Suffolk 1830 Whites Directory

Transcribed by Colin Ager

SUFFOLK
Is a maritime county, bounded on the north by Norfolk, from which it is separated by the rivers the Little Ouse and Waveney; on the south by Essex, from which it is divided by the River Stour; on the east by the German ocean, and on the west by Cambridgeshire. Its figure is an oblong, of about 47 miles in length and 27 in breadth, forming altogether a surface of nearly 1,269 square miles; its superficial contents being estimated at about 800,000 acres, and its circumference at about 142 miles.
NAME AND ANCIENT HISTORY.- In the time of the Romans the inhabitants of this part of the country were called the Iceni, or Cenomannt; and by them it was included in the province of FLAVIA CAESARIENSIS. Under the Saxons it formed a part of the kingdom of East Anglia, and was called ‘Suffolk,’ from Sud-folk, i.e. ‘southern folk’ or ‘people.’ The precise period of Uffa’s monarchy cannot be accurately ascertained, but it is certain that he died in 578. The whole of this and some of the adjacent counties knew little of respite from foreign and domestic depredators till some time after the death of Edward the Confessor; this county in particular suffered much from Sweyne, King of Denmark, who spared neither towns nor churches, unless redeemed by the people with large sums of money; though, to compensate in some measure for this cruelty, Canute, his son and successor, shewed it particular kindness. When William the Conqueror was settled on the throne of the kingdom, he divided the manors of this county among his officers.
SOIL AND PRODUCE.- There is in this county a very considerable variety of soil, nor is the diversity any where more distinctly marked; the whole, however, may be conveniently divided into four sorts – clay, sand, loam and fen. The first description of the soil comprehends the whole midland part of the county, through nearly its whole extent from east to west, and forms about two-thirds of the land; the district over which this soil prevails is called ‘High Suffolk.’ The next sort of soil consists chiefly of sand, and lies in opposite sides of the county – some in the maritime part; much of this district is highly cultivated, and is one of the most profitable; the rest of the sand district lies on the western side of the county, and comprises nearly the whole of the north-western angle; it contains a few spots of such rich sand-lands as are found on the coast, but abounds with warrens and poor sheep-walks; towards the boarders of Norfolk it is very light and blowing. The third district, that of loam, forms but a small portion of the county, and is not clearly discriminated as the others; it is composed of a vein of friable, putrid, vegetable mould, of extraordinary fertility. The fen division is merely the north-west corner; its surface to some depth is common peat-bog, and is in different places under water, though much expense has been incurred for draining. The roads in every part of Suffolk are excellent, the late improvements in them being almost inconceivable; and in most directions the cross-roads are equal to those that have turnpikes. Many modern inclosures have been made by acts of parliament, which examples, in favourable times, will no doubt be followed, the success having been such as to encourage the practice; and as to landed property, there is no estate in Suffolk that can be considered as overgrown. The agriculture of this county approaches more nearly to perfection than, perhaps, any other in the kingdom: in the lighter lands, the Norfolk system is pursued; and in the heavier, beans and wheat, cabbages and other vegetables, are grown in rotation. The farming stock is highly valued; the cows being excellent milkers, and the horses strong, active, and capable of vast exertions. By a spirited cultivation, and the free used of clay, much valuable land has been reclaimed in this part of the county; and a farm now tenanted produces more in one year that would have purchased the fee-simple of the estate prior to the present occupancy. The woods of Suffolk hardly deserve mentioning, except for the fact that they pay in general but indifferently; and nothing but the expense and trouble of grubbing prevents large tracts of land thus occupied from being applied much more beneficially. Hemp is cultivated in the district extending from Eye to Beccles, spreading to the breadth of about ten miles, which oblong part of the country may be considered as its seat. Land for the growth of this useful article is in the hands of both farmers and cottagers, but it is very rare to see more than five or six acres in the occupation of any one person. It is singular that no weeding is ever given to it, the hemp destroying every other plant. The fabrics wrought in this county from their own hemp have great merit.
The MANUFACTURES of this county are not extensive or various; light stuffs, buntings, crapes and yarns being the principal under this head, with hempen cloth for home consumption. The sea-ports depend much on the exportation of malt and corn; some are noted for making fine salt, burning lime from fossil shells, &c.; and other maritime towns derive considerable advantage from the mackerel and herring fisheries.
The CLIMATE of this county has long been noticed as the driest in the kingdom; the frosts, also, are severe, and the north-east winds, which prevail in spring, are generally sharp; but though, like the western extremity of this island, Suffolk is not calculated to favour the weak and consumptive stranger, it is upon the whole extremely healthy – which has been proved by calculating the average mortality of the county for ten years.
RIVERS.- Water is very plentiful all over this county; for there are not only rivers in every part, but a great number of springs and rivulets. The principal rivers are, the Stour, the Lesser Ouse, the Waveney, the Deben, the Ald, the Blythe or Blithe, the Gipping, the Ore, the Orwell and the Larke. The greater number of these rivers have their sources in this county, and either fall into the sea, or are tributary to others which have that exit. The Waveney and the Ouse are exceptions: they both rise in Norfolk, near to each other; but, taking contrary directions, and are boundary-streams of the two counties.
Suffolk is in the province of Canterbury, and the diocese of Norfolk; and is in the Norfolk circuit. The most general division of the county is into two parts: the first called ‘the Franchise or Liberty of St. Edmund;’ and the second, called ‘Gildable Land,’ contains the eastern part; - each portion furnishes a distinct grand jury at the county assizes. There are two other general divisions of the county, into High Suffolk and Low Suffolk; and it is further divided into 21 hundreds, and subdivided into 575 parishes; these contain one county-town (Ipswich), and 28 other market-towns. The whole county returns 16 members to parliament, viz. two each for the boroughs of ALDBOROUGH, BURY ST. EDMUNDS, DUNWICH, EYE, IPSWICH, ORFORD and SUDBURY, and two for the SHIRE; the present representatives for the shire are Sir Thomas S. Gooch, Bart. and Sir W. Rowley, Bart.
POPULATION.- According to the census of 1821, there were houses inhabited in the county, 42,773; uninhabited, 656; and houses building, 270. The number of families then resident in the county was 55,064; comprising 132,410 males, and 138,132 females; total, 270, 542; and by a calculation made by order of the government, which included persons in the army and navy, for which was added after the ratio of about one to thirty prior to the year 1811, and one to fifty for that year and the census of 1821, to the returns made from the several districts; the population of the county, in round numbers, in the year 1700, was 152,700 – in 1750, 156,800 – in 1801 217,400 – in 1811, 242,900 – and in 1821, 276,000. The increased population in the 50 years, from the year 1700, was 4,100 – from 1750 to 1801, the increase was 60,600 – from 1801 to 1811, the increase was 25,500 – and from 1811 to 1821 the augmented number of persons was 33,100; the grand total increase in the population of the county, from the year 1700 to the census of 1821, being about 123,300 persons.

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