Sudbury, Suffolk

Sudbury, Suffolk

infobox UK place

country = England
official_name= Sudbury

static_image_caption= Town crest featuring a Talbot dog.
latitude= 52.0417
longitude= 0.72815
population = 12,080 [ [ Estimates of Total Population of Areas in Suffolk] Suffolk County Council]
shire_district= Babergh
shire_county = Suffolk
region= East of England

constituency_westminster= South Suffolk
post_town= SUDBURY
postcode_district = CO10
postcode_area= CO
dial_code= 01787
os_grid_reference= TL8741

Sudbury is a small, ancient market town in the county of Suffolk, England, on the River Stour, 15 miles from Colchester and 60 miles from London.


Early history

Sudbury’s history dates back into the age of the Saxons, the town’s earliest mention is in 799 AD, when Aelfhun, Bishop of Dunwich, died in the town.cite web | title = Sudbury's History | publisher = | url= | accessdate=2008-01-14] The town is also mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, as a market town where the local people came to barter their goods.

The weaving and silk industries prospered for centuries during the Late Middle Ages. As the main town in the area, Sudbury prospered too, and many great houses and churches were built, giving the town a major historical legacy. The Woolsack in the House of Lords was originally stuffed with wool from the Sudbury area, a sign of both the importance of the wool industry and of the wealth of the donors.

One citizen of Sudbury, Archbishop Simon Sudbury showed that not even the Tower of London guarantees safety. On 14 June 1381 guards opened the Tower’s doors and allowed revolting peasants to enter. Sudbury, inventor of the Poll Tax, was dragged to Tower Hill and beheaded. [cite web|url=|first=Joseph|last=Clayton|title=Simon of Sudbury|publisher=New Advent|work=The Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol XIII|date=1912|accessdate=2008-01-17] His body was afterwards buried in Canterbury Cathedral, but his skull is kept in St. Gregory’s with St. Peter’s Church, [cite web|url=|title=St Gregory, Sudbury||accessdate=2008-01-17] one of the three medieval churches in Sudbury.

During the eighteenth century Sudbury became famous for its local artists. John Constable painted in the area, especially the River Stour. Painter Thomas Gainsborough was born in Sudbury in 1727, and was educated at Grammar School.cite web |publisher = Gainsborough's House |title= Biography |url= |accessdate=2008-01-14 ] His birthplace, now named Gainsborough House, is now a museum to his work and is open to the public. It houses many valuable pictures and some of his family possessions. A statue of Gainsborough was unveiled in the town centre outside St Peter’s Church on Market Hill in 1913.

Victorian times to present day

The 1832 Reform Act saw the villages of Ballingdon and Brundon appended to the town. [cite web|url=|title=Sudbury in 1842||work=Old Towns of England|accessdate=2008-01-18] In the 1841 general election Sudbury became the first place in the UK to elect a member of an ethnic minority to parliament, with David Dye Sombre, the son of an Indian queen, winning the seat. However, he was not allowed to take his place in parliament as he was subsequently declared insane. ["Minority MP `ought to be commemorated`" East Anglian Daily Times, 23 November 2007] The railway arrived in Sudbury in 1847 when Sudbury railway station was built on the Stour Valley Railway. The town escaped the Beeching Axe of the 1960s and maintained its rail link with London, although it became the terminus of the Gainsborough Line, and many villages further up the River lost their rail stations. Road links with the major cities of the area are being improved. Once a busy and important river port the last industrial building on the riverside in Sudbury has been converted into the Quay Theatre, which has seen waning popularity and financial hardship in recent times. However the river is no longer subject to the local ordinance of 9 November 1893, when the Town Council decided that bathing in the river was to be banned after 8 a.m., except at Dobs Hole, where screens had been erected.

During World War II an American squadron of B-24 Liberator bombers of the 834th Squadron (H), 486th Bomb Group (H), 8th Air Force was based at RAF Sudbury. This squadron performed many important bombing and photographic missions during the War, but is perhaps best known as the "Zodiac Squadron", as its bombers were decorated with colorful images of the twelve signs of the zodiac painted by a professional artist named Phil Brinkman, [ [ Phil Brinkman] USAAF Nose Art Research Project] who was taken into the squadron by its commander, Capt. Howell, specifically for the purpose of painting the bombers.

The Sudbury Society was formed in 1973 after a successful campaign to save the town's Corn Exchange from developers. However, in protecting its ancient centre the town has not shut itself off from modern development. As the town has expanded (to a population in 2004 of 22,300) modern retail and industrial developments have been added on sites close to the centre and on the eastern edge at Chilton. The eighteenth and nineteenth century houses near the town centre have been added to by modern developments.

Sudbury was a borough until the local government reorganisation of 1974. Since then it has been a civil parish; being an urban area the parish council and its chair are known as the "Town Council" and "Town Mayor" respectively.


The town's main football club, A.F.C. Sudbury, was formed on 1 June 1999 by the amalgamation of two existing clubs, Sudbury Town (founded 1885) and Sudbury Wanderers (founded 1958).

The local rugby club, Sudbury R.F.C. have previously played as high as the fourth tier of English rugby, but are currently in London 4 North East. The club's ground is in neighbouring village, Great Cornard.

International links

The Canadian city of Greater Sudbury, Ontario (formerly known as Sudbury) was named for Sudbury, Suffolk. The then-commissioner of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which played a major role in the Canadian city's founding, was married to a woman who had been born at Sudbury, Suffolk, and the name was chosen to honour her. [cite web|url=|title=Sudbury, Greater|publisher=The Canadian Encyclopedia|accessdate=2008-03-20]

Twin towns

Sudbury is twinned with the following towns: [cite web|url=|title=Sudbury - The joy of getting to know EU|date=2007-08-16|first=Barbara|last=Eeles|publisher="Suffolk Free Press"|accessdate=2008-07-21]
*Flagicon|Germany Höxter, Germany
*Flagicon|France Clermont, France.
*Flagicon|Denmark Fredensborg, Denmark

Famous Sudburians

*Thomas Gainsborough, artist
*John Constable (a local if not a native of the town), artist
*Simon Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury
*Stuart Slater, former Premier League footballer for Ipswich Town [soccerbase|id=7345|name=Stuart Slater]


Like the rest of Suffolk, Sudbury has a three-tier schooling system. The town's sole Upper school is Sudbury Upper. There are two Middle schools, All Saints and Uplands, and several primary schools, including Tudor Road, St.Gregory's and Woodhall Primary School.


External links

* [ Sudbury Town Council]
* [ Gainsborough’s House Museum]
* [ Babergh District Council]
* [ Sudbury RFC] - RFU
* [ Sudbury Chamber of Commerce]

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