisions or arms to a place on the coast for the
soldiers, who no doubt had a station where the ancient city formerly
stood. Dunwich, at a very early period, was the capital of the Iceni, as
it certainly was in the sixth century, and the seat of government. We
may easily believe that so important a place was the Sitomagus of the
Romans that there the native kings resided, and that there King Prastagus
with his Queen Boadicea held their court.

Nearly all the towns in East Anglia appear to have been of Anglo-Saxon
origin, and Dunwich is perhaps the most ancient. It was the see of a
bishop and an important commercial city. It is certain that in the reign
of Sigebert King of East Anglia, Felix of Burgundy, the bishop, fixed
his episcopal see at Dunwich, in the year 630, and there his successors



A DESCItll'TION OF SUFFOLK. 31 7

coutinued for 200 years. When a survey was taken in the reign of
Edward .the Confessor of all the lauds in the kingdom, Dimwich contained
two curves of land, but one of these was swallowed up by the sea before
the Norman Conquest. In the reign of William I. there was an exten-



Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 36 of 70)