A Short History of Saxmundham


he rural market town of Saxmundham, with a population

of over 4,000, lies just off the A12 and is about 6 miles from the Suffolk Heritage Coastline.

It has a good range of shops on its High Street alongside the Waitrose and Tescos supermarkets.

Saxmundham has many amenities including two schools, a library, doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries and fire and ambulance stations. The railway station provides hourly weekday services Lowestoft.

to Ipswich and

There are also many local activities and societies providing a diverse range of sports and leisure opportunities.

The first settlement here is thought to have be made by Saxon raiders who sailed up the River Fromus and stayed to exploit the surrounding fertile land.

Referred to in the Domesday

Book of 1086 as Saxmondeham, Samundeham, Sasmundeham and Sasmundesham, it fell within the Plomesgate hundred and was included in the lands of Roger

Bigod (or Bigot). It records that before 1066 it was held as a manor by Algar, a thane of King Edward’s, with two carucates of land and 40 acres, five villagers, ten smallholders and three slaves. Seven free men were added under the patronage of Algar. Another manor of 140 acres was held by Northmann, with three acres of meadow, a church and a further 15 acres and other land, the value of which was in total 30 shillings (£I.50).

There is a market on Wednesdays, continuing the custom granted in the royal charter by Henry III in 1272. A further charter was granted in 1310 by King Edward II to Thomas de Verlay, lord of the manor, ‘for good service which he has bestowed and continues to bestow on us’. It was made at Berwick-upon-Tweed on December 18th 1310. The market was to be held weekly on Thursdays and the fair was to be held annually on the Feast of the Decollation of St John the Baptist (to whom the Parish Church is dedicated) and was to be of three days’ duration on the vigil, the day and the morrow of the feast. The market day changed to a Wednesday due to competition from nearby towns.

There was an annual lamb fair on August 18th on the land known as Lambsale Meadow, the site of the current doctors’ surgery.


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