Old Suffolk maps

More maps

The ancient county of Suffolk is in the east of England.  It borders Cambridgeshire to the west, Essex to the south, the North Sea to the east, and Norfolk to the north.  Several rivers form much of the borders – the Waveney and the Little Ouse to the north, the Great Ouse and the Lark to the west, and the Stour to the south.

 Suffolk exhibits a wide variety of landscapes. The coastline has fine sandy beaches, crumbling cliffs, deep estuaries, and the shingle spit of Orford Ness. The coastal fringe is characterised by sandy heath and woodland – known as the Sandlings.  The centre of the county has low rolling hills, with heavy chalky clay soils. In the west is a chalk ridge covered by broad, hedgeless fields. The northwestern corner of Suffolk, where it borders Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, forms part of the peat Fens and is below sea level. To the east of the fenland is another stretch of sandy heath land known as the Breckland.

The east of the county was dominated by fishing and trading from the main ports at Lowestoft, Ipswich and Felixstowe.  The rest of the county was dependent on agriculture. During the later Middle Ages wool was a major product of Suffolk with a legacy of the great “wool churches” such as that in Lavenham.

There were a number of important ancient castles in Suffolk – Framlingham, Orford, Clare, Bungay, and the more recent coastal defences at Landguard Fort, and the Martello Tower in Aldeburgh.

Bury St Edmund was an important church centre with the Benedictine abbey.

Newmarket was also a major centre of horse racing and breeding.

Suffolk is known for its pretty villages, with broad greens, brightly painted thatched cottages of decorated with the local speciality plasterwork known as pargeting.

The Hundreds of Suffolk.

Famous people from Suffolk

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey

Benjamin Britten

John Constable

Thomas Gainsborough

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson








Helen Barrell also has a lot of transcripts for Suffolk parishes at her Essex and Suffolk Surnames site

Babergh Hundred

Bosmere and Claydon Hundred

Blackbourn Hundred

Cosford Hundred

Hartismere Hundred

Samford Hundred