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with any changes. If you wish to notify us with a change, please
contact the Town Clerk.
The historic buildings and features of most
trail starts at the Railway Station (1), but if you are parked
in the Waitrose car park you can start the trail at the Church
(5) or in Fromus Square (6).
Saxmundham is an historic market town set in the valley of the
river Fromus, a tributary of the Alde. The town name derives from
the Saxon 'Seizmonds Home'. The earliest recorded mention of Saxmundham
is in the Domesday Survey of 1086 which mentions three churches.
The town trail takes about 1 – 2 hours to complete.
to view and print larger map.
starts at the Railway Station
(1): The Railway reached Saxmundham in 1859, and boasted not only
a thriving goods yard but was also the junction for the branch line
serving industrial Leiston, and the holiday resorts of Thorpeness
and Aldeburgh. The Railway public house nearby was built as a refreshment
room for rail passengers, hence its nickname ‘The Fresh’.
The nearby Police Station was built on the site of the old town
gas works which closed in the late 1960s.
the railway line in Albion Street is a row of cottages built to
house railway employees. The old Victorian Police Station opposite,
now a private dwelling, still has its old nick. Continue to the
top of Albion Street noting the flint cottages on the right.
post-mill tower, now a private house
the top of Albion Street, bear right and then turn left into Rendham
Road. There you will see in front of you the grey brick roundhouse
of the old Post-mill (2) which
worked until 1907 and now converted into a private house. The earliest
map showing a mill on this site is dated 1824 but there was probably
a mill on this site long before then. The Post-mill was the most
common type in Suffolk, and originally built entirely of timber.
It was heightened to 51ft to the roof ridge when surrounding buildings
obstructed the wind, making it one of the tallest in Suffolk.
stage you can either carry along Rendham Road and turn left into
the top of Mill Road (recommended for those in a wheelchair or with
a pushchair), or go back to the top of Albion Street and go down
the steps leading down to Mill Road, thought to have been constructed
as an access to the water pump which stood at the bottom on the
right. There is another interesting flint cottage at the bottom
of the steps.
along Mill Road and over the railway line into Chantry Road. Chantry
Cottages on the right are early 18th century timber framed cottages.
The adjoining Chantry House
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. On the other corner note the unusual gable end of No.
1 High Street, the ornate gables, some of Dutch style, some with
crow steps, and S-shaped roof plates which are common in Suffolk
- look for more in the Market Place.
sign in South Entrance
at the crossroads into South Entrance. In front of the Chantry is
the Town sign (3) erected in
2003 depicting Suffolk sheep and cattle, the parish church, market
hall and on top a crown to commemorate the Queen’s Golden
Jubilee (look out for the other town sign in North Entrance). Further
along South Entrance notice the unusual frontage of the off-licence
(a wine shop for over 100 years), and opposite the driveway to Hurts
Hall, home of the Long family until 1957, and patrons to the town
since 1716 (the hall is best viewed from the main road leading south
out of the town). Further along on the right is an impressive three
story house built in Suffolk yellow brick in the early 19th century
with Greek Doric portico.
story house nearby is much older being 17th century timber framed
and plaster, it was probably refronted when the larger house was
built. Further out of town on the right are Monks
Cottages (4) which are undoubtedly some of the oldest
dwellings in Saxmundham. Note the panelled pargetting in a checker
pattern, a reproduction probably of the original 17th century pargetting.
Close by can be found the Victorian mail box and Park Cottage, where
in 1858 the artist Henry Bright
(1810–1873) and his family lived.
to the crossroads. Turn right into Church Street - carry on over
the river Fromus to the Parish Church
(5) of St John the Baptist. The Church is said to be built on the
site of an earlier Saxon Church and has portions dating from 1250
(a short guide is available here).
Wander round the churchyard and on the Eastern boundary note the
row of thatched cottages. These were built by the Long family, as
a single storey church school in 1836. Forty years later a second
floor was added as a library and reading room. The buildings were
later converted into four "tied" cottages for estate workers.
Retrace your steps around the tower. Situated south-west of the
tower is a unique headstone with a sundial incorporated, in memory
of John and Mary Noller (1725 and 1724). Also search for the large
stone tomb of the Thurlow family (on the left as you leave the churchyard)
including Thomas Thurlow (1813–1899)
On leaving the Church
cross the river Fromus. On your right is the Waitrose car park,
the site of the old livestock market which was closed in 1987. Saxmundham’s
first market charter was granted in 1272 by King Edward I to John
De Ramsey, Lord of the Manor. Cross the Somerfield car park and
cut through (around the side of the supermarket) into Fromus
Square (6). Opened in 2004, the square is a pleasant
resting place and site of the new War Memorial.
Square by the 17th century White Hart pub (with tall 19th century
octagonal chimney stacks) and turn right into the High Street. The
whole of the High Street is a conservation area, having many Tudor
buildings with Victorian facades. Note the following in the High
Street: Jackey L the jewellers shop, formerly Kerseys established
in 1769 by Jerome Bright (the wooden shutters are still used for
security at closing times); H G Crisp the stationery and booksellers
est 1834 and still run by a Mr Crisp; the Market
Hall (7), built as a Corn Exchange in 1846, given to
the town by the Long family (the family coat of arms is above the
door and reads ‘God and my Country’); the Bell
Hotel (8) rebuilt in 1842 on the site which has been
occupied by an inn for centuries, which was a regular stop for the
stage and mail coaches that ran from London to Yarmouth; and Flick
and Son, estate agents est 1833, occupying Ashford House.
Carry on up the High
Street, past Wells the ironmongers est c1830, and beyond this is
the former GPO Telephone Exchange
(9) completed in 1954 by T F Winterburn, now used solely as a Royal
Mail sorting office and by other local businesses. The Town sign
here was erected in 2000 and has the same design as the one in South
Entrance, except that on top there is a ‘dove of peace’
to commemorate 50 years since the ending of WWII. Pass under the
railway bridge into North Entrance. Several interesting architectural
features can be seen here. Lynwood House has a Gothic fanlight;
The Beeches, a parapet, stone coping and an attractive door surround;
17th century Varley House, carved doorway. Further on the right
is The Doctors Surgery which occupies the site of the former Lamb
Sale and Hiring Fairs. Brook Cottage (with ornate barge boarding)
is believed to have been a school run by Owen Haxell and attended
by artist Henry Bright and the sculptor Thomas Thurlow.
About a quarter of
a mile beyond Brook Farm Road is the entrance to Carlton Hall, the
family home of Richard Garrett III
of the Leiston Works. An interesting detour can be taken by entering
Carlton Park Sports field & Caravan Park, proceeding across
the playing fields to the right of the tennis courts and onto the
remote parish church of St Peter, where Richard Garrett and members
of his family are buried. Carlton Hall can be seen across the fields:
it stood derelict for many years after WWII, but has now been restored
as several private dwellings.
Return back along
North Entrance and under the railway bridge. On your right is The
Museum (10) which is well worth a visit. Opened in 2004,
it contains many interesting local artefacts and exhibits including
a 19th century Printers shop, small cinema, period dress shop and
original bakery. The Museum is open 10am – 4pm every Wednesday,
Friday and Saturday during the summer months. More details here.
Place and Town Pump reinstated in 2003
back along the High Street and bear right into the Market
Place (11), a venue for traders for centuries. The oldest
building is the former 16th century Angel Inn, which has a timber
frame and a medieval window under the eaves. In the entrance to
the Market Place car park can be seen the old Town
pump, cast by Garretts of Leiston and given to the town
by the Long family in 1838. At the other end of Market Place is
Old Bank House, Saxmundham’s
first bank which was built by Gurneys in the early 19th century.
Behind this Wingfield House, thought to be as old as the Angel Inn
and desperately in need of renovation. Proceed up Station Approach
back to the Railway Station.