Saxmundham & District History

There are a few explanations for the meaning of the Saxmundham name, some believe that it refers to the home of a warrior lord called Seismund or Seizmond.

In his book ‘The Place-Names of Suffolk’ (pub. 1913), the Rev. Walter William Skeat provides his interpretations for local place names.

Saxmundham Timeline

This feature is under development


Domesday Book

Kelsale, Carlton, Benhall and Saxmundham are mentioned.


Market Charter

Edward II awarded the charter to John de Rammeseye. A weekly market, originally held on thursdays.


Swan Chapel

added to St John's Church



John Shipp

Born in North Entrance, joined the army as a boy and rose through the ranks to become a Lieutenant in His Majesty's 87th Regiment.


Hurts Hall

Built for the Long family by Samuel Wyatt.


Church School

A single story church school built by the Long family. Later converted to two stories and eventually into private houses.


Town Pump

Cast by Garretts of Leiston and given to the town by the Long family.


The Bell Hotel

The hotel was built following the fire which had destroyed the old inn


Market Hall

Built as a Corn Exchange and completed due to the patronage of W. Long from Hurts Hall


Town Gasworks


The URC Chapel

Built on Rendham Road


The Railway comes.

The railway came to Saxmundham when the Station opened in June.


Juvenile Oddfellows Hall

Built in Fairfield Rd


Tennis Tournament

The Second oldest Lawn Tennis Tournament, founded in Saxmundham, still takes place over at Framlingham.


Hurts Hall

The home of Colonel W.B. Long and family completely destroyed by fire. Reported by the Framlingham Weekly News, May 3rd.


Hurts Hall

Hurts Hall rebuilt.


Board School

New school opened on 29th October, eventually to become the Primary School before finally closing in 1993(?).


Town Gasworks Sold a London firm, Messrs. Schultz, Comins, and Co., Cannon Street.

It was offered the Saxmundham Urban Council who declined to buy it.


Saxmundham Mill

The mill was dismantled by William Clarke. The brick round house remains, as a private dwelling.


Mains sewers

The town's waste water had been discharged into the Fromus. Aline Aldous recalled how her mother was unable to hold summer parties on the lawns of Hurts Hall due to the smell from the river.


Abif Lodge

Lord Stradbroke laid the foundation stone for the Freemason's Lodge on July 2nd.


Cinema Opens

Captain Atkinson converted a building in Church Street to form The Playhouse cinema.


Telephone Exchange

GPO telephone exchange built on the site of the former Coach & Horses pub.


Wilfred Pickles

The BBC radio show "Have a Go" was broadcast from the Market Hall.


Playhouse Closed

The cinema closed and the building became a showroom for a car dealership.


Railway Cuts

The branch line to Aldeburgh closed.


Roman Lamp

Roman lamp in red ware was found at a depth of 3 feet, 20 feet behind Ashfords (Currently Flicks).

This artefact is believed to have been given to Southwold Museum.

SHER Number: SXM 001


Livestock market

The Livestock market was held behind the White Hart for the last time and moved to Campsea Ashe.


A12 bypass

The town closed the high street and celebrated the opening of the bypass.


Museum Founded

Members of the Saxmundham and District Local History Society including Richard Crisp (Trustee), Helen Revell (Trustee), Gary Eves and John Shove.


Town Sign

The Town Sign at South Entrance erected


Museum Opens

The first public visitors join with the committee and special guest Peter Purves on the opening night at the Museum.


War Memorial

The event was marked with a short service, in Fromus Square, which included the releasing of white doves.
11th Novemember 2004.


Free School

Free School opens on the site of the old Middle School.



Local Churches and Chapels

St. Mary's - Benhall

St.Peter's - Carlton

St.Mary and St.Peter - Kelsale

St. John's - Saxmundham

WW1 V.A.D. Hospital

The Gannon (Institute) Rooms were used as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) hospital during World War One.

Aline Auldous - Speaking during an Oral History interview.

Some of the staff and volunteers who served at the VAD hospital are listed on the British Red Cross website: Miss Ethel Clara Cook, Dorothy Phyllis, Mrs. Augusta Catherine Cutting, Miss Bertha Cutting, Miss Aimee Frances Elias, Mrs. Elizabeth Frances Elias, Mrs Emma Newson Ellis, Mrs Edith Forsdike, Mrs. Ethel May Geater, Mrs. Kate Mary Gray, Mrs Amelia Kenworthy - Brown, Miss Alice Lacy, Miss Winifred Violet Levett-Serivenes, Miss Ethel May Linder, Miss Eliza Llewellyn, Dr John Charles Ryder Richardson, Miss Dorothy Scrimgeour.

One of the last woman sentenced to be burnt

The Last Woman to be Burnt.pdfMargery Beddingfield,(1742—1763), murderer of her husband John, was one the last woman in England to be sentenced to be burnt.

Where was the Bottle and Glass?

Possible location of the bottle and glassThe Bottle & Glass is mentioned on an 1837 map of the area. Overlaying the old map onto a modern one appears to show the Bottle & Glass alongside the stream that is a tributary to the Fromus.
Map here

Leaving Saxmundham via Harper's Lane (locally referred to by some as the 'old coach road to Rendham'), through Henley Close and across Felsham Rise. Follow the path alongside the stream and continue just west of what is now the Saxmundham Primary School's site.

A few locals remember seeing the remains of the building many years ago. Some refer to it as being at the bottom or back of Saxon Road which is roughly the same area as shown on the map.

Click on the image to open a report with photographs.

Offical Guide to Saxmundham

"Offical Guide to Saxmundham" by J.S.Waddell c1940.

What is or were the 'layers'?

A possible explaination : An area of land to the south of Saxmundham where stockmen would 'lay up' their stock prior to the bi-weekly livestock sale.

The land was used for events when the Suffolk Show was held in Saxmundham.

The Layers was also a popular camping ground for the 6th Suffolk Cyclists during the Great War as mentioned in the "Offical Guide to Saxmundham" by J.S.Waddell c1940.

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