This information featured on
the website relies on the various groups and bodies updating us
with any changes. If you wish to notify us with a change, please
contact the Town Clerk.
also the Parish Church and
the Town Trail
which points out the buildings and places listed here plus
other interesting features.
Many of the buildings and shops in the High Street and Market Place
date from the Georgian and Victorian period, and some are earlier,
but most are 'disguised' by more recent alterations or shopfronts.
The following sections provide a summary of the most interesting
Market Place and Town pump
Private houses of interest
The present Bell Hotel was built in 1842 on a site which had been
occupied by an inn for centuries. The inn originally had stabling
for 40 horses, six acres of pasture and chaise house.
King George II stopped at the Bell in January 1737. Having landed
at Lowestoft at noon he arrived at The Bell at 7.00 in the evening
where the party halted to change horses. It took another four hours
to reach Ipswich!
The Bell came under new management
in 2002 and underwent large-scale renovations to the public bar,
lounge, restaurant and guest rooms.
Having been closed for
a few months, we are pleased that The
Bell at Sax'
(tel: 602331) was re-opened on 29th November 2013. Jonny is working
hard to provide good food seven days a week. Why not call in to
The Market Hall is one of the most distinctive buildings in Saxmundham
with its neo-classical facade strangely sandwiched between the Bell
Hotel and the adjoining shops on the west side of the High Street.
The hall was built as a Corn Exchange in 1846 and given to the
town by the Long family who have their coat of arms above the door.
The hall was renovated in the 1930s to commemorate the coronation
of King George VI.
market charter was granted in 1272 by King Edward I to John De Ramsey,
Lord of the Manor. There has been a market in the town ever since,
probably in the same location as it is held today.
former Angel Inn
building in the Market Place is the former 16th century Angel
Inn. Prior to conversion a small cobbled yard, with pump horse
trough and stables backed onto the old A12 road. During conversion
many interesting features were exposed and retained, such as the
mullioned window under the eaves.
At the southern end of
the Market Place is the 'Old'
Bank House, Saxmundham's first bank built in
the early 19th century by Gurneys the Norfolk quaker family.
The town pump has
recently been restored and placed near to the entrance of the Market
Place car park. It was cast by Garrett's of Leiston and given to
the town by William Long in 1838.
The main station building
remains the focal point of a complex of fine Victorian railway,
commercial and residential buildings that served this busy junction
and its employees of the East Suffolk Railway. The station used
to be home to a café, travel office and a number of other
small businesses, however, the building is currently empty.
Station in 2003
opened in 1859 serving Ipswich to Lowestoft and Yarmouth with a
branch line to Aldeburgh opened in 1860. Photographs of about 1900
show a footbridge, large water tank, and 'staggered' platforms.
Saxmundham was an important junction for both recreational and commercial
traffic serving the resorts of Thorpeness and Aldeburgh, as well
as the industrial town of Leiston. From the 1860s until after WWII,
Saxmundham would have handled the majority of Garrett's output,
on its way to some corner of the world. The station is unstaffed
now and the signal box controls the whole line from Westerfield
to Oulton Broad by radio.
with JD Bright's clock
Kerseys shop at 23 High Street has
been a clockmakers and jewellers since 1769 when the business was
founded. During the mid 19th century it was owned by J Woolterton
who, as well as being a clock maker and repairer, was the town's
beadle, a kind of forerunner to the local bobby: the beadle stick
still exists and is in the shop today and there are believed to
be several lockups under the shop.
the previous owner of the shop and keen marathon runner and charity
fundraiser, is the third in a line of Kerseys going back to the
1930s. A clock by Jerome D Bright, thought to have been made in
around 1790, still stands in the shop. The shop has now been renamed
and taken over by Jackey L and is primarily a Jewellers.
booksellers, printers and stationers shop at 25/27 High Street was
established in 1834, and although still known as Crisps has a new
owner called Gareth White.
started as an Ironmonger in about 1830 at 46 High Street but has
been sold and after extensive refurbishment by the owners of The
Store is now open and definitely worth a visit.
beyond Wells, on the site of the Coach and Horses Inn, is the former
GPO and Telephone Exchange completed
in 1954 by T F Winterburn, now used solely as a sorting office and
by other businesses.
In the early part of
the 19th century, the jeweller and clockmaker Jerome Bright occupied
Ashford House and it is here that
his son Henry Bright, the painter, is said to have been born in
1810. In about 1840, two of Jerome Bright's daughters married
Isaac and James Ashford who took over the premises and set up
their antiques and furniture making business. The remainder of
the Bright family moved to Park Lodge in South Entrance. The Ashford
family traded there until the 1980s. Flick & Son estate agents
and auctioneers moved to Ashford House in 1983 having been established
in the town for 150 years prior to this.
houses of interest
Cottages in South Entrance
Situated in South Entrance,
Monks Cottages are undoubtedly some
of the oldest dwellings in Saxmundham and visited by the BBC House
Detectives. The outside has panelled pargetting in a checker pattern,
a reproduction probably of the original 17th century pargetting.
The interiors retain many of the original tudor features including
stud work, plaster and horse hair reinforced walls, inglenook fireplaces,
ornate carved oak beams and large oak floor boards.
Holly Lodge or the 'White House' in
the High Street was built by John Thurlow, builder and stonemason
and father of the sculptor Thomas Thurlow. Chantry
House at the traffic lights was built in 1850 on the site of
a much older house. The Chantry is reputed to have been connected
with the Wingfield and De Pole families. Further elegant Victorian
houses are to be found in Fairfield Road and St John's Road.
a mile south-east of the town is Hurts
Hall, the seat of the Long family until the 1950s. It
was originally built about 1650 and bought by the Lt Col Charles
Long, (1679-1723) in the early part of the 18th century. The Charles
Long (1760-1838) who became Lord Farnborough was MP successively
for Rye, Midhurst and Haslemer and the monument for him is in Saxmundham
Church, although he did not live in Saxmundham. The Hall was replaced
in 1803 and again in 1893 after a disastrous fire in 1890. According
to Nikolaus Pevsner's 'The Buildings of England: Suffolk' it had
the "largest dovecote in Suffolk, brick, octagonal, with a
high-pitched roof and a glazed lantern." The entrance and driveway
to the hall are in South Entrance, near the main crossroads, while
the hall itself can be seen across 'the layers' as you enter the
town from the south. The contents of Hurts Hall were sold in 1958,
the portraits of all those Longs who had actually owned it were
given to the Christchurch Mansion gallery in Ipswich where they
can be seen and the records of the estates in Suffolk and Jamaica
were given to the Suffolk County Record Office.