Planet Suffolk: Bringing together the Suffolks of the world

Suffolk Misc - Miscellaneous References to Suffolk from Around the World

Order of contents on this page: (Click on the links below)


The Suffolk Harvest Home Song                                                                                  The Suffolk Miracle - A Ballad 

The Politick Maid of Suffolk; or, the Lawyer Outwitted - A Ballad                     Sweet Suffolk Owl - A Poem 

The Suffolk Tragedy - A Verse and a Ballad                                                             To Suffolk - A Poem by Cecil Lay                     

More Songs & Music with "Suffolk" in the Title                                                       The Suffolk Punch - A Poem by Henry Birtles

Suffolk & Rain - Rock Band from Buffalo, NY                                                         Suffolk Punch – Late 1970s Country Band

Suffolk Saint - Singer/Rapper from Boston, MA                                                      Haarlem Suffolk - Rock/Pop Band from Caen, France

Suffolk Lanes - Scottish Country Dance                                                                     

Hotels & Hostelries:

Suffolk House Bed & Breakfast, Alberta, Canada                                                   Suffolk in the Names of Public Houses, Bars & Inns

Suffolk House Hotels in Sussex (Chichester & Brighton)


The Suffolk Pointe Shoe Company - Dance Shoes                                                   Suffolk & Turley - Coachtrimming Specialists

Companies Named Suffolk in Nigeria


Suffolciensis as pseudonym                                                                                        A Suffolk Lady - Pseudonym of Emily White

Antiquitates Suffolciensis                                                                                            Suffolk Squit

“Suffolk” Books by Lois A Fison                                                                                The Suffolk Trilogy - A Series of Novels by Norah Lofts                                 

The Suffolk Reading Scale                                                                                          The New Suffolk Hymnbook - A Novel by Ben Oswest

The Barley Bird – Notes on the Suffolk Nightingale by Richard Mabey           A Suffolk Tale; or, The Perfidious Guardian by Hamilton Roche  

Suffolk Summer by John T. Appleby                                                      Sophia of Suffolk by Jamie Michele & Madame d’Arblay

Resilience in the Face of Adversity - A Suffolkian’s Life Story by Dr Margaret Ellen Mayo Tolbert

Tales from Suffolk County and More Tales from Suffolk County by B.R.Laine     Sammy the Suffolk Seal by Lucy Stone     

The Diary of a poor Suffolk woodman by Pip Wright, Joy Wright, & Léonie Robinson      

Names & Titles:

Suffolk as a Surname                                                                                                    Suffolk as a Title (Earl, Marquess, Duke) 

High Sheriff of Suffolk                                                                                                 Owen Hargraves Suffolk (1829- ? )


With Love From…Suffolk - A Film from an idea by Julien Mery

Food & Drink:  


Suffolk Ham & Suffolk Bacon                                                                                      Suffolk Sausage

Porkinson Suffolk Ale & Herb Banger                                                      Other Suffolk Ale and Suffolk Cyder Dishes

Suffolk Bang and Other Suffolk Cheeses                                                                  Suffolk Punch – An American Cheese 

‘Suffolk’ in the Names of Crisps (Potato Chips)                                                      Recipes named after Suffolk   




Lord Suffolk Cocktail                                                                             Duke of Suffolk Cocktail

Suffolk Rose Cocktail                                                                             Beers & Cyders Named 'Suffolk'

Suffolk Mountain Ale & the Suffolk Mountain Rescue Service                           Suffolk Bitters

Suffolk Pink and Suffolk Rose (Wines)


Suffolk Wagon (Suffolk Box Wagon) & Suffolk Long Cart                                     Suffolk Drill & Suffolk Coulter

Suffolk Scythe                                                                                                                  Suffolk Wheel Plough & Suffolk Swing Plough

More Agricultural Implements named after Suffolk                                            Suffolk Punch Lawn Mowers

Suffolk Barns                                                                                                                   Suffolk Horseshoe, Suffolk Bell & Suffolk Basket - Corn Dollies

“Suffolk Punch” Steam Tractor                                                                                    Suffolk Billhook

The “Suffolk Boys”


The Suffolk Latch  & Suffolk Hinge                                                                           Suffolk Door and Suffolk Door Knob & Suffolk Rim Knob

Suffolk Puffs                                                                                                                    Suffolk Bay Cocktail Tables 

The Suffolk Chair                                                                                                            Suffolk Lantern Clock

Suffolk Kiln                                                                                                                      Suffolk White Bricks

Suffolk Sailcloth                                                                                                             Suffolk Hempen Cloth

The Suffolk Suit                                                                                                              The Suffolk Jacket & Suffolk Chef's Jacket

A. L. C. Suffolk Dress                                                                             Rag & Bone Suffolk Dresses

Lady Suffolk Bikini                                                                                                       Rhythm ‘Suffolk’ Clothwear

Suffolk Beanie                                                                                     Suffolk Stripe and Suffolk Check

Suffolk Powder                                                                                                                 Suffolk as a Product Brand Name                                                

Suffolk Jaguar SS100 and Suffolk XK C-type Jaguar                                 Whitehall ‘Suffolk’ Tobacco Smoking Pipe                 

 Suffolk Maid                                                                                                                   “Suffolk” Cigarette and Tea Cards      

“Suffolk” Playing Cards


The Suffolk Dartboard                                                                                                    Suffolk Steel Quoits

Destination Suffolk - Board Game
Fauna & Flora:

Suffolk as a Scientific Name:

suffolciensis - Wasps Species                                                                                       suffolciensis and suffolkensis - As used in the Names of Extinct Species

Suffolk as used in Virus Names 


Suffolk Pigs                                                                                                                       Suffolk Dun & Red Poll Cattle

Suffolk Chocolate (Breed of Cat)                                                                                  Suffolk Chequer - Breed of Chicken                                                                    

Pied Suffolk - Breed of Chicken                                                                                   Suffolk Ant-lion                                                                                                                                                              


Suffolk Merries                                                                                                                Suffolk Osier

Suffolk Grass                                                                                       Suffolk Lungwort

Varieties/Cultivars - Introductory Note                                                                   Suffolk Pink - Variety of Apple

Suffolk Stiles Pippin - Variety of Apple                                                                  More Varieties of Apple Named ‘Suffolk’

Suffolk Thorn - Variety of Pear                                                                                  Suffolk Red Grape  & Suffolk Pink Grape                                                           

Suffolk Belle - Variety of Conifer                                                                              Suffolk - Variety of Kentucky Bluegrass

Old Suffolk Bronze – Variety of Primula auricula                                                 Suffolk Blue – Variety of Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)

Suffolk Pink – Variety of Chrysanthemum                                                             Suffolk Guard – Variety of Hemerocallis

Duke of Suffolk – Variety of Hemerocallis                                                             Lady Suffolk – Variety of Hemerocallis

Fuchsia – Varieties Named ‘Suffolk’                                                                       Suffolk Rose - Three Varieties of Rosa                

Dianthus – Varieties named ‘Suffolk’                                                                    Dahlias – Varieties named ‘Suffolk’               

Pelargoniums – Varieties named ‘Suffolk’                                                            The Suffolk Turnip

The Suffolk Regiment and Other Militaria:                                                                                    

The Suffolk Regiment                                                                                                  The Suffolk Regiment - LNER Class B17 Steam Locomotive  

Roads in Europe named after the Suffolk Regiment                                           Cemeteries in Europe named after the Suffolk Regiment

Reserve Forces in Britain Bearing the Name Suffolk                                   Suffolk Redoubts, New Zealand        

Suffolk’s Ridge or Suffolk Ridge, Gaza                                                                     Fort Suffolk  

Suffolk Square Pillbox                                                                                                 Suffolk Lane and Ipswich Walk, Mönchengladbach 


Places Associated with the Noble Houses of Suffolk                                            Suffolk House, Ewelme, Oxfordshire, England

Suffolk Palace, Kingston Upon Hull, England                                                     Suffolk House and other Suffolks in Sevenoaks, Kent

Suffolk House, Old Inn Lane, Fosdyke Bridge, Lincolnshire, England         Suffolk Street Queensway & Suffolk Works, Birmingham, England

Suffolk Works, Sheffield, England & the “Suffolk Knife”

East Suffolk Road & East Suffolk Park, Edinburgh, Scotland                          Suffolk Street – The Heart of Viking Dublin, Ireland 

Suffolk Street, Kells, County Meath, Ireland                                                      Suffolk Park, El Paso, Texas, USA

Suffolk Mills, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA                                                           Suffolk Brewery, Christchurch, New Zealand

Suffolk Road, Vacoas, Mauritius                                                                            Suffolk Road (Triq Suffolk), Pembroke, Malta                  

Suffolk Hospital & Suffolk House, Rawalpindi, Pakistan                               Suffolk in South Africa

Suffolk in Zimbabwe                                                                                                 Dunkirk Drive (Formerly Suffolk Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)



Suffolk United Mine, Eaglehawk, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia                       Suffolk Mines and the Suffolk Mining Company - USA

Suffolk Porphyry                                                                                                          The Suffolk Slump

Horse Racing:

Lady Suffolk                                                                                                                   Suffolk Park Race Track, West Philadelphia, USA

Odds & Ends:

Suffolk Pink - Colour                                                                                                     Suffolk Shroff 

Suffolk Fair Maids                                                                                                         Silly Suffolk

Suffolk Street Fellowship (or Suffolk Street Christadelphians) 1885-1957    The Suffolk Collection - Paintings

The Suffolk Knot                                                                                                            Suffolk Stiles

"The Suffolk Abacus"                                                                                                    The Suffolk Black Dragon – Legend from Suffolk, England    

Suffolk Bitters Pig Bottles                                                                              Suffolk Haarlem Oil                             

Suffolk Soil                

Please note:

Suffolk House, Penang now has its own sub-page under the Other Suffolks page

Suffolk Place Farm & Suffolk Place Mine, Abbey Wood, London SE2  is now on the London Suffolks sub-page, under the Other Suffolks page.

Suffolk Court, The Bahamas is now on the Suffolk, Bahamas page

The Suffolk Harvest Home Song

The Suffolk Harvest Home Song is a traditional ballad from Suffolk, England, which celebrates the completion of the bringing in of the harvest & the ensuing “Harvest Home” festival.  The song is known to date back to at least the middle of the nineteenth century. The song’s author is unknown.  

Here's a health unto our master,
The founder of the feast!
I wish, with all my heart and soul,
In heaven he may find rest.
I hope all things may prosper,
That ever be takes in hand;
For we are all his servants,
And all at his command.

Drink, boys, drink, and see you do not spill,
For if you do, you must drink two, - it is your master's will.

Now our harvest is ended,
And supper is past;
Here's our mistress' good health,
In a full flowing glass!
She is a good woman,
She prepared us good cheer;
Come, all my brave boys,
And drink off your beer.

Drink, my boys, drink till you come unto me,
The longer we sit, my boys, the merrier shall we be!

In yon green wood there lies an old fox,
Close by his den you may catch him, or no;
Ten thousand to one you catch him, or no.
His beard and his brush are all of one colour,
I am sorry, kind sir, that your glass is no fuller.
'Tis down the red lane! 'tis down the red lane!
So merrily hunt the fox down the red lane!

Some versions of the song have an alternative final verse:

Down the red lane there lives an old fox,
There does he sit a-mumping his chops;
Catch him, boys, catch him, catch if you can;
'Tis twenty to one if you catch him or Nan.

Top of Page

The Suffolk Miracle - A Ballad

This is a Child Ballad.  The Child Ballads are a collection of 305 ballads from England and Scotland, and their American variants, collected by Francis James Child in the late nineteenth century.  The collection was published as The English and Scottish Popular Ballads between 1882 and 1898.  However, first rendering of this ballad is to be found in the Bodleian Library, published by W. Thackeray in 1689 as “The Suffolk Miracle, or a relation of a young man who a month after his death appeared to his sweetheart.”  It was sung to the tune of “My bleeding heart”.

The ballad recounts that a young maiden of noble birth comes to love a young commoner, so her father sends her away.  Whilst in exile, the maid wakes one night to find her lover at her window mounted upon a fine horse.  They go out riding together until the man complains he has a headache; the maid tends to him and ties her fine Holland handkerchief around his head.  She kisses him and notes that his lips were as “cold as clay”.  She returns to her father, who gives her the news that her young lover died of grief some nine months ago, whereupon she goes to his grave and digs up the bones, finding that her handkerchief is tied around the skull.

The moral is for parents not to stand in the way of true love, and let their children have their way, otherwise if true love is thwarted it will end in death.

It is presumed that the ballad originated in Suffolk.  In later centuries it was more widely known in North America than Britain.  There are two versions differing slightly, one found in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, the other in the Southern Appalachians.  An alternative title is “The Holland Handkerchief” after the fine linen cloth that was first imported from Holland.

The first version below is from the Southern Appalachians:

Come all you people old and young
Pray don't do as I have done;
Pray let your children have their way
For fear that love breeds a decay.

When her old father came this to know
That she did love young Villian so,
He sent her off three hundred miles or more
And swore that back home she should come no more

This young man wept, this young man cried,
In about six months for love he died;
Although he had not been twelve months dead
Until he rode a 4white steed.

He rode up to his uncle's home
And for his true love he did call.

Here's your mother's coat and your father's steed
I've come for you in great speed.
And her old uncle, as he understood,
He hoped it might be for her good.

He jumped up, and her behind,
And they rode faster than the wind ;
And when he got near her father's gate
He did complain that his head did ache.

 A handkerchief she pulled out
And around his head she tied it about,
And kissed his lips and thus did say:
My dear, you're colder than the clay.

 Get down, get down, get down, says he,
Till I go put this steed away.
While she was knocking at the door
The sight of him she saw no more.

Get up, get up, get up, says he,
You're welcome home, dear child, says he,
You're welcome home, dear child, says he,
What trusty friend did come with thee ?

Dear old father, do you know-,
The one that I once loved before.
The old man knowing he had been twelve months dead
It made the hair rise on his head.

 He summoned clerks and clergies too,
The grave was to open and him to view.
Although he had been twelve months dead
The handkerchief was around his head.

Come all of ye, both young and old,
Who love your children better than gold,
And always let them have their way
For fear that love might prey decay.

And this version below is from Nova Scotia:

 There was a squire lived in this town
He was well known by the people round;
He had a daughter of beauty bright
And she alone was his heart's delight.

There was a squire a-courting came
But none of them could her fancy gain
Until a lad of low degree
He fell in her arms and she fancied he.

It's when her father he came to hear
He separated her from her dear,
Four score miles or better he had her sent
To her uncle's house and her discontent.

This fair one unto her bed of down
She heard a deep and a deadly sound,
She heard a deep and a deadly sound
Saying, "Unloose those bandages that's lightly bound"

She looked out of her window clear
And saw her true love on her father's mare,
Saying, "Your mother's orders you must obey
And your father's anger to satisfy."

She jumped on to the mare's behind
And they rode off with contented mind,
They rode on till this sad mourn he made
Saying, "My dearest dear how my head do ache."

She had a handkerchief of holland clear
And around her true love's head she bound,
She kissed his lips and this sad mourn she made
Saying, "My dearest dear you're as cold as clay."

They rode along to her father's cot,
Loud for her father she thus did call,
Saying, "Father dear did you send for me!"
And by such a young man she nam-ed he.

Her father knowing this young man was dead
Caused every hair to stand on his head,
He wrung his hands and he wept full sore
But this young man's darling wept ten times more.

She arose, to the churchyard goes,
She riz the corpse that was lying once dead,
She riz the corpse that was nine months dead
With a holland handkerchief tied round his head

So come all young men and maidens,
It's never be persuaded by your parents dear,
For when love and virtue it is all gone
There's no recalling it back again.
Recently the song has been revived in England by folk singers, notably by John Goodluck who is a native of Suffolk and still lives in the county. Not only did he record a version of the song in 1974, but he made it the title track to his debut album (see cover, left).
The Suffolk Miracle has also been sung by the prominent folk singer, Jim Moray, on the album Sweet England, released in 2003.

Arkansas born folk ballad singer Connie Dover has recorded a version of the song under the title The Holland Handkerchief, which appears on her 2006 album If  Ever I Return.

Other recordings, with slightly different lyrics to either of the two versions above, can be heard on  Dean Gitters 1957 album Ghost Ballads, & on Peggy Seeger & Ewan MacColl’s 1979 album Blood & Roses Vol I, where it also goes under the alternative title Sweet William’s Ghost.
Please don't forget to sign the Guestbook

Top of Page

The Politick Maid of Suffolk; or, the Lawyer Outwitted - A Ballad

The Politick Maid of Suffolk; or, the Lawyer Outwitted is a comic seduction ballad.  These were popular in the 18th century and reflect the number of unwed mothers, and also the ruses that a betrayed maid would use to pressure her lover into marriage.  This one was especially popular, particularly if appropriate sound effects could be displayed when the supposed Devil appeared.  There is no known reason why it is associated with Suffolk.  It was first printed and sold in Bow Church-yard, London, 1760.

Come all ye young men and maids,
    Both of high and low degree;
Or you who love a merry jest
    Give ear awhile to me.
I’d have you give attention
    To what I have to tell,
Then hear it out, I do not doubt,
    ’Twill please you wondrous well.
’Tis of a wealthy Lawyer,
That did in Suffolk dwell,
He kept a handsome House-keeper,
    Her name was called Nell.

He kiss’d her and press’d her o’er and o’er;
    As I to you may tell,
’Till her apron grew too short before,
    Alas! Poor Nell!
It happen’d on a certain day,
    As talking they were led,
She wept, she wail’d, she wrung her hands,
    And thus to him she said;
My virgin rose you stole away,
    O wed me, Sir, said she,
Or I, like other girls, may say,
    Ah! Woe is me!
He straight gave her a loving kiss,
    And without more delay,
He took her by the lily white hand,
    And thus to her did say;
I wish Old Nick may fetch me straight,
    (A woeful tale to tell)
If ever I prove false to thee,
    My dearest Nell.

Then thus with joys and loving toys,
    They passed away the time,
’Till seven months were gone and past,
    (But two left out of nine.)
When from her place he turn’d her quite,
    As I to you may tell,
All for the sake of a Lady bright,
    Alas poor Nell!
But when she found she was deceiv’d,
    She wept and tore her hair;
And cry’d there’s no belief in man,
    It plainly doth appear.
Oh! how could he so cruel be,
    Thus to trapan my heart;
But I will be reveng’d on him,
    Before that we do part. ----

Now it happen’d to this Lady bright,
    Who liv’d a mile from town;
That this young lawyer every night
    Would walk to her from home.
Forgetting of his former vows,
    As I to you may tell,
And longing for a richer spouse,
    He left poor Nell.
As Nell was sitting all alone,
    Lamenting sad one night,
A project came into her head,
    Which made her laugh outright.
Thought she, I’ll make myself black
    As any Devil in Hell,
And watch some night for his coming home,
    Sing, O brave Nell!
She to a Chimney sweeper went,
    And there a bargain made,
For to have his sooty-cloathes,
    And furthermore she said;
If that my counsel you’ll but take,
    A guinea I’ll give to thee;
Then let your little sweeper boy
    But come along with me.
She having learned the lad his tale,
    Thus unto him did say,
If you do act your part aright,
    You half a crown I’ll pay.

She gave him squibs of gunpowder,
    And all appear’d right well,
To frighten her master the Lawyer.
    Sing, O brave Nell!
And coming to a lonesome wood,
    In ambush they did lie,
The which adjoining to a road,
    That the Lawyer must come by:
With a pair of ram’s horns on her head,
    In a lonesome place stood she;
But as for black the sweeper’s boy,
    She plac’d him on a tree.
It was just about the hour of one,
    As for a truth we hear,
The Lawyer he came trudging home
    From the courtship of his dear:
And stepping o’er to shun the dirt,
    As I to you may tell,
She quickly caught him by the skirt,
    Sing, O brave Nell!
Then with a doleful hollow voice,
    She unto him did say,
According to your wish I come,
    To fetch you hence away.
She said, you must along with me
    Down to my gloomy cell,
Except tomorrow by break of day,
    You wed poor Nell.
With that the Chimney-sweeper’s boy,
    Set fire unto the train,
Which flew and crack’d about his head,
    And made him roar amain.

Dear Mr Devil, spare me now,
    And mind but what I tell,
And I tomorrow by break of day,
    Will wed poor Nell.
Well look you do the Devil cry’d,
    Or mind what I say to thee;
Do you see that little Devil,
That sits on yonder tree:
If ever you do break your vow,
    As sure as hell is hell,
That little Devil shall fetch you,
    If you slight poor Nell.

The Lawyer he went trembling home
    In a most dreadful fright,
And early in the morning,
    As soon as it was light,
With trembling joints and staring eyes,
    With looks both wan and pale,
He came to her, with humble voice,
    Good-morrow, dear Nell.
With kisses and embraces,
    She granted her consent;
And having got a licence,
    Unto the church they went;
Where he made her his lawful wife,
    As for a truth I tell,
And now they live a happy life,
    Sing, O brave Nell!
She never told to friend or foe,
    The trick which she had play’d,
Until some months after,
    When she was brought to-bed.
She told it at a gossiping,
    Which pleased the wenches well,
He was glad, and laugh’d and said
    ’Twas well done, Nell.


Sweet Suffolk Owl - A Poem

Sweet Suffolk owl, so trimly dight
With feathers, like a lady bright;
Thou sing
st alone, sitting by night,
Te whit! Te whoo!

Thy note that forth so freely rolls
With shrill command the mouse controls;
And sings a dirge for dying souls.
Te whit! Te whoo!

The above is an anonymous English poem dating from the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century, & as such it is impossible to tell why the name Suffolk was used, although it is tempting to suppose that the author may have been a native of the county.

It was first set to music in 1619 by madrigal composer Thomas Vautor. Very little is known about Vautor, with his year of birth being given as anywhere between 1570 & 1580, & his death between 1620 & 1630. What is known is that he first appears as a household musician in the family of Mary Beaumont of Glenfield in Leicestershire in the late 1590s, & seems to have remained in Mary’s service until at least 1619. In 1618, Mary’s son George Villiers was created Marquess of Buckingham, & in the following year Vautor dedicated a collection of madrigals to him entitled The first set: being songs of divers ayres and natures, of five and six parts: apt for viols and voices. This volume is Vautor’s only known work, & consists of twenty two pieces, the most famous of which is “Sweet Suffolke Owle”.  A recording of Vautor’s arrangement can be found on the CD Chamber Music (Renaissance) by the Musica Fresca ensemble, released in 2000 on the Divox label (CDX-79804), whilst the song has more recently appeared on the 2010 album Traditional Glees and Madrigals by Pro Cantione Antiqua & Philip Ledger.

Others to have used Sweet Suffolk Owl in musical settings include American composer Herbert Elwell (1898-1974), English composer, pianist, & writer Elizabeth Poston (1905-1987), & English composer John Linton Gardner (1917- 2011).  The most recent setting for Sweet Suffolk Owl dates from 1981 by the American composer & pianist Richard Hundley (born 1931). The song appears on the CD Under the bluest sky....Songs of Richard Hundley (2007), performed by David Parks (tenor) & Read Gainsford (piano). Other recorded versions can be found by: Claire Jones with the NYCoS  National Girls Choir, dwsChorale, Gesualdo Consort, Cambridge Singers, Lauren Wagner & Fred Weldy, Paul Sperry, Trinity Baroque & Julian Podger, William Sharp & Steven Blier, Vasari Singers & Jeremy Backhouse, & the vocal duo Tryst (Michelle O’Rourke & Nora Ryan).

An instrumental version, Sweet Suffolk Owl for Flute Quintet by David Warin Solomons, is included on his 2016 album Instrumentals 1, whilst another more modern instrumental, loosely based on Sweet Suffolk Owl, is an ambient/electronic track entitled The Suffolk Owl by Heskin Radiophonic. 

Several performances, of Sweet Suffolk Owl, both choral & solo, can be found on Youtube. These include renditions by Isobel Baillie, Rosa Hart, the Mackay Choral Society, Novem Altare, & the Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir.

Top of Page

The Suffolk Tragedy - A Verse and a Ballad

Two separate, particularly gruesome episodes that happened in the English county of Suffolk in the early 19th century were turned to verse and song with the same title.  The first one has largely been forgotten today, but the second one has entered folklore in Britain, Australia and the further world.

The image right is taken from a broadside (a ‘broadside’ is a single sheet of paper printed on one side, the early equivalent of the ‘broadsheet newspapers’ of today).  It tells the story of John Smith, aged 39, and his second wife (and thus stepmother of his children), Elizabeth, aged 27, systematically starving and assaulting their 8 year old daughter, Mary Ann.  This crime occurred in Suffolk in 1812.

Not only was Mary Ann hung up without food on three successive days in a shed, but this was also ‘in the Depth of Winter’.  She was ‘barbarously beat’ and in the end starved to death.  So cruelty and barbarism are key messages in both image and the text.  Accompanying the text was a verse about the incident, as was common at the time.  The underlying feature, then as now, was “sensationalism”.  This is what sold the broadsides, in exactly the same way as popular newspapers today.  The horror of the image represents gross parental abuse. The prominent axe and spade in the bottom right hand corner indicate the intended secret burial of the corpse of the child.  The couple admitted in court that their extreme poverty meant that they could not afford to keep their children and it was their intention to do away with some of the others as well.   

The idea of hanging a child up in this way is shocking to a modern reader, yet there is evidence that hanging children up by ropes was often used as a form of corporal punishment in this period.   The verse follows below.  Despite the horror of the crime depicted, the verse concludes with a very brief expression of ‘hope that for their crimes, sincere they did repent’.  It was essential that repentance by the criminal was required for closure of the moral tale of crime and punishment.  However, times were changing and there was no call on the broadside audience to experience pity for the criminals. Their crime was just too horrendous.   

Draw near awhile both old and young,
And listen to my tale,
To draw a tear from every eye, it slowly
Onward fall.
Barbarity of the blackest dye, to you now
Which when you hear, ’twill make your
Hearts’ blood run cold.

At Cookley in Suffolk, a guilty pair did
The husband being a labouring man, and
He respected well;
His wife, a cruel step-mother, hard-hearted
Sure was she.
As when this tale you’ve read, most plainly
You will see.

They took poor little Mary Anne, and tied
Her by the waist,
To a beam in a dreary shed, to comfort then
They also beat and starved her – oh, dreadful
To relate,
To think these cruel parents should this poor
Child so hate.

But justice soon o’ertook them, and stopt
Their dark career,
And before the judge and jury they soon did
Tho the woman seem’d so heardened to all
That pass’d around,
Yet she approach’d her awful death, she
Fainted to the ground.

’Twas when their conscience prick’d them
Sore, ’twas then they felt their crime,
When sentenc’d, and in public, to suffer in
Their prime,
These monsters well deserv’d their fate –
What else could they expect?
But let us hope that for their crimes, sincere
They did regret.

The second episode is so famous it hardly needs retelling.  It has given rise to numerous articles, plays, short stories, films and ballads.  The usual title is The Murder in the Red Barn, but The Mysterie of Maria Marten or just plain Maria Marten is also sufficient to arouse interest.  It is generally considered the most notorious murder case of the 19th century, and there is plenty of information about it on the Internet.  This was the murder committed in Polstead, Suffolk, England in 1827.  A young woman, Maria Marten, was murdered by her lover William Corder.  The two had arranged to meet at the Red Barn, a local landmark, before eloping.  Maria was never seen alive again and Corder had left the scene.  Corder sent letters to Marten’s family claiming that they were together and that she was in good health.  But her body was later discovered buried in the Red Barn.  Corder was tracked down in London, where he had married and started a new life.  He was brought back to Suffolk and found guilty of murder.  He was hanged at Bury St Edmunds in 1828.

The reason why popular interest persisted much longer than any other crime, and indeed continues today, is mainly because of the bizarre, if not supernatural, element to the story.  Although the family was getting suspicious of only getting letters from Corder because Maria could read and write, it was her stepmother who became agitated.  Apparently, she did actually have the same dream several times.  This was of Maria pointing to a spot in the Red Barn.  The wife eventually persuaded her husband to go to the Red Barn and dig in the spot.  He quickly uncovered the remains of his daughter buried in a sack.  She was badly decomposed but still identifiable.  Evidence was uncovered to implicate Corder in the crime: his green handkerchief was discovered around the body’s neck.

The incident and the trial prompted the publication of no fewer than nine different broadside ballads.  Of these, two songs were pre-eminent:  “The Murder of Maria Marten” was by far the most successful, but “The Suffolk Tragedy” followed in popularity.  The interesting fact of the latter ballad is that it was the most popular of this genre in Australia.  Although originally sung from words on a broadside, the ballad was passed on through oral transmission, subsequent folksingers relying on memory.  When these later ballads were also written down near the end of the 19th century, there were basically six variants of “The Suffolk Tragedy” circulating: two collected in England (1906 and 1972), and four in New South Wales, the latter versions sung by the prominent Australian folksingers Sally Sloane (1957 and 1976) and Carrie Milliner (1995).

The ballads run into some 24 stanzas, and there are of course variations between them.  The stories and films that have been produced also stray from the true facts a bit.  Far from being the virginal maiden of popular myth, Maria had already given birth to three illegitimate children, one of them Corder’s.  Nonetheless, there can be no way of getting away from the fact that this crime was only uncovered because of a dream.  This is its fascination.  The 19th century also had its souvenir hunters and curiosity seekers.  The Red Barn was soon dismantled by those coming to the scene and taking away pieces of the building, and the gravestone of Maria Marten has been taken so many times that one is no longer displayed at the spot. 

Top of Page

To Suffolk – A Poem by Cecil Lay

Cecil Howard Lay (1885–1956) was a poet, artist & architect who was born in Aldringham, near Leiston, Suffolk, England.  He studied painting in Belgium & Holland from 1912, then served in the First World War, before returning to Suffolk where he lived until his death. He is buried in Aldringham churchyard.

Between 1927 & 1934 several volumes of his poetry were published, such as Sparrows and Other Poems (1927), Grotesques and Arabesques (1928) & Aprils Foal (1932). The Collected Poems of Cecil Lay appeared in 1962, whilst another volume of selected poems, An Adder in June, came out in 1978. The poem To Suffolk originally appeared in 1927, in the collection Sparrows and Other Poems.

To Suffolk

When Mavises began to build,
And lilac-twigs again were filled;
When buds had thickened in the glen,
And ducks in couples sought the fen;
When sticklebacks were rosy-gilled,
And blackthorn blanchèd petals spilled;
When frogs were stirring in the mud,
And chestnuts sticky in the bud;
Said I, when night shall equal day,
From winter-quarters I’ll away.

When robins fed their spotted young,
And catkins from the hazels hung;
When warbler flaunting warbler sung,
And squirrels on the pine-trees hung;
When days were bright, and skies were blue,
And yokels ‘gan again to woo;
When thrush and blackbird early woke,
And leaves had bronzed upon the oak;
Said I, now cheerless days are done,
My pilgrimage shall be begun.

When swallows hawked in golden air,
And flowers were blooming everywhere;
When shores were gay with bathers bright,
And glowworms greenly shone at night;
When hay was mown, and cuckoos flown,
And Summer held her golden throne;
When cherries shone amidst their green,
And apples on the boughs were seen;
Said I, the time has come to start!
This home and I will shortly part.

When martlets left the cobwebbed eaves,
And russet corn was bound in sheaves;
When sunflowers bent their aureoled heads,
And spiders spun their migrant threads;
When skies were poems ready writ,
And morning mists were infinite;
When berries dazed the insect throng,
And leaves fell through the robin’s song;
Said I, the season passeth by,
My luck upon the road I’ll try.

When winds were wild, and roofs untiled,
And coloured leaves in corners piled;
When bat and dormouse went to sleep,
And bough and sky did frequent weep;
When nuts were plucked, and medlars sucked,
And pheasants shot, and furrows mucked;
When suns were dim and days were brief,
And winds re-howled their ancient grief;
Said I, the road now calleth me,
A pilgrim once again I’ll be.

When pool and stream were frozen hard,
And cattle stayed within the yard;
When elms were red, and ash-trees black,
And sparrows robbed the farmer’s stack;
When tilth and fallow changed to stone,
And hoodies fought around a bone;
When hands were numb and minds depressed,
When snow the naked trees had dressed;
Said I, I will away from here
In this hard season of the year.

Yet here I stay and years go by,
And Suffolk knows the reason why.

Top of Page

More Songs & Music with "Suffolk" in the Title

Listed in this section are as many songs & pieces of music with “Suffolk” in the title that I have been able to find. There are undoubtedly others out there that have been missed. If anyone knows of any not included below, please email details to

Whatever your musical tastes, be it classical, folk, jazz, rock, pop or dance, there is something here for everyone.

See also:   The Suffolk Harvest Home Song  
                       The Suffolk Miracle - A Ballad
                       The Politick Maid of Suffolk; or, the Lawyer Outwitted - A Ballad          
                       Sweet Suffolk Owl - A Poem

Suffolk Suite - Doreen Carwithen:  The British classical composer Doreen Carwithen (1922-2003) was born in Haddenham, Buckinghamshire. From 1941 she attended the Royal Academy of Music, where she met composer & conductor William Alwyn, who began to teach her composition & would later become her husband. Her overture ODTAA (One Damn Thing After Another) was premiered at Covent Garden in 1947. She also wrote a Concerto for Piano and Strings (1948), the overture Bishop Rock (1952), plus scores for more than thirty films such as Wilderness (1948), Boys in Brown (1950) & East Anglian Holiday (1954). She also wrote the score for the official film of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Her Suffolk Suite was written in 1964 at the request of the music master at Fr
amlingham College, Suffolk, to be performed when royalty came to open their new concert hall. The suite is in four movements:

I. Prelude: Moderato
II. Orford Ness: Allegretto grazioso
III. Suffolk Morris: Ritmico

IV. Framlingham Castle: Alla marcia

The tunes are developed from music she had originally composed for the film East Anglian Holiday.

After her husband’s death in 1985, Carwithen founded the William Alwyn Archive and William Alwyn Foundation to promote his music and facilitate musical research projects. She died in January 2003.

The Suffolk Suite can be found on the album Carwithen: Concerto for Piano and Strings/Bishop Rock/ ODTAA/Suffolk Suite which dates from 1997. The album features Howard Shelley on piano, together with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Hickox.

Suffolk Air - Humphrey Lyttlelton: Suffolk Air is a short jazz instrumental by Humphrey Lyttelton (1921-2008), the famous English band leader, trumpeter and clarinetist. The Humphrey Lyttelton Band were formed in the late 1940s, at first playing traditional Dixieland & Ragtime, but later moving into mainstream jazz. The band continued to perform until shortly before Lyttelton’s death in 2008.

From 1967 to 2007, Lyttelton presented The Best of Jazz on BBC Radio 2.

Suffolk Air appeared on the b-side of the 78 singleThe Dormouse, released in 1951 on the Parlophone label. It can also be found on a number of albums, such as Snag It, The Best of Humphrey Lyttelton, Classic Years & In The Spotlight. The piece was probably inspired by Lytteltons frequent visits to see his father, who lived in the Suffolk village of Grundisburgh from 1945-62.

The Witchbottle of Suffolk - Peter Ulrich: The 2005 album Enter the Mysterium by English songwriter & multi-instrumentalist Peter Ulrich features The Witchbottle of Suffolk. Ulrich, who is from Perivale in London, was a member of the 1980s band Dead Can Dance. His first solo album Pathways and Dawns was released in 1999.

Witch bottles or witchbottles probably came into existence during the Middle Ages. They were traditionally used to keep the hair, nails or bodily fluids of someone (i.e. a witch) that, it was thought, had put a curse on another person or property. Alternatively, the bottle would be filled with pins, needles, rosemary & red wine. It would then be concealed in the structure of a building (or buried outside), as it was thought to draw in & trap evil spirits & witches, thus preventing curses & malevolent magic spells harming the building’s occupants. One of the earliest descriptions of a witchbottle comes from Suffolk & is described in Joseph Glanvill’s Saducismus Triumphatus, or Evidence concerning Witches and Apparitions, which dates from 1681.

Ulrich’s Witchbottle of Suffolk is a seven & a half minute brooding atmospheric tale, which conjures up magic & sorcery with a dark medieval feel.

Suffolk Down Upon the Night - The Court And Spark: Taking their name from an album by Joni Mitchell, the folk rock/psychedelic band The Court & Spark were based in San Francisco, California. Suffolk Down Upon the Night first appears on the bands 2004 album Witch Season, with a live version appearing on The Court and Spark Live at Schubas 11/09/2004. Formed in 1998, the band issued five studio albums, before disbanding in 2007. The nucleus of the band revolved around Scott Hirsch, Alex Stimmel, James Kim & M.C. Taylor.

The Ballad of the Suffolk Five - The Simon Hopper Band: The Ballad of the Suffolk Five is a folk song that sympathetically explores the story of the murders of five women in Ipswich during late 2006 (see The Ipswich Murders 2006, on the Ipswich, England page of The track, by the Simon Hopper Band, appears on the album The Less Blessed, dating from 2008.

Suffolk Girl - Skelter: Skelter are a New York City based group much influenced by British bands such as The Beatles, The Who, T-Rex & Oasis, with a hint of punk thrown in. Suffolk Girl features on their first album, Boomstick, which dates from 2005. The band comprises singer, guitarist & songwriter Michael Wright, bassist Greg Ross & drummer Nachie Castro. The Suffolk in question is Suffolk County, NY.

Suffolk Punch - Andrew Huang: The instrumental track Suffolk Punch features on the dubstep-influenced album Droop by Andrew Huang, which was released in November 2012. Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in London in the late 1990s. Huang, however, is from Toronto, Canada. He is described as a multi-genre multi-instrumentalist who also works in video & social media. A prolific composer, he has created over 600 songs & pieces of music since 2004, & is a well known personality on YouTube. His other albums include Summer, Console & Lip Bomb. Why this piece has been named Suffolk Punch is not known.

Suffolk - Mike & Billy Nicholls: Suffolk, by Mike & Billy Nicholls, can be found on the 2008 album Rosslyn Road. Singer, songwriter, producer & musical director Billy Nicholls is from London. His first album was Would You Believe dating from 1968. As well as recording several more albums since then, he has also written songs for many other artists such as Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Justin Hayward, Kiki Dee, The Chieftains & Phil Collins. He has also worked as a producer for The Who & Elton John.

The folk album Rosslyn Road was made in collaboration with Billys brother Mike, as well as featuring contributions from Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains.

The lyrics to Suffolk, which clocks in at under two minutes, are printed below. They give no clue, however, as to why this song is so named.


When I saw you
Twas like I’d seen your face
Long before that day
When I saw you
Twas like a love that once lost
I’d found again

I knew my search was over
Then you were gone
And left me here
Alone in the garden
But I can see you standing there
When I saw you

When I kissed you
I felt the winter chill
Cold against your cheek
When I kissed you I felt our souls entwined
Soon to be released

And it will last forever
Though you have gone
And left me here
Alone in the garden
But I can feel you standing there
When I kissed you

Suffolk’s March/Jig - Bill Smith: Suffolk’s March/Jig is a short piece that features on an album entitled Many A Good Horseman: Traditional music making from Mid-Suffolk recorded 1958-1993. This 78 track Various Artists compilation set, spread over 8 CDs, was released in 2012. The Suffolk’s March/Jig is a solo harmonica piece credited to one Bill Smith.  Essentially two separate tunes (Suffolk’s March followed by an unnamed jig) the recording begins with a spoken word introduction, presumably by Smith himself, which suggests the march has connections with the Suffolk Regiment.

Suffolk - Emmanuel Dunn: Also from a Various Artists compilation, but in a very different vein from the entry above, is Suffolk by Emmanuel Dunn. It appears on Jack de Molay Presents Spring Best Tek n' Tekno, released on Hollister Records in 2011. As the album title suggests, this instrumental named Suffolk is a house/techno style piece which runs for just over six minutes. Emmanuel Dunn is a DJ & record producer based in Cefalù in Sicily.

From Suffolk with Love/Suffolk Punch - The Broadside Boys: Comprising Mat Bayfield (vocals & percussion) & Eric Sedgey Sedge (vocals, guitars & percussion), the Broadside Boys are from Saxmundham in Suffolk, England. Two songs with “Suffolk” in the name can be heard on their website, Suffolk Punch & From Suffolk with Love; the latter being a live recording at the BBC. Suffolk Punch is a song celebrating a Suffolk character who likes to use his fists, whilst From Suffolk with Love is a tribute to Suffolk servicemen serving in war zones overseas.

A Suffolk Memory: A Suite of Impressions for Piano - William Ferris/Justin Kolb: A Suffolk Memory: Suite of Impressions for Piano was written in 1986, by Chicago based choral conductor and composer William Ferris (1937-2000), & was inspired by his time at the Aldeburgh Festival, in Suffolk, England, at which he & his 24-voice professional choral ensemble, the William Ferris Chorale, had been invited to perform by Sir Peter Pears. A Suffolk Memory appears on the album Solo Piano Music (2004) by Justin Kolb, which features a number of Ferris’s compositions dating from the period 1962-99.

Pianist Kolb is originally from Indiana but is now based in New York. He has performed as a soloist with, amongst others, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Hamburg Philharmonic & the Amernet String Quartet. As well as Ferris, Kolb has also premiered works by Robert Starer, Peter Schickele, Paul Alan Levi, John Downey & Robert Cucinotta.

The suite A Suffolk Memory is in eight parts:

I.        The Sea, at Dusk
II.      The Parish Churchyard, at Night
III.    High Street, Noon
IV.     Sunday Morning, from the Terrace
V.       Saint Edmund’s - Southwold: Concert Day
VI.     The Maltings, Snape: Festival House Fanfares
VII.   The Red House
VIII. The Sea, by Midnight


Suffolk Skies - Kurt Hartle: Suffolk Skies is the title track to Kurt Hartle’s debut album. Composer & producer Hartle, whose style is mainly classical but with hints of jazz, comes from Southwold in Suffolk, England. The album Suffolk Skies was released in June 2013 & consists of piano solos and ensemble pieces. The music is relaxing & romantic in character, & is described as being inspired by the fertile & beautiful East Anglia region. At just over four minutes long, the track Suffolk Skies opens the album.




Youre Gonna Love This Song About Suffolk  - The Guy Who Sings Songs About Cities & Towns: Youre Gonna Love This Song About Suffolk is a one minute forty six second song from the album Virginia Is Good and Yes, Va by The Guy Who Sings Songs About Cities & Towns. The album (released in February 2014) features 71 short songs, each about a different town or city in Virginia. Other songs include Song About Virginia Beach, Uh Huh!; Oh Yeah! Hampton, Va; You Gotta Go to Waynesboro & Woodbridge, Virginia. Such a Nice Place!

The Guy Who Sings Songs About Cities & Town, real name Matt Farley from Massachusetts, has released a number of albums in similar vein, all consisting, as his name suggests, of short, rather strange songs about towns & cities in Great Britain, Canada, Australia & various US states. These include These Songs Are About Canada Places; New York State Nice Places Ny Song Yes!; Texas City & Town Song Fun, TxThese Australia Places Deserve These Nice Songs & English England, British Britain, Uk, Great Song!

According to the song Youre Gonna Love This Song About Suffolk, Suffolk, Virginia has bike trails, railroads (“you can ride your train on them”) & a lot of bridges. North Main Street gets a mention, as does Interstate 664. Suffolk also has “a good local government”,  “a lot of nice people living in it” & is “such a nice location”.

Suffolk’s Most Wanted - Diabolic (Feat. Ra the Rugged Man): The rapper known as Diabolic (real name Sean George) is from Huntington Station, a hamlet in the town of Huntington, Suffolk County, New York. The 3 minutes 35 seconds long Suffolk’s Most Wanted is from his 2014 album Fightin’ Words, and also features fellow rapper R.A. the Rugged Man (real name R.A. Thorburn). As with many songs within the rap genre, Suffolk’s Most Wanted contains explicit lyrics that some people might find offensive.

Suffolk Song - Peregrine North: Peregrine North is the name of a band fronted by guitarist and singer Rachel Shrader. Born in Ipswich, Suffolk, England, she grew up in upstate New York.  She formed the band Peregrine North in Fort Worth, Texas in 2013 and currently resides in Seattle, Washington.

Peregrine North’s music is heavily influenced by British folk and rock music of the 1960s and 70s. Suffolk Song features on the band’s eponymous debut album, released in March 2015. Suffolk Song is a gentle, folk inspired tribute to Rachel’s county of birth. The opening lines are:

“I come from a place where the sun first awakes
I come from a place where the sea meets the sun”

Miniature III: Suffolk - Ghost-Land: Fifteen Miniatures is an experimental/electronic album by Ghost-Land. Released in 2015, as the title suggests, this is an album of fifteen very short instrumental tracks, the majority of which clock in at under one minute (Miniature III: Suffolk, at 1 minute 16 seconds, is the second longest track on the album). There is very little information available concerning the personnel that make up the band Ghost-Land at present, and no reason for the name Suffolk being used can be found. With names like Miniature VI: Alarm and Miniature XI: Rhododendrons, no other track on the album is named after a specific location.  

The Lion of Suffolk - Malcolm Williamson: The Lion of Suffolk is a piece of music for solo organ, composed by Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003).  Born in Sydney, Australia, Williamson studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, before moving to London in 1950. In 1975 he was appointed Master of the Queens Music, a position he held until his death. He was awarded the CBE in 1976 and was also made an honorary Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1987. He died in Cambridge, England in March 2003.

The Lion of Suffolk is a tribute to Benjamin Britten (see Suffolk, England page) and was premiered on 10th March 1977, at the Benjamin Britten Memorial Service in Westminster Abbey. It appears on the album Malcolm Williamson: Organ Music, released in 2014 and featuring organist Tom Winpenny.

White Wash And Pig’s Blood (Suffolk Pink) - Jack The Stripper: This is a track on Black Annis, the debut EP released in 2009 by hardcore band Jack The Stripper.

Formed in Melbourne, Australia in 2007 “with a singular vision of playing the most extreme music possible”, the band comprises Luke Frizon on vocals, guitarists Julian Renzo and Adam Harris, Tim Anderson on bass and drummer Max Reps.  The band released their debut album Raw Nerve in 2013.

Reviews of the band’s live performances  state that they “have been assaulting audiences everywhere with their fierce and innovative brand of chaotic hardcore, a relentless work ethic and an atypical, ferocious on-stage prowess”, and  that “Jack the Stripper’s live show is a boundary-pushing, total sensory-inclusive, interactive extreme experience. It is one of the most incredibly intense live shows you will ever see and the band is on the road to becoming one of Australias most recognised extreme music acts.”

The name White Wash And Pig’s Blood (Suffolk Pink) obviously refers to the ancient process of mixing blood with whitewash to give the colour famously used to paint houses in Suffolk, England (see Suffolk Pink - Colour, below). Unfortunately, as with much of the music in the grindcore/hardcore/extreme metal genre, the lyrics are almost unintelligible, so what this particular song is actually about can only be guessed at. However, as many of the band’s lyrics relate to death/gore/satanic ritual, it seems likely that the reference to blood is the main attraction in using this as a title. 

Between Suffolk Pink and Essex Blue and Suffolk Winds - Richard Harker: Two songs with Suffolk in the title by folk singer/musician Richard Harker.  Between Suffolk Pink and Essex Blue is taken from the 2015 album of the same name, whilst Suffolk Winds is from the album An Englishman Ignored, also released in 2015. Suffolk Winds includes a mention of the village of Nayland, and with another of his albums being entitled Nayland a Cuckoo Crying, it would seem likely that Mr Harker is from this area along the Essex/Suffolk border.

Suffolk (Original Mix) - Paul Ritch: At nearly seven minutes long, the techno track Suffolk (Original Mix) can be found on Paul Ritch’s 2010 four track EP Canniballs. Paul Ritch is a Parisian producer and performer who has been on the techno club scene since 2007 and has now achieved global recognition, having performed on four continents. No reason for naming this instrumental piece Suffolk has yet been found.

Suffolk County 718 - Michael Mason: Suffolk County 718 appears on the 2016 album My Cactus Flower - Contemporary Piano by Michael Mason.  As the album title suggests, this is a piece for solo piano. Other pieces on the album are also named after places with three digit numbers appended to them, such as Virginia 710, Natchez Trace 712, Scotland 713 and Stratford Upon Avon 715. Michael Mason (who on some of his other albums is known as Michael H Mason) is an improvisational American pianist and composer of jazz ballads. Which Suffolk County this piece refers to is uncertain.

Suffolk on a Sunday - The Ragtown Brothers: Described as “A unique blend of baroque pop, ragtime, and blues reminiscent of old American standards, the Beach Boys, Blind Willie McTell, and Nina Simone” the Ragtown Brothers comprises Texas music legend Lloyd Maines and jazz composer/saxophonist Rich King, along with members of the Mount Zion First Baptist Church gospel choir. Suffolk on a Sunday is taken from their eponymous album, recorded in Texas and released in 2015.

Rather bizarrely, given the above information, the song’s lyrics make it clear that the Suffolk in question is Suffolk, England, with a range of typically English foods listed that you can get in “Ipswich, Woodbridge, Diss* or Framlingham”

*(Diss, of course, is actually in Norfolk, not Suffolk).

Suffolk - The Traveller: The rock song Suffolk appears on the five track EP Uncensored Kingdom, Pt. III (Prelude), released in May 2016. The Traveller is actually Italian singer-songwriter Massimiliano Forleo, and the EP is part of a trilogy inspired and loosely based on the works of William Shakespeare. The Suffolk in question refers to the Earl of Suffolk, mentioned in Henry V, who dies at the battle of Agincourt.

Midnight’s Mass in Suffolk’s Breast - Blue Rose Code:  Blue Rose Code is Scottish alternative-folk singer/songwriter Ross Wilson, whose work has been said to evoke “a meeting of Van Morrison and a young John Martyn, both shipwrecked with a bunch of Motown records.” Midnight’s Mass in Suffolk’s Breast is a Christmas song that appears on the four track EP Grateful, released in 2015.


Albums with “Suffolk” in the Title

Suffolk Sessions - Justin Tracy: Suffolk Sessions is an album by Justin Tracy, which was released in 2003. It features eight songs performed as part of a live radio session recorded in Suffolk, England. Although there are no songs with “Suffolk” in the title, the album also features three short spoken passages taken from the accompanying interview, one of which is called South Folk. Tracy is Suffolk, England born, but is now based in New York. Suffolk Sessions is his second album.

The Suffolk Explosion: The Suffolk Explosion is a 2005 album on the independent Sandwich Leg label, which features 14 tracks by different bands, each of which has at least one member from Suffolk, England within their ranks. Acts include Prego, Brick, Brunswick & Half Cut. The album is the brainchild of Woodbridge born Charlie Simpson (formerly with Busted), who features on this album as a solo artist & with his band Fightstar.   





Suffolk County - Cousin Stizz:  Rapper Cousin Stizz is from Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.  The 13 track Suffolk County is his first album, released in June 2015. Songs include Ain’t Really Much; Bonds; Shoutout; Jordan Fade and Real Life


Over the years, several albums have been brought out recording for posterity the old folk songs traditionally sung in Suffolk, England. Many of these are ‘field recordings’, taken from performances in pubs, church halls or the performer’s home.

One of the oldest of these records is Songs from Suffolk by Bob Hart, which was recorded at Snape in July 1972. It was released on Topic Records. 




More recently, the Veteran Label have issued a series of recordings on CD featuring Suffolk residents singing or playing traditional folk songs/tunes. These include: 

Comic Songs Sung in Suffolk: Comic Songs, Music Hall Songs & Parodies

Songs Sung in Suffolk: Popular Folk Songs, Old Songs & Ballads

Many a Good Horseman: Traditional music making from Mid-Suffolk recorded 1958-1993

Top of Page

The Suffolk Punch - A Poem by Henry Birtles

Published in April 2014, The Suffolk Punch is a poem by Henry Birtles. Also known as The Racing Poet, Birtles runs Henry Birtles Associates, a media consultancy specialising in television rights for horse racing. He has been commissioned many times by jockey clubs and race horse owners, & he has recited his poems to the crowds on Cheltenham Gold Cup Day. Although his poetry is primarily concerned with horse racing, he has also written about other sports, such as the Ashes (cricket) & the 2012 London Olympics. Away from sport, he has also written The Harvest, which was commissioned by Love British Food & was read by actor Damian Lewis in Westminster Abbey at the Harvest Festival Service held on 16th October 2013.

The Suffolk Punch was written at the request of HRH the Princess Royal, to highlight the plight of the Suffolk Punch horse, which is now an endangered species (see Suffolk Punch page). It is reproduced below with the kind permission of the author.

For more of Henry’s poetry, go to

The Suffolk Punch

I may not have a Tiger’s stripe, a Panda’s eye, a Rhino’s Charge
Or pull on distant heartstrings when the hat goes round for helping hands
I may not gently fill your screens with longing looks from Nature’s deep
Where Children see a doleful gaze and into pillows sadly weep
But once upon a time long gone, I had a place high in this land
Where in your line, or by your side we formed a team of Horse and Man
And with your kin come rain or shine, we ground it out and fed your folk
Upon my back I bore the brunt, I heaved on plough and carried hope
I may not have a Tiger’s Stripe, a Leopard’s spots, an Aardvark’s snout
Or reach beyond my field, my home like others from a far flung shore
To some I’m just a tired old horse with nothing much to fuss about
A throwback to an age that’s passed, who fades behind a stable door
But if you look beyond my looks, my Chesnut hide and kindly eye
You’ll find a trust that failed you not, you’ll find an air of do or die
A Gentle Giant of honest stock, you’ll see a beast who’s just as rare
As all those creatures with appeal; without the history that we share
I may not have a Tiger’s stripe, a Bobcat’s tail, A Condor’s span
Or conjure up exotic yarns from Jungles, mountains, rivers, plains
I may not be a poster boy on City streets for Ad Campaigns
But I am proud and I am strong and I am yours from days since gone
I am a Heavy Horse of old, a stalwart, worker, humble friend
Our story’s one that should be told, a story now that shouldn’t end
This is my plight, take up my cause; with providence enact my plea
I am the Suffolk Punch you see, please do your very best for me 

Top of Page

Suffolk & Rain - Rock Band from Buffalo, NY

Suffolk & Rain were an indie rock/experimental band from Buffalo, New York, who formed in 2010. The band claimed an eclectic mix of influences, such as The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Radiohead & Bjork.  

Suffolk & Rains original line-up was:

Jennifer Rivera - Vocals, percussion, acoustic guitar & keyboards
Bob Besant - Guitar
Seth Sim - Bass, keyboards, guitar, electronics & backing vocals
Dan Shultz - Drums, percussion, guitar, keyboards & backing vocals

Their eponymous five track debut EP (see cover, right) was released in January 2011, featuring the songs Whiskey Moods,Late At night,Dixie Town,Happiness & Days Waitin’

Seth Sim left in 2012 and the band continued as a trio. Their first album, The Change, was released in December 2013. It features nine tracks including Lock Me Away, Seconds on the Sun, Music at the End of the World & The Top.

Since 2014 nothing has been heard of Suffolk & Rain, and it is assumed that they have now split up. 

There is of course a Suffolk County in the state of New York, from which the band could have taken its name. However, the city of Buffalo, where the band come from, is around 400 miles away by road on the other side of the state, so why the name “Suffolk” was chosen is a mystery at present.

Top of Page

Suffolk Punch - Late 1970s Country Band


The country band Suffolk Punch were formed in 1978, in Suffolk, England. With the initial line-up of Isabel Gorsuch on guitar & vocals, David Andrews on accordion & vocals, Bernie Dolmen on bass guitar & Mike Coe on drums, their first album, Travellin’ Light, appeared on the SRT label in 1978.

The following year saw the release of a second album entitled Bartender Blues. By this time they were a trio, Andrews & Dolmen having left the group to be replaced by Lindsey Balls on bass & vocals. A third album, Baby, Ride Easy appeared in 1981. Like their debut, both subsequent albums were issued on SRT.

As far as I am aware, this is Suffolk Punch’s total recorded output. The albums do not appear to have ever been re-released & are not available on CD.

Top of Page

Suffolk Saint - Singer/Rapper from Boston, MA

Suffolk Saint (real name Regy Pierre Saintil), is a singer/rapper from Boston, Massachusetts also known as Skyscrapur”, “Scrapur” or “Re90ssance. His UPrising Mixtape EP (2013), featuring six tracks - Restarted; Uprising; She Got My Name; New Beginnings; Can’t Get Enough & Get ’em Hard - is available to download (free) from his Facebook page, as well as from other sources.

Top of Page

Haarlem Suffolk - Rock/Pop Band from Caen, France

Formed in 2014 and based in Caen, France, Haarlem Suffolk are a five piece indie/alternate rock/pop band. The band’s line up is: Bastien Boulais (Vocals), François Le Gall (Guitar), Emmanuel Piquery (Keyboards), Olivier Mette (Bass), Pascal Vigier (Drums).  The band write their own material and all the lyrics are in English.

To date, we have found no reason why the band has adopted this name.

As at late 2015, there are three unmastered demo recordings available on the band’s Facebook page: The Unspoken, Coming Soon and The West/The Quest. There are also three performances to view on YouTube, recorded live @ Le Bocal. The songs being Haiku, Too Many Troubles and Shabby Work.

Top of Page

Suffolk Lanes - Scottish Country Dance

Suffolk Lanes is a Scottish country dance devised by Tim Eyres of the Oxfordshire Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dancing Society & published in the “Silver Jubilee Oxford Book of Dances” in 1993.

So why has a Scottish dance been given the name “Suffolk Lanes”?  Tim explains:

“I used to live in the village of Cockfield, near Bury St Edmunds.  I have very fond memories of that time and the many twists and turns of the dance reminded me of being driven round the narrow lanes of Suffolk in my youth.”

Instructions for the dance can be found on:

Top of Page

Suffolk House Bed & Breakfast, Alberta, Canada

Suffolk House Bed & Breakfast is situated at 66, 52343 Range Road 211, Sherwood Park, Strathcona County, Alberta, T8G 1A6, Canada. It is around 20 miles east of Edmonton, on the shores of Antler Lake. 

Suffolk House is owned by Sheila and Alan Smyth, both originally from Hadleigh in Suffolk, England, who immigrated to Canada in 1980. They bought the land on which the house now stands in 1999.

Suffolk House opened for business in January 2001 & has 3 guest bedrooms, as well as facilities for small meetings & weddings. Suffolk House offers panoramic views over Antler Lake & is a centre for hiking, canoeing,  golf & winter sports. It is in easy reach of Strathcona Wilderness Centre, Elk Island National Park & Beaverhill Lake Heritage Rangeland Natural Area.

Top of Page

Suffolk in the Names of Public Houses, Bars & Inns

Our research into this topic has (so far) shown that there have been 63 establishments that included the name “Suffolk” in their title; 14 still exist with the name; 6 exist with a different name; 43 sadly no longer exist.  The names and locations of these establishments follow:






                                                                                                                       Old Suffolk Punch, 80 Fulham Palace Road. Hammersmith

Still existing:-
Bar Le Suffolk                         Clermont-Ferrand, France
County of Suffolk                   Ipswich, Suffolk   (See below)    
East Suffolk Tavern               Great Yarmouth, Norfolk   (See below)    
Old Suffolk Punch                  London (Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith W6 9PL)
Olde Suffolk Ale House         Ironwood, Michigan, USA on South Suffolk Street
Suffolk Arms                            Cheltenham, Gloucestershire                          on Suffolk Road
Suffolk Bar (The Suffolk)     New York, New York State, USA                         on Suffolk Street, and in close proximity
Suffolk Arms                            New York, New York State, USA                        at 296 East Houston Streeet
Suffolk Inn                               Belfast, Northern Ireland                                on Suffolk Road   (See below)
Super 8 Suffolk Tidewater    North Main Street, Suffolk, Virginia, USA   (formerly Suffolk Inn Motel)
Suffolk Park Pub                     Suffolk Park, NSW, Australia                          (part of The Park Hotel Motel; formerly Suffolk Park Motel/Hotel)
Suffolk Punch                          Haverhill, Suffolk
Suffolk Punch                          Ipswich, Suffolk  (see below)
Suffolk Golf & Spa Hotel       Fornham St Genevieve, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk   (See below)

Existing with a different name –

Suffolk Poacher                   Wangford, Suffolk                                Now called The Angel Inn (see below)
Suffolk Tavern                    Gorleston, Norfolk (in Pier Plain)    Now called New Entertainer (see below)
Suffolk Grange Hotel         Ipswich, Suffolk                                    Changed name to The Courtyard, before becoming Holiday Inn, Ipswich -Orwell

Suffolk Hotel/Tavern        Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand   Originally the Suffolk Arms, before becoming the Suffolk Hotel. Became the
                                                                                                                   Cavalier Tavern in 1990 and The Cav from 2014 (see below)
Suffolk House                      Dublin, Republic of Ireland              On Suffolk Street.  Renamed The Thingmote; now O’Donoghue’s Bar  (see below)
Suffolk Inn                          Holland Road, Suffolk, Virginia, USA     Now called the Econo Lodge

No longer existing as a House of Refreshment -

Duke of Suffolk                   London (Poplar)                           on Suffolk Street
Duke of Suffolk                   London (Rotherhithe)                (See London Suffolks page, under Other Suffolks)
Duke of Suffolk                   London (Walworth)
Old Suffolk Punch              London (Finsbury)
Suffolk Arms                        Brinkworth, Wiltshire
Suffolk Arms                        Gloucester, Gloucestershire        on Suffolk Street
Suffolk Arms                        London (Bloomsbury)
Suffolk Arms                        London (Islington)
Suffolk Arms                        London (Old Kent Road)
Suffolk Arms                        London (Shoreditch)
Suffolk Arms                        Malmesbury, Wiltshire
Suffolk Arms                        Norwich, Norfolk (in Market Place)
Suffolk Arms                        Norwich, Norfolk (in St Martin at Oak)
Suffolk Arms                        Portsmouth, Hampshire  (see below)
Suffolk Arms                        Winchester, Hampshire
Suffolk Arms                        Grahamstown, South Africa (see below)
Suffolk Barn                        Wattisfield, Suffolk
Suffolk Brewery                   London (Whitechapel)       on corner of Suffolk Street
Suffolk Ferry                        Zeebrugge, Belgium           
Suffolk Fishery                   Lowestoft, Suffolk
Suffolk Fishery Tavern    Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
Suffolk Hall Hotel             Edinburgh, Scotland            (see East Suffolk Road & East Suffolk Park, Edinburgh, below)
Suffolk Hotel                       Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk (see below)
Suffolk Hotel                       Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Suffolk Hotel                       Lowestoft, Suffolk
Suffolk Hotel                       Sheffield, Yorkshire          
Suffolk Hotel                       Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Suffolk Hotel                       Collingwood, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Suffolk House Bar              Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, USA    on Suffolk Road
Suffolk Hunt                       Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Suffolk Inn                          Beccles, Suffolk
Suffolk Inn/The Suffolk  Adelaide, South Australia (see below)                                                                                                                                                 Suffolk Punch                     Borehamwood, Hertfordshire
Suffolk Punch                      Lowestoft, Suffolk
Suffolk Punch                      Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Suffolk Shades                    Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk  (see below)
Suffolk Tap                          Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk  (see below)
Suffolk Tavern                    Great Yarmouth, Norfolk  (in Tolhouse Street)
Ipswich & Suffolk               Ipswich, Suffolk
Suffolk Artillery Arms     Ipswich, Suffolk
Suffolk Hotel                       Westgate Street, Ipswich, Suffolk
The Suffolk                          (also known as The Suffolk Hotel) Commercial Road, Ipswich, Suffolk
East Suffolk Hotel             Aldeburgh, Suffolk


By location it can be seen that 20 are in Suffolk itself, 7 in counties adjacent to Suffolk, 10 in London, 4 in the West Country near to the home of the Earl of Suffolk, 4 elsewhere in southern England, and 1 in Sheffield on land owned by the Duke of Norfolk, a relative of the Earls of Suffolk.  Most of the pubs outside England are to be found in places associated with Suffolk in some way.  It is clear that pubs and inns in Suffolk, or close to its borders, would have a reason to use the name.  The three pubs on the land of the Earl of Suffolk bore the obvious Suffolk Arms (see Places Associated with the Noble Houses of Suffolk, below).  In some other cases it can be seen that the name derives from a street, road or place named Suffolk.  However, many have no connection with Suffolk whatsoever, although it was noted that there was often an association with other pubs that had been given similar thematic names, (e.g. Suffolk Arms, Norfolk Arms, Sussex Arms, and Berkshire Arms all belonging to the same brewery).  Historically, Suffolk Arms was the more popular name adopted, 14 of the 63 having this name.  Only one pub in Cheltenham now retains this name.  The preference today seems to be for Suffolk Punch or Old Suffolk Punch, but only 3 of the total 7 still remain open; it was also notable that this was a name favoured by the newer, modern establishments.

There may be more pubs and bars outside England bearing the name Suffolk than the 17 that we have found.  In the USA, Suffolk Bar in New York is on Suffolk Street, Olde Suffolk Ale House in Ironwood, Michigan is on South Suffolk Street, Suffolk House Bar in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware was on Suffolk Road, & maybe predictably, in Suffolk,Virginia there was a Suffolk Inn, now renamed, but there is still a Super 8 Suffolk Tidewater hotel (formerly Suffolk Inn Motel).  Recently, in February 2015, a new bar named the Suffolk Arms was opened at 296 East Houston Street, a popular hostelry location adjacent to Suffolk Street, New York (see photo, left).  It is described as an “English pub exterior with a distinct New York feel inside” (See also Duke of Suffolk Cocktail in Drink section, below).

As would be expected, there was a Suffolk Hotel taking its name from that county in Massachusetts.   Suffolk House existed as a boarding house on Elm Street, Boston, in 1821 when it is advertised in the newspapers. The Suffolk Hotel Company was incorporated in March 1826, and the Suffolk House & Hotel is recorded under public houses & hotels in Bowens Picture of Boston, 1838.  It is also recorded as a stage-coach stop.  After that we can find nothing else about it except that the company was officially dissolved by statute in April 1932 because it no longer existed.  This sounds as if the Suffolk (House) Hotel had long been closed down, possibly well before 1900.

Suffolk Park Pub is (predictably) in Suffolk Park, New South Wales, Australia (as is the non-alcoholic Bite Suffolk, a fast food & take-away outlet in the same place), whilst Suffolk Inn on Suffolk Road is the main focal point of the community of Suffolk in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Suffolk Hall Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland was associated with Suffolk Road and St Margaret’s School (see East Suffolk Road & East Suffolk Park, Edinburgh, below). We have yet to discover why Bar Le Suffolk in Clermont-Ferrand, France is so named.

In Belgium the port of Zeebrugge had the Suffolk Ferry bar. This was named after the train ferry boat of the same name that ran between Harwich and Zeebrugge from 1951 to 1980.  The bar itself was closed in 2009.

The Suffolk Hotel (also given as Suffolk Tavern in some sources) in Ponsonby, an inner-city suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, dates from 1865 (see photo, right). Originally called the Suffolk Arms Hotel, it became the Suffolk Hotel before 1900. It appears that the name, given in April 1865, derives from the 12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot being stationed in North Island from October 1863 to May 1867 whilst suppressing the Maori uprising at Taranaki.  General Headquarters were at Auckland, and the Suffolks were very popular with the colonial settlers at that time. It was in the Suffolk Hotel, in April 1910, that the Auckland Provincial Rugby League was formed. In 1990, the Suffolk became the Cavalier Tavern until 2014 when it shortened its name to The Cav.

The Suffolk Arms in Cross Street, Grahamstown, South Africa, existed for a short period in the early 1900s.  It was probably named in recognition of the Suffolk Regiment’s assault on the Boer positions on the hill above Colesberg in 1900 (see Suffolk Hill, South Africa page).  Grahamstown had long been a garrison town in South Africa.

The Suffolk Hotel in Collingwood, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, in Australia, existed from 1865 to 1908.  The Rate Books describe it as “a stone hotel of 7 to 8 rooms built in 1865”.  It was located on the north side of Stanley Street between Wellington and Smith Streets, opposite to Cambridge Street.  It is known that Bridget Page held the licence until 1867.  She had been in Victoria since 1841 and came from Ireland.  The records just say that it was common at this date to give hotels and bars names that reflected the “home country”.  The place was closed in 1908 during a period when the authorities were refusing to renew licences in order to curb lawlessness brought on by the consumption of alcohol.  The hotel was later demolished. 

The Suffolk Inn in Adelaide, South Australia, was the first name for the later prestigious Oriental Hotel on Rundle Street.  This street was one of the earliest thoroughfares in the city and a centre for shopping and entertainment.  Rundle Street is still part of the nightlife of Adelaide.  A public house existed from March 1840 on the south side of Rundle Street on the corner with Gawler Place, named the Suffolk Inn.  From 1842 to 1843 it was renamed the Saracen’s Head, and from 1843 to 1846 it was The Suffolk.  In 1847 it adopted the name Hamburg Hotel  by which name it became famous for its luxurious décor, and a gathering place for the notables of the day (see photo, left, dating from 1864). In 1915 the name was changed to the Oriental Hotel because of anti-German sentiment at the time.  It closed down in December 1966.  The name “Suffolk” was given in commemoration of Colonel William Light (1786-1839) who had recently died in Adelaide.  Col. Light was a British military officer and the first Surveyor-General of the Colony of South Australia. He is famous for choosing Adelaide as the site of the colony’s capital in 1835, and designing the layout of its streets and parks in the Adelaide city centre.  Although born in Penang, William Light was the son of Francis Light (see Suffolk House, Malaysia page), and his home county was Suffolk.  He was educated at Theberton Hall in Suffolk, after which a district of Adelaide was named. 

Suffolk House on Suffolk Street, Dublin (see photo, right), was going from c.1972 through to c.1990.  There has long been a drinking establishment at this location in this central part of Dublin, and Suffolk House was renowned for its traditional Irish folk nights, and as a meeting place for the cultural activists in the city. It was renamed The Thingmote as it is on the site of the ancient meeting place of the Viking rulers of Dublin, and is now known as O’Donoghue’s Bar.  It is now a modern Gastro pub but retains its traditional bar and a separate lounge. (See also Suffolk Street – The Heart of Viking Dublin, below)


Some of the British hostelries noteworthy of comment are as follows:

The Suffolk Hotel, Suffolk Shades & Suffolk Tap, Bury St Edmunds: In a central position in the town’s Buttermarket, an inn is known to have been situated here since 1539, formerly called The Greyhound.  It was rebuilt as a three-storey building in 1830 and renamed The Suffolk Hotel.  It was renovated in 1873 and remained a popular coaching and commercial inn throughout both the 19th and most of the 20th centuries, until its closure in 1996.  It is a Grade II listed building and is now used as a retail outlet.  It is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of a woman doctor who committed suicide in Room 63 in 1981.  Behind the hotel in High Baxter Street stood two public houses associated with the hotel, the Suffolk Shades & Suffolk Tap, both now closed.

Suffolk Arms, Portsmouth (better known as Martha’s): Trading as the Suffolk Arms until 1948, this pub acquired the unusual name of “Martha’s” in tribute to the former licencee Martha Kingsbury (1840-1914).  The establishment has had an interesting history, as befits a pub in a naval port, and once housed a brothel during the 1930s.  Until the 1980s the pub was popular with the Royal Navy, but from 1985 Martha's was known far and wide primarily as one of Portsmouth’s most popular gay bars.  It finally closed in May 2011 and the site of the pub will soon be lost when this area is flattened to make way for a highway redevelopment scheme.

Suffolk Poacher, Wangford, Suffolk (now called The Angel Inn): A former coaching inn.  It was opened in the 17th century and substantially rebuilt in the 18th; the façade is 19th century.  It is a Grade II listed building.  It was originally called The Angel Inn and was the location for the local assizes presided over by the lord of the manor.  When a bypass was built in 1977 its trade fell off and it was renamed the Suffolk Poacher in order to attract custom.  It closed temporarily in 2008 and re-opened in 2009 under its original name. 

Suffolk Tavern, Pier Plain, Gorleston, Suffolk & Norfolk: Two different pubs within walking distance of each other have been called The Suffolk Tavern.  One was in Tolhouse Street, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, the other was in Pier Plain, Gorleston, Suffolk (see photo, left).  The spread of urban development in the 19th century brought both the towns together and from 1835 Gorleston was administered as part of Great Yarmouth, and since 1890 Gorleston, historically in Suffolk, was transferred to Norfolk.  The Tolhouse Street pub has long gone, but the Gorleston one still exists.  It has had several name changes and is renowned for its unusual narrow shape.
The pub has been going since before 1869 when it was called the Suffolk Tavern
.  By 1892 it had become the Suffolk Hotel, later shortened to The Suffolk.  In 1928 it reverted to the Suffolk Tavern until 1953 when it closed down.  However, it was revived in 1982 under a totally different name and is now known as the New Entertainer.

The Suffolk Punch on Norwich Road in Ipswich is one of several purpose built public houses that have become known as “Tolly Follies”. Built in the 1930s by the Tollemache Brewery, the architecture is loosely based on Helmingham Hall in Suffolk; the Tollemache familys home. (see the North & Central Suffolk section on the Suffolk, England page of this website, & also the “Tolly Follies” section on the Ipswich, England page of




 The Suffolk Inn, Belfast, Northern Ireland: Located on Suffolk Road, the original Suffolk Inn was built in 1972. It was eventually renamed The Swilly Brin (after Swilly Lake in Co. Donegal). In 2006 the old Suffolk Inn/Swilly Brin was demolished & a new Suffolk Inn built. It is now a thriving pub & restaurant, which also caters for functions.  (See also Suffolk, Belfast, NI page)






A couple of photographs are shown of two uniquely named pubs with “Suffolk”  in their title:

The East Suffolk Tavern on South Town Road in Great Yarmouth was a free house in the early 1900s and it was a “noted stout house” with “all beers drawn from the wood”.  This is a small pub with only one bar, originally founded in 1782 and named after the 12th (East Suffolk) Regiment, the regiment being given a county association that year which lasted until 1880, as the inn sign denotes.  From 2008 to 2013 it was called Cropper’s Bar, after a couple who ran the pub from 1934 to 1953 (Arthur Cropper 1934-1949, then his wife Alice Mary 1949-1953).  In 2013 it reverted to its original name.  It has been closed since July 2016 when the leasehold expired, but this establishment is for sale as a public house.    




The County of Suffolk in St Helens Street, Ipswich, also has the distinction of being opposite the former County Crown Courthouse and County Gaol.  This is a Grade II listed Georgian building that was originally named The County Hotel after the building opposite.  However, in 2004, when the local authority moved from that building, it was considered more appropriate to adopt the present name. 




One of the newer establishments to bear the name is situated in the village of Fornham St Genevieve near to Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. As the name suggests, the Suffolk Golf & Spa Hotel boasts an 18 hole, PGA accredited championship golf course, as well as a spa which includes an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, treatment rooms & fully equipped gymnasium. The River Lark meanders through the grounds of this 40 bedroom hotel, which also includes a bar, the Genevieve Restaurant, & facilities for weddings, conferences & events. 

If  you have details of any other places of alcoholic refreshment that have or had “Suffolk” as part of their name, please e-mail me at

Click here to sign the Guestbook

Top of Page

Suffolk House Hotels in Sussex (Chichester & Brighton)

Omitted from the section above on Public Houses, Bars & Inns are a couple of Suffolk House Hotels in Sussex; one still open in Chichester, the other now closed, in Brighton.  These have been visited during our researches, and it is apparent that they are more akin to guest houses rather than a hostelry where you would drop in for refreshment.  Neither of them has any known connection with Suffolk.  In fact, “Suffolk House” is extremely common as a building name, particularly for office blocks, residential apartments (condominiums), and retirement homes.  It seems that “Suffolk” conjures up an image of contentment, relaxation and peacefulness, possibly a subconscious reflection of the countryside paintings of the notable Suffolk artists.

Suffolk House Hotel in Chichester, West Sussex is situated on East Row, not far from the city centre. The house was built around 1736 &, according to the hotel’s own brochure, was once home to the Duke of Richmond. This presumably refers to Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond (1701-50), who served as  Member of Parliament for Chichester from 1722-23. No other documentary evidence has yet come to light, however, that he ever owned the house.

The present hotel  (see photo, above) was refurbished in 2009 & now offers eleven bedrooms, a restaurant specializing in Thai & Malaysian cuisine & a business centre.

The other Suffolk House Hotel, until fairly recently located at 4-5 Lower Rock Gardens in Brighton, East Sussex, has now been renamed The Heathers.

Top of Page

The Suffolk Pointe Shoe Company – Dance Shoes

Creating hand-made Pointe dance shoes, the Suffolk Pointe Shoe Company is based in Leicester, England & was founded in the year 2000 by Mark Suffolk. The company also has an office in Texas, USA.

Suffolk Pointe shoes come in a variety of styles, such as Solo, Instinct, Spotlight, Captivate, Solo Prequel, Ensemble & Apprentice. Their shoes are worn by many professional dancers from major ballet companies. 

Suffolk Pointe shoes are available from a number of retail outlets in the UK, USA & Canada.

A range of ballet accessories are also available, all prefixed with the trade name ‘Suffolk’, such as Suffolk Balance Board (see photo, right), Suffolk Foam Roller, Suffolk Limber Loop, Suffolk Massage Ball, Suffolk Massage Roller Stick, etc. 

Top of Page

Suffolk & Turley – Coachtrimming Specialists

Based in Nuneaton, Warwickshire in the English Midlands, Suffolk & Turley are a company that provides vehicle interiors for classic and unique vehicles such as Jaguars, Rolls Royce, Ferraris, Daimlers & Aston Martins.

The Suffolk part of the name derives from Eric Suffolk, who founded the firm in 1978. Their services include all aspects of the soft interior of the vehicle, such as carpets, door casings, dashboards & seating, whilst they also provide a re-roofing service for soft-top vehicles.

Top of Page

Companies Named Suffolk in Nigeria

Suffolk Petroleum Services Limited, Suffolk Engineering & Construction Limited, and Suffolk Drilling Nigeria Limited are three companies based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.  It seems strange that these indigenous companies should be so named, particularly since none of the other localities named Suffolk have anything to do with this part of the world.

All three are part of the Adamac Group of Companies which is one of the leading providers of engineering and construction services to the Nigerian oil and gas industry.  It is the largest indigenous contractor in Nigeria, and has over 4,500 employees.  Through its “Suffolk companies” the Group is engaged in oil exploration, offshore construction of oil rigs, and it has a marine base facility on the Bonny River where it maintains a fleet of ships (see Suffolk Petroleum Services Limited on Ships Named Suffolk page).

The Group was founded as Adamac Industries Limited in 1982, a family-run business taking its name from ADAwari MACpepple.  The first reference we can find to Suffolk Petroleum Services Limited is in 1998, when it was probably incorporated in Nigeria around about that time.  The name “Suffolk” for this and its associate companies comes from the connection with that county in England by the present Chairman and Chief Executive of Adamac, Chief Henry Adawari MacPepple, born in Nigeria in 1960.  We have not been able to find out how the connection first arose, i.e. whether he was at boarding school in Suffolk, but the major company in the UK of which Henry MacPepple was a director from 2001 to 2007 is Pipeshield Services Ltd.  This company is based at Lowestoft, Suffolk, and is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of specialised subsea pipeline protection systems to the oil and gas industry.  Henry MacPepple was also a director of Kye Limited from 2001 to 2005.  This company and its subsidiary, Kye Engineering & Construction Ltd, provide services to the oil and gas extraction industry.  They are fully-owned UK subsidiaries of Adamac, located at Lowestoft, Suffolk.  The other directors of these companies all lived in the vicinity: Lowestoft, Beccles, Yarmouth and Norwich, so it is safe to assume that this was the route by which “Suffolk” became a highly-recognised company name in Nigeria.

The MacPepple family of Nigeria are part of the Pepple dynasty of chiefs.  In 1870 a dispute within the dynasty at Bonny led to a separate kingdom being established at Opobo.  From this location, the Pepple family set up trading posts in southern Nigeria to become the local middle-men in the lucrative trade in palm oil with Europe.  However, it did not take long before some of the chiefs realised it was more profitable to ship palm-oil directly to Europe independent of the British traders.  Consequently the British authorities prohibited businessmen in Europe from dealing directly with the native people.  It is said that one particularly astute chief then adopted the surname MacPepple so that the authorities would think that they were dealing with a Scottish trader in Nigeria.

Top of Page

Suffolciensis as Pseudonym

Philalethes Suffolciensis

The name Philalethes Suffolciensis is a pseudonym or pen name used by the author of two pamphlets that appeared in the year 1736, published by J Roberts of London. These are entitled: 

Remarks on Dr. Warrens answer to a book, entitled, A plain account of the nature and end of the sacrament of the Lords Supper. 


Remarks on part II. of Dr. Warrens answer to a book, entitled, A plain account of the nature and end of the sacrament of the Lords Supper.





The first runs to 31 pages, the latter to 38. As the titles suggest, these are in response to An answer to a book, entitled, A plain account of the nature and end of the sacrament of the Lords Supper, written by Richard Warren, Rector of Cavendish in Suffolk & fellow of Jesus College in Cambridge. This was published in two parts, both of which also appeared in 1736 & were themselves a response to A plain account of the nature and end of the sacrament of the Lords Supper; published  anonymously in 1735, but known to be the work of Benjamin Hoadly (1676 -1761), at different times Bishop of Bangor, Hereford, Salisbury, and Winchester.

Hoadly maintained that the eucharist was purely a commemorative act without any divine intervention. Warren, who as well as the titles above was also archdeacon of Suffolk, was one of Hoadly’s most outspoken critics. The two pamphlets written under the name Philalethes Suffolciensis are critical of Warren & in agreement with Hoadly’s views.

The name Philalethes is Greek in origin & means “Lover of Truth”.  The name was used by alchemists & also has connotations in Freemasonry. It was used as a pseudonym by such people as seventeenth century philosopher Thomas Vaughan & eighteenth century alchemical mystic Robert Samber. Therefore Philalethes Suffolciensis translates as “Lover of Truth from Suffolk”.

The reasons
Philalethes Suffolciensis gives for not using his real name are set out at the beginning of the first pamphlet:

“There are certainly very just and commendable Reasons, why an Author may either Publish or conceal his Name. The Author of the Plain Account of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper might probably conceal his, because  he thought Truth alone sufficient to maintain itself, by being candidly and fairly represented, without any foreign Help or Support : Or, that his Book might be thereby read over with the less Prejudice, and considered with the more Impartiality -, it being common for hot-headed unthinking Men to attack a Book for the sake of its Author, and to condemn
a Doctrine purely on account of him that preachd it, Dr. Warren no doubt, had his Reasons too,
for pub
lishing his Name, but be they what they will, had I been the Author of his Pamphlet, I
should have h
ad many for concealing mine and especially, that I might not have exposed my
self to the just Censure and Contempt of all truly considerate and Impartial Persons, notwithstanding the high Commendation given by some of his Performance”.

The author then goes on to criticise Warren & uphold Hoadly’s position.  I am uncertain as to whether the tru
e identity of Philalethes Suffolciensis was ever discovered. If anyone knows, please email to

Both pamphlets hav
e been republished in 2010 by Gale Ecco as part of their Religion & Philosophy series.

Juvenis Suffolciensis

Initials & Pseudonyms; a dictionary of literary disguises 2nd Series by William Cushing  (published c.1888) states that the name Juvenis Suffolciensis was used as a pseudonym by Robert Reeve, a contributor to the ‘Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Chronicle’ in the January 1806 edition.  This is with respect to a description of an antiquity (a ring) found at Stonham Aspal in Suffolk.

The pseudonym Suffolciensis was also used by a regular contributor to the ‘The Gardener’s Magazine and Register of Rural & Domestic Improvement’ in the late 1820s.  This was probably Robert Reeve, since his brother, James Reeve, also contributed to the same magazine under his own name.

The Reeve family were prominent botanists at this time, although Robert is better known for his antiquarian works, particularly with regard to the county of Suffolk.  The family lived at Lowestoft where the father, also named Robert, was an attorney-at-law.  Of his three surviving children, Robert (1770-1840) remained in Lowestoft where he bestowed eight volumes of his antiquarian collections to the town.  The daughter, Pleasance Reeve (1773-1877), married the botanist Sir James Edward Smith, founder and president of the Linnæan Society.  She was herself a notable botanical benefactor.  The younger brother, James (1778-1827), became a gardener and botanist under commission to Lady Carberry of Laxton Hall, Northamptonshire.


Suffolciensis (Richard ap Rice)

Richard ap Rice (or Price) is described as ‘Suffolciensis’ by Thomas Tanner (1674-1735).  Tanner was Bishop of St Asaph and an antiquary who was the author of the ‘Notitia Monastica, or a Short History of the Religious Houses in England and Wales’ published at Oxford in 1695.  It was in this history that the term was used.   

Richard ap Rice was a member of a somewhat notorious Welsh family who benefited greatly from its support for the Tudors (who were of Welsh descent), particularly at the time of the dissolution of the religious houses in England and Wales under Henry VIII.  In 1535, being a monk, Richard, who was then aged only 24, was recommended for election to the abbacy of Conway, held by the Cistercian order.  The abbot was still living and opposed Rice’s election, ‘knowing him to be a wilful and misruled person, who would utterly destroy the abbey’.   Rice, however, was unanimously elected in 1536, although he was under the canonical age limit.  In the following year Conway was dissolved, and Rice obtained good terms for himself and the brethren who had elected him.  Richard ap Rice received a pension of £20 per annum on its dissolution, and was given dispensation to abandon the religious order.  

He went on to become the author of religious tracts, but he wrote these under his real name, so why ‘Suffolciensis’?  It seems likely that this has to do with his father’s connection with King Henry VIII’s chief minister, Cardinal Wolsey from Ipswich in Suffolk.  Richard’s grandfather Rhys Fawr ap Maredudd had fought on the side of Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth which heralded the arrival of the Tudor dynasty.  Richard’s father was Robert ap Rhys ap Maredudd of Foelas and Plas Iolyn in Denbighshire.  Robert ap Rhys prospered as chaplain and crossbearer to Cardinal Wolsey.  This ensured that he could place his sons in charge of various religious establishments in Wales.  At this particular period of history, it was a bit irrelevant whether you had a religious calling; it was more important that you knew how to make money out of your administration, and were well in with “the man from Suffolk”.  Richard’s brother (Ellis Price) was appointed visitor of monasteries in Wales and played a leading role in their subsequent destruction.  This accounts for Richard’s rapid promotion to a position of some authority.  There were frequent complaints about the immorality and arrogance of this family but, as loyal supporters of the Tudor dynasty, they prospered and expanded their estates throughout the 16th century.

Top of Page

A Suffolk Lady – Pseudonym of Emily White

A Suffolk Lady is the pseudonym of the author of ‘My New Zealand Garden’, a book that has gone through many editions since 1902.  In reality the author was Emily White.  She was born Emily Louisa Merielina Rogers, at Beyton, Suffolk, England, in 1839, the daughter of an Anglican clergyman.  Her ancestors included Sir William Gage of Hengrave Hall, after whom the greengage is named (See Suffolk, England page, The Brecklands & the West of Suffolk section). Emily’s earliest years were spent in various manor houses and rectories in East Anglia where she roamed through the countryside with her brothers, acquiring a great love of the natural world.  After her parents died, she lived with her aunt at Bury St Edmunds, where she began to take an interest in garden plants, encouraged by her botanically inclined relatives.

In 1863 Emily Rogers married John Marshall, a tutor at the King Edward VI Grammar School.  They were to have four sons and a daughter.  John took holy orders in 1864 and the family subsequently moved often to various parts of  East Anglia.  John’s deteriorating health from advanced tuberculosis eventually forced the Marshall family to emigrate to New Zealand in 1876.  They settled on a farm at Motueka, near Nelson on South Island.  Here Emily made her first New Zealand garden.  With five children, an ailing husband and no domestic skills her life was hard.  A neighbour, Blanco White, gave practical help.  John Marshall died in 1879 and Emily returned to England with the children, followed by Blanco White who was pressing her to marry him.  She failed to resettle in England and she decided that New Zealand held more promise for her children.  In 1881 she married White at Ixworth in Suffolk.

After returning to New Zealand in 1882, Emily purchased 13 acres of land on St John’s Hill, Wanganui, North Island.  There she built a large family home called Grove House, and began to create her dream garden.  Her second marriage was unhappy and brief.  Blanco White left for Australia after a couple of years, dying on the goldfields at Kimberley in 1888.  They had had no children.  She devoted herself to her garden which became a showplace of rare native and exotic species, becoming so famed between 1883 and 1905 that it attracted visitors from around New Zealand and overseas.  She grew an impressive number of exotic species, introducing several species into New Zealand including the scarlet gerbera, G. jamesonii, from South Africa, and the climbing buddleia, B. dysophylla.  She and her son Patrick Marshall planted the gum, Eucalyptus ficifolia, and other trees along Wanganui’s streets.  In 1902 Emily White published her reminiscences and garden story in My New Zealand Garden, by A Suffolk Lady, modesty causing her to seek anonymity.  In 1905 an English edition was published, accompanied by black and white photographs.  Her book is not only a chronicle of the making of a garden but also a commentary on contemporary colonial life.  As a member, and eventually patron, of the Wanganui Horticultural Society, Emily White exhibited and held displays at the regular shows.  She promoted women’s rights, participated in welfare work and raised funds enthusiastically for charitable causes.

She was later affected by poor health, and in 1905 she sold her Wanganui property and moved to nearby Marton to reside on her son’s farm, Greenbank.  Here she created another beautiful garden which included trees imported from Melbourne: the Queensland frangipani, Hymenosporum flavum, the firewheel tree, Stenocarpus sinuatus, and flame trees Brachychiton populneus and B. acerifolius.  After 1910 she moved homes a couple of times, and at each house she created another marvelous garden.  After the First World War, Emily settled in Wanganui East where she was known as Granny White, a familiar figure in the area, remaining active and alert in her old age.  She died at the age of 97 at Wanganui in 1936.  A woman of outstanding individuality, Emily White made a significant contribution to community and horticultural life in New Zealand, and was her adopted country’s first woman gardening author of note.

Top of Page

Antiquitates Suffolciensis

This is an account of the “Ancient Families in the County of Suffolk”.  As was the custom of the day, the titles of learned treatises were written in Latin, although the text may be in English.  This is a late 17th century work by Sir Richard Gipps in two volumes.  Sir Richard Gipps (1659-1708) was a London lawyer and Suffolk antiquarian.  He joined Gray’s Inn as a law student in 1667 and was made a master there in 1682, and a knighthood soon followed.  He later retired to his family estates in Great Whelnetham, Suffolk.  He took to studying the local history and wrote a large number of notes upon the subject.  The original copies of Gipps’ antiquarian manuscripts are located at the British Library.

Top of Page

Suffolk Squit

This dialectical word unique to Suffolk in England has almost become a new “official” word introduced to the English language since it was used in the House of Commons, and hence reported in Hansard.  It is not the kind of phrase you hear in the House of Commons every day, but they heard about it from Sandy Martin (MP for Ipswich) as he made his maiden speech in July 2017.  By convention maiden speeches refer to the MP’s constituency and should be witty and entertaining.  Mr Martin said: “We developed artificial fertiliser on the back of our initial base as the centre of the coprolite industry – making a good living out of a load of old squit!”  (See Suffolk Crag on the County of Suffolk, England, page.)

MPs were enthused with laughter.  Having never been used before (and possibly not understanding its meaning), the Speaker was unable to declare the word ‘unparliamentary language’.  “It’s a Viking derivation of an Anglo-Saxon word” explained Mr Martin.  East Anglia was a key battle area between the Saxons and the Vikings during the Dark Ages.  The Anglo-Saxons pronounced words we start with an ‘sc’ or ‘sh’ as ‘sh’. The Vikings pronounced them as ‘sk’ or ‘squ’.  The Saxons said a ship’s captain was a “shipper”, the Vikings said a ship’s captain was a “skipper”.  The word does appear in dictionaries and has two definitions: 1. an insignificant person; 2. nonsense or rubbish; whilst “the squits” is a dialectical word for ‘diarrhoea’.  The more sensitive etymological dictionaries say the word is a variant of “squirt”, but it may be better to believe us native-born Suffolk folk when we say “it is not”.

The word appeared in print when ‘Some Suffolk Squit with a helping hand to decipher it’ appeared (see right).  This is a series of humorous poems, odes and thoughts written in the Suffolk dialect and illustrated by Adrian (Adie) Copping, published in paperback in November 2010.  As the Suffolk dialect can sometimes be hard for outsiders to understand, Adie added translations to try and make the reading process a little easier.

Adie Copping was born in Suffolk, England.  He stands 6’ 4” tall and when he speaks you would definitely know he was from Suffolk.  Having had a fun childhood and lots of experience of life with many interests (off-road motorcycling/racing, fishing, golf, archery, drawing/sketching), Adie writes to entertain and put a smile on the reader’s face.

Top of Page

Suffolk” Books by Lois A Fison

Lois Anne Fison (1829-1904) was a noted 19th century author on Suffolk folklore and anecdotes, which she collected directly from the Suffolk people.  She was particularly keen on using the Suffolk dialect in her writings which sometimes rendered her stories a little difficult for younger readers.  Her best known books on Suffolk are probably Merry Suffolk; Master Archie and other tales; a book of folk-lore (London: Jarrold & Sons, 1899) which includes the Tale of Tom Tit Tot (the Suffolk version of Grimm’s tale of “Rumpelstiltskin”), and Uncle Mike: an old Suffolk Fairy Tale (London: Jarrold & Sons, 1893).  The latter is a traditional story of a little fairy told in a Suffolk dialect.  It was apparently related to the children of the family by their nurse.  Spinning Days and Olden Ways: A Suffolk Story (Ipswich: Smiths Suitall, 1904) is another of her books on the traditions of the county.

Lois was born at Barningham, Suffolk, England, one of of twenty children of Thomas Fison, a prosperous landowner and farmer.  Her younger brother, the Rev. Lorimer Fison (1832-1907), emigrated to Australia where he became a Wesleyan minister in Fiji, and an eminent anthropologist and journalist.  

Top of Page

The Suffolk Trilogy - A Series of Novels by Norah Lofts

The Suffolk Trilogy is a series of novels written by Norah Lofts that begins with The Town House, published in 1959. It was followed in 1961 by The House at Old Vine, with the concluding  book, The House at Sunset, appearing in 1963. The books are set in Baildon, a fictional Suffolk town loosely based on Bury St Edmunds. Beginning with the building of the house, called Old Vine, by runaway serf Martin Reed in the fourteenth century, the three books tell the story of the different characters who occupy the house at various times over the course of the following six centuries, concluding in the 1950s.   

Just to confuse matters, a later series of books by the same author has now also been marketed  as The Suffolk Trilogy by some publishers. Knight’s Acre (1975), The Homecoming (1976) & The Lonely Furrow (1977) revolve around Sir Godfrey Tallboys, a fifteenth century knight who goes off on a crusade to fight the Moors in Spain, leaving his wife Sybilla to fend for their family at their Suffolk home, Knight’s Acre. As the name suggests, the second book concerns Sir Godfrey’s return to Suffolk, whilst the third focuses on his children, one of whom, Henry Tallboys, becomes a farmer. Whilst some early editions of these novels refer to the books as being part of a Suffolk trilogy, or The Knight’s Acre Trilogy, in 1986 the publishing firm Coronet brought the series out in one combined volume under the title of The Suffolk Trilogy

British author Norah Lofts (1904 - 83) was born Norah Robinson in Norfolk. She married her first husband Geoffrey Lofts in 1933 & lived for many years in Suffolk. She died at Bury St Edmunds. She is the author of more than fifty historical novels, many of which are set in Suffolk, as well as several volumes of short stories & children’s books. Her first published work was a collection of short stories entitled I Met a Gypsy, which appeared in 1935. This was followed by her first novel, Here Was a Man: A Romantic History of Sir Walter Raleigh, in the following year. Other novels include The Brittle Glass (1942), Bless This House (1954), The Maude Reed Tale (1972) & The Old Priory (1982).  She was also the author of several works of non-fiction including Women in the Old Testament: Twenty Psychological Portraits (1949) & Domestic Life in England (1977). Norah Lofts also wrote murder-mystery novels under the pseudonym Peter Curtis, & two novels under the name Juliet Astley.

Several of her novels were adapted into films, such as Jassy (1947), which starred Margaret Lockwood & Dennis Price,  & Youre Best Alone, a Peter Curtis book which was renamed Guilt Is My Shadow (1950) for the big screen.

Top of Page

The Suffolk Reading Scale

The Suffolk Reading Scale (SRS) or alternatively The Suffolk Reading Test is a measure of reading comprehension and ability for young children and youths.  SRS is used as a teacher’s guide to monitor the reading development of pupils from age 6 years up to 14 years 11 months, and further enhancements to SRS have extended the usage of these tests to age 17 years 4 months.  

It is a standardised reading test that consists of multiple-choice and sentence-completion questions, SRS identifies where an individual may be experiencing reading difficulties to ensure that each child receives the support needed, and ultimately raises standards as a whole.  The standardised scores and age equivalents can be used widely to monitor reading ability, and thereby assist teachers where pupils transfer schools.

The Suffolk Reading Scale takes its name from reading tests prepared by the Suffolk Education Service, England, and was compiled by Fred Hagley in 1987.  It is now used widely in the English speaking countries.

There is very little information available regarding Fred Hagley. He presumably must have worked for the Suffolk Education Service, although in exactly what capacity is unknown. If anyone can provide further details, please email

Top of Page

The New Suffolk Hymnbook – A Novel by Ben Oswest

Published by Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd, South Africa, in 2008, this first novel by Ben Oswest is set in the mythical town of Suffolk.

A general synopsis of the theme in this novel is provided as follows: “A professor contemplates the ruins of his life while delivering a passionate final lecture; a city girl suffers an unaccountably cruel twist of fate in a stranger’s apartment; a rising executive flies blindly toward his past; and a young boy haunts the lives of all who cross his path.  It is the town of Suffolk that binds them together.  Through a beautifully crafted mosaic of different voices brought to life in dazzling, original prose, this novel creates a world that breaks new ground in literary convention and leaves a mark long after its poignant end.”
Several literary critics, whilst praising the author’s experimentation with form and words given in a deliberate and weighty prose style that often bewilders the reader, have admitted to being baffled, at times, by the book because the meaning is obscured.  There are nine stories or voices, each one describing hidden truths. The final story is about Suffolk itself. On its surface are played out issues of race and place, of colonisation and consumerism, ownership and dispossession, of insiders and outcasts, and the individual versus the group. We have read a few chapters and it can be said to be “heavy going”; it certainly is not a novel with a definite beginning and a definite ending that can be read for easy amusement or relaxation.  

Ben Oswest was born in 1973 in the USA.  He was educated there and in South Africa, and now lives in Cape Town with his wife.

Top of Page

The Barley Bird – Notes on the Suffolk Nightingale by Richard Mabey

The “Suffolk Nightingale” is not a sub-species of the common nightingale to be found in that county in England, but the nightingale is colloquially known as the “Barley Bird” in Suffolk because its arrival coincides with the time for sowing the barley.  In his book Richard Mabey, described as “Britain's greatest living nature writer”, explores the nightingale’s links with Suffolk culture and landscape, and traces the nightingale through myth, lore and tradition.  Mabey takes in everything from Keats and John Clare to popular songs such as ‘A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square’ to show just how ingrained in the popular imagination is this sadly declining species.   

Richard Mabey is prize-winning author, conservationist, broadcaster, and one of the foremost writers on nature.  He is the author of some thirty books.  Between 1982 and 1986 he sat on the UK government’s advisory body, the Nature Conservancy Council.  He lives and works near Diss in Norfolk.

The book was published in March 2010 by Full Circle Editions.  Author: Richard Mabey, images by Derrick Greaves.

Why not sign the Guestbook?

Top of Page

A Suffolk Tale; or, The Perfidious Guardian by Hamilton Roche

This is a gothic novel of deception and betrayal featuring two young men, one naïve and young, the other intelligent and evil.  Marshall Duroc leaves France to settle in Ireland under the name of De Claridge.  His son Alfred goes to a military academy in Dublin where he falls under the influence of a sinister and ambitious Irish cadet, William O’Connor, who dedicates himself to the destruction of Alfred’s life in order to gain his inheritance.  O’Connor gains the confidence of Alfred’s father, who allows O’Connor to become Alfred’s guardian.  In this role O’Connor gains control of all the money allotted to Alfred by his father.  Posted to duty in New Brunswick in Canada, Alfred takes his wife, but she dies soon afterwards.  Meanwhile, O’Connor himself has married the only daughter of a wealthy Suffolk farmer and moves to the nearby village as its apothecary.  

When Alfred comes home from his Canadian duty, disheartened by the death of his wife, he should now be heir to his deceased father’s property and fortune, but O’Connor cheats Alfred out of his inheritance which gets him jailed for debt.  Alfred’s mother, who recognises what O’Connor is doing to her son, is helpless to affect events.  Eventually, the broken Alfred, on the edge of insanity, kills himself in prison.  O’Connor then assumes all the wealth and property of the De Claridge family as well as that of his wife’s father.  The humble apothecary’s cottage in Suffolk is transformed into a mansion suited to a titled owner.  

It would seem that William O’Connor has everything he desired.  However, the moral of the story is that wealth and greed does not bring happiness.  O’Connor is abandoned by his own wife and is held in contempt by the society in which he has tried to gain acceptance.  He has no friends and lives alone in his Suffolk mansion; he finds solace in the bottle and the arms of prostitutes.   

Published in 1810 in two volumes by T. & E. T. Hookham (London), ‘A Suffolk Tale’ was written by John Hamilton Roche (he did not use his first name) who lived in Sudbury, Suffolk, England.  In some ways the novel draws on Roche’s own life.  He was born in Dublin in 1784 and entered the British Army at age 15.  He was at one time based in New Brunswick, and rose to the rank of Captain in the light infantry.  He married the daughter of a wealthy Suffolk farmer at Sudbury and left the military in 1808.   He was described as a wine merchant but went bankrupt in 1810.  Roche then set himself up as an author and in 1810 published ‘A Suffolk Tale’.  He was also the author of a number of small pieces of poetry, mainly to do with military campaigns in the recent Napoleonic wars, and a book of poems called ‘The Sudburiad’, the contents of which consisted of thinly-veiled attacks on local town dignitaries.  He does seem to have been a difficult character, unpopular with many, and seems to have had a “mixed press” in literary circles where he was regularly accused of plagiarism.

A Suffolk tale; or, The perfidious guardian has been reissued by Nabu Press in 2011.

Top of Page 

Suffolk Summer by John T. Appleby

Arkansas native John (Jack) Tate Appleby (1907-1974) is best remembered in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, England, where he served in the U.S. Army Air Force during the final months of World War II.  Born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, John Appleby came from a rural area himself and his family were farmers who owned apple orchards and canning factories.  He received his degree in English from Harvard College in 1928, then went to Paris to study at the Sorbonne while working as a reporter for the Paris Times.  He later moved to Washington DC, where he wrote book reviews for the Washington Post.  During the final months of World War II, Appleby served as a navigation trainer for pilots in the Eighth Air Force, stationed on two bases in Suffolk.  

During the seven months that he spent in Suffolk then and just after the War, he travelled the county by bicycle.  Although he admired Cambridge, Ely and Norwich, John Appleby fell in love with Suffolk and the result was a book, Suffolk Summer, which has charmed its readers and has remained in print since its publication in 1948.  It is an affectionate record of the months he had spent cycling around Suffolk, enjoying the working landscapes of the region and the people he met there.  He wrote that “The American eye is struck first of all by the dazzling greenness of the fields and by the beauty of the hedgerows.  The English landscape at its subtlest and loveliest is to be seen in the County of Suffolk”.

Appleby returned to the United States where he spent some years running one of the family’s apple orchards.  It was during this time that he completed Suffolk Summer and when it was published by the East Anglian Magazine in 1948, its profits went to the John Appleby Rose Garden in the grounds of the Abbey in his beloved Bury St Edmunds.  With its completion, Appleby began the first of several biographies of English kings of the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries and became a long-time associate editor of the American Historical Review.

Top of Page

Sophia of Suffolk by Jamie Michele & Madame d’Arblay

Sophia Bexley is an orphaned heiress, who is forced to leave her beloved Suffolk at the bidding of her guardians.  She has eight months remaining before she reaches her majority to claim her inheritance and take control of her own way of life.  But she has been thrust onto London’s social scene.  She is chased by fortune hunters, ruled by inadequate guardians, and swept up in a sea of deceit.  Will she survive with her fortune and reputation intact?  Or will the people who are supposed to protect her allow Sophia to fall into ruin?

Set in Regency London in 1795, Sophia of Suffolk deals with the life, love, and trials of Sophia Bexley over three volumes.  The first volume was published in the USA by Vintage Volumes in April 2015.  As at April 2017 only two volumes have been released.  
Jamie Michele is an American award-winning romance writer and former zookeeper.  She now lives in Maryland and concentrates on writing.  The ‘co author’ (Madame d’Arblay) is a pseudonym added to give the aura of authenticity.  Madame dArblay was the married name of Fanny Burney who was a notable English satirical novelist, diarist and playwright of the Regency period in England.

Top of Page

Resilience in the Face of Adversity - A Suffolkian’s Life Story
by Dr Margaret Ellen Mayo Tolbert

Margaret Ellen Mayo Tolbert (b. 1943) is a biochemist who worked as a professor and director of the Carver Research Foundation at Tuskegee University, an historically black university located in Tuskegee, Alabama, USA.  From 1996-2002 she served as director of the New Brunswick Laboratory south of Chicago, a United States government-owned centre in the measurement of nuclear materials, becoming the first African-American and the first woman in charge of a Department of Energy laboratory.

Margaret is proud to call herself a Suffolkian; the Suffolk in question is that in Virginia, USA, where she was born.  In this autobiography (published by Balboa Press in June 2015) she describes how she overcame the obstacles that faced many a black family in that era.  She and her five siblings lost their mother at a young age, and the family was brought up largely by her grandmother.  The family lived in humble circumstances and was faced with segregation wherever they turned.  Margaret was determined to obtain a sound education and a professional career.  Walking for two miles along dirt tracks to reach high school and having to work as a maid to supplement the family income, particularly after her father also died, she shows that hard work and diligent study can reward those who put in the effort.

In an era of tense race relations and numerous stumbling blocks for an aspiring black person and a woman, she rose to prominence as an African-American scientist, educator and administrator.  Margaret is the author of many articles and books on her specialised, scientific subjects.  This autobiography demonstrates that she is a strong role model with an inspirational message for others struggling against what appear to be overwhelming odds.

Top of Page

Tales from Suffolk County and More Tales from Suffolk County by B.R.Laine

Two books originally published by Rosedog Press, Pennsylvania, in July 2009 and June 2010 respectively.  The first book is in four parts.  The first part involves the death of an English businessman.  Whether his death is the result of natural causes or foul play is determined through a series of letters.  The second part consists of seven short stories about a fictional English character as he progresses from a teacher to a constable to a private detective.  The third part consists of three longer stories, one of which occurs in Paris and the other two in the United States. The two in America involve a murder trial and an unrelated murder investigation.  The fourth part involves a dream that takes place after the other parts. It is a very short story with a single clue to determine whether the dream was about actual or imagined events.

Although the characters are the same in both works, in the second book there are 15 tales that occur later.  With two exceptions, all take place in England and involve fictional characters.  Most tales concern a detective who gets involved in several cases, including murder investigations.

The author was born and resides in northeast Ohio.  He practised law from 1973 to 2008.  The marketing write-up states: “Inter-related short stories that involve fictional characters who reside and work in a non-metropolitan county.”  Although B.R.Laine travelled in England, the author never went to the county of Suffolk.  The books are obviously aimed at an American audience, since the author is oblivious to English usage and the actual situation that is applicable in the county of Suffolk in England.  This rather spoils the tales for the reader who is familiar with England and the English idiom.  The books are full of anachronisms, not least their titles.  The expression “Suffolk County” is only used in America; in England we always say “County of Suffolk”.  You would never hear expressions in an English context such as “Suffolk County’s Sheriff’s Office” or the “Suffolk County Courthouse”.  We do have sheriffs in England but they have quite a different role from those in America, and “courthouses” just do not exist, although “courtrooms” are possible.

Top of Page

Sammy the Suffolk Seal by Lucy Stone

A children’s book for ages 6 to 8.  Lucy and Emma and their cousins, Jon and Tom, look forward to their holidays in Suffolk, England during the school holidays, ready for exciting adventures on the coast with their friend and fellow adventurer, Sammy the Suffolk Seal.  Sammy the Suffolk Seal is written by the Australian author Lucy Stone and illustrated by Jenny Duke.  The book introduces a new generation of children to the fascinating treasures of the Suffolk coast.  Although the author now lives locally, it does beg the question why an Australian is fascinated by the Suffolk coast when that country has golden beaches and plenty of sunshine.  It stems back to her father who was from London and he used to spend his summer holidays in Suffolk.  The author’s grandparents later moved to Orford, just below the castle, and the grandchildren used to come from Australia to spend time with them.  The Suffolk coastline and happy childhood memories, particularly seeing seals in the River Deben, inspired Lucy Stone to create Sammy the Suffolk Seal, recalling the many fascinating places she visited as a curious young girl.  Publisher: Leiston Press (2014).

Top of Page

The Diary of a poor Suffolk woodman by Pip Wright, Joy Wright, & Léonie Robinson

A family contribution to “all things Suffolk” comes from Pip and Joy Wright.  They live in Stowmarket in Suffolk, England, where Pip was a school teacher.  He now writes local history books and gives talks to groups of all kinds and all ages across East Anglia.  Like us, the Wrights are inveterate collectors of anything to do with Suffolk, and some of their books obviously have “Suffolk” in the title: ‘Witches in and around Suffolk’ (2004), ‘The Watery Places of Suffolk’ (2010).  In addition, they have compiled a full text of hundreds of old newpaper items from 1720 to 1914 that can be found on the Internet site: ‘Newspapers in Suffolk’.  They have also produced a number of books on the histories and lives of ordinary Suffolk people and their families.  These include ‘The Suffolk Gipsy - The amazing story of John Heigham Steggall’ (2004) and the one that we have chosen to highlight entitled ‘The Diary of a poor Suffolk woodman’ (2004), published by Poppyland Publications.

This is a book of special social significance as it is an account of a poor man’s life in the early 19th century written by himself.  The woodman was William Scarfe who lived in Thorpe Morieux near Lavenham in Suffolk.  He had been given a Prayer Book by the local rector and he wrote in the margins of the book between the years of 1827 and 1842.  The Prayer Book was then passed down through the family.  Few of William Scarfe’s social class in the early 1800s could write well enough to provide this insight into the life of a working man in a small and out-of-the-way village.  Together with Léonie Robinson, a direct descendent of William Scarfe, Pip and Joy Wright have transcribed the words from his ‘diary’, and have researched background material for further evidence of the events he wrote about.

Top of Page

Suffolk as a Surname

The first recorded use of Suffolk as a surname dates from 1273 in London with a Thomas Suffauk (Source: A Dictionary of English & Welsh Surnames by Charles W. Bardsley, 1901). It means someone from Suffolk so was only given to people who had moved away from the county.

Although not rare as a surname, it is not that common.  In 2014 the Forebears website showed 945 people worldwide with the surname, distributed: 53% in the UK, 22% in Australia, 11% in the USA, 10% in South Africa and 2% in Canada.  The Office of National Statistics in 2002 had 536 people with this surname in England & Wales; in 2014 the Forebears site has 497 people.  

A family with the surname Suffolk has given the name to two places in New South Wales, Australia (see Suffolk Park, NSW & Suffolk Creek, NSW pages).  The only notable person with this surname is Owen Suffolk who was an Australian author and poet (‘Victoria’s prison poet’), but gained greater notoriety from his other activities (see Owen Hargraves Suffolk (1829- ? ) section, below).  The former mining settlement of Suffolk Lead in Victoria is said to have been named after him (see The Ones That Got Away page).

An interesting feature is the surname “Seafolk” that some sources have speculated is a corruption of Suffolk.  The surname is only found in the USA, concentrated in Minnesota and Wisconsin, particularly around Hermantown, Mn.  However, this is a perfectly respectable English translation of the German surname “Seevolk” that means exactly what it looks like, “sea people”, a name given to those families who lived by the sea or earned a living from the sea.  This area of North America was heavily populated by German immigrants in the 19th century. 

Top of Page

Suffolk as a Title (Earl, Marquess, Duke)

Until 917, East Anglia was a kingdom, & after it was absorbed into the Kingdom of England it was governed by Ealdormen of East Anglia appointed by the king.  Over time the title of Ealdormen evolved into Earl.  After the Norman Conquest, Earls of East Anglia were often referred to as Earls of Norfolk & Suffolk, the first being Ralph the Staller, or Radulf Stalre, who was given the title in 1069.  The title was forfeited, however, after the second Earl, Ralph de Gael participated in the failed Revolt of the Earls in 1075 against William the Conqueror.

For members of the peerage, the title “of Suffolk” has been granted five times.  The titles were often forfeited when the holder chose the wrong side in the civil conflicts of the middle ages, but were recovered after they or their heirs ingratiated themselves with a later king.  The titles only became extinct when the family died out in the male line.   

1. The title Earl of Suffolk was first given separately in 1337 to Robert d’Ufford who was born in Thurston, Suffolk.  It became extinct with the death of his son in 1382.

2. The second grant of Earl of Suffolk was given in 1385 to Michael de la Pole, the son of a wool merchant from Hull, who was the chief financier to King Edward III.  His association with Suffolk was twofold: from his mother who was the daughter of Sir Walter de Norwich who held estates at Mettingham in Suffolk, and his wife, who was heiress to the lands around Wingfield Castle in Suffolk.  The de la Pole family was prominent in the affairs of England for the next 125 years.  In 1444 the title was raised to Marquess of Suffolk, and in 1448 to Duke of Suffolk.  After the death of King Richard III at Bosworth Field (1485), the de la Pole family became the Yorkist claimants to the throne.  Edmund de la Pole, the 3rd Duke of Suffolk, in 1501 challenged for the throne, but failed and had to flee abroad.  His lands were confiscated.  In 1513 he fell into the hands of Henry VIII.  He was executed for treason and the title forfeited.

3. In 1514 King Henry VIII granted the title of Duke of Suffolk to his favourite, Charles Brandon, who had married the king’s sister.  The Brandon family held extensive lands around Wangford in Suffolk.  Charles Brandon died in 1545.  The title became extinct in 1551 when the two teenage sons of Charles Brandon died from the ‘sweating sickness’, an unknown and highly virulent disease that struck England that year.  The 14 year old Charles Brandon has the distinction of holding a title for the shortest ever time, succeeding his elder brother and holding the title of Duke of Suffolk for only one hour before his own death from the disease.
(See also  Suffolk Place Farm & Suffolk Place Mine, on the London Suffolks page)

4. Henry Grey was created the Duke of Suffolk in 1551 after the death of the young Charles Brandon.  Henry Grey had married Lady Frances Brandon, the older sister of Charles.  Unfortunately for this Duke of Suffolk, his attempt to make his daughter, Lady Jane Grey, the Queen of England backfired.  Lady Jane Grey ruled for nine days before Queen Mary gained the throne.  Father & daughter were executed in 1554.

5. The fifth creation of the title was in 1603 when Thomas Howard became the Earl of Suffolk.  Thomas Howard was a prominent naval commander who fought against the Spanish Armada & was renowned for harassing the Spanish; capturing Cadiz in 1596.  He became a favourite of King James I and was one of the leading members of the court of the day.  By this period there was no requirement to be linked to the county from which a title was derived, & Thomas Howard did not live in Suffolk.  He was, however, the second son of the Duke of Norfolk & the title he chose was undoubtedly related to his father’s title.  Two locations in Svalbard take their name from his title (see Suffolkpynten, Norway page).

The Neighbourhood of Suffolk Hills in Oro Valley, Arizona was named after the wife of the 19th Earl of Suffolk; the American Margaret ‘Daisy’ Leiter. (See Suffolk Hills, Arizona page)

The Suffolks in Cheltenham takes its name from land originally owned by the 15th Earl of Suffolk (see The Suffolks, Cheltenham  page).

The locations named Suffolk in Sevenoaks, Kent, take their name from land leased by the 15th Earl of Suffolk (see Suffolk House and other Suffolks in Sevenoaks, below).

The title still exists today in the same family with Michael Howard being the 21st Earl of Suffolk.  The family home is at Char
lton Park in Wiltshire.    

Top of Page

High Sheriff of Suffolk

The title High Sheriff is the oldest secular office under the British Crown, & is nowadays a mainly ceremonial post appointed through a warrant from the Privy Council.

Dating back to Saxon times, the name sheriff is derived from ‘shire reeve’, which itself is thought to come from the Anglo-Saxon ‘Scir-gerefa’. (A reeve was an official with local responsibilities such as magistrate & overseer of a manor or estate). Once the principal law enforcement officer in the county, the High Sheriff was the Sovereign’s judicial representative who would preside at the assizes & other important county meetings, collect taxes & levies for the Crown, & was in charge of Crown property throughout the shire. Originally the title was created as the High Sheriff of Norfolk & Suffolk, until in 1576 a separate post of High Sheriff of Suffolk was established.

High Sheriff of Norfolk & Suffolk: Although a certain Toli (died 1066) is the first name we have recorded as being  High Sheriff of Norfolk & Suffolk, the first person to hold the office for whom any details have survived is Roger Malet (died c1106), who inherited his fathers great honour (feudal barony) of Eye, Suffolk  in 1071. This made him one of the greatest landholders in England at the time; holding manors in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Essex, Nottinghamshire, & Hampshire, as well as Suffolk. He held the post of High Sheriff from around 1070-80. Although he had been a favourite of William the Conqueror, he later fell out of favour & had all his lands seized during the reign of William II. His fortunes changed for the better again upon William’s death, & he became a close advisor at the court of Henry I.

From 1086, the High Sheriff of Norfolk & Suffolk was Sir Roger Bigod (or Bigot), who held lordships in Suffolk, Norfolk & Essex at the time of the Domesday Book (1086). He held the post twice but, like his predecessor Malet, he fell out of favour under William II, & lost not only the position of High Sheriff, but also much of his estate. He regained favour under Henry I; being granted licences to build castles at Bungay, Ipswich & Framlingham; the latter becoming the family home until 1307. He was still High Sheriff of Norfolk & Suffolk at his death in 1107. His son, Hugh Bigod, would become 1st Earl of Norfolk.

Originally, the post could be held for any number of years, until the incumbent either fell out of Royal favour or died. Gradually, however, over the years the office of High Sheriff became an annual appointment. Other notable holders of the office of High Sheriff of Norfolk & Suffolk include:

    William of Huntingdon, one of the Magna Carta sureties, who died on the fifth Crusade around 1219-21. He served as High Sheriff from 1211-12 & again in 1214.

    John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk (c1423 -85), who held the office of High Sheriff in 1461, & whose descendant, Thomas Howard, would become Earl of Suffolk in 1603.

   William Boleyn (1451 - 1505), elected High Sheriff in 1500, & who was the paternal grandfather of Henry VIII’s second wife Anne Boleyn.

High Sheriff of Suffolk: The first appointee to the office of High Sheriff of Suffolk, once the post had been split into separate counties, was Robert Ashfield of Stowlangtoft in 1576. Over the years, the majority of High Sheriffs of Suffolk have been either past, present or future Members of Parliament, such as:

    Sir Dudley Cullum (1657 - 1720), who was High Sheriff in 1690 & went on to serve as a Member of Parliament for Suffolk from 1702 to 1705.

   Richard Phillips (c1640 - 1720), who was the Member of Parliament for Ipswich from 1696 to 1701, & who served as High Sheriff in 1704. 

   Sir Charles Bunbury (1740-1821), who was High Sheriff in 1788, in between two spells as a Suffolk MP.

Others to have held the post include:

    Arthur Churchman, 1st Baron Woodbridge (1867 - 1949), who was High Sheriff of Suffolk in 1931, & who, with his brother William, established the tobacco firm of W. A. & A. C. Churchman.

   Air Marshal Sir John Kemball, KCB, CBE, DL (born 1939), who was Commander of British Forces on the Falkland Islands in 1985 before becoming Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Strike Command in 1989. He served his year as High Sheriff of Suffolk in 2007.

The position today is non-political, unpaid & mainly ceremonial; many of the ancient duties & responsibilities of the High Sheriff having now been transferred to Lord-Lieutenants, High Court judges, magistrates, coroners & local authorities. The duties of the High Sheriff today include supporting High Court judges on circuit, & acting as returning officer for parliamentary elections in the county constituencies, as well as supporting crime prevention agencies, the emergency services, voluntary sector agencies & local charities.

The selection of new High Sheriffs is made annually, with initial nominations being put forward in November. The final selection of a new High Sheriff is made by the Queen in March, at a meeting of the Privy Council, when the appointed name is “pricked” with a silver bodkin. This custom is thought to derive from the time of Elizabeth I, when, lacking a pen, she used her sewing bodkin to make a hole to mark each name instead.  

There are currently 55 High Sheriffs serving counties throughout England & Wales.

Top of Page

Owen Hargraves Suffolk (1829 - ? )

Owen Suffolk led a colourful life as a renowned Australian bushranger, thief, confidence trickster, bigamist, author and poet.  He was born at Finchley, Middlesex, England, the only son of a middle class family. He was well-educated and literate.  When his father suffered financial reverses he was sent to sea but could not bear the discipline required by that occupation.  On his return he became a vagabond and fell into a life of crime, becoming a successful confidence trickster, but a poor thief, the latter activity earning him a year’s detention in 1844.  Suffolk was next convicted of forgery in 1846 at the Central Criminal Court, and transported, aged 17, in 1847 in the convict ship Joseph Somes which arrived at Melbourne, Victoria, in September.

Upon his release on a “ticket of leave” in 1848 he stole a horse and was jailed for the third time.  Only a few weeks after his release from that jail term in 1851, he became a bushranger, making “robbery under arms” a way of life, using the Australian bush as a base.  He and a friend held up a mail coach the same year, but Owen Suffolk was caught and sentenced to five years in Melbourne Gaol.  His literacy enabled Suffolk to become a clerk in the prison.  This position, his skill at forgery and acquaintance with the criminal fraternity of Victoria allowed him to make money out of altering the prisoners’ records so that they were released before their time.  Unfortunately this lucrative line of business was discovered by the authorities and Suffolk was given additional years to serve.   

In December 1857 he was again given a “ticket of leave” and he went to Ballarat where, reverting to his confidence trickster role, he worked in the gullies and the mining camps.  Pretending to be a police detective, Suffolk swindled a hotel landlord out of some money and a horse, but he was caught and sentenced to seven years’ hard labour in June 1858.  By now Owen Suffolk had gained a notoriety that made him something of an anti-hero to the mining community, who did not have much liking for the authorities at the best of times.  It is said that the mining settlement of Suffolk Lead near Chiltern was named after him (see The Ones That Got Away page).  It was during this fifth period of incarceration that Owen Suffolk claims to have begun his autobiography and began writing poems.   

He was released in 1866 and immediately organised a criminal group engaged in forged notes for the Indian market.  Suffolk was astute enough to remove the primary evidence against him before the police raided the premises.  By now the authorities in Victoria were fed up with him but, by using his contacts, Owen Suffolk acquired a conditional pardon for his criminal activities on the understanding that he would leave Australia and not return.  His autobiography, called “Days of Crime and Years of Suffering”, also included six of his poems mainly about prison and bushranging.  It was bought by the Melbourne Argus in August 1866, and published in the Australasian newspaper between January and October 1867.  It is generally considered to be a well-written, racy and a powerful account of criminal life, and the behaviour and treatment of convicts during the 19th century by an insider.

In September 1866 Owen Suffolk sailed for England, a relatively wealthy man.  Nevertheless, back in England he quickly resumed his old habits as a confidence-trickster and swindler.  He also added bigamy to his curriculum vitae.  He pretended to be a wealthy squatter with a banking interest in Australia.  This gained him access to English society and, in March 1867, he married a wealthy widow, Mary Phelps, in London.  After relieving his wife of her money and selling her furniture, he faked his own death by drowning and even wrote his own obituary, and then fled to New York.

By August 1868 Owen Suffolk, described as ‘a journalist’, was back in England appearing in court at Ipswich charged with stealing a mare and carriage belonging to the landlady of the Great White Horse Hotel, and obtaining ten pounds by false pretences.  Suffolk begged for mercy on account of his wife, aged 19, and her infant.  The judge rejected the marriage as bigamous and sentenced Suffolk to 15 years penal servitude.  By 1880 he had been released from prison and in August married Eliza Shreves at St Lukes Church in St Marylebone in London.  After that his final fate is unknown.

Top of Page

With Love From…Suffolk - A Film from an idea by Julien Mery

Released in February 2016, With Love From... Suffolk is a feature film that celebrates love in all its guises.  It is a feature film consisting of 8 short stories by local writers on the theme of love and romance in the county.  Each mini-film is made by different film teams.  The film is set entirely within Suffolk, England, in about a dozen locations, including Aldeburgh, Southwold, Bury St Edmunds, Framlingham, Martlesham Creek, Sudbury and Lowestoft.  The stories are both funny and a tender exploration of the relationships and bonds between characters living in the county, together with glorious shots of the beauty of Suffolk and its coastline.

Julien Mery, who conceived the idea, and his collaborator, Matthew McGuchan, have been resident in Ipswich for over ten years and have developed a love for the Suffolk countryside.  They have directed and produced several films, and decided that since there was no local filmmaking scene they should set about creating their own.  Suffolk is ideal for filmmakers seeking to draw the benefits of shooting not too far from London, but with all the advantages of having easy access to highly skilled crew, talent and facilities in the capital.  The two established Livid Films in Ipswich in 2009 to develop and produce feature films in East Anglia.  From this beginning they also expanded into FILM Suffolk, a non-profit organisation formed in 2013 to support filmmakers in the area and to promote the region to film and media productions worldwide through networking activities.  FILM Suffolk’s aim is to advance filmmaking activity in the region and grow East Anglia as a significant contributor to the UK film economy.

Top of Page

Suffolk Ham & Suffolk Bacon

Ham and bacon curing is a traditional East Anglian industry whose fame has spread beyond the borders of the region.  Suffolk sweet-pickled hams are among the finest in the land, available in Harrods and other prestigious establishments.   The origin of Suffolk cured hams is the subject of some debate.  Some experts state that it was Emmett’s, the traditional producer based in Peasenhall, who first introduced the product in 1840, but as Suffolk Hams were famed in England before that date their claim is perhaps to the specific cure rather than the generic product. Suffolk Ham is not mentioned by a survey of foodstuffs in the county by the Board of Agriculture in 1804.  Eliza Acton in “Modern cookery for Private Families” (1845) implies that the Suffolk cure is based on the one introduced to England by ‘the celebrated French cook, Monsieur Ude’, whose “The French Cook” was published in England in 1813.

It is the quality of the pork used and the time and care taken in processing which mark out the product.  The best true Suffolk Hams are produced from free-range pigs reared in the county, and for the end product to be just right the fresh pork leg used has to have a specific fat content.

The traditional method of preparing the hams is that first the fresh pork is brined, the brine containing a little saltpetre as is traditional to help retain some of the colour of the meat after processing.  The brined leg is then pickled for at least three weeks or longer.  The pickling mix contains black treacle and sugar that gives the end product a certain sweetness, salt to continue the preserving process, and either stout, old strong ale, cider or port wine, with varied spices added according to taste.  The final active stage is the smoking, done for four to five days, traditionally using oak sawdust. And then the ham is left for at least a month before it is ready for consumption.

A real Suffolk Ham does not come cheap.  The Queen is said to have one for the Royal table every Christmas.  The flavour has sweetness and a proper ham taste, varying according to the pickling mix.  When stout and ale are used the colour of the skin is a dark hue, close to black.  If cider is the alcohol used, the skin is far lighter, but with both there is a real pinkness to the meat.

Suffolk Bacon: The cookery website “The Foods of England” mentions this as ‘a very dark cured bacon, using salt and dark sugars.  The fat is distinctly brown, with a sweet taste’.  This is generally known today as Suffolk Black Bacon and is cured with molasses (black treacle), dark beer, fennel and coriander and has a unique rich, sweet, and slightly acidic taste from the beer which offsets the sugary molasses, and traditionally is naturally smoked over a whole Suffolk oak fire.

The name Suffolk Crown is closely associated with bacon products.  This is a trade brand name and is covered in the Suffolk as a Product Brand Name section below. 

Top of Page

Suffolk Sausage

As the fame of Suffolk Ham shows, Suffolk has long had a thriving pig industry.  The county has another equally celebrated pork product to its name, the Suffolk Sausage.  This product is now being regularly seen on menus throughout the country.  However, this regional variety of sausage owes its prominence to the success of an even more local variety, the Newmarket Sausage, which in October 2012 was awarded Protected Geographical Indicator of Origin (PGI) status by the European Union.

The traditional Suffolk Sausage is described as “a fairly coarse, chopped pork sausage, heavily flavoured with herbs, usually sage, sometimes thyme, often mixed with other mild spices to set off the flavour of the pork” (Book of Sausages).  

Individual butchers would add their own preferred spices to a recipe of their own making to provide the individual taste of their own branded product.  To protect their brand, butchers would keep the mixture of ingredients secret, so it is not possible to define exactly what a “Suffolk Sausage” is, other than it comes from that county, and is mildly spicy.        

The Newmarket Sausage is a pork sausage made to a traditional recipe from the English town of Newmarket, Suffolk.  For more than 120 years, competing family firms have been making two, quite different types of Newmarket Sausage while jealously guarding each of the secret recipes.  The two varieties of Newmarket Sausage are Musk’s® and Powters®.  Both firms use hand-boned pork; both use natural casings; neither countenances artificial flavourings or colouring.  The main difference between the two recipes is that Musk’s uses a heavy bread as a filler and Powters uses rusk, but of course both the rivals have their own secret herb and spice mix.  The texture is fairly coarse; they are both well-flavoured, with perhaps the Powter’s sausage slightly spicier.  Both are sold widely throughout the United Kingdom.

Both producers claim to have created the first Newmarket Sausage.  Musk’s sausages can be dated back at least to 1884, when local widow Elizabeth Drake married a Chiswick butcher, James Musk, and brought him to the town.  It is not known whether Elizabeth Drake created the Musk’s recipe or whether her new husband brought the idea back to Newmarket.  Powters begs to differ and says that it has been making Newmarket Sausages since 1881.  

The sausages have been served to race-goers at Newmarket’s historic course for more than 100 years and are said to have been enjoyed by Queen Victoria.  Musk’s sausages were favoured by royalty and Royal Warrants have been issued for their product, the latest by Queen Elizabeth in 2005.
In 2005, the European Union and the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs tried to persuade the two companies to merge recipes and gain Protected Geographical Status, from which products such as Parma Ham and Stilton Cheese have benefited.  It would mean their use of the Newmarket label would be protected to them for the sausage market, but it would also mean only one of the two recipes could exist.  The campaign to obtain the benefit of this protection was stalled because Powters did not want to divulge the recipe for its sausages, and the two companies could not bring themselves to agree on a common recipe.  Finally, in 2012, common ingredients were agreed and a joint application for the special status was made by three companies – Powters, Eric Tenant Butchers and Musk’s Sausages.

Certain criteria had been set for anyone wanting to call their product a Newmarket Sausage.  Location is key - the sausages have to be produced in the town of Newmarket or a very specific surrounding region, which incorporates Dullingham, Woodditton and Kirtling in Cambridgeshire.  The sausages must be made from prime cuts of pork from the whole carcass, the shoulder or the belly - so no offal or mechanically recovered meat.  The minimum meat content is 70% and the seasoning can make up a maximum of 3%.  Seasoning includes combinations of black and white pepper, salt, thyme, parsley and nutmeg.  Minimum weights, lengths and diameter have also been designated.

Needless to say, manufacturers from elsewhere in the county have jumped on the bandwagon and are heavily advertising their wares as “the famous Suffolk Sausage”.  However, only the “Newmarket Sausage” is recognised as a distinct local variety, and nobody outside that specific area can claim title to that name. 

Top of Page

Porkinson Suffolk Ale & Herb Banger

A brand that embraces the fame of two of Suffolk’s best known products – its sausage and its ale.  It only had a short existence from 2009 to 2012, but the story behind the original concept is interesting.

During the 1950s and ’60s, Norman Parkinson (1913-1990) was one of the most influential portrait and fashion photographers of his time, capturing the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, the Rolling Stones, Jerry Hall, and the Queen Mother.  In 1963 he moved to the West Indian island of Tobago.
Norman Parkinson soon found that he missed the taste of the ‘British banger’.  (‘Banger’ is British slang for a sausage.)  In order to remedy this and to produce the perfect banger, Parkinson reared his own pigs on the hills below his house to provide sausages for his family.  Soon word got round about the quality of his delicacy, and he was encouraged to produce his sausages commercially.  Thus, in 1987, the Porkinson Banger Company was born, the name being an obvious play on his own name and that of his product.  Initially selling his Porkinson Banger to West London butcher shops, the sausage was soon introduced to London high society through the many contacts Norman Parkinson had with that segment of the population.  It was not long before it became a fashionable (and expensive) “luxury” foodstuff listed in upper-class outlets such as Fortnum and Mason, and Harrods.  It was also the first sausage to go supersonic - featuring on the breakfast menu of Concorde!

The iconic Porkinson Banger became part of the Irish company, Kerry Foods, in 2002.  In April 2009 the Porkinson Suffolk Ale & Herb Banger was launched as a new variety.  This was one of four flavours: the Original, Oxford, Suffolk Ale & Herb, and English Sage & Onion.  Porkinson’s sausages were marketed as the traditional British banger, made from 80% outdoor reared lean pork shoulder, carefully sourced from British farmers whose pigs roamed free with continual access to shelters.  The packaging always had an image of a banger with the characteristic moustache and bow-tie of Norman Parkinson.

In June 2012 the Kerry Group discontinued the famous sausage following a portfolio review.  The company decided to focus on mainstream, popular sausage brands that are cheaper, have a larger market base and produce higher profit margins.  Despite an outcry, the “posh banger” with its delicious flavours of herbs and spices is no longer with us.

Top of Page

Other Suffolk Ale and Suffolk Cyder Dishes

Many modern recipes are cooked in ale or cider.  Although not traditional ‘Suffolk’ dishes (see Recipes named after Suffolk, below), dishes found in Suffolk restaurants, particularly those in public houses, are labelled as being cooked in “Suffolk Ale” or “Suffolk Cyder”.  Since these places are in Suffolk, it is probably fair enough to label them as such, and we do not list all of these.  However, there are some dishes that are found elsewhere outside the county that specifically refer to the ‘Suffolk’ name when being presented, such as the Porkinson Suffolk Ale & Herb Banger above, where there is no reference to which “Suffolk Ale” is used.   In some cases a particular brand of the ale or cider is mentioned.  We presume that in these cases there is a direct trade link with the brewery concerned, either by the restaurant or pub being owned by the brewery or a contractual agreement to use only that brewer’s brand.  We list some of the better known dishes below.

Venison & Suffolk Ale Pie came to prominence when Putney Pies in the district of Putney, London, introduced it to their menu in 2011.  As the restaurant’s name indicates, this eating house specialises in traditional pies and it has a widespread reputation for its fare.  The BBC Good Food Guide has the menu for this pie.  Venison was considered a high status food in earlier centuries and this recipe specifically calls for Greene King’s Strong Suffolk Ale (ABV 6%) to be used, presumably bringing a similar high quality flavour to the venison.

M&S Lochmuir Suffolk Ale Cured Smoked Salmon - This was an offer from the major British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) from mid-2006 until the line was discontinued in 2016.  It comprised 12 slices of specially chosen Scottish Lochmuir salmon cured and smoked with Old Pulteney 12-year-old single malt whisky, Suffolk Ale and black treacle.  “Lochmuir” is a brand name created by Marks & Spencer to help market Scottish salmon.  It is a fictional name chosen by a panel of consumers as it reinforces the fact that the salmon is sourced from salmon fish farms in various regions of Scotland.  

M&S Suffolk Ale Cured Ham Slices are also on offer.  The “Suffolk Ale” is not named, but as M&S has an exclusive contract with Adnams Brewery to produce the Suffolk Bitter and Suffolk Single Variety British Hop Jester IPA sold in its stores (see Beers & Cyders Named ‘Suffolk’, below), it is assumed that Adnams has always supplied the appropriate ale in these instances.

Another widely distributed item is Brakes Steak & Suffolk Ale Pie Fillings comprising an individual portion of diced British beef cooked slowly in Suffolk Ale with onions in a reheatable pouch.  Like the Porkinson Suffolk Ale & Herb Banger above, there is no reference to which “Suffolk Ale” is used.  Brakes are Britains largest distributor of frozen food to the catering industry.  The company was started in 1958 by three brothers, based in Ashford, Kent, in the UK.  In 2002 this family owned organisation was sold to an American company and has remained under American ownership since.
At the renowned Jimmy’s Farm at Wherstead, Ipswich (see Food & Drink on Misc. page of Planet Ipswich for more information), Pork & Suffolk Beer Sausages are on offer.  There is no indication of which Suffolk beer is preferred.  The same outlet has Pork, Apple & Suffolk Cyder Sausages, stating that these are a classic combination of local apples and Aspall Suffolk Cyder.

The brand “Suffolk Mud” (see Suffolk as a Product Brand Name, below) also markets relishes made with Suffolk beer and cider, namely Aspall Suffolk Cyder and the beer is from St Peter’s Brewery (see Beers & Cyders Named ‘Suffolk’, below ).

Suffolk Cyder Pie - Several Suffolk pub restaurants advertise this as the additional ingredient in the pie dish on offer.  Since the cider is spelt with a ‘y’ it is presumably Aspall Suffolk Cyder that is used.  Some of them do actually state: ‘Aspall Suffolk Cyder’  (see Beers & Cyders Named ‘Suffolk’, below).  Although claims are made that these dishes are traditional, they do not seem to be specific to Suffolk.  A recipe given for Pulled Ham Hock, Leek and Aspall Suffolk Cyder Pie is almost identical to one seen in Devon that uses the cider found in that county.  Chicken, Aspall Suffolk Cyder, Sage & Red Onion Pie is an individual hand crafted pie baked to order by Country Pies at Capel St Mary in Suffolk.  In 2009 for a period of six months Aspall developed a speciality pie for Fullers Ale & Pie pubs in London.  This was the Chicken, Apple & Aspall Suffolk Cyder Pie.  However, the line was not continued after the six months.  It seems that Aspall Suffolk Draught Cyder is the product that is usually used in these recipes.
An interesting take on the above is the item on the menu of Ye Olde Two Brewers Inn, Shaftesbury, Dorset: “Suffolk Cyder battered fish of the day with chips, smashed peas & tartar sauce”.

Top of Page

Suffolk Bang and Other Suffolk Cheeses

Also known as Trip, Wonmil or Thump, Suffolk Bang cheese was a ‘Flet’ cheese,  meaning that it was made from skimmed cow’s milk.

During Tudor times Suffolk had a reputation for producing good quality cheeses; with six of them being sent as a present to Henry VIII in 1563.  

However, when Suffolk butter became highly esteemed, & therefore much in demand, Suffolk farmers concentrated on this at the expense of full fat cheese making. Butter production requires cream, which involves skimming milk over & over again to get as much fat out of it as possible. To avoid wasting anything, however, a by-product of very hard cheese was made from the thin, several-times skimmed milk. Low-fat cheese had a longer life than the full fat variety & so this cheese was sold to the Navy from the early seventeenth century, & 12 ounces of it were issued per week to each sailor.  Although durable it was virtually inedible & was given the name “Suffolk Bang”; probably because it was hard enough to use to bang nails into wood.

Suffolk Bang cheese became a bit of a joke, with sayings such as  “Hunger will break through stone walls, or anything except Suffolk cheese” & “Mocks the weak effort of the bending blade, Or in the hog-trough rests in perfect spite, Too big to swallow, and too hard to bite.” Diarist Samuel Pepys (1633 – 1703) complained that his servants would not eat it, & writer Daniel Defoe (c1660 – 1731) remarked that Suffolk had the best butter, but the worst cheese, in England.  It was said that pigs grunt at it, dogs bark at it, but neither of them dare bite it. Legend has it that it was so hard that it was used as wheels for wheelbarrows, or even cannons.

After the sailors complained about the quality of the cheese, the Admiralty relented in 1758 & replaced it with rations of Cheshire or Gloucester, even though these were more costly & didn’t keep as long.

On the 16th June 1759, the Ipswich Journal reported:
“To Suffolk Farmers - The Suffolk Cheese being so badly made for some years past, the Lords of the Admiralty have thought it fit to exclude it from the Royal Navy for one year.  It is hoped the dairymen will desist from making cheese from November till the beginning of May as it is of bad quality and has brought great odium to the country cheese.”

After this, cheese making in Suffolk all but ceased, with Suffolk farmers prioritising their quality butter instead.

Today cheese making has been revived in Suffolk, with several fine cheeses being made by small producers from around the county, such as Buxlow Wonmil, Hawkston, Shipcord, Suffolk Gold & Suffolk Blue.

Suffolk Gold is a creamy semi-hard farmhouse cheese, described as a flavoursome, creamy soft cheddar and is produced from the milk of Guernsey cows.

Suffolk Blue also comes from the milk of Guernsey cows.  It is a blue-veined cheese with a soft, creamy texture, and it is traditionally made with vegetarian rennet.

In addition to the above, since 2013 it has become common for conventional cheeses named after other localities to be given also the name of the county in which the cheese is produced.  So we now have cheeses that are actually called Suffolk Brie, Suffolk Cheddar, and Suffolk Camembert.  These are, in reality, a cheese of that type produced by a Suffolk farm and cannot be considered a “local” or “traditional” cheese specific to the county.  The names of these specialist cheeses are not protected.  The practice arose because farmers resented being trapped by supermarket contracts which deflated the price of dairy products below the price of bottled water.  The farmers turned to making cheese with unpasteurised milk and selling direct to the public from their farms.  

Although the first farmer to adopt this practice is accepted to be Jonathan Crickmore of Fen Farm Dairy near Bungay in Suffolk, he called his cheese “Baron Bigod”, first introduced in January 2013.  This is a Brie type of soft cheese produced from raw milk from his herd of French Montbéliarde cows.  Other farmers who followed his example also gave their cheese a distinctive name, but soon found that sales increased massively when they switched to selling it as “Suffolk Brie”, “Suffolk Cheddar”, etc.

Novelty variations have also appeared such as Suffolk Cheese Rarebit, Truffled Suffolk Brie and Suffolk Cheddar & Marmite Straws at the renowned Jimmy’s Farm at Wherstead, Ipswich (also see Food & Drink on Misc. page of Planet Ipswich).  Suffolk Cheddar & Chives flavoured potato crisps are also marketed (see ‘Suffolk’ in the Names of Crisps (Potato Chips), below).

Top of Page

Suffolk Punch – An American Cheese

Suffolk Punch is a buttery, nutty, aged caciocavallo style cheese, made at Parish Hill Creamery at Westminster West, southern Vermont, USA.

Local, traditional cheesemaking came over with the Pilgrim Fathers, but from the late 19th century cheese became a factory-made commodity.  By 1950 there were only 39 small cheesemakers operating in the USA.  In the 1980s, farmers began to return to the tradition, hoping to find customers willing to escape the mass-produced cheese products that had taken over the American table, and thus provide an additional income for the farmer.  Peter Dixon’s father saw cheesemaking as a way of saving their farm, and thus stimulated Peter’s interest in the product.    

Over the next thirty years, Peter Dixon travelled the world learning traditional cheesemaking recipes and came back to teach countless farmers how it was done. He became an internationally in-demand consultant and a teacher whose influence helped revive cheesemaking in Vermont.  In 2013 Dixon started Parish Hill Creamery, a small seasonal cheese business where he produces handmade, raw milk cheeses with his wife Rachel and her sister Alex Schaal. 

Gourd-shaped, whole milk caciocavallo style cheese is a classic pasta filata (Italian “spun paste”).  This is a technique in the manufacture of some Italian cheeses also known in English as stretched-curd, pulled-curd, and plastic-curd cheeses.  They are made by hand stretching fermented curd in hot water to form the traditional gourd shape.  This is known as caciocavallo and is produced throughout Southern Italy. The Italian name literally means “horse cheese”, which refers to the way two cheeses are tied at the ends of a long rope and then hung over a rod to age, like saddlebags thrown over the back of a horse.  The cheese was named Suffolk Punch in allusion to a strong horse carrying the cheese (see photo, left).

Suffolk Punch is aged for at least 3 months, during which it is rubbed and polished with olive oil that gives an edible rind.  It weighs from 1½ to 2½ pounds.  The interior is firm and smooth when young and becomes flaky and drier with age. The flavour is buttery, tangy, and even peppery, particularly when aged over 6 months.

Top of Page

‘Suffolk’ in the Names of Crisps (Potato Chips)

Potato crisps (in North America and generally elsewhere outside the British Isles they are known as “Potato Chips”) were not flavoured until 1957.  Joe Murphy (1923-2001) was an Irish entrepreneur who established his own crisp company, known as Tayto Crisps, in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, in 1954.  He and his employee Seamus Burke experimented with adding seasoning to the manufacturing process.  Finally, in 1957 they produced the world’s first flavoured crisps (potato chips): Cheese & Onion which was soon followed by Salt & Vinegar flavour.

‘Suffolk’ first appears associated with crisps in the flavour: Sea Salt & Suffolk Cider Vinegar.  Three different brands have used this name.  The first was Red Sky, which was a brand name used by Walkers from 2009 as their premium priced product in response to Kettle Chips. 

Walkers founded in Leicester, England, in 1948 was acquired by PepsiCo in 1989.  It has by far the largest market share of potato crisps in the UK.  The American-based company, Kettle Foods, Inc., was then making a determined effort to break into this market.  In 2009 four flavours were launched by Walkers: Anglesey Sea Salt, West Country Bacon and Cream Cheese, Sour Cream & Green Herbs, and Roasted Red Pepper & Lime.  In April 2010 ‘Sea Salt & Suffolk Cider Vinegar’ flavour was introduced.  However, the Red Sky line did not prove popular and was phased out over 2014.  Although the packaging emphasised that the crisps were “British Made”, it is believed that the lack of the Walkers logo on the packaging was instrumental in its failure.






The supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s, also used ‘Sea Salt & Suffolk Cider Vinegar Crisps’ as part of its ‘Taste the Difference’ promotion in 2014.  They advertised them as “Hand Cooked British Potato Crisps”.  New packaging in 2016 has dropped “Suffolk” from the name although the marketing write-up still says the product is made with ‘Suffolk Cider’.  It is noticeable that none of the brands say which Suffolk producer supplies the cider.

The third brand with the same seasoning was introduced in February 2016.  This was also advertised as “hand cooked potato crisps” produced by Jonathan Crisp.  The Jonathan Crisp brand sells itself as an “up-market” product founded by “a true British gentleman”.  In reality it was the trading name of Natural Crisps Ltd, a Staffordshire company incorporated in 1992.  In January 2009 the Northern Ireland based Tayto Group acquired the Jonathan Crisp brand to add to its snack manufacturing empire.  However, this is not the same Tayto Crisps who started off the flavoured crisp revolution in 1957.  

Tayto (Northern Ireland) was formed in 1956 by the Hutchinson family at Tandragee Castle in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.  They bought the rights to use the name and recipes of Tayto Crisps (Republic of Ireland) in the United Kingdom.  The two companies operated entirely separately, but had a similar range of products.  Joe Murphy of the original Tayto Crisps became a rich man, sold his company and retired in 1983.  Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland company became the Tayto Group, expanded elsewhere in the United Kingdom where the parent name of the group of companies owned by the family is the Manderley Group.  It is the third largest snack manufacturer in the UK.  





Market Grounds GmbH & Co. KG was founded in Hamburg in 1998 and its line of business is the wholesale distribution of groceries and related products.  This German company launched the English Crisp brand “John & John” in October 2011.  As far as we can see, the range has six numbered products, No 3 being Aspall Cyder Vinegar, whilst No 4 is named Suffolk Cheddar & Chives.  The packaging says that the brand is “made in Britain”, and it also states on the packet that it is “imported”.  According to the marketing write-up, “John & John” are two English friends from a small village in southern England who are the purported creators of this brand.  They wished to make the best handmade crisp, always using English sourced potato varieties, with seasoning from Oriental spices and also regional specialties such as Aspall Suffolk Cyder and cheddar cheese from “a small English family business in Suffolk”.  The potato producer’s name is John Farmer and his friend travels the world looking for special flavours – his name is John Sailor.  A good story we think.  It seems that the intention is to introduce these crisps to German consumers as a British product since the best quality crisps come from England.  We have no idea where this product is actually made.  “Suffolk Cheddar” could well be a type of cheddar produced by a Suffolk farm.

Top of Page

Recipes named after Suffolk

Listed below are recipes that are named after Suffolk, England; some of which date back at least two centuries. Also included is a recipe for Suffolk Waldorf Salad which originates in New England. If anyone knows of any other recipes containing the name, please email details to

A basic description of the preparation method for each is given, but more detailed instructions, measurements & cooking times can be found on various internet sites & in cookery books.

Suffolk Pie: Several food outlets in the county advertise “Suffolk Pie” as a “traditional dish” usually made in accordance with a “long-held family recipe”.  The constituent ingredients of these pies vary considerably and it has to be said that there is no such recognised standard recipe.
However, there has certainly been a “Suffolk Pie” eaten since the 19th century since it accompanied Lord Kitchener on his Sudan campaign in 1898/99.  In March 2016 a personal narrative by a newspaper correspondent of the time was re-issued in which he states that after the Battle of Omdurman in 1898: “On a central packing-case, which served as a buffet, stood several tins of “Suffolk Pie” and ox tongue, and for every man a biscuit or two” (The Downfall of the Dervishes, by Ernest N. Bennett).  We have no idea what this “Suffolk Pie” contained, but it could have been the “Suffolk Medley Pie” (see below).    

Suffolk Medley Pie:  The “medley pie” is probably a very old dish.  As its name implies, it had a combination of ingredients.  It was held in some disrepute by the better social classes since it was based on leftovers.  A correspondent in ‘Lloyds Weekly Newspaper’ (April 1845) refers to it as ‘a certain detestable piece of cookery, which in the north of England is called “a medley pie”, of which the ingredients are everything, the flavour nothing, … find beef, and rabbit, and bacon, and apples, and onions, and turnips, and carrots - a bit, in fact, of everything that has passed through the larder in the last fortnight.’

By the mid-19th century there were three versions recognised: the Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Suffolk.  The Leicestershire and Derbyshire were very similar, being based on boiled bacon and roast pork, differing only in their fillings and seasoning.  The Suffolk used a mixture of pork and pig’s kidney instead.  The original Suffolk recipe was printed in ‘The Tamworth Herald’ in May 1936, and is also found on ‘The Foods of England’ website.  Ingredients: ½ to ¾ lb. lean pork (remains of a cold joint may be used), 1 pig’s kidney, 2 large apples, 2 onions, 4 potatoes, teaspoonful powdered sage, 1 pint white stock, salt and pepper to taste.  Cut the pork and kidney in neat pieces, arrange in a greased pie-dish, season, sprinkle with the sage and add stock or water.  Peel and slice the apples, onions and potatoes, season and mix together, then pile in the dish on top of the meat.  Cover and cook in a moderate oven for one-and-a-half hours, removing the cover for the last half-hour. 

Suffolk Buns:  Suffolk Buns have been made since at least the nineteenth century, & were originally made to be consumed on St Edmund’s Day (20th November).

Flour, ground rice & baking powder are placed in a mixing bowl, to which butter is rubbed in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Caraway seeds & sugar are then added, after which eggs & milk are stirred in to make a paste. Once rolled out, the dough is cut into 2 inch rounds, approximately 1 inch thick. They are then baked in the oven until golden brown.  Honey can be drizzled over when cooled. Currants are sometimes substituted for the caraway seeds, & honey can also be added to the mixture, if desired.

Suffolk Apple Cake:  Lard or margarine is rubbed into a mixture of flour, salt & baking powder. When the mix resembles breadcrumbs, the sugar can be added & stirred in. Grated or chopped apples are then added, along with milk to make a firm dough. This should then be moulded into a round cake about ¾ of an inch thick, then baked until it rises & turns golden brown. Cut into wedges & serve with butter. Can be served hot or cold.

Suffolk Cakes: This recipe was collected during the nineteenth century by a Mrs Anstey, who was a cook for several Suffolk families.  

Egg yolks are placed in a bowl & beaten, before sugar & lemon rind are added. Whisked egg whites are then stirred in, followed by flour & melted butter. The mixture is then beaten, before being put into bun cases or bun tins & baked in the oven until they turn golden & are springy to the touch.

Suffolk ‘Fourses’ Cake/Suffolk Beavers Currant Bread: Known in other parts of Britain as Lardy Cake, Lardy Bread, Lardy Johns or Dough Cake. Suffolk ‘Fourses’ Cake (sometimes called Suffolk Beavers Currant Bread) was traditionally eaten in the afternoon (at four o’clock) by farm workers in the fields, accompanied with beer.

Flour, salt & mixed spice are sifted together in a bowl, into which lard is then rubbed. Yeast, sugar & water are mixed & allowed to sponge, before being added to the flour with a bit more water to create a smooth dough, which is then kneaded & left to rise. Once doubled in size, currants are added & the dough is kneaded again, before being put into a loaf tin & covered. Once risen to above the height of the tin, it is baked for around 45 minutes. While still warm, it can be glazed with milk or water. Can be eaten plain or with butter.

Suffolk Harvest Cake:  Flour, cornflour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, nutmeg & cinnamon are sifted together in a bowl, then crumbled yeast & sugar are added. Butter or lard is then rubbed into this, followed by a mixture of milk & beaten egg. Lastly, currants or sultanas & candied lemon or orange peel are introduced & the mixture should then be well stirred. It is then placed into a cake tin, covered & left to rise, before being baked for around two hours.  When removed from the oven, a milk glaze can be applied while still hot. Can be served with butter.

Suffolk Raisin Roly-Poly:  Flour, baking powder & salt are mixed together in a bowl, then suet & water are added to form a soft dough. It can then be rolled out to around ¼ inch thick, with raisins & sugar being added, before being rolled up in the manner of a Swiss Roll. After sprinkling with flour, it should be wrapped in greaseproof paper & rolled up in a lightly floured pudding cloth. It is then boiled in a saucepan of water for three hours. Once removed from the pan, it can be sprinkled with granulated sugar. It is then cut into slices & served with custard.

Suffolk Rusks: Butter is rubbed into sifted self raising flour & salt, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Milk & beaten egg are stirred in before the dough is rolled out & cut into 2 ½ inch rounds. After baking for ten minutes, the rusks should be removed from the oven & split in half; then returned to the oven with cut sides upwards until golden brown. Once cooled, they can either be served with butter & jam or with cheese.

In other versions, sugar is substituted for salt, & yeast is also added. In this instance, they should be left to rise before being put in the oven.

Suffolk Trifle: Macaroons are soaked in wine or brandy. To make the custard, eggs, egg yolk & cornflour are beaten together, before warmed single cream is poured on & whisked lightly. This is then heated in a saucepan, stirring continuously until the custard thickens, then sugar is stirred in. After being allowed to cool, the custard is poured over the soaked macaroons. When cold, jam should be smoothed onto the custard & blanched almonds & chopped, candied peel added. Whipped up double cream can now be spread onto the trifle. More almonds & candied peel can be added as decoration.

Suffolk Rabbit Pie: Rabbit joints, belly of pork & onion, together with fresh parsley, thyme, sage, bay leaves & salt & pepper are placed in a casserole dish with water or stock & cooked until the meat is tender (around one to one & a half hours).  A shortcrust pastry base is then placed in a pie dish, to which the meat is added, before being topped with a pastry lid. It is then glazed with milk or beaten egg & cooked for around 50 minutes. Although this can be served hot with potatoes & vegetables, Suffolk Rabbit Pie was traditionally served cold on Christmas day morning.

Suffolk Carrot Pie:  Egg yolks, salt & pepper are beaten in a bowl, with flour gradually being stirred in to make a smooth paste, after which grated carrots & potatoes are added. Beaten egg whites are then folded in, before the mixture is put into a greased dish & baked in the oven until golden brown.

Suffolk Red Cabbage: This recipe is very similar to Blaukraut or German Braised Red Cabbage.  
Lard or butter are heated in a saucepan, into which thin strips of ham or diced pork are added, followed, a little at a time, by the sliced red cabbage. Once wilted, red wine vinegar, sugar & water or stock are added, together with cloves, bay leaves & seasoning if required.  It is then placed in the oven on a low heat for around two hours. Variations include adding onions, diced carrot, juniper berries, caraway seeds, sliced apple or grated potato.

Suffolk Stew:  This is a recipe traditionally served at weekends on Suffolk farms during the cold months of winter.

Lentils & haricot beans are left to soak in water overnight.  Chopped potatoes, turnip, carrot & onion are placed in a saucepan, together with either best end or breast of lamb, which has been chopped into pieces. The drained beans & lentils, together with pearl barley are then added, along with parsley, thyme, bay leaves & seasoning. Water is added, brought to the boil, then covered & simmered for approximately three hours. Best served with.........

Suffolk Dumplings:  Suffolk Dumplings are also known as Suffolk Swimmers, Suffolk Floaters or Hard Dumplings, due to being traditionally made from bread dough, rather than suet, which causes them to float rather than sink. They should be eaten hot, with two forks to pull them apart, thus releasing the steam. The recipe was first introduced in “The Cook and Housekeeper’s Dictionary” by Mary Eaton (1822).

Plain flour, baking powder & a pinch of salt are mixed together, then either milk or water is added & kneaded into a firm dough. It is then rolled into balls & extra flour added. It should then be placed in a saucepan of boiling water & allowed to boil for around 20 minutes. As well as an accompaniment to Suffolk Stew, Suffolk Swimmers can be served as a dessert with golden syrup. If this is the intention, currants can be added to the dough before rolling & boiling.

Suffolk Fish Pie:  Cod or haddock are cooked in a saucepan with milk & seasoning. The fish is then taken out of the milk ( which should be kept) & flaked into a pie dish, with sliced hard boiled eggs placed on top. Meanwhile, butter is melted in a saucepan, to which flour & the milk used earlier are added & stirred until it thickens, after which parsley & capers are added. This is then added to the fish & eggs, with optional sliced tomatoes on top if desired. Mashed potatoes are spread on top & cooked in the oven until lightly browned.

Suffolk Trout: A whole trout with the head removed & a bay leaf inserted inside is placed in a frying pan with melted butter. Lemon juice & seasoning can now be added, before being covered & left to cook on a low heat for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Serve garnished with lemon.

Suffolk Boiled Herring:  Cleaned & gutted herrings are simply placed in salted water & boiled for around ten minutes, before being drained & served. Originally sea water would have been used.
Lowestoft was especially famous for its herrings during the nineteenth & early twentieth centuries.  

Suffolk Bread & Onion Pudding: Slices of bread are baked in the oven until they are crisp & dry, at which point they are crushed into crumbs. They are then mixed in a bowl with finely chopped onions, sage, milk, beaten eggs & seasoning, before being returned to the oven in a baking tin for half an hour.

Suffolk Trencher Bread: The Suffolk Trencher loaf of today is said to be based on recipes for bread made in East Anglia during Anglo-Saxon times. Today’s Suffolk Trencher is made with four types of flour, seven varieties of seeds and a dash of honey. (Many recipes simply for “Trencher” bread, without the Suffolk prefix, exclude the honey & the seeds).

The name trencher dates from medieval times, & was a thick slice of bread served at a feast or banquet, with a hollow or trench scooped out to make an edible bowl onto which meat & sauce could be poured; in other words, a makeshift plate. At the end of the meal, the trencher could be eaten, or otherwise it would be given to the poor as alms or fed to the dogs. The name derives from the Old French word “tranchier” meaning to cut. This practice continued until at least the sixteenth century, at which time wooden bowls began to be used.

Suffolk Oxtail Brawn: Pieces of oxtail are dusted with flour which has been seasoned with salt & black pepper. This is then fried in butter until browned. An onion studded with cloves, together with a bouquet garni consisting of parsley, sage, thyme, bay leaves & allspice berries wrapped in a leek leaf, are then added to the pot, along with vinegar & enough cold water to cover the contents. This is brought to the boil, then allowed to simmer until the meat falls off the bone. The herbs are then discarded & the meat stripped from the bone, before being returned to the stock & brought to the boil until most of the liquid is reduced. A sliced hard boiled egg is now placed in a bowl, with the meat & a small amount of the remaining stock on top. It is then covered with a plate or heavy object & left overnight in the refrigerator or cool place to set. It is usually served sliced with boiled potatoes & vegetables.

Suffolk Cured Pressed Tongue: This recipe can be found in Eliza Actons Modern Cookery for Private Families (1845). Beef tongue is rubbed with salt then left covered in a refrigerator or cool larder for twelve hours. The salt is then washed off & the meat dried, before being placed in a bowl & rubbed with more salt, peppercorns, brown sugar, coriander, bay leaves, juniper berries, ginger, mace, saltpetre & crushed cloves. It is then refrigerated for between three & five weeks to pickle; being basted each day with brine & any juice that is produced. At the end if this period, the meat is washed & dried, then simmered in a pan of water for four hours. Once drained, the bone, gristle & skin are removed & the meat is then placed on a plate & covered in aspic jelly. A heavy weight is then pressed down on top, & left until set. It is then served thinly sliced.

Suffolk Perch: Oil is heated in a casserole dish, to which tomatoes, onions, thyme, salt & pepper are added & allowed to simmer. Meanwhile, herring roes & breadcrumbs are mixed together, along with a spoonful of the tomatoes & onions.  The cleaned & gutted perch is then stuffed with the breadcrumb mixture, before being placed on top of the remaining tomatoes & onions in the casserole dish. Cyder (Suffolk spelling of cider) is then poured on top. The dish is then baked in the oven. Fresh parsley can be sprinkled on top after cooking.

Suffolk Pork with Apples & Cyder Sauce: Butter is heated in a frying pan, into which small pieces of either fillet or tenderloin of pork are added. Once browned, the meat is removed from the pan, into which whole onions are now cooked until soft, before lemon rind, Suffolk cyder & stock are added & allowed to boil. The pork is now returned to the pan & allowed to cook until tender, at which time apples are added. After a few more minutes of cooking, the pork, apples & onions are removed, & are replaced in the pan by whipping cream & parsley, which are allowed to thicken with the lemon & cyder into a sauce. This is then poured over the meat & served hot.

Suffolk Fraze: Fraze is an old traditional English dish, which is a combination of omelette and pancake and can be served for either breakfast or a light lunch.  It is thicker than an ordinary pancake and is made with “stiffer” batter.  The OED cites its use as a food item dating back to 1338, when it was then spelt “froise” and by the 17th century as “fraise”.  The word and food are undoubtedly of French origin, ultimately derived from Latin “frigere” meaning “to fry”.  In 1686 it is recorded as a dish made with slices of bacon.  

The recipe for Suffolk Fraze is to slice asparagus stalks in half lengthwise, wash and chop a green onion into 1/2 inch (1 cm) pieces, and dice ham, then set aside.  Place flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack in the eggs and whisk in cream to form a batter. Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the asparagus, chopped green onion and ham, and sauté for about 3 minutes.  Then tip these out into the batter in the bowl and stir well.  In the now-empty frying pan, heat a small amount of oil, then pour in 1/4 of the batter.  Allow to fry for about 2 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for another 2 minutes.  Repeat until all the batter is used.  This should be enough to serve four people. 

Suffolk Salad: This recipe is taken from a nineteenth century cookbook entitled Modern Cookery for Private Families by Suffolk, England resident Eliza Acton (1799 - 1859), first published in 1845. She was also a poet & published Poems in 1826.

A bowl is filled in alternate layers of shredded tender lettuce, minced lean ham, & sliced or minced hard boiled eggs (or just their yokes). English salad sauce is then added just prior to serving, together with thin slices of cold chicken or veal.

Suffolk Waldorf Salad: This variation on the classic Waldorf Salad is a New England dish, so presumably named after Suffolk, Massachusetts. It uses dried cherries and spinach in place of raisins and lettuce.

Mayonnaise, peanut butter & lemon juice are whisked together, before apples, celery & cherries are mixed in. It is then chilled for thirty minutes, before being served on spinach leaves with chopped pecan nuts sprinkled on top.

Suffolk Savouries: Listed on the “The Foods of England” website on traditional dishes of England, Suffolk Savouries are made from paste of butter, flaked bloater (herring), Worcester Sauce & cayenne pepper, & sometimes an egg or egg yolk. They can be served hot on Suffolk Rusks (see above)

Suffolk Spinach Soup:  This is a cream soup of spinach & root vegetables, which is listed on “The Foods of England” website.

Spinach, turnip, onions, celery, carrots, parsley & thyme are added to a pot containing a broth, or the liquid in which meat has been boiled, together with a small amount of butter. This is then stewed until the vegetables are tender, then worked through a coarse cloth or sieve with a spoon.  Fresh water, salt & pepper are then added & brought to the boil. It is served poured over small suet dumplings.

Suffolk Frumenty:  Another listed on “The Foods of England” website is an historic dish dating from medieval days.  Frumenty (or Furmety) was a popular, traditional dish in European medieval cuisine.  In England it is first recorded in c.1390 in the manuscript “The Forme of Cury”, i.e. The Method of Cooking, ‘cury’ being from Middle French ‘cuire’: to cook.  The authors are given as “the chief Master Cooks of King Richard II”.

Frumenty was served with meat as a pottage, traditionally with venison or mutton, and during Lent, with fish.  For several centuries, frumenty was part of the traditional Christmas meal and in England it was particularly eaten on Mothering Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent, because live-in servants were allowed part of that day off to visit their mothers.
Frumenty is made primarily from boiled, cracked wheat (grains of wheat that have been crushed into small pieces), hence its name, which derives from the Latin word frumentum, ‘grain’.  Milk or stock is added, and sometimes it is thickened with egg.  Different recipes flavour it with saffron, spices, etc.  

Suffolk Frumenty had the cracked wheat cooked with milk, honey, sugar and cinnamon.  Recorded in “Good Things in England” by Florence White, 1932.

Suffolk Grumbly: This is a dish that has been popularised in recent years, but it does not seem to be a traditional recipe, and we do not know why it should be particularly associated with Suffolk.  

It seems to have first arisen in the 1980s on the menu of The Green Man in Wraysbury, Middlesex, a pub that specialised in regional English dishes. The dish was one of the most popular, and after the pub closed several regular diners asked if anybody knew the recipe. The author Biff Raven-Hill, who had worked at the pub, published the recipe in 2009 in her “The Wartime Housewife” series.  Biff likes to live frugally, and is always thinking of how to get her money’s worth.  She likes to go back to wartime to learn and apply the old-fashioned skills that the housewives had to employ during those years of shortages and scarcity of food.

The name “grumbly” seems to be a portmanteau word deriving from two other food dishes, combining “grumble” from ‘grumble pie’, and “crumbly” from ‘crumble’. This in itself indicates a recent origin. A crumble is a fruit-based dessert with a topping in the form of crumbs, plus optional flavourings like cinnamon, lemon zest or nuts, that is baked until crisp.  The ‘crumble’ is said to have been invented in Britain during World War II, when food rationing made pie crusts an impossibility; it was first met in print as a food item in 1947. Americans sometimes call the crumble a ‘crisp’. ‘Grumble pie’ is a dish of American origin, a pie with a cinnamon-flavoured crumble topping, a favourite with children, and said to be named because it was “to stop their tummies from grumbling”. This became known in Britain when American servicemen and their families were based in this country. The county name may have become attached because of the number of American bases located there.

Butter is melted in a pan, then flour is stirred in to make a thick paste. Milk is then gradually stirred in & the mixture is simmered until it thickens, before cheese & mustard are added to create a cheese sauce. Meanwhile, sausage meat, onion, breadcrumbs & mixed herbs are mixed together in a bowl, half of which is placed into a lightly greased ovenproof dish. Half the cheese sauce is then poured into the dish, followed by  the rest of the sausage mixture, then the remainder of the sauce. Paprika is then sprinkled over the top. It is baked in the oven for one hour & served with vegetables & chips (French fries).

Suffolk Beer Puffs: This is a recent addition to the list of foods named Suffolk.  The dish was created by Paul Foster.  Keen to further his own style of cooking Paul became head chef at the Tuddenham Mill Hotel, located at Newmarket, Suffolk, in 2010.  Paul raised the restaurant from one to three AA rosettes (the AA’s supreme accolade) within 18 months.  After four years, he moved to The Dining Room at Mallory Court in Bishops Tachbrook, based 3 miles south of Leamington Spa.  It marked a return to the chef’s Warwickshire roots, but by then he had given the Suffolk name to a distinctive bar food bite.  In 2016 Paul was runner-up as Britain’s National Chef of the Year.  

There are a variety of snacks referred to as “puffs”, all of which are basically different shapes of dough tossed in a deep fryer for several minutes until they puff up.  It is debatable who started what when, but modern deep frying as a fast-food snack became popular in America in the 20th century.  Novelty deep-fried foods were introduced at American fairs, and puffs flavoured with beer are thought to have originated in the 1950s as snacks at American sports events.

Paul Foster created this crispy, beer-flavoured bar snack to nibble before the main meal.  Its ingredients to serve 8 people comprises 50g of lemon thyme, 50g of St Lorenzo Sea Salt, 150g of 00 flour, 50g of brown rice flour, 90ml of bitter beer (pale ale), and 2g of salt.  Pick the leaves off the lemon thyme and dehydrate for one hour; once dry, grind in a pestle and mortar until fine, add the sea salt and grind lightly until they are both well mixed.  Mix all of the other ingredients for the dough in a food processor until they come together.  Remove from the food processor and knead by hand until smooth.  Wrap in cling film and rest for 1 hour.  Gradually work the dough through a pasta machine until it reaches its thinnest setting.  Cut the dough into 1cm wide strips and deep fry at 170°C (340°F) turning constantly until they are puffed up and golden.  Once they are fried, remove the puffs and season with the lemon thyme salt. 


(See also New Suffolk, New York page for details on New Suffolk Clam Chowder)

There are two other recipes that are commonly quoted on the internet as Suffolk dishes, but these are really alternative names for other existing recipes. They are:

Suffolk Almond Pudding: An alternative for the Ipswich Almond Pudding (see
Ips Misc. page on

Suffolk Pond Pudding: This name for a suet pudding recipe has recently become widespread.  However, there is a general consensus by cooking experts that this has arisen from a printer's error in a cookery book and should be properly referred to as the Sussex Pond Pudding.  This is a much older dish and the recipes are exactly the same.

Top of Page


“Somillo” was a brand name for edible peanut oil manufactured by Suffolk Oil Mill, Inc. of Virginia, USA, as a salad dressing.  The name was derived from the initial letters of the first two words and ‘Mill’ with the final letter ‘o’ for ‘operations’.  Peanut oil is a mild-tasting vegetable oil derived from crushed peanut meal.  It was often used for added flavour in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine, and became a popular alternative source during the war years in the USA when there was a shortage of other oils.  The idea for selling it as a salad dressing came from Luther Wellons Caulk, Jnr (1899-1983).  Born in the city of Suffolk, Virginia, he spent his whole career from 1917 in the peanut oil production business with the Suffolk Oil Mill company.  Luther quickly rose to executive level and by 1945 had become the major shareholder of the company.  The name “Somillo” was first introduced in August 1948 and registered as a trade name in July 1951.  The company was bought by J. Lewis Rawls, Jnr in 1968 (who championed the merger of Suffolk and Nansemond County), and was closed down in 1976, when the name “Somillo” was allowed to lapse.  In 2004 the vacant Suffolk Oil Mill factory in East Suffolk still advertised the product (see photograph, right).  

Top of Page

Lord Suffolk Cocktail

This recipe for the Lord Suffolk Cocktail is found in the original “The Savoy Cocktail Book” (1930).  It is said that whichever Lord Suffolk this cocktail refers to, he certainly had a sweet tooth!

1/8 Italian Vermouth. (½ oz Carpano Antica)
1/8 Cointreau. (½ oz Cointreau)
5/8 Gin. (2 oz Plymouth Gin)
1/8 Maraschino. (½ oz Luxardo Maraschino)
Shake well with ice and strain (lemon peel)
Serve in a cocktail glass (4.5 oz).

Top of Page

Duke of Suffolk Cocktail

This is the signature drink in the Suffolk Arms bar on East Houston Street, Manhattan (see  Suffolk in the Names of Public Houses, Bars & Inns section, above) .  It was created by the bartender Giuseppe Gonzalez when the bar opened in 2015, as the bar’s version of Irish Coffee.  It is served hot and replaces the coffee by English Breakfast and Earl Grey teas.  The recipe is:

•    1½ ounces Hendrick’s or Ford’s Gin
•    Brew Hot Sweet Tea (an equal blend of English Breakfast and Earl Grey sweetened with ¾ ounce
      simple syrup)
•    Pour into a coffee mug or glass
•    Add the gin
•    And a  dollop of heavy cream as a float

Top of Page

Suffolk Rose Cocktail

Created in 2011 by Ereich Empey, a cocktail historian (Musings on Cocktails website).  He wanted to combine two classic cocktails, Kir Royal and Jack Rose, into a new hybrid.  The Kir Royal is a classic French champagne cocktail and the Jack Rose contains applejack, grenadine and lemon or lime juice which was very popular in the 1920s and 1930s.  The name he gave to this creation came from ‘Jack Rose’ combined with the English county that he thought was very reminiscent of the champagne country in France, emphasised further by the Aspall cyder produced in Suffolk that was used instead of champagne.  The recipe is:   

•    5 ounces sparkling demi-sec cider
•    ½ ounce pomegranate grenadine
•    ½ ounce lime juice

Add the grenadine and lime juice to a chilled glass and top up with about 5 ounces of Aspall’s dry cyder.  Garnish with a lemon twist.

Top of Page

Beers & Cyders Named ‘Suffolk’


Several breweries in Suffolk, England, have used the name of the county for their beer products.  In addition, four breweries just across the Suffolk boundary have used the name, two in Essex (one that has moved across the border from Suffolk to Essex, but will be returning to its native county in 2017), one in Norfolk and one in Cambridgeshire.  A special case is a brewery in Gloucestershire who has also used the county name (see separate article below on Suffolk Mountain Ale). Overseas, in the USA the name has been used by three breweries, one each in Massachusetts, Colorado and Michigan.  In addition, a brewery in Canada uses a street of that name for one of its brews.  

We would acknowledge the use made by us of the excellent Beermad web-site.  This site is recognised as an authoritative source for Real Ales produced by the brewers of the British Isles.  The database contains details of cask beers known to have been produced since 1976.  This has enabled us to check our records of the Suffolk (and Ipswich, see Beers Named ‘Ipswich’ section on beer names; where the only reference we have to a name is from this database we have shown the reference in italics: Beermad.

Greene King, based in Bury St Edmunds, was established in 1799.  Since 2015 they have been the largest British owned brewery in the country with over 3,100 managed, tenanted, leased and franchised pubs, restaurants and hotels, including Chef & Brewer, the Hungry Horse and Old English Inns chains, as well as Loch Fyne restaurants.  The brewery was founded in Bury St Edmunds in 1799 by Benjamin Greene, from a Northamptonshire family.  In 1806 he acquired the present Westgate Brewery site.  In the early years Benjamin Greene was in partnership with others, but it was only when Greene inherited a West Indian plantation in 1823 that his financial future was secured, and the family soon became sole owners of the business.  In 1887 it merged with the adjacent St Edmund’s Brewery of Frederick William King (founded in 1868) to create Greene King.

They currently make the following four ales with ‘Suffolk’ in the name:

Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale: Introduced in 2000, this is a dark, full bodied bottled beer, almost ruby in colour with a spicy fruit cake aroma & flavours that hint at caramel, burnt toffee & oak. It has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 6%. In 2014 it had a slight name change to Strong Suffolk Dark Ale. In America it is marketed as Olde Suffolk English Ale.

 Suffolk Porter: Introduced in 2014, a bottled stout with an ABV of 5.4%, Suffolk Porter is described as a rich full bodied stout with intensity & depth, chocolate & liquorice flavours & a smoky aroma.



Suffolk Springer: This premium dark ale celebrates Suffolk’s Newmarket Racecourse & the National Horseracing Museum. According to the bottle’s label: The term ‘springer’ refers to a racehorse whose odds dramatically shorten. A rare but rewarding moment for those ‘in the know’. The bottle version (6% ABV) came on the scene in 2009, and a year later the cask version appeared with a slightly lower ABV of 5.5%.





Suffolk Explorer: This was released in the summer of 2017 as a ‘pale ale bottle’ (4.8% ABV).  At present it only seems available in Australia, where it is advertised as “crafted in Suffolk with our British brewing excellence, creating a crisp, easy-drinking English Pale Ale”.   






Five Greene King brews no longer produced are:

Suffolk Punch: Brought out in 1997 with an ABV of 4.3%, but appears to have been short-lived.

Suffolk Summer: Brought out in 2003 and lasted until about 2012. Said to be similar to an American Pale.  It had an ABV of 4.3%.  A light orange hue with an aroma of apple juice, strong malt and a bit of mint.  A refreshing bitter finish.   

Suffolk Swift: A bitter brewed from 2010 with an ABV of 3%.  This has a gold to copper colour and medium bitterness. The aroma is light nuts, some fruit and light hops, but the flavour is said to be non-existent to mild.


Suffolk Warmer: Our only source of information for this beer is Beermad.  It had an ABV of 4.3%. 

Greene King also brewed Tolly Cobbold Suffolk Ale to keep alive the great tradition of these two former breweries whose names are synonomous with Suffolk brewing.  In 1989 the Tolly Cobbold brewery on Cliff Quay in Ipswich was closed down by its new owners after 256 years of brewing at the site.  However, a management buyout in 1990 saved the brewery.  It was then acquired by Ridley’s Brewery of Chelmsford, Essex, in 2002, but this company finally closed it that year.  (However, see information below under Suffolk Pride, the Earl Soham Brewery.)  Three years later, Ridley’s Brewery was taken over by Suffolk-based Greene King.  Both Ridley’s and Greene King continued to brew the old Tolly Cobbold brands under their original name, usually, on an occasional basis. 

Tolly Cobbold Suffolk Ale was mainly brewed for the American market.  In America, the name ‘Suffolk’ seems to have a resonance of idyllic country life where beer is always drunk under a glorious sun.  Under American legislation you are not allowed to give a geographical name to food or beverage unless it comes from the place so named.  This gives an advantage to our county breweries.

Tolly Cobbold Suffolk Ale (4.6% ABV) was marketed in the USA by the original brewery in Ipswich from 1996 since the Liquor Control Board then registered it for sale in Pennsylvania.  It was a bottled beer described as “an English Pale Ale with a smooth, nutty flavour, pretty thick texture and a nice sweetness.  A little flowery, tastes maltier when it warms”.  Although gradually phased out in Britain, Greene King continued production of this brand for America, retaining the name and all the familiar features down to the famous Suffolk Punch horse on the label (see picture, right). Production stopped in about 2011 and, other than old stock, this beer is no longer available.          




Mauldons Brewery was established as a family business in the south Suffolk town of Sudbury in 1795 when Anna Maria Mauldon began brewing at the Bull Hotel. It was bought by Greene King in 1958 who closed the brewery in 1960.  It was not until 1981 that the brewery was re-established by Peter Mauldon, the great grandson of Anna Maria, who had been the former chief brewer at Watney’s.  On his retirement in 2000, the brewery was sold, but the family name has been retained for its brews.

Today, as well as making, amongst others, several beers that make reference to Charles Dickens’ books & characters, they produce Suffolk Pride. At 4.8% ABV, this is a full bodied strong bitter, light in colour with a deep dry finish. It is available as both a cask & bottled ale. Suffolk Pride is sometimes sold as Suffolk Punch.

Since 2013 Mauldons has also brewed Suffolk Comfort (6.6% ABV), a ruby coloured, strong peppery ale with a rich balance of malt and hops and some fruitiness, living up to its name for smooth and easy drinking.
Another brew which was discontinued in 2008 was Mauldons Suffolk Pale Ale 3.6% ABV, also known as “Mauldons Bitter”.  This was a traditional session bitter with a strong floral nose and a lingering bitter finish. 



St Peter’s Brewery was established in 1996 by real ale enthusiast John Murphy who purchased the somewhat derelict St Peter’s Hall, dating from 1280, at St Peter South Elmham near Bungay in the north of the county.  The modern brewery is adjacent to the moated medieval hall.

Suffolk Gold is a 4.9% ABV premium bottled beer brewed with Suffolk grown First Gold hops & Suffolk malt, producing a full bodied beer with a lasting hop aroma. 

Other ales from St Peter’s Brewery with ‘Suffolk’ in the name are Suffolk Extra Gold (4.2% ABV) which is described as ‘a rarely brewed crisp golden ale’, & Suffolk Smokey (4.8% ABV), a peated beer with a sweet, malty & smoked aroma.

St Peter’s Brewery also brew Sainsbury’s Suffolk Blonde Ale (4.7 % ABV) for Sainsbury’s supermarkets as part of their “Taste The Difference” marketing range.  A traditional ale brewed with Hallertau hops and a proportion of East Anglian wheat to give yeasty flavours typical of German wheat beers. 


Also in Suffolk, England is the Briarbank Brewing Company, situated close to the Waterfront in Fore Street, Ipswich. This is a microbrewery associated with the Isaacs-on-the-Quay complex in Ipswich.  It started production in an old 1960s Lloyds Bank building in April 2013.  It takes its name from the house of Aidan Coughlan, an Irish businessman who lives in Ipswich.  He established himself in the telecommunications business in 1984 and later expanded into the leisure and restaurant/refreshments industry.  Isaac Lord was a local businessman who bought this Ipswich waterfront site from the Cobbold brewing family in 1900.  Some buildings date from the early 15th century to late 18th century, reflecting the site’s commercial and industrial use over four centuries.  The whole complex was eventually purchased by Aiden Coughlan in 2003, who has taken the sympathetic restoration and refurbishment of Isaac Lord’s as a bar and restaurant business to its present success.

Among their first brews in May 2013 was Briarbank SPA (3.6% ABV). SPA stands for Suffolk Pale Ale.  This is described as “a hoppy chestnut ale with a lovely citrus aroma from the choicest cascade and WGV (Whitbread Goldings Variety) hops”.  This same brew also goes under the name of Ipswich Pale Ale (see Beers Named ‘Ipswich’ on 

Amongst a wide variety of ales brewed here are Suffolk Pride (4.8% ABV), which is described as a malty beer with a copper colour & slight toasty flavour; & Suffolk Brown Ale (3.3% ABV) which is a traditional brown ale with a sweet malty body. 

Other beers produced by Briarbank include Briar Bitter, Cardinale Wolsey & Briar Lager.


Adnams, one of Suffolk’s best known brewers was established in 1872 when George and Ernest Adnams bought the Sole Bay Brewery in Southwold.

Although today none of their regular products bear the name ‘Suffolk’, since 2015 they do brew Suffolk Bitter exclusively for Marks and Spencer.  At 5.2% ABV, this bottled beer is described as having a full aroma, refreshing taste and long finish. The label features the famous Southwold beach huts (see picture, right). 



Also in 2015, Adnams came out with Suffolk Single Variety British Hop Jester IPA, again exclusively for Marks & Spencer (see picture, left).  British hop production had been in decline with the introduction of new flavours and aromas brought in from the USA and Australia.  In 2012, UK hop merchant Charles Faram & Co, along with Liberty Beer and Moor Beer Co launched a brand new British variety called Jester.  (Jester is a registered trademark of Charles Faram.)  Jester hops were bred with the intention of replicating the bold, punchy citrus flavours that are so predominant in the US and New World hops.  This beer is brewed in Adnam’s Suffolk brewery with Jester hops, grown on Stocks farm in Worcestershire. Made with a new hop, this IPA is a sort of gooseberry, lychee and grapefruit punch. 5.2% ABV.


 Adnams also used to brew a sweet ale from about 1964 to around 2000 with an ABV of 4.8% called Suffolk Punch (see label, right).







Brewers often market the same or near-same product by more than one name. This can be the result of a brewer simply changing the name, but not the recipe at different points in time, or the brewer distributing this beer under different names in different countries.  Adnams was one of the Suffolk breweries that took advantage of the county name to market their beer in America (see comments under Greene King, above).

Adnams regular and most iconic beer is that known as Southwold Bitter (3.7% ABV in cask, 4.1% in bottle and can), a session bitter brewed with the finest East Anglian Pale Ale malt barley, sourced locally to the brewery, combined with crystal malt and a pinch of black malt to provide substantial support for the English Fuggle and Golding hops.  It was first brewed in 1967 and was originally called “Adnams Best Bitter”; by 2000 had been renamed “Southwold Bitter” when it became “Adnams Bitter”; in 2005 it became “The Bitter”, but returned to “Southwold Bitter” in 2011.  However, from 1994 the packaged version in bottle and cans at 4.1% ABV was known as “Suffolk Strong Ale”  and depicted a scene of the brewery on the label (see photo, right).  This was marketed in America under this name from 1996 when the Liquor Control Board registered it for sale in Pennsylvania.  It was retired in 2011 when Adnams Southwold Bitter became the generic name for both cask and bottle/cans.

Adnams Suffolk Extra Ale was a regular ESB (Extra Strong Bitter) (4.5% ABV) introduced about 1997.  It was described as “a dry, crisp, refreshing, and distinctly hoppy example of its style, with a fair amount of sweetness ”.  The brew was retired under this name in 2002.  It then became known as Adnams SSB.  It was exported to America where it was also marketed under its full name of Adnams Suffolk Special Bitter.  This was also phased out from 2011, being largely replaced in 2014 by Adnams American IPA both cask (4.8%) and bottle (6.8% ABV). 



Hoxne Brewery is a micro-brewery creating hand-crafted real ales established in this Suffolk village in 2013 by Dan Steggles, who progressed from making his own home brews.  His brew named The Suffolk Punch is a traditional English bitter with an ABV of 4.5%.  It prides itself as: “Just like the draught horse who inspired this real ale, Suffolk Punch is all British, a beer that any stiff upper lip would be proud to taste.”





Suffolk Punch was also a beer brewed by Fenland Brewery in Little Downham, near Ely, Cambridgeshire.  The beer had a strength (ABV) of 4.6%.  It was described as a smooth amber bitter, slightly sweet and medium hopped. The brewery only lasted ten years, being founded in 1997 in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, by husband and wife team Rob and Liz Thomas.  It was bought in 2003 by businessman David Griffiths and moved to new premises in Little Downham the next year, where it became the Fenland (Isle of Ely) Brewery.  It went into administration in November 2008, finally being dissolved in January 2010.  (It should be noted that the Isle of Ely Brewery, founded in 2014, is not related.) 

The Nethergate Brewery was born in 1986 in the small Suffolk town of Clare.  Like many great ideas it was conceived in a pub by former Head Brewer, Ian Hornsey, and his business partner Dick Burge.  In 2005 the brewery was moved across the county border to Pentlow in Essex.  The brewery acquired a reputation for brewing consistently high quality distinctive beers.  In 2010 the brewery was sold to anonymous buyers, but they were unable to continue the success.  In March 2014 the brewery went into administration and its future looked bleak.  However, a consortium led by founder Dick Burge purchased the ailing brewery and brewing has continued since, with a return to the ‘Nethergate Brewery’ name and a primary focus on selling beer to local free houses. Nethergate have had notable success in winning many awards for champion beers, one of which is Suffolk County (4.0% ABV).  Described as a best bitter with a chestnut colour.  A biscuity malt dominates with a punching bitterness.  It has a flavour of fruits, citrus, caramel, honey and nuts.

In January 2017 Nethergate Brewery announced that it had acquired a new site at Long Melford in Suffolk, within two miles of its present location.  It is hoped to be fully operational towards the end of summer 2017.

Porter’s Suffolk Bitter (3.5% ABV) is recorded by Beermad as being brewed by Nethergate on behalf of the now closed brewing house Porter’s.  We can find no information on the last-named.   


Marc Bartram started Bartrams Brewery in 1999 in a small industrial unit in the village of Thurston, Suffolk, using a five barrel plant purchased from Buffys Brewery.  After early successes, demand grew and this micro-brewery had to share the facilities of other breweries from 2003.  However, in 2005 Marc Bartram was able to move the original brewery plant to its present location in a building on the Rougham Airfield, Bury St Edmunds.  From 2005, he has brewed Suffolk ‘N’ Strong (5.0% ABV).  This is an amber-brown colour, described as a strong, light bitter with well balanced malt and hops, having a mild caramel sweetness. (See also IP(30)A on the, Misc. page - Beers Named Ipswich.)


Previous regular beers that are no longer brewed are Bartram’s Suffolk Spring (4.5% ABV), an ESB (Extra Special Bitter), Suffolk Trinity (3.8% ABV), a best bitter named after the three Suffolk breeds, the Suffolk Punch horse, Red Poll cattle and Black Faced sheep, and two specials; Suffolk Hopped (4.4% ABV) and Suffolk Lite (4.8%). Details of  these four are provided by Beermad


Suffolk Pale Ale (4% ABV) is a brew by Watts & Co.  This micro-brewery is in the house of Oliver Watts, a part-time brewer.  He started it in January 2016 originally in Colchester, Essex, but moved later that year to Debenham in Suffolk.  Only small batches are brewed and it is sold as a regular beer, mostly at the Victoria Inn at Colchester.

Harwich Town Brewing Company was established by Paul Mellor in 2007, reviving a centuries-old tradition of brewing in Harwich, Essex, which had died out in 1876.  This micro-brewery is based in an old bus depot adjacent to the railway station.  Introduced as a Special in 2011, The Suffolk (4.5% ABV) was a cask porter, and was named after the train ferry of that name (see Ships Named Suffolk page).  It was a traditional porter, very dark brown in colour, the black malts giving a toffee flavour, with a slight sour tartness in the hoppy finish.

Another micro-brewery named Lidstone’s Brewery operated out of a garden shed at Wickhambrook, near Newmarket, Suffolk from 1998 to 2003.  This was established by Peter Fairhall who gained a reputation for brewing some wonderful beers, among them were two named Suffolk Draught (4.3% ABV) and Suffolk Pride (4.3%).  In 2000 he and his sister bought the Kingston Arms, a somewhat run-down pub in Cambridge with the intention of moving the brewery plant into the cellar of the pub.  Within a year they had turned the pub round and it became the tap for Lidstone’s Brewery, getting into The Good Beer Guide.  However, in 2003 Peter decided to move to Wensleydale in North Yorkshire and Lidstone’s Brewery ceased operations, becoming instead Wensleydale Brewery.      

Suffolk n See and Suffolk n Good (both 4.6% ABV) were two beers once brewed by Tindall Ale Brewery.  The irony is that the brewery has always been located in Norfolk, although its postal address is Bungay in Suffolk.  This micro-brewery was founded in October 1998 by Alan and Angela Green at their house in the tiny hamlet of Thwaite St Mary just north of Ditchingham, Norfolk, across the River Waveney from Suffolk.  The brewery took its name from nearby Tindall Hall, a listed building.  Suffolk n See (only source for this is Beermad) soon disappeared, but Suffolk n Good was a commercial success.  It was a bottled ESB (Extra Strong Bitter), a premium orange beer; its flavours were sweet toffee malts with juicy, fruity hops, and some yeast.  In 2001 the brewery moved to Seething, even further north into Norfolk.  The anachronism of a beer named Suffolk being brewed in Norfolk led to its demise in 2004, to be replaced by Norfolk n Good.  At the end of September 2006 Alan and Angela retired and the brewery ceased operations.  However, they will produce the occasional brew for special events on request.       

Suffolk Blue Punch (3.9% ABV) was a fruit beer brewed only to order by St Jude’s Brewery in Ipswich, England.  This was a micro-brewery that lasted from 2006 to 2012.  (For more information, see, Misc. page - Beers  Named ‘Ipswich’.)  This punch was blue in colour with a fresh blueberry taste; made with ale and brewed in the traditional manner.  

Men of Suffolk (6.1% ABV) was an English Strong Ale brewed occasionally from 2007 at Elveden Brewery, Suffolk.  It was a bottle beer, dark with the aroma of lemon, peach and pine.  This small brewery was set up in 2003 on the Elveden Estate by Brendan Moore of the nearby Iceni Brewery for his daughter Frances.  It brewed only occasionally with most production being bottled, mainly for sale on the estate farm shop.  A small amount of cask beer was also occasionally produced.  The brewery ceased production in 2015.    




Mill Green Brewery was a micro-brewery situated behind the traditional White Horse Inn at the hamlet of Mill Green, Edwardstone, near Sudbury, Suffolk.  Both establishments are owned by local farmer and cider producer, John Norton.  The brewery was designed to be as energy-efficient as possible and was built with environmentally friendly and sustainable materials.  Production started in 2008.  An early brew was Suffolk Pale Ale #1 (Topaz and Simcoe) (4.3% ABV).  This was an Indian Pale Ale brewed using Suffolk barley and the world’s best hops, in this case Topaz and Simcoe.  In 2015 Suffolk Saison (6.0% ABV) was created.  This was a strong hazy pale farmhouse ale brewed with Suffolk barley and hops then fermented with Saison yeast. 

In 2016 Mill Green Brewery ceased production but re-opened shortly afterwards as Little Earth Project, now specialising in wild-fermented sour ales. In February 2017 the new brewery released its Stupid Sexy Suffolk (7% ABV).  By all accounts this will have no trouble in winning the “Best Named Beer of the Year” (see image right).

It is a sour red beer of the Oud Bruin (Old Brown) or Flanders Brown type.  This is a style of beer originating from the Flemish region of Belgium.  The name refers to the long aging process, up to a year.  It undergoes a secondary fermentation, which takes several weeks to a month, and is followed by bottle aging for several more months. Stupid Sexy Suffolk has been aged in French red wine barrels  for six months, brewed by using local hops, Suffolk barley and rye malt.  It pours a hazy, reddish amber with an off-white head.  The taste is said to be crisp, balanced and tangy with a subtle, red wine presence.      

Another Suffolk Bitter (3.5% ABV) was sometimes advertised as a regular brew of Oulton Ales Brewery between 2002 and 2008.  It was generally referred to as just Oulton Bitter (info. from Beermad).  Oulton Broad, a suburb of Lowestoft, Suffolk, had a brewery of that name on an industrial estate close to Lake Lothing prior to 1988, but not much is known about it.  Charles Forbes bought the plant and premises that year and Forbes Brewery started brewing, opening up a small area of the building named The Brewery Tap to be used as an outlet for their beers.  At the beginning of 1993 the brewery was taken over by Green Jack Brewing Co. but after a split between partners in 2002 that site became Oulton Ales, and Green Jack moved to Lowestoft.  Production of Oulton Ales ceased and The Brewery Tap closed in late 2008.

Another name which appears several times is Suffolk Pride.  This is shown as a beer of 4.1% ABV by Beermad for the Earl Soham Brewery in north Suffolk.  This brewery is better known because of its later connection to the famous Tolly Cobbold brewery at Ipswich.  It began at Earl Soham in 1983 as a micro-brewery run by John Bjornson in an old chicken shed behind The Victoria pub that he owned.  It moved to new premises nearby in Earl Soham in 2003.  Jeremy Moss, a local Suffolk man who had previously worked for the big breweries, joined as a partner in 2008 and, in 2009, they re-opened part of the old Tolly Cobbold Cliff Quay brewery (see Tolly Cobbold Suffolk Ale  under Greene King, above) with The Brewery Tap as its main sales outlet, run as a separate enterprise by Jeremy Moss.  As the joint enterprise of these sister breweries successfully grew, it became increasingly likely that the two operations would effectively merge.  This happened in 2012 when production at Cliff Quay ceased because the loading bay was demolished for redevelopment, and for a time production was temporarily contracted out.  Finally, in 2013 the Cliff Quay plant was moved from Ipswich to new premises at Debenham, 12 miles north of Ipswich, but only 5 miles west of Earl Soham.  Although a brewing site remains in Earl Soham, near to The Victoria pub, most production for the Earl Soham Brewery is now at Debenham.



Old Suffolk Strong Ale: This is a brewing kit produced as part of the Festival Premium Ale Homebrewing range. This beer is a strong dark ale & is said to be based on a ‘well known pub beer’. The ingredients include Boadicea hops, & the finished product is a strong dark ale with a woody character, an aroma that hints at wood & vanilla, & a good balance between dryness & sweetness. It has an ABV of 6%. Each kit contains malt, yeast, sugar & hops, makes 40 pints, & is ready to drink in four weeks.

The Festival Premium Ale Homebrewing range is marketed by Ritchie Products who are based at Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, a traditional brewing town in the English Midlands.  This company was founded by John Ritchie in the early 1960s and began selling wholesale wine home-making kits in 1967.  In 2001 they expanded into beer making kits. 

A half owner of Ritchie Products, Richard Blackwell, who has been involved in the UK home brew market for over 30 years, left to set up his own company called Love Brewing in 2010 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.  Under the trade name Beerworks Craft Brewery Series, beer kits are marketed, including one named Sheepdog’s Pride Suffolk Bitter.  This is described as having a “Heady aroma of spicy cedar and pine followed by rich honey and uplifting lemon with the palate tempering the malt sweetness, giving an aftertaste of verdant berries and pears in abundance”.



Calvors Brewery started brewing in early 2008.  It specialises in high-quality, traditional bottom-fermented lager.  It is a micro-brewery on Home Farm at Coddenham Green, 8 miles north of Ipswich.  Alec Williamson’s great-grandfather purchased the farm in 1922. The farm was previously known as Calver’s Farm from which is derived the name for the brewing business, with a slight change of spelling.  Calver was the surname of a 19th century farmer.  With his brother destined to take on the farm from their father, Alec decided to look for an opportunity of his own.  With the ale market being very competitive, he decided to concentrate on lager.  Alec ordered some brewing kit and set it up at the rear of a storage shed.  The first product in 2008 was Calvors Premium, with a strength of 5.2% ABV.  In February 2009 a second lager, Calvors 3.8, was added to the range, the name reflecting its lower alcohol content.  This was launched in bottled and draught form from the start.  This brew is also marketed under the alternative name of Calvors Suffolk Lager.

On 1 August 2016 the University of Suffolk, formerly known as University Campus Suffolk (UCS), became an educational institution with the fully-fledged status of a university.  To mark this event the University has joined with Calvors Brewery to launch a specially brewed beer called Suffolk Graduate (3.8% ABV) in April 2017 on Ipswich’s Waterfront, the location of the University.  The name and branding for this beer was designed by James Tye of Achieve Creative who graduated from the University in 2011.   





Suffolk Leopard’s Head (4.2% ABV) is a beer that did not exist brewed by a company that was in the imagination.  There are still references to be found to this beer and the Vintage Ale Company.  It was in fact part of a fraudulent scheme set up in England under the auspices of Vintage Hallmark plc.  Equity in Vintage Hallmark turned out to be worthless when the company collapsed in January 2003 owing just under £80 million, mainly to American investors.  This led to an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.  It turned out to be the largest UK drinks investment scam to date, resulting in the imprisonment and disqualification from holding office or conducting business by its main perpetrators when it finally came to trial in 2011.  The fraud was operated by sales staff in Peterborough and Luton though the business used a prestigious registered address in Mayfair, adding a veneer of respectability.  The fraud involved persuading American and Canadian clients from 1995 to invest in a range of alcoholic drinks and wine with the promise of a 50% return over 10 months from their investment when the brewing company was established.  The Vintage Ale Company was set up (on paper) in February 2002 and three brews were said to have been made, one of which was Suffolk Leopard’s Head.  The beers were supposed to be contract-brewed to the company’s own recipes, one of the contract breweries being Tolly Cobbold.  The whole thing collapsed in less than a year in January 2003 without a drop being brewed, let alone drunk.



In America, the Mystic Brewery of Chelsea, Suffolk County, Massachusetts produces Descendant Suffolk Dark Ale. Mystic Brewery, founded in 2011 by Bryan Greenhagen who majored in biochemistry, specialises in Belgian-style farmhouse beers known as ‘Saison ales’. With an ABV of 7%, Descendant Suffolk Dark Ale is described as a cross between a dry Irish stout & an English porter, which is then fermented with saison yeast with a touch of molasses. This creates a rich cherrywood flavour & aromatic finish. To quote the  brewery’s own website “We thus dubbed our recipe a Suffolk Dark Ale, as an homage to our immigrant ancestors”.

A special release in 2011 was Bourbon-Barrel Aged Descendant Suffolk Dark Ale (ABV 7%) which had been immersed in a single premium bourbon barrel from Gordon’s Fine Wine and Liquors, the bourbon characteristics from the barrel complementing the beer’s dark malts and molasses.


In Boulder, Colorado, the Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery since 2012 has produced a Suffolk Punch with an ABV of 6.9%.  The brewery states that “this is our British inspired version of the American Imperial IPA style.  It is brewed with English malts and is dry-hopped with East Kent Golding hops to provide an aggressive English hop character.”  Reviews say that it is “very much English with just enough hops to make it more bitter than ‘bitter’.” The brewery was opened in October 1993 by Kevin Daly, an inspiring lawyer who had a greater taste for brewing.

Founded in 2010 by David Manson and Andy Langlois, Blackrocks Brewery in Marquette, Michigan, is among the top craft breweries in the state.  Soon after they began operation, Blackrocks Suffolk Pub Ale (ABV unknown) was a special release by guest brewer Chris Chutte.  The idea was to produce a beer similar to what you would find in an English pub, and what better than a Suffolk pub?  This brown bitter ale was served with moderate carbonation.  The balanced barley malt and slight fruity flavour made for a notable session beer.


The Royal City Brewing Co. was founded by Russell Bateman and Cameron Fryer, and opened in June 2014 on Victoria Road South, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.  Along with its three flagship brands - Smoked Honey, Dry Hopped Pale Ale and Morning Stout – it produces Suffolk St Session Ale (4.2% ABV). Guelph was named in honour of the homeland of the British royal family, the Hanoverians, hence its nickname of “The Royal City”, adopted by the brewing company.  The “Session” in the name refers to this being a lower-alcohol beer, akin to an English Pale Ale.  “Suffolk St” is one of the oldest roads in the city, but is not otherwise of any significance to this particular brew that we know of.  Suffolk St Session Ale is described as a full-bodied, light bitter with a clear flavour of bready malts, and a faint touch of citrus orchard fruits, such as apple and apricot.  It is said to be similar to Arkell’s Best Bitter.

Back in England again, between November 2010 & April 2013 the Chevallier Brewing Company produced a lager named Suffolk Blonde (5.2% ABV). In April 2013, however, it was relaunched as Outlier English Craft Lager. It is brewed under licence by Shepherd Neame, who are based in Faversham, Kent.

The Chevallier Brewing Company, was set up as a separate business by Henry Chevallier-Guild, a partner in the Aspall company, more famous as makers of Suffolk cyder. Which leads us nicely on to....




Cyder is the common alternative spelling of cider in Suffolk, England. Three producers in the county are known to use the name ‘Suffolk’ in the title of their beverages.

Aspall was founded by Clement Chevallier in 1728, at the fifteenth century Aspall Hall near Debenham in central Suffolk, & the business is still run by the Chevallier family to this day. The Aspall company produce cyder, apple juice & vinegar. Many of their cyders are branded as ‘Suffolk Cyder’ as below. These are available in bottles and keg unless otherwise stated:

Aspall Premier Cru Suffolk Cyder is Aspall’s flagship cyder & has an ABV of 7%. It is a dry cyder described as having a clean, light aroma of dessert apples, a good acid balance, soft tannins & an elegant, long finish. Only available in 330mml and 500ml bottles.  Previously known as Aspall Dry Premier Cru Suffolk Cyder, and has been packaged for Export as Aspall Dry Suffolk Cider and as Dry English Draft Cider (both ‘draft’ and ‘cider’ are spelt this way on the labels).

Aspall Suffolk Draught Cyder, at 5.5% ABV, is a medium dry cyder, with a crisp & delicate flavour of fresh pressed apples.  This cyder was launched in 2003 to celebrate Aspall’s 275th anniversary & is available in bottles & on tap. It was previously known as Aspall Draught Suffolk Cyder.

Perronelle’s Blush Suffolk Cyder is a 4% ABV cyder that has a dash of blackberry juice added to give it a salmon pink colour. It has a sweetish palate, a floral, apple & fruit aroma, & combines a mix of apple &  blackberry flavours. The name derives from Perronelle Guild (nee Chevallier - 1902-2004) who ran the business for 40 years as well as being a founder member of the Soil Association.

Aspall Suffolk Organic Cyder has a rich, full and slightly sweet palate, with an aroma of traditional bittersweet cyder apples, supplemented with floral & spicy overtones. It is golden in colour with an ABV of 7%. Only available in 500ml bottles.  Previously known as Aspall Organic Suffolk Cyder, then Aspall Classic Organic Suffolk Cyder to the present Aspall Suffolk Organic Cyder in 2015.

Isabel’s Berry Suffolk Cyder is a 3.8% ABV sweet cyder named after Isabel Chevallier (1869-1931), the wife of Aspall owner & manager JB Chevallier. It is described as having a good acid balance & a lingering aftertaste of redcurrants & raspberries.

Harry Sparrow Suffolk Cyder (4.6% ABV) is described as medium dry with a floral aroma & cedar overtones of apples. It is named after George Henry (Harry) Sparrow (1891-1979) who began working for Aspall at the age of fifteen & went on to become the company’s head cyder maker. He served with the Suffolk Regiment during World War I.

Clement’s Four Suffolk Cyder is named after Aspall founder Clement Chevallier (1697-1762). As the name suggests it has an ABV of 4%. It is described as having a gentle fruit flavour with fragrant wood overtones & the aroma of spring flowers.

Clement’s Delight Suffolk Cyder was also named after Clement Chevallier.  First produced in 1999 with an ABV of 7%, it is no longer available.

Imperial Vintage Suffolk Cyder is named in honour of JB Chevallier’s success at the Imperial Fruit Show in 1921. At 8.2% ABV it is described as having a fudgy flavour enhanced by bitter-sweet apples, with notes of raisins, dates & prunes. The No. 285 on the label (see photo, right) refers to the fact that this is the 285th year that Aspall have crafted a special vintage cyder. Only available in 500ml bottles.

Cyderkin Traditional Suffolk Cyder is sold in 20 litre boxes and is said to be a recreation of the style of still cyder commonly found in English ale houses of the 17th, 18th & 19th centuries. At 3.8% ABV it is slightly sweet with a dry finish, & has a clean aroma of fresh green apples & toffee.

Temple Moon Still Suffolk Cyder (5.8% ABV) is a crisp still keg cyder with a floral aroma & a fresh apple finish. The name derives from the Reverend Temple Chevallier (1794 - 1873), the great grandson of Aspall’s founder, who was a prestigious scientist & academic, & who identified a crater on the moon known as the Chevallier Crater. Available only in draught 50 litre kegs.

Aspall Mulled Suffolk Cyder (4.7% ABV) can be served warm or chilled, & is described as having the aroma of sweet spices with cinnamon, clove & ginger notes, with a long spicy aftertaste.

Aspall Crisp Draught Suffolk Cyder (5.5% ABV).  Available in 500ml and 750ml bottles only.  This cider seems to be aimed mainly at the overseas market, being very popular in Germany and Australia.  Described as “clean and crisp with an incredible fresh apple aroma”.  

Aspall Medium Suffolk Cyder at 6.8% ABV is also labelled by Aspall as Medium English Draft Cider and as English Demi-Sec Draft Cider (both ‘draft’ and ‘cider’ are spelt this way on the labels).  Available in bottles and on draught; it is for Export only.  Described as a sweet, semi-dry and lightly tart apple cider with hints of yeast.

Aspall Medium Dry Suffolk Cyder is no longer brewed, but had a 4.7% ABV.  Available in 330ml bottles and for Export only.  Described as having a full fruity aroma of fresh pressed apples.  Ideal as an aperitif and as a partner for white meats and spicy food.

The supermarket Sainsbury’s ‘Taste the Difference’ marketing range was relaunched in 2011 with two ciders under their name brewed by Aspall. These are Sainsbury’s Suffolk Cyder (4.6% ABV) in 550mml bottles.  Described as “light in colour and delicate in flavour.  This cider has a slightly farmy aroma and taste, with red apple flavour”.  The second one is Sainsbury’s Elderflower Suffolk Cyder (5.4% ABV) in 330mml bottles (see photo, right).  Predictably, cider with an elderflower extract.








Using the more usual spelling of  ‘cider’, is Giggler Suffolk Sparkling Cider, which is produced by Tim Chapman at Grove Farm in the village of Bramfield, between Yoxford & Halesworth. It is described as a medium sweet, slightly sparkling cider with a champagne-like fruitiness and dry finish. Giggler cider is grown, pressed and bottled on the Suffolk coast in four different ABVs: 5.9%, 6.2%, 6.5% and 7.0%.

The Cider Place on Cherry Tree Farm at Ilketshall St Lawrence in Suffolk produces two ciders named Suffolk Medium Cider and Suffolk Dry Cider, both 6.4% ABV.  Hand pressed at the farm in a traditional manner using a blend of Suffolk apples and matured for two years in old port barrels.  

Top of Page

Suffolk Mountain Ale & the Suffolk Mountain Rescue Service

In 1997 Whitbreads stopped producing West Country pale ale in their Cheltenham brewery.  Tolly Cobbold, the Ipswich brewers, spotted an opening for their pale ale and in June 1997 launched their “Cotswold’s PA” in the west of England through a Cheltenham wholesaler, with the inference that it had been brewed there “specifically for the Cotswolds”.  Incensed that the Ipswich brewers had not done their homework and did not realise that the Cotswolds never has an apostrophe ‘s’, as well as encroaching on his patch, Charles Wright of the Uley Brewery (a notable Cotswolds’ brewery), retaliated in kind.

Charles soon discovered that the new brew was nothing more than Tolly Cobbold’s normal bitter with a different label, so he complained to the Trading Standards Office.  They forced Tolly Cobbold to change their labels to make it clear that the brew came from Ipswich.  To further emphasise the point, Charles then rebranded his Hogshead Cotswolds pale ale and launched it on East Anglia as Suffolk Mountain Ale.  The highest point in Suffolk is 446 feet, whereas the Cotswolds reach to 1083 feet.  The point was duly recognised and both brews were only short-lived.* 

* Without the ‘s’ ending, there is currently a “Cotswold Pale Ale” with an ABV of 4.7% brewed by Hook Norton Brewery in Oxfordshire.  

However, this was not before the Suffolk Mountain Rescue team had consumed their fair share of Suffolk Mountain Ale.  This rescue service was formed in 1990 and, since there are very few mountains in Suffolk, they used to exercise their skill by climbing a net hung from the 12 foot high ceiling of a pub in Bildeston in Suffolk.  This was presumably to whet their appetite for the main pursuit of consuming alcohol. The Suffolk Mountain Rescue Service is a charitable organisation that raises money by its various activities as far away from mountains as possible.  In 2016 it recruited the services of Prince William (who is with the East Anglian Air Ambulance) as its first helicopter pilot.

Top of Page

Suffolk Bitters

For our non-British readers, “Bitter” is an English term for pale ale, and it is probably the most popular type of beer in the UK, so this item will cause some confusion for our British readers expecting to acquaint themselves as to where this alcoholic beverage can be found in Suffolk.  They are referred instead to the preceding article on the Beers & Cyders Named ‘Suffolk’.

Elsewhere, “Bitters” are a form of patent or proprietary medicine made by steeping herbs, roots, and other spices in alcohol, such that the end result is characterised by a bitter or bittersweet flavour.  The earliest origins of bitters can be traced back as far as the ancient Egyptians.  This practice was further developed by medieval apothecaries and bitters were first patented for sale in 18th-century England, where so-called physicians claimed the bitters were remedies for digestive and circulatory disorders.  These bitters could be anywhere from 30 to 50 percent alcohol, so they were also a convenient excuse to drink, particularly at times when indulging in alcoholic beverages was frowned on; an adult could take regular swigs from a bitters bottle “for the sake of his or her good health”.  People believed that bitters worked, because the effects of the alcohol made them feel better, at least temporarily.
Bitters reached their height of popularity in the United States between 1860 and 1910, around the time the Temperance Movement was gaining steam.  “Suffolk Bitters” was a brand-name manufactured from 1865 to 1874 in Boston, taking its name from the county in which that city was located.  The company that manufactured this medicinal drink was ‘Philbrook & Tucker’ on Blackstone Street, Boston, and the full title of their medicine was “Suffolk Bitters Life Preserver”.  It was advertised for ‘the dyspeptic, the bilious and debilitated… an appetizer the invigorating properties of this tonic are unsurpassed’.  Since traces of opium and cocaine were mixed in with the alcohol, it is not too surprising that the medicine had ‘invigorating qualities’.  

The founder of the company, Joseph W Philbrook (1836-1875), began his career as a grocer before going into partnership with Herman Tucker in 1860.  Philbrook bought out the latter’s share in 1874, but died soon after.  The family then sold the business to others, although the name was retained until about 1890 by which time the market for this particular product had declined.

In 19th-century United States, bitters tended to be pricey, and come in fancy, colourful figural glass bottles.  Once the contents were emptied, bitters bottles were often kept as decorative objects, instead of being thrown away.  Suffolk Bitters came in a pig-shaped bottle and today they are very much collectors’ items (see Suffolk Bitters Pig Bottles, in Odds & Ends section below).

Top of Page

Suffolk Pink and Suffolk Rose (Wines)

A few hundred yards south west of Ickworth House, an 18th Century mansion, lies what was once the estate’s walled kitchen garden.  Table Grapes were grown here in Victorian times.  In 1995 the walled garden returned to the cultivation of grapevines when Charles and Jillian Macready planted 2.5 acres of vines, this time with the emphasis on the production of fine English wine.  The south facing slope of the walled garden provides a sheltered and idyllic setting for the Ickworth Vineyard at Horringer, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England.

The Pinot Noir is an internationally renowned red skinned grape used in the production of Champagne and this is also used to produce a rosé called Suffolk Pink.  It is a sparkling wine, bottle fermented in the ‘Méthode Traditionelle’ as is Champagne.  The ‘Suffolk Pink 2002’ won the silver medal in the 2006 English and Welsh Wine of the Year competition.

It should be noted that this wine is not produced from the Suffolk Pink Grape (see Fauna and Flora section, below.)

In 2013 a sparkling white wine was produced by Valley Farm Vineyards at Wissett, near Halesworth in northern Suffolk, and named Suffolk Rose.  The major component is a Pinot gris, bottle-fermented in the traditional manner.  The vineyard was first planted in 1987 and specialises in producing quality grapes. 

Top of Page

Suffolk Wagon (Suffolk Box Wagon) & Suffolk Long Cart

Suffolk Wagon or Suffolk Box Wagon (occasionally called the Suffolk Farmer's Cart): The three counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex are great wheat-growing areas and, being in close proximity to the Netherlands, the high-sided style of wagon common in that country was introduced to eastern England in order to hold and carry far bulkier loads than hitherto had been possible.  The flat terrain made it possible for wagons of a much larger size to be employed that would have been unworkable on the hilly countryside elsewhere in England.  According to “The Cyclopedia of Arts, Sciences & Literature” (Abraham Rees, 1819) the “Suffolk Farmer’s Cart” had only just recently been introduced, so its manufacture probably dates from the end of the 18th century. The entry states: “In agriculture a convenient and useful sort of cart for farm purposes which has lately been introduced into Suffolk with great benefit and advantage.”

East Anglian wheelwrights developed a large open wagon with a box-shaped body, the typical “box-wagon” or “box-cart” of the farm.  This was an improvement over the “bow-wagon” which was a simple wagon with laths (thin narrow strips of wood) bowed over the wheels, similar to mudguards, to prevent the straw from contact with them.  Another feature that distinguished the East Anglian type, other than its larger size, was that the headboard could be adjusted since it was made in two parts and held in place by small keys fixed to short chains.  Another unusual feature was the habit of East Anglian wheelwrights to make the fore wheels smaller in diameter than those to the rear.  Each county had its own style although there was much intermingling with one another, and they did not conform to precise county boundaries.  The Suffolk Wagon can only really be distinguished from the Norfolk Wagon by the Suffolk having a larger wheelbase. 

Suffolk Long Cart: Another farm cart, probably dating back to medieval times, is the Suffolk Long Cart; a two wheeled non tipping cart used for harvesting.



Top of Page

Suffolk Drill & Suffolk Coulter

Being farming country, it is not surprising that Suffolk, England has given its name to a former pre-eminent agricultural machine invented in that county. 

Scattering (or broadcasting) seed by hand is wasteful, since it leads to a poor distribution of seeds and low productivity.  Farmers realised early on that they needed a method to increase the ratio of crop yield to the quantity of seeds sown.  All crops grow best at a certain density, which varies depending on the soil and weather conditions.  Additional seeding above this limit will actually reduce crop yields, in spite of more seeds being sown, as there will be competition among them for the minerals, water and soil available.  Drilling is a method of improving this ratio and the drill plough was invented by both the ancient Chinese and Babylonians.  Drilling is making a shallow furrow in as straight a line as possible, funnelling seeds into it at a constant rate, and then closing the furrow.  Straight lines were necessary so that neat rows were spaced out making hoeing (weeding) easier to perform.  This whole process was labour-intensive, and by the 18th century the requirement was how to mechanise this process in an efficient manner.
The first successful mechanisation was by Jethro Tull in England in 1701.  It was a machine with a box (a hopper) filled with seed that had pipes leading from it to the ground.  A rotating cylinder with grooves cut into it allowed the seed to pass at a constant rate from the hopper into the pipes set at regular distances from each other.  Arranged in front of the pipes was a set of knife blades known as coulters. In operation, the seed drill was dragged forward to allow the coulters to cut open the soil, and the seed was deposited along grooves in the coulters to direct the seed into the freshly cut soil at regular intervals. The seeds could then be covered by a harrow that followed from behind.  This sowed the seeds in three neat rows, limited the wastage and made the crop easier to weed.  This basic design was improved with the use of levers to adjust the height, and more pipes and coulters being attached to allow more rows to be dug in what became known as the Norfolk Block Drill.  

By 1800 the old Norfolk Block Drill was the only one in use, where all the coulters were fixed in one transverse wooden beam, but could not be moved independently from each other.  This had the disadvantage of not being able to plant the seeds at a uniform depth on uneven or sloping ground.  What was needed was a mechanical device that allowed the coulter system to ride over uneven ground, with pressure being applied to the coulter to deliver the seed continuously at a specified depth, thus preventing gaps where the seeds had not fallen that resulted in bare patches in the cropfields.

In 1800 James Smyth, a wh
eelwright at Peasenhall in Suffolk, his brother Jonathan and a local farmer, Robert Wardley, produced the first seed drill in which each coulter was fixed to an independent lever for ready adjustment to different widths, and devised a method using springs where pressure could be exerted to ensure that the seeds would be planted at a uniform depth.  A further improvement was a steerage method by which the ploughman, walking behind the moving drill, could hold the transverse line of coulters steady, and thus preserve the parallel straight lines of planting when the horse or wheels of the drill strayed from a straight line.  James Smyth later also introduced a feature that enabled the machine to deliver manure and seed at the same time.  It was now possible to plant the correct amount of seed at the right depth.  This greater control meant that seeds germinated consistently and it resulted in a much-improved crop yield.  

These and other improvements Smyth made set the pattern for one of the principal types of seed drill used in Britain.  It became known as the Suffolk Drill.  Smyth’s firm (The Suffolk Seed Drill Company) became the leading specialist manufacturer of seed drills.  Soon, Suffolk Drills were being sold all across Britain and into export markets. James Smyth died in 1843. His son, James, carried on the business, which remained in family control, and the reputation of their drills was so good that Smyths were able to remain and expand in this rather isolated village in Suffolk.   However, the family was bought out in the 1960s and the factory was closed down in 1967, after 167 years of production.

Although the original Suffolk Drill has been superseded by better modern seed-drill machines, and the delivery of seed is now under computer control, the original design for the coulter still survives today and is known throughout the world as the Suffolk Coulter.



Top of Page                                                                                                                                                                 Suffolk Coulter

Suffolk Scythe

The scythe as a reaping implement is first recorded as being used around 500 BC, & is probably named after the Scythians; a nomadic pastoralist people who lived in the area around the Caspian Sea & eastwards into modern day Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan, who used a similar tool to the modern day scythe to harvest hemp. The Romans are known to have used them, & it was probably they who first brought the scythe to Britain.

According to East Anglian Crafts by Norman Smedley (1977), the Suffolk Scythe was the favoured scythe in the eastern counties of England prior to the introduction of the American Scythe. Usually made from ash, birch or alder, the “snaith” or shaft of the Suffolk Scythe is curved in an ‘s’ shape, & is, at around 5 ft 10 in, shorter than the English Scythe, which usually measures around 6 ft.  The last foot or of the Suffolk Scythe shaft is hexagonal in section & ends in a point.  At around 4 ft, the “chine” or blade is longer than the 3 ft blade of the American Scythe.

Top of Page

Suffolk Wheel Plough & Suffolk Swing Plough

Many counties & regions of England had their own particular type of wooden framed plough prior to the nineteenth century; most of which had remained unchanged for centuries & were suited to the terrain & soil of the area concerned.

By the 1830s, J.R. & A. Ransome of Ipswich (later Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies) were making more than eighty different types of plough, many bearing the names of counties such as Essex, Kent, Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire. Two bearing the name Suffolk were also being produced at this time. They are described in The Farmer’s Magazine of February 1835: 


The Suffolk Wheel Plough: This plough is described as having a single handle, two wheels & a high, rather cumbersome carriage. It was ideally suited to the lighter soils of Suffolk & elsewhere in East Anglia.

The Suffolk Swing Plough: The Suffolk Swing Plough is described as having a single handle &, apart from the beam & draught irons, being similar in structure to the Suffolk Wheel Plough. It was very popular in East Anglia at that time.

Top of Page

More Agricultural Implements named after Suffolk

The Suffolk Heavy Harrow, Suffolk Horse Drag Rake, Suffolk Portable Thrashing Machine & Suffolk Crusher: These were all recognised makes of agricultural implements that were advertised for sale in the farming journals of the 19th century.  They are referred to with illustrations in The Implements of Agriculture (1843) by James Allen Ransome.  In each case a modification to the basic design and dimensions had been made by Ransomes of Ipswich for suitability in the use of these implements on the soils of Suffolk & elsewhere in East Anglia.

Top of Page

Suffolk Punch Lawn Mowers

Named after Suffolk’s famous heavy horse, the Suffolk Punch lawn mower was first produced in 1954, manufactured by Suffolk Lawn Mowers at the Suffolk Iron Foundries at Stowmarket, England.  It is seen as the first modern motor lawn mower due to its compact but powerful four stroke petrol engine; many of its design features being later adopted by other manufacturers & with most domestic cylinder mowers still having a similar layout and appearance today. Many thousands were sold, not just in the UK, but also overseas. In 1958, Qualcast acquired Suffolk Lawn Mowers; continuing to manufacture in Stowmarket, & in 1991 moving their entire lawn mower operations there. Other mowers with the Suffolk name were also produced over the years, from the 1950s through to the 1980s. These included the Suffolk Colt, Suffolk Pony, Suffolk Squire, Suffolk Corporation, Suffolk Auto-Swift & Suffolk Super Colt. In 2006 a new range of Suffolk Punch lawn mowers, both electric & petrol, was launched. These include:                                                                                               14SK

Suffolk Punch SP 12E Electric Cylinder Lawn Mower

Suffolk Punch 14SK 14 inch Self Propelled Petrol Cylinder Lawn mower

Suffolk Punch 17SK 17 inch Self Propelled Petrol Cylinder Lawn mower

Top of Page

Suffolk Barns

Many areas of Britain have their own distinctive style of local architecture, and in an agricultural region such as Suffolk there are traditional farm buildings.  The Suffolk Barn is such a building.  Modern barns are typically steel buildings.  However, prior to the 1900s, most barns were timber framed forming very strong structures to withstand storms and heavy loads of animal feed.  The typical structure is common to most eastern counties and comprises a large double wagon door on its lateral side rather than at the end of the barn.  The barns are normally without a basement and stand on level ground.  The interior has a central open area that acted as a threshing floor in previous days, and also divided the building into two separate areas, one for hay and grain storage and the other for livestock.  In the USA this design is known as the English Barn, and was most popular in the northeast region of the United States, where the early American pioneers brought a design familiar to them as most of these colonists came from eastern England.

Suffolk Barns are noted for using material and colours that are specific to the landscape of East Anglia.  Oak is grown locally and is used as the main timber framework and support.  Suffolk Barns are tiled with traditional red and pink pantiles that create the familiar ridge and furrow profile distinctive to the whole of the east side of England and Scotland.  This is a geographical feature that is a legacy of the days when the main trade contacts for the eastern counties were with Holland and Belgium, and clay pantiles were brought back from those countries as ballast in the ships. 

Top of Page

Suffolk Horseshoe, Suffolk Bell & Suffolk Basket - Corn Dollies

Corn dollies are intricately woven straw shapes, usually constructed from wheat, oats, rye or barley. Prior to the advent of the combine harvester, they were made as part of the ritual that accompanied the cutting of the last sheath of corn; symbolising the capturing of the corn spirit. They would then be hung in the farmhouse until the following spring, when they would be returned to the field, thus releasing the spirit to be reborn in that year’s crop. As a symbol of fertility, they are also sometimes given as wedding gifts. 


Many counties throughout Britain came to have special “trademark” designs. Suffolk has the Suffolk Basket (see photo, right), the Suffolk Bell & the Suffolk Horseshoe; the latter also having a variant called the Suffolk Horseshoe & Whip (see photo, left).

Top of Page

“Suffolk Punch” Steam Tractor

In October 1917 the engineering company Richard Garrett and Sons Ltd of Leiston, Suffolk, launched the “Suffolk Punch” steam tractor intended to compete directly with internal combustion-powered alternatives. The company had long been associated with steam-driven equipment for use on both road and farm. As its promotion campaign proclaimed:  ‘the “Suffolk Punch” is a most apt name.  It fully merits this appellation on account of its sound and robust construction, its hauling power and the ease with which it can he handled’.

One of the chief advantages claimed for this new steam-driven tractor, was that it could do duty all the year round.  It could be employed on both farm and road.  It was stated to be equally suitable for ploughing and threshing, drawing reapers and binders, cultivators, harrows, etc., as well as for driving such machinery as a saw bench, grist mill or chaff cutter.  On the road the machine could haul a load of 10 tons, enabling it to transport farm produce efficiently.  The “Suffolk Punch” was geared to a fast speed of 5 miles per hour in addition to ordinary ploughing speed.  The driver’s position at the front gave him a full and uninterrupted view of the road, and of the field when ploughing.  In general design it was arranged on
the principle of motorcar steerage, and the various controlling levers were situated so as to be easily accessible from the driver’s seat.  The boiler was of the locomotive type, and was fitted with a specially large firebox.  A superheater was fitted in the smokebox, thus increasing economy both in fuel and water consumption.  

Garretts was a family business from 1778 to 1932, after which the company passed into the hands of Beyer Peacock.  The works finally closed in 1981.  However, the historic core was preserved and opened as The Long Shop Museum, Leiston, in 1984.  It includes the sole surviving “Suffolk Punch” steam tractor on display.

In 1925 Garrett developed a ‘modern’ steam-powered tractor also known as the “Suffolk Punch” (see image, right).  It included a 40 HP engine and was designed for ploughing, pulling work and threshing.  It was too expensive to compete with other tractors and only eight were built.

Top of Page

Suffolk Billhook

In bygone days, tools and equipment for use on the farm and countryside were produced by the local blacksmith.  Since each craftsman was concerned to make tools specifically for his own locality, there was considerable variation in design to suit local conditions.  Thus, the simple billhook varies from region to region in the British Isles, and several hundred different patterns of billhook have come into existence.  The Suffolk Billhook (see picture, right) was designed for cutting undergrowth in banks and edges that were mostly below the level of the worker’s hands.  Consequently the blade was heavier at the front and, to deal with the rough sedge, rushes and roots, the Suffolk Billhook has a slightly convex blade with a short straight bevel (a projection from the edge) at the end for dealing with roots.   





Top of Page

The “Suffolk Boys”

In the last years before the outbreak of the First World War, the New Zealand government initiated a scheme of immigration for farm boys.  They were brought out to alleviate a shortage of farm labour.  Each contingent would comprise 50 boys mainly recruited from orphanages in the UK, who  were to be trained in all aspects of farming life.  The first group arrived in January 1911 on board the SS Athenic.  A second group came out in January 1914 on the SS Ayrshire, and the third contingent arrived in March 1914 on the SS Suffolk.  When war clouds gathered later that year, the scheme was abandoned.

The SS Suffolk arrived in Auckland on the 1st March 1914, and the 51 youths in the party were immediately dubbed the “Suffolk Boys”, although they actually came from all over the United Kingdom.  In fact, there was only one farm boy actually from Suffolk: Sidney Pledger from Stoke-by-Clare (standing at 6 foot and born in 1892, he was hardly a boy!).

These immigrants had to enter a contract with the New Zealand government whereby they agreed to work for an approved farmer for a period not less than one year at a wage of not less than 7s 6d (37½ pence) per week, with board, lodging and clothing.  Their wages were to be paid into a post office account under the control of the Labour Department from which they were given weekly pocket money.  If a boy reneged on the agreement, except in cases of serious illness, he had to pay the New Zealand government the full cost of the passage to the country (£8).

“The Suffolk boys appear to be intelligent, sturdy, well-mannered young fellows, who should very soon develop into first-class farm hands and good citizens” (Otago Daily Times, 5 March 1914).  We assume they lived up to this early promise, since the tag “a Suffolk boy” stuck for some time in New Zealand farming circles as a measure of praise.

Top of Page

The Suffolk Latch & Suffolk Hinge

Originating in Suffolk, England during the sixteenth century, the Suffolk Latch was in common use until the early part of the nineteenth century; becoming popular throughout Britain & spreading to Europe & America. Often used on garden gates, wooden doors & sheds, the Suffolk Latch incorporates a simple thumb actuated lever. It differs from the later developed Norfolk Latch in that it has no back plate to which the thumbpiece is attached. Originally hand forged by blacksmiths, Suffolk Latches have now become popular once again & are manufactured from a variety of materials such as wrought iron, steel, brass, pewter & wood.

William Twopeny (1797-1873), whose drawings of architecture, furniture, woodwork and ironwork were accumulated over many years of travel throughout Britain, is sometimes said to have given the Suffolk Latch its name.


A development from the Suffolk Latch is the Suffolk Hinge.  A hinge is a mechanism allowing a door, gate or shutter to swing on a fixed point or post.  Hinges come in various sizes and patterns, each with a different use. They are invariably described by the shape they most closely resemble.  The two classic hinges are the T-hinge and the L-hinge, and they can come in various decorative designs, but the most common are the penny (or bean)-head end and the arrow-head end.  With the Suffolk Latch, the latch part (the opening/closing mechanism on the opposite side of the door from the thumb actuated lever) was invariably shaped with a penny (or bean)-head end, and this has given rise in North America to this shape being referred to as the “Suffolk” type.  Thus, in North America hinges of this shape are known as Suffolk Hinges.  With the economy in language, let alone print-space, that this provides, this American definition is now becoming more prevalent on this side of the Atlantic.



In North America described as a Suffolk Strap Hinge (in Britain a T-shaped hinge with penny head end)





In North America described as a Suffolk L-Hinge (in Britain an L-shaped hinge with penny head end)



Top of Page

Suffolk Door, Suffolk Door Knob and Suffolk Rim Knob

A particular type of internal frame and ledge door is made in what is known as the Suffolk-style; in other words a “Suffolk Door”.  These have a distinctive look with a plain front containing vertical panels within a frame, and the back of the door has a raised frame with a matching single ledge running horizontally across the centre.  The central ledge makes it easy to create a half-glazed door that has the effect of providing greater light and brightness to the room.  

The Suffolk Door is a traditional design found in cottages, and certainly known from the 17th century, but is not especially specific to this county in England.  However, like many other traditional items associated with the rural countryside, it has come to be known as the Suffolk Door.  Traditionally, it was made from solid oak, but modern doors can be made of other material, including UPVC (plastic).  In North America this design is called the “Mexicano” and seems to differ only in the material used, which is traditionally from American White Oak.  

     Internal Suffolk                Internal Suffolk              Glazed Suffolk    
          Door (Front)                        Door (Back)                             Door


Suffolk Door Knob: There is also a “Suffolk Door Knob” (see image, below), although we are not sure how specific this is to the county, or whether it is really a particular design. 

Door handles/knobs are surprisingly recent. The first documented invention of the door handle with its turning spindle and spring mechanism was patented in the USA in 1878.  However, the use of handles and knobs on doors is documented by illustrations in sales catalogues, extending back into the 18th century.

Really traditional Suffolk Doors have the Suffolk Latch (see The Suffolk Latch  & Suffolk Hinge, above) rather than a door knob, and advertisements for cottages often have the phrase “Suffolk doors with Suffolk latches” as a selling point.  Our guess is that if a Suffolk Door has a doorknob instead of a latch, an astute salesman would undoubtedly call it a “Suffolk Doorknob”.

However, the Suffolk Rim Knob is certainly a recognised design (see image, left).  A Rim Knob is a pair of door knobs designed specifically to fit onto a Rim Latch.  They are available with or without a lock mechanism.  The main difference is that only one of the knobs will have a Rose Plate (the circular plate to which handles and knobs are attached), the other fits directly onto the Rim Latch/Lock.  The latter is a traditional latch or lock mechanism which is concealed in its own case and is fixed onto the inside face of a door rather than morticed into the frame. 


Top of Page

Suffolk Puffs

In the sewing world a Suffolk Puff or Yo-Yo is a little circle of fabric that is traditionally used in quilting and patchwork.  They are simply circles of fabric, formed in such a way that the fabric is gathered in the middle, giving them a puffed look in the centre.  The puffed look can be enhanced by putting some wadding or padding underneath. 

This technique dates back to before the Victorian era, and “puffs” are first recorded in 1601.  However, puffs made mainly from old worn out clothes and fabric scraps seem to have originated in Suffolk, England, in the 19th century among the families of the agricultural labourers, who were keen not to waste anything.  Pieces were sewn together to make quilts and Suffolk Puffs became the name of this type of patchwork by the end of the century.   

Suffolk Puffs were especially popular from about 1910 to the 1950s and were mostly used as one-patch units in random scrappy designs or geometric arrangements to construct coverlets, pillow shams
, cot quilts and the like. They were great for using small scraps and recycled fabrics and were often made by children and beginners as well as frugal homemakers.

In America the same type of quilting is now known as a “Yo-Yo quilt”.  It is thought that this name derived from the popularity of the toy of that name, and in some respects the round shape and bunching of material resembles the yo-yo toy.  The toy was known by this name in the Philippines in the 19th century, but is not recorded in America until 1916 when an article about Filipino toys appeared in the “Scientific American” magazine.  The toy was introduced to America in 1928 by a Filipino businessman, so the name given to the quiltwork probably originated after this year.    


Top of Page

Suffolk Bay Cocktail Tables

In 1943 the Hammary Furniture Company was established in North Carolina, USA, and took its name after its founder, Hamilton (Ham) Bruce and his wife, Mary.  From 1947 Mr Bruce began to manufacture a group of occasional tables, and soon the company started producing mahogany and gum tables with leather tops exclusively, all in genuine Honduras mahogany.

One of the range of designs manufactured by the company is the “Suffolk Bay” cocktail table collection.  This takes its name from the former name of a bay on the island of Saint Vincent (see The Ones That Got Away page).  The range was inspired by the stately plantations of 19th Century British West Indies; a colonial period that adapted the furniture styles of Georgian England with the materials available from the islands.  The tables are crafted from Honduras Pine with bases made from a combination of cast resin and aluminum, and have clear glass tops.  This wood provides a high durability, and the carved motifs on the panelwork reflect a Caribbean flavour. 

Top of Page

The Suffolk Chair

The Suffolk Chair (see photo, right) is an upright wooden chair with a thin curved seat set on a stool base, which evolved in Suffolk, England over the course of several centuries. Usually made from elm, oak or mahogany, the characteristic that makes the chair unique to Suffolk is the design of the back, which has small wooden bobbins (usually three) set between two horizontal rails.






Another type of chair originally from Suffolk is the Mendlesham Chair (see photo, left). Created during the period 1780 & 1820, by father & son Daniel & Richard Day in the village of Mendlesham in central Suffolk, the Mendlesham Chair has a solid wooden seat, with an inclined back which is a separate construction from the legs. There is also a “window” or gap at the base of the back frame.




Top of Page

Suffolk Lantern Clock

This is an antique piece that is occasionally seen for sale at auctions.  It is thought by many people to be a specific style of clock.  However, it basically describes an old lantern clock that was made in the county of Suffolk, England.  

A lantern clock is a type of antique, weight-driven wall clock that strikes the hours on a large overhead bell.  The name is probably a corruption of the French word “laiton” meaning brass, the main metal of which lantern clocks are made, although the clock’s shape resembles the rectangular lanterns of that period that were also hung on the wall.  They were the first type of clock widely used in private homes.  It is generally accepted that the first lantern clocks in England were made by Huguenots who had fled from Flanders and France to London at the end of the 16th century.  Lantern clocks became common in Britain from around 1620, and rapidly settled into an established design which continued largely unchanged for about 150 years.  

Before the invention of the pendulum in 1656, lantern clocks had a limited accuracy to perhaps 15 minutes per day and, as such, almost all lantern clocks have just one clock hand, the one that indicates the hours.  The pendulum increased the accuracy of clocks to such a degree that existing lantern clocks were converted with pendulums being added to the back.  However, clockmakers kept building most lantern clocks without minute hands as a matter of tradition.  Longcase clocks with 8-day timekeeping made lantern clocks obsolete, and lantern clocks disappeared from London in the first decades of the 18th century.  In rural areas they continued to be produced until the beginning of the 19th century.

Most clockmakers were in London before 1640, but after this date Bristol and Salisbury also became important locations for clockmaking.  The earliest reference to the craft in Suffolk is with Robert Sparke of Cockfield, who died in 1648 and is described as a clockmaker in his will.  The first lantern clock in Suffolk is believed to have been made by Luke Cocksedge of Bradfield St George, who was still alive in 1652.  Both these locations are on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds, and this town in Suffolk became a major centre of clockmaking from the 17th to 19th centuries.

Although he was not the earliest clockmaker in the town, Richard Rayment (c.1686-1754) of Bury St Edmunds is the best-known and most prolific maker of lantern clocks from around 1714 until his death in 1754.  Rayment’s lantern clocks have an individual style about them, particularly with regard to the half hour markers between the numerals which are nearly always lozenge-shaped.  Other clockmakers of this period, especially in East Anglia, copied this style and, to this extent, it could be said that this represents the “Suffolk Lantern Clock”.   



Lantern clock by Richard Rayment c.1720

Top of Page

Suffolk Kiln

Brick making has taken place since the Roman period, but after the departure of the Romans from Britain there was little requirement for bricks; timber and stone being in plentiful supply.  The revival of brick making in eastern England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries was a result of an increasing shortage of good timber, and the influence of Europe where brickwork was used much more extensively.  By the Tudor period brickmaking is recorded in the Woolpit area in 1574 (see  Suffolk White Bricks, below).

Bricks are moulded from clay and sand mixed with water to the desired consistency, and then laid out to dry.  Even after drying in air the green (raw) bricks contain water, so the shaped clay is then “fired” (burned) to finish the drying process and achieve strength.  The simplest way to do this is with a large pile of bricks and fuel mixed together and ignited.  The main problem is there is little control over the final temperature.  The knowledge and experience of the brickmaker was critical to the process to know when the correct temperature was reached, and when the heat should be allowed to slowly dissipate over a period of time.  Overheating can cause distortion and cracked bricks, whilst others left under fired are too soft for use.  

There were very few kilns at first, and production was only seasonal.  Bricks were generally fired on site in “clamps” by itinerant workers near to the clay source.  A clamp was a temporary construction of unfired or green (raw) bricks which was dismantled after firing, and could be transported and erected near to the clay source.  Clamps varied, but there were general rules which most followed.  The floor had to be level and was made of burnt brick.  Channels were made in the floor and filled with fuel, usually crushed coke but any fuel would suffice, wood and charcoal commonly being used.  An average size clamp would take two or three weeks to burn out.

Eventually most sites developed some form of permanent kiln, the earliest of these being the updraught kilns.  The most basic was the Scotch Kiln that had four walls and was open at the top, with side doors to fireholes that led under a perforated floor onto which the bricks were stacked.  The heat passed up through the bricks and out of the top of the kiln.  It took approximately three days to burn off the moisture from the bricks, at which point the firing was increased for the final burn.  The whole cycle usually took about a week.

A later development came to be known as a Suffolk Kiln after the practice found in that county.  These were fired on the same principle, but the kilns were smaller and built into a bank.  One reason for this was to provide ease of access for loading and unloading from the side wall rather than from the end, and since the bank itself acted as a natural chimney, it enhanced the kiln’s draw and provided better insulation.  The Ebernoe Brickworks in West Sussex has a Suffolk Kiln, built before 1795, which is now a scheduled ancient monument.

The Suffolk Kiln and other early types of kiln are now obsolete.  Modern kilns are downdraught kilns where the heat is pulled through the bricks from the draught created by a large chimney above the kiln.

Please sign the Guestbook

Top of Page

Suffolk White Bricks

Suffolk White Bricks (sometimes known as Woolpit White Bricks) are made from Gault or boulder clay found in the area around the village of Woolpit in central Suffolk, England, that was laid down during the Cretaceous period around 120 million years ago.  The clay in this area contains a high chalk content unique to Suffolk that, when fired, turns the bricks a creamy white colour.  The deposits also contain red veins which were used to make the more conventional red bricks. Suffolk White Bricks, however, gained a reputation for being more durable & of superior quality, henceforth they were much sought after & became twice as expensive to buy compared to the red variety.


Brickmaking is first recorded in the Woolpit area in 1574 & continued for almost four hundred years; production finally ceasing in the early 1950s. Many buildings in Suffolk were faced with White Bricks from Woolpit, such as the Great White Horse Hotel in Ipswich, Hengrave Hall, & many buildings in & around Bury St Edmunds.  With the coming of the railways in the nineteenth century, Suffolk White Bricks began to be exported further afield.

Other places in Suffolk also made White Bricks, such as Ballingdon on the River Stour; once a separate village, but now a suburb of Sudbury. It was from here that White Bricks were transported to London for use in buildings such as the Royal Albert Hall.

There is a popular story that Suffolk White Bricks were shipped to America & used in the construction of the White House in Washington DC (built between 1792 & 1800).  There are even sources that suggest that the bricks were loaded onto ships from the barge quay at Martlesham, before setting sail down the River Deben on their journey to America. Sadly this seems to be no more than an “urban myth”, as the White House is built primarily of white-painted Aquia sandstone sourced from Virginia. It seems that someone equated “White House” with “White Bricks” & the legend grew up around this erroneous assumption.  However, if anyone knows any different, please let me know by emailing

Top of Page

Suffolk Sailcloth

“Suffolk”, as well as “Ipswich” & “Double Ipswich”, are three types of sailcloth known to have been exported from Ipswich during the late sixteenth & early seventeenth centuries, during a period when sail making flourished in the town. Sadly no records survive today to tell us exactly what qualities or features made “Suffolk” sailcloth unique.

Top of Page

Suffolk Hempen Cloth

This was a name given to a particular type of linen once renowned for its quality throughout Britain.  In the 18th and early 19th centuries the end product came from factories in Norwich, but such was its fame that the good people of Norfolk had to swallow their pride and it was advertised for sale as “Suffolk Hempen Cloth”.

Small scale flax production was once widespread throughout the eastern counties, but by Tudor times it had become concentrated in the Waveney valley on the borders of Norfolk and Suffolk, particularly at Bungay (in Suffolk) and Diss (in Norfolk).  In the 17th century the small town of Diss in Norfolk became the centre for the collection and distribution of Suffolk Hempen Cloth at its cloth-hall.  Later, the unbleached linen cloth was sent to better equipped factories at Norwich where it was dressed, improved and dyed.  The industry reached its peak in the early part of the 19th century during the Napoleonic Wars, but the return of peace brought competition from cheaper linen overseas, particularly from the Irish linen industry.  By the end of the 1850s the industry had become obsolete.  Attempts to revive it later in the century failed, and Suffolk Hempen Cloth passed into history.

Top of Page

The Suffolk Suit

Several styles of suits originated in England. The Eton and Rugby suits are named after the English schools where the styles originated.  Two styles carry the names of English counties. The Norfolk Suit was named after the Duke of Norfolk who first conceived of it.  The origins of the lesser known Suffolk Suit are not known, but it came about during the late 19th century.  Although not as popular as the Norfolk Suit, there are frequent advertisements for the Suffolk Suit in the newspapers of Britain, America, Australia and New Zealand up to 1914.  

It is believed that the Suffolk Suit evolved from a ploughman’s or horseman’s suit, made to a basic design, but tailored to the individual’s instructions.  Ploughmen and horsemen were exceedingly proud of their identity, and to show it off at shows and at the market place they wore a special uniform.  One of the special features was a horseshoe button on the pockets of the jacket.  The original early ones were made of horn and shaped like a horse’s hoof with a metal horseshoe on top.  It was important to place the button with the open end upwards ‘to keep ones luck from falling out’.  Unlike the Norfolk Suit with its aristocratic origin from the Duke of Norfolk, the origin of the Suffolk Suit was considered to be that of a rustic working suit, made to the liking of individual ploughmen.  Each suit was a bespoke design, and apparently it was much resented if another ploughman or horseman tried to copy the same design. 

The general design became fashionable for young boys’ wear by the end of the 19th century.  Suffolk Suits were advertised for boys from 6 to 13 years of age.  They were knicker suits consisting of a coat vest, and “plain” knickers.  “Plain” knickers meant that the kneepants were open at the hem, without buckles to fasten below the knee.  Knickers with straps or buckles to fasten below the knee cost extra.  The suit was belted and had a small, but distinct high set lapel.  While the Norfolk Suit was commonly worn with an Eton collar, it was less common to wear a Suffolk Suit with the Eton collar, although this was optional.  Suits came in a variety of materials, including navy serge, indigo dye soft finish, fancy tweeds, English tweed, fancy worsteds, and all wool sergette.

While the suit was created in England and most widely worn there, the style spread to most other English-speaking countries. 

Top of Page

The Suffolk Jacket & Suffolk Chef's Jacket

It seems that the Norfolk and Suffolk suits (see above) also gave rise to a style of jacket that is still common today.

A Norfolk Jacket traditionally has deep pleats running down either side of the front button opening, as if braces (suspenders) were incorporated in the jacket, and is single breasted with three pockets.  A Norfolk also has a full belt, either with a leather buckle, or with two leather buttons in the front.  The lower two pockets are often of the buttoning bellows with flaps variety, much like a Safari Jacket.

The related style, known as a Suffolk Jacket, is similar but used to have deep hidden pleats just behind the shoulder armhole, with a half belt sewn on the back of the jacket, or often without a belt at all, and deep bellows with flap pockets in the lower front.

In the US these are often called “hacking jackets”, and the pleated shoulder was highly favoured by golfers in the 1920s as the jacket was not likely to tear apart during the average golf swing.

Some authorities on clothwear consider the term Suffolk Jacket to be meaningless today, mainly because for some reason it has come to describe a chef’s double breasted white tunic.  However, there are plenty of advertisements that show this name to still be applicable today, although, as the illustrations below indicate, the name can nowadays apply to a wide range of different designs, all called a Suffolk Jacket, including longer womens coats & more formal jackets.








Suffolk Chef’s Jacket: There is no explanation as to why this style of chef’s wear is known as the Suffolk Chef’s Jacket.  Much of the chef’s uniform has developed out of necessity.  The jacket, for example, is double-breasted so it can easily be reversed to hide stains that may accumulate throughout the day; the double layer of cotton is also designed to insulate the chef’s body against the intense heat of the stove or an accidental splattering of hot liquid.  Even the knotted cloth buttons were fashioned for a reason - cloth will withstand the frequent washings and abuse buttons often take from contact with pots, pans and other heavy equipment.  The Suffolk Chef’s Jacket has the reversible front, a Mandarin collar, and a stud closure front. It is, naturally, unisex.

Have you signed the Guestbook yet?

Top of Page

A. L. C. Suffolk Dress

Launched in 2014 this (in fashion parlance) is “a plunge-front jersey dress featuring a deep V neck and pleating and draping at the front, with ruching at yoke and shoulders; an exposed zip and ruching at back; extra-long sleeves and a jersey lining at skirt”.  ‘Ruching’ is a series of folds or pleats that produces many small vertical ripples in the fabric.  A. L. C. stands for Andrea Lieberman Collection.

Born and raised in New York City, Andrea Lieberman graduated from the Parsons School of Design in Greenwich Village.  She went on to work with some of the best fashion houses, and after several years of world travel, Andrea returned to New York to open her retail store Culture and Reality. The store became a cult sensation and introduced her into the world of styling.

She created costume and wardrobe notably for Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz among others.  Now based in Los Angeles, Andrea Lieberman introduced her own ready to-wear fashion label, A. L. C., in 2009.  As the sales blurb says: “Andrea Lieberman’s clothing line, A. L. C., provides a smart and versatile wardrobe for alpha-females”.

We assume that the name ‘Suffolk’ is applied to evoke the usual image of a pleasant, warm and comfortable feeling associated with that county, either the one on Long Island which is in close proximity to Andrea Lieberman’s home town, or the county in England. 

Top of Page

Rag & Bone Suffolk Dresses

Another case where ‘Suffolk’ is used as a brand name by the designer house “Rag & Bone”, based in New York City.  It is used on two of their women’s dresses: the Suffolk Tie Dress in White (left image) released in 2014 and the Suffolk Denim Apron Sleeveless Dress (right image) released in 2016.  

From its origins in New York in 2002, Rag & Bone instantly distinguished itself.  The irony is that people think Rag & Bone is American, but it was founded by two British school friends, David Neville and Marcus Wainwright.   
The two met at boarding school in Berkshire, England; neither has a connection with Suffolk.  Both worked in London, Marcus moved to New York where his future wife was then working and David soon followed.  In the beginning, all they had to draw on for inspiration was the New York tradition.  Using local American manufacturing craftsmanship and attention to detail as a guide, they brought a blend of English heritage in beautifully constructed designs that were about quality and authenticity, rather than about the brand.

The pair worked from home from 2002 to 2006 when they acquired their first office.  Rag & Bone opened its first store on Christopher Street in New York in 2008.  Today, there are 36 Rag & Bone stores in the United States.  Internationally, there is a single store in London in Soho as well as franchise houses in several other countries.  David Neville ran the business side and Marcus Wainwright directed the creative side, including design and marketing.  Both were co-CEOs until 2016 when David Neville relinquished his day-to-day responsibilities in order to pursue other projects.  Marcus Wainwright continues as sole CEO.  Neville remains one of the largest shareholders in the business, which now has a turnover of more than $300 million.

Top of Page

Lady Suffolk Bikini

The allure of the name ‘Suffolk’, conjuring up pleasing and tasteful fashions, has reached the Latin American shores of Colombia where the Maaji fashion house has produced this little number.  Its price tag in the USA was $128.00.  Somehow, we do not think the name ‘Lady Suffolk’ was inspired by the famous American race horse of that name (see entry below).  Unfortunately, the product has been sold out and is no longer available.  We will, however, repeat the promotional review: “A gorgeous reversible bikini top with soft cups, removable straps, floral print, multi-strap and ties at back.  The matching reversible low rise hipster bikini bottom has floral print.  The swimsuits are fully lined and fully reversible – flip them inside out for a whole new look.”  That is the boring bit over - see photo, left.

Maaji swimwear creations are said to have a high reputation.  It is a company started by two Colombian sisters, Amalia and Manuela Sierra, in 2003 in their native town of Sabaneta in Antioquia department in Colombia.  The name “Maaji” was inspired by a fish of this name (hence the allusion to swimwear) found off Japan and the East India Sea.  Its scientific name is Trachurus japonicus and the common English name is Japanese horse mackerel.  

The sisters started creating garments designed for women who wanted to feel pretty and comfortable with a laidback trendy style and a fresh attitude. Today Maaji is present in more than 57 countries and continues to expand globally.  Design and manufacturing are one hundred percent Colombian, and provide work for over 400 people both at their workshop and in the surrounding neighbourhood.  Maaji has expanded its product lines from swimwear into underwear, sandals, children’s lines and swimwear for men; 95% of its products are exported.

Top of Page

Rhythm ‘Suffolk’ Clothwear

The name ‘Suffolk’ has been chosen for some of its products by the Rhythm brand.  In this case it relates to the Australian resort of Suffolk Park (see Suffolk Park, NSW page).  This should not be surprising since Rhythm was founded in 2003 by Australian surfers at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, Queensland.  Suffolk Park, a renowned surfers’ beach, is only 83km (52 miles) south of Burleigh Heads, and the company sponsored the local boy from Suffolk Park, Kieren Perrow, for a number of years.  Kieren was a professional surfer, ranked number 6 in 2003, a Pipeline winner, and regarded as one of the sports most fearless riders, achieving some notable “firsts” on the waves he rode. 
The ‘Suffolk’ name is attach
ed to the following Rhythm wear.  Rhythm Suffolk Trilby Hat in Black, Brown and Olive (see photos, left).  This hat, made of felt, has a classic wide brim style with a leather knot.  Although called a trilby, it is far from the traditional trilby that has a narrow brim and indented crown.   The Rhythm Women’s Suffolk Wool Felt Hat is very similar.

Rhythm Suffolk Jam Shorts (see photo, below) - for the uninitiated, this baggy and supposedly ‘Bohemian’ look was first popularised by surfers in the 1960s.  The word ‘jam’ is a shortened form of ‘pyjama’ bottom, which is exactly where the original cut-off design came from.  For the more discerning shopper, this apparel is also referred to as the Rhythm Suffolk Trunk Boardshorts.

There is also a line known as Rhythm Suffolk Knit.  This is a range of knitted jumpers and cardigans in various styles and colours for men and women.  

The Rhythm Suffolk Long Sleeve Shirt is yet another item in the Suffolk range (see below under Suffolk Check in Suffolk Stripe and Suffolk Check).

The Rhythm Suffolk Beanie was launched in December 2016.  In parts of the English-speaking world, this type of knitted hat is traditionally called a “beanie”, but in parts of Canada and the U.S., the word “beanie” is used to denote a completely different, less floppy, cap that is not knitted, but rather made up of joined panels of felt, twill, or other tightly woven cloth.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, the etymology is uncertain, but probably derives from the late 19th century slang term “bean”, meaning “head”.  The term “beanie” for this type of headwear came into use in c.1940 when knit caps were standard cold-weather apparel for the U.S. Navy.  This widespread use turned the humble knit cap into a postwar pop culture icon, known as the “beanie”. (There is also another hand-knitted Suffolk Beanie as shown in the next article).


Launched in Australia in 2003, Rhythm is a company influenced by surf and sound and its brand ethos is “The Sound of Change”.  The company was founded by surfers Jamahl Grey and Neal Purchase Jnr.  The latter not only surfs amazingly well, but he is also the guitar player of the group Haldane’s Daughters.  Rhythm brought together a group of designers, artists, musicians and surfers, with a shared dream of creating a livelihood doing what they love.  Together, they set out to make clothing that reflects adventure, creativity and individuality.  It became best known for its colourful boardshorts, but soon expanded into other areas of leisure clothwear with their geometric and unusual designs.  Rhythm entered the American and European markets in 2009 and 2010 respectively, and can now rightly claim to be an international 0peration.

Top of Page

Suffolk Beanie

This hand-knitted “beanie” (for explanation of name, see article above) is described as “a snug fit cabled beanie hat with ribbed double cuff hem.  A great essential for men and women and super cute on kids. One size fits most and is easily adapted.  This is a quick knit, worked on big needles with chunky yarn”.  Knitting instructions are published in ‘Jo Storie Hand Knit Patterns’ produced in Northumberland, England.

Jo Storie graduated from the Scottish College of Textiles and moved to New York where she worked as a senior designer for high profile labels.  Jo returned to Scotland in 2004 and launched her own knitwear label as above.

The Suffolk Beanie appears to have obtained this name because of its association with Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts.  This institution was founded as a law school in 1906 and named after its location in Suffolk County.  It became a university in 1937.  The tradition of freshmen wearing what is now called a ‘beanie’ in their school’s colours during their first semester (half the academic year) to distinguish them from upper classmen was observed at Suffolk University from the1920s until around 1968.  This was before the name became attached to this type of American headwear but, with the popularity of the naval woollen knitted caps known by this name after the Second World War (see previous section), it soon became known as the ‘Suffolk Beanie’.  All freshmen were required to wear their Suffolk Beanies and to obey the commands of their upper classmen.  In 1955 the freshmen were initiated to the social life of the university by the introduction of the ‘Beanie Dance’ given in their honour by the senior class.  These customs soon caught the eye of the media, and hence the ‘Suffolk Beanie’ became known to the wider general public. A photo of the initiation ceremony in the 1960s is shown above left.

Top of Page

Suffolk Stripe and Suffolk Check

In Michel Pastoureau’s comprehensive book, The Devil’s Cloth: A History of Stripes, the author details how in the Middle Ages wearing stripes was a perilous act.  He recounts how in 1310, a cobbler in northern France was condemned to death because ‘he had been caught in striped clothes’.  Striped clothing was considered ‘demeaning and clearly diabolic’ and was worn by social outcasts, such as prostitutes, jugglers, clowns, cripples and convicts.  That is why bold black and white stripes went on to become prison uniform in the USA in the 19th century.

However, the American flag allowed stripes to become popular and by the end of the 18th century stripes had finally become chic.  Although striped cloth never entirely lost its connotations of danger and deviance, it acquired other associations.  In particular, striped clothing acquired sporting or leisure connotations: Victorian seaside scenes frequently show women strolling in long summer dresses of black-and-white or blue-and-white striped fabric.   As this association with the seaside suggests, stripes were then connected with the “marine” and “sea” so that naval shirts of the ordinary able seamen often comprised vertical stripes of blue and white.  The symbolic use of striped blazers in club colours by boating clubs and cricket teams at English universities gave way to neckties in diagonal stripes of prescribed colours and widths to identify members of military regiments, alumni of university colleges and clubs.  The associations of striped cloth with leisure and sporting pursuits also made striped canvas popular for the upholstery of outdoor furniture, beach umbrellas, shop awnings and the like.

Suffolk Stripe: This brand name seems to have arisen separately in England and the USA as there is no obvious connection or influence that we can discern for its origin in those places.

The triangle between Hadleigh, Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds in the county of Suffolk in England was the foremost broadcloth producing area in the country from the Middle Ages until the late 17th century.  This could be why the county name was given to a type of stripe, or the wool used could have come from the Suffolk Sheep.  However, we are not convinced that either of these can be the origin of the use of this brand name.  It is more likely to have been adopted for the reason that ‘Suffolk’ was already associated with quality, style and leisure products.

The earliest reference that we can find is from the September 1993 catalogue of Laura Ashley, which has a sofa done in a “bold Suffolk stripe” (left).  The fashion designer, Laura Ashley, was Welsh born and had no connections with the county.  The “Suffolk Stripe” seems to be a broad stripe with narrower ones either side, usually with a very thin or several very thin stripes in between or in the centre of the broad stripe, all in alternating colours or shades of a dominant colour.

Described as “new” in 2015 was
the Suffolk Stripe Rocking Deck Chair (right) followed by the Suffolk Stripe Camper Stool in 2017 by Jon Holloway who, after a career designing and developing garden products for leading retailers, established his own company (Garden Trading) in Burford, Oxfordshire, in 1994.  The promotional material states that “this colourful stripe is named after the seaside county of Suffolk”.

Sheridan Suffolk Riviera Beach Towel (below, left) and Sheridan Suffolk Wattle Striped Beach Towel (below, right): These products are found in Australia.  The stripes have the large and smaller stripes pattern alternating with a much larger main colour stripe.  “Sheridan Australia”™ was founded in 1967 by the Italian entrepreneur and textile designer Claudio Alcorso, who was brought up in the family textile printing business in Italy before migrating to Au
stralia.  The name ‘Sheridan’ was coined over a glass of wine.  The promotional write-up states that “Sheridan has a distinctly Australian style inspired by the unique Australian landscape”.  It is not revealed what they were drinking when they came up with the brand name ‘Suffolk’, although this could well be related to Suffolk Park, NSW, which is at least a beach resort in Australia.

The golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha) is a tree native to southeastern Australia that has golden flowers, hence that name. 

Suffolk Stripe Pants (left) were in a 2017 collection on offer by the design house “Conte de Florence” in that city in Italy.  We were easily fooled, but when enlarged it can be seen that the design consists of very fine stripes of the same width.  What this has to do with Suffolk or the stripe of that name is anybody’s guess.  






The Suffolk Regiment Stripe Silk Tie in woven polyester is handmade in the UK.  It has a narrow white stripe centred on a broad dark red one, alternating with a smaller yellow gold stripe that has a narrow black edge (right).

Suffolk Stripe” in North America seems to be more about the colour of the stripe rather than the type of pattern made by the stripes, and it is closely associated with Woolrich, Inc. in central Pennsylvania.

In 1830 John Rich left Liverpool in England for Pennsylvania.  Rich was an entrepreneur and with his partner, Daniel McCormick, he established a woollen mill at Plum Run in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, in 1830.  The wool was used to make clothing and socks for the lumberjacks and their families that were located in the mountains of central Pennsylvania.  Their growing factory operation required Rich and McCormick to establish another mill at a nearby community called Chatham Run in 1834.  The original mill was closed in 1845 but still exists as a residential building and is a listed historic building.  In 1843 Rich bought out McCormick’s interest in the company, thus becoming the sole proprietor.  The present factory is still in the same community that developed around the factory at Chatham Run.  This settlement was first called Factoryville, later Richville, and after 1888 was named Woolrich.  The company had several name changes until 1930 when it adopted the name of the settlement and was incorporated as the Woolrich Woolen Mill.  Though Woolrich has been forced by economic pressures to relocate much of its production overseas, it maintains the home plant in this community where it manufactures blankets, including those used by the US military, making it the oldest continuously operating woollen mill in America.  The Rich family still operate the mill.

The company made its reputation by manufacturing wool blankets for soldiers during the American Civil War.  Legend has it that the company made blankets for Union troops by day, a
nd for the Confederate army by night.  There are several different product names for the blankets, and the Woolrich Suffolk Stripe Blanket also known as the Woolrich Suffolk Stadium Blanket made an appearance about 2009.  The Suffolk collection of blankets is made of 100% natural, un-dyed wool and comes in four patterns ranging from the iconic buffalo check (see Suffolk Check next) to three regular blankets each comprising a different variation of stripes near the edges (see photos).  The blanket is unique in that there is not a single dye used.  All the colours are from natural wool, but what distinguishes these blankets is that they are all in a colour that is described commercially as “Buffalo Natural” but is properly called “beige”.   In France, a beige cloth was a natural woollen fabric neither bleached nor dyed and thus left in its natural colour (which is exactly how the Suffolk blankets are made).  As a colour it is variously described as a greyish tan or a light-greyish brown or a sandy colour.


The company expanded its product lines into lifestyle working and recreational outdoor clothing, and from 2014 the Suffolk Stripe made its appearance in the Woolrich Women’s Suffolk Stripe Blanket Coat.  

The promotional material
states that this was “inspired by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Suffolk Blanket Coat by Woolrich is designed to keep you warm and comfortable while experiencing a journey of your own” (see photo, below right).

The reality is that the “b
lanket coat” has been around for a very long time, and its inspiration comes from French-Canadians, not an American expedition.

It is a heavy, short coat of blanket material, usually woollen.  The original was a hand-made, wrap-around coat with a hood, called a capote, that was worn by French sailors in Canada in the mid-17th century.  Its use soon spread from the sailors to the fur traders and it was taken up by the indigenous Americans, who particularly liked a striped blanket version.  Although traditionally considered a male garment, its popularity developed after the wives of governors took to wearing it.  In 1922 the Hudsons Bay Company introduced the striped blanket coat as a commercial fashion item.

At the end of all this, we still have no idea why the name Suffolk was chosen, as there appears no connection with any of the localities of that name, nor do we think of Suffolk as part of the “great outdoors” where you would need to wrap up warm.

Suffolk Check: Like the Suffolk Stripe, the brand name Suffolk Check also seems to have arisen separately both in Britain and the USA.  As far as we can ascertain, it has no connection with a place named ‘Suffolk’.

In Britain this brand name has been around since 1997.  Ian Mankin opened his fabric shop in Primrose Hill, London, in 1984.  The fabric trade was already second nature to him since his father had a fabric shop in Soho.  When Ian Mankin decided to sell his business in 2009 to John Spencer Textiles Ltd, the trade name of Ian Mankin Fabrics was retained.  Ian Mankin’s fabrics are known for being traditionally made and are all either 100% cotton or linen (the company avoids using man made products in their goods) woven in a traditional Lancashire cotton mill.  The Suffolk Check design (right) comes in various colours, and is basically a very pale background in the selected colour with broad, horizontal stripes in a light version, and darker, narrower vertical stripes, of that colour overall.

The Suffolk Check in America seems to be more recent, the earliest reference we can find dates to 2015, but its antecedents are noteworthy.  It is a product of the Woolrich company mentioned above.  One of the earliest finished clothing items produced at their mill was the Buffalo Check™ Shirt in 1850.  The name was inspired by a herd of buffalo owned by the designer at the company who developed the pattern.  The Buffalo Check™ pattern became popular with the lumberjacks, railroad workers, and others who had to work outdoors for a living. The original buffalo check pattern is characterised by a red and black plaid (tartan). The pattern traces its roots to the Scottish clan tartans of the 18th century, namely the Rob Roy tartan of the clan MacGregor. 

The Buffalo Check™ design has since become synonymous with the Woolrich trade brand.  The iconic image of lumberjacks in the red and black checkered shirts later in the 20th century became fashion items for outdoor wear all year round.  After it became a fashion accessory, it was not long before the buffalo check was rendered in beige shades, and this was marketed as the Woolrich Chambray Buffalo Shirt.  When the Suffolk Blanket range came out after 2009, it also comprised a Woolrich Suffolk Buffalo Blanket with the original Buffalo Check™ in shades of beige (left).




La chemise à carreaux Suffolk or the Suffolk Plaid Shirt (often described as the Djab Suffolk Plaid Shirt) is produced by La Maison Simons in Canada (see right).  This department store and fashion retailer is a family business based in Quebec.  Peter Simons, born in Scotland in 1785, arrived in Canada in 1812, settling on a small farm near the city of Quebec.  A son, John Simons, opened a small dry goods shop in 1840 at the age of 17, and from there grew the present department store and fashion house, usually just called “Simons”.  His descendants still currently run the business.  
Simons’ product brands include “Twik” created in 1966, and “Contemporaine”, established in 1971 and were aimed for an exclusive market.  “Twik” was created for the ‘next generation’ of women offering denim and casual fashions at ‘fast fashion’ prices.  The popularity of these product brands led to expansion into further brands, each targeting a different customer gender and product niche.  In 2002 “Djab” was introduced as the male counterpart to “Twik” offering denim-focused casual street wear, described as for the ‘young, inspired by fast-moving trends, an impulsive and creative rebel’.  It is not recorded why the name ‘Suffolk’ was chosen, but the fact that this shirt has the same red and black checks associated with lumberjacks (see Buffalo Check™ in last entry above) may suggest that Saint-Émile-de-Suffolk, a well-known timber and resort town in Quebec, may have influenced the decision rather than sleepy, leisurely, rural Suffolk in England. 

The Suffolk Pink & Ligh
t Blue Check Shirt (left), the Suffolk Light Blue & Orange Check Shirt and the Suffolk Light Blue & Lavender Check Shirt: all by “Proper Cloth” located on Broadway, New York, an on-line shop that specialises in ‘custom dress shirts’ for men.  In 2008, Seph Skerritt, then a student at MIT’s Sloan Business School of Management was frustrated with the way he shopped for clothes, wasting time on trying garments in stores.  Often he settled on an ill-fitting item just to get the drudgery over with.  While on an internship in Shanghai, China, Skerritt had encountered the effortless way of having a tailor-made, custom-fit shirt.  Why not improve on that with an online service that fitted your shirts by asking you questions, and then mail you the garments?  Hence, in 2008, Seph Skerritt started “Proper Cloth”.  The MIT Sloan School of Management is in Cambridge, Middlesex County, Mass. next to Suffolk County, and New York City is not too far from Suffolk County, New York State.  So it is possible that this brand-name was subconsciously chosen because of the familiarity of the county name in this part of America.

And the Suffolk Check just keeps popping up on shirts.  There is the Rhythm Suffolk Long Sleeve Shirt released in July 2017 (right).  This is part of the Suffolk range of clothwear named after the Australian resort of Suffolk Park mentioned above (see Rhythm ‘Suffolk’ Clothwear).




Top of Page

Suffolk Powder

This medicinal remedy was first reported in Chambers Cyclopedia 1753 as follows:

“Name of a medicinal powder, good for the bite of a mad dog.  It received its name from a Countess of Suffolk who used it with great success.  It is still kept as a secret in some private families, but seems to be only the ‘star of the earth’ or the ‘common buckthorn plantain’ dried and powdered, or this powder with some very trifling addition.  This plant has been famous for its virtues in this case a great while among us, and Thomas de Grey, in his ‘Compleat Horseman & Farrier’ (1639), gives the method by which he had cured dogs by it with great success.”  

The ‘star of the earth’ is the herbaceous plant commonly called Geum or Avens.  The Purging Buckthorn or Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) is a widespread European native species, in the past used as a purgative, although its toxicity makes this a very risky herbal medicine and it is no longer used.  The Avens plant is, however, still used as an herbal remedy.

Top of Page

Suffolk as a Product Brand Name

It seems that Suffolk evokes an image of pleasure, leisure and comfort, and it has been adopted as a brand name for many products that have little or no connection with any of the Suffolks.  Similarly, many designers and manufacturers wish to create an image of “traditional” handiwork, and they produce a range of items that are called the “Suffolk Collection” on the basis that this rural county in England portrays fine, authentic traditional craftmanship.  Quite often the manufacturers are not even located within the bounds of Suffolk which would at least have provided a tenuous link with the name given to their products.

Since our aim is to provide a comprehensive database of information regarding the name Suffolk, we feel that we should take cognisance of the types of product that use the name, and try to ascertain why that should be so.  Particular interest will be taken of any product bearing the Suffolk brand name that is of a unique design, or is so widely known within its own field that it is referred to as a specific type in its own right.  We are also conscious that this can be considered as an indirect form of advertising for that product, and we wish to emphasise that a mention on this website does not endorse any individual product or manufacturer, nor do we receive any remuneration for any such mention.     

Suffolk Bridle: In the USA one particular type of equipment that appears to generate much comment in equestrian circles is the Suffolk Bridle.  This is the brand name given to this particular item of equestrian equipment and, by extension, the name “Suffolk” is also given to a range of other accessories manufactured by Dover Saddlery.  This company was founded in 1975 by Jim and David Powers, who were top ranked “English riding” champions on the US Equestrian team.   Jim Powers was also a member of the 1972 US Olympic equestrian team.  In the equestrian world a distinction is made between “classic riding” that is generally seen throughout the world, and “western riding” that is more closely associated with North America and Australia where riders typically spent long working hours in the saddle.  In North America the “classic style” is referred to as “English riding”.  The two disciplines differ in their equipment, particularly in the bridle and saddle.  “English” bridles have closed reins that prevent them from dropping on the ground if a rider becomes unseated.  

The Powers brothers aimed to bring their unique understanding of the “English style” horse tack and riding apparel to riders in North America, and they opened a saddlery shop dedicated to providing a broad selection of the best tack available.  Their retail store opened in 1975 at Wellesley, Massachusetts.  Dover Saddlery quickly expanded beyond its retail store location, opening further stores in other States, and in 2001 moved its headquarters to Littleton, Massachusetts.   Dover and Wellesley are communities located in the southwestern part of the Greater Boston conurbation, and it would seem that the company name is derived from the community of Dover.  Although neither towns are in Suffolk County, it is surmised that the brand name was adopted because of the proximity of that county and the general “Englishness” of its name.

Johnson & Murphy Suffolk Shoes: There is a range of shoe and boot styles bearing the name “Suffolk” distributed by Johnston & Murphy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Genesco Inc: Suffolk Plain Toe Boot, Suffolk Moc(casin) Lace-up, Suffolk Penny (a loafer or slip-on), and Suffolk Oxford Shoe.  The company is based in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, and has speciality shoe outlets in the USA and 15 other countries.

The company has no links with any Suffolk.  It is presumed that the style-name was adopted because of the connotation of quality and tradition associated with the name.  It should also be noted that the name “Ipswich” was already associated with quality footwear in America (see Ipswich Shoewear Brand Names on the Ips Misc. page of

The original company was founded in 1850 by William J. Dudley, an English traditional shoemaker, born in Northampton, who established his shoe factory in Newark, New Jersey.  Dudley teamed up with James Johnston in 1880 and, after Dudley’s death in 1882, Johnston went into partnership with another Newark businessman, William Murphy, in 1884.  In 1895 the company passed into other hands but it was already a recognised brand, so the name Johnston & Murphy was retained.  In 1951 Genesco (then General Shoe Corporation) purchased Johnston & Murphy.  The Newark location was closed in 1957 and its operations were moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where Genesco had its headquarters.  As a goodwill gesture the original company donated a pair of shoes to President Millard Fillmore in 1850.  This started a tradition and since then Johnston & Murphy has custom-made a pair of shoes for every president. 

The Tuffa Suffolk Country Boot: This brand name has become associated with a specific style of boot that has unique leg straps for a secure fit (see photo, right).

Tuffa International Footwear is a family owned business specialising in the design, production and distribution of footwear and accessories, and the company is best known for its Suffolk Boot.  The company started in 1997 and sell mostly in the UK, but have expanded into markets worldwide.  It is based in Thetford, Norfolk, but has chosen to name its best selling product after the neighbouring county.  It would appear that Suffolk yet again conjures up the image of a rural setting for countryside pursuits.

It seems that the “Suffolk” image has caught on to such an extent that other companies who have no connections with the county have used the name for their particular boots as well.


There is the Sperry Top-Sider Suffolk Boot: A waterproof boot mainly for the ladies, fashionable in the most unpleasant weather.  Usually sold as the “Suffolk Women’s Waterproof Boot”.  It is fully seam-sealed, waterproof leather with lug soles.  A full-length side zipper provides on/off ease.  The rubber lug outer sole provides the ultimate traction on both wet and dry surfaces.  It could be said that the Suffolk name was acquired from the county in which Boston is located; the history below makes clear the association with that county.

Sperry or Sperry Top-Sider is the original American brand of boat shoe designed in 1935 by Paul A. Sperry.  Commonly known as ‘Sperrys’ or ‘Top-Siders’ (because they could be used on the top
side of a boat), they were the first boat shoes introduced into the boating and footwear markets.  The Sperry brand is owned by Wolverine World Wide and is headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts.

While sailing on the Long Island Sound, sailor Paul Sperry slipped on the deck of his boat and fell overboard.  He was able to pull himself back on board, but the experience drove him to develop a non-slip shoe.  He noticed his dogs’ ability to run down an icy hill without slipping because of the grooves on its paws.  Sperry cut  groove patterns into a natural rubber sole and obtained a non-slip shoe.  Being a Connecticut man, Sperry first offered the patent to the United States Rubber Company of Connecticut.  That company turned him down.  Sperry then offered the patent to the Converse Rubber Company in Boston, Massachusetts, which agreed to make blank rubber soles and return them to Sperry for assembly and sale.  In 1939, the United States War Department specified Sperry Top-Sider as one of the official shoes of the Navy and it became the official footwear of the casual uniform of the United States Naval Academy.  Paul A. Sperry sold the Sperry brand to the U.S. Rubber Co. in 1940.   In 2012 it was sold to Wolverine.  

Another sailor entrepreneur is Keith Musto.  This British businessman competed at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and won a silver medal in the Flying Dutchman class.  As well the Olympics, Musto won medals at the 1963 and 1969 World Championships again in the Flying Dutchman class.  After the Olympics he set up a sailmaking business in his home county of Essex.  Eventually he concentrated solely on the production of specialist sailing clothing with his company Musto® Outdoor Clothing, established in 1965.  The trouble was that, due to the summer bias of the sport, customers tended only to order sails in the early spring, leaving the rest of the year idle.  To fill the void Musto went into clothing and accessories full time in 1982, and in 1987 he launched his Country Range for equestrian and shooting enthusiasts.  Among the product brands is the Women’s Suffolk Gore-Tex® Boot.  The Gore-Tex® lining is a waterproof, breathable fabric membrane made by a company of that name.  At least the boot is made in Essex, the county next to Suffolk.

Toggi Suffolk Pull On Jodhpur Boots also known as Toggi Suffolk Horse Riding/Yard Boots (see right) is yet another equestrian product introduced within the last few years where the name has little association with the county.  To be fair, most Toggi products are named after places, and there is also a “Norfolk Riding Shoe”.

Finest Brands International is the parent company of the Toggi Riding & Clothing Equipment brand.  The parent company was founded in 1991 by a team of enthusiastic equestrians who came up with the idea to create and manufacture high quality and affordable rider apparel (riding boots, jackets and coats).  The main instigator was John Ayres (died 2013) a co founder who was well-known in equestrian circles and who, with his wife, was already in the saddlery business and dedicated to rider safety through his Champion company (riding helmets).  The Toggi brand was launched a few years after 1991.  Presumably it adopted this name from the British slang words for clothes - “togs”, giving it an Italian sounding ending to indicate a certain quality often associated with the continental stylists.  Toggi is the official supplier of performance clothing to the British Equestrian Team, 2016-2017.  The headquarters of this organisation is based in Leeds, Wesr Yorkshire.    

(It should be noted that “Toggi” was also the name of a Swiss chocolate brand.  With the increasing success of the chocolate in the international markets in 1958, the company (Kägi) created a new brand name: Toggi, corresponding with the Toggenburg valley, where the company is located.  However, that company reverted to Kägi, the family name, in 2013. )

Coach Suffolk Patchwork Bootie: A multi-textured, leather patchwork stitched together by hand to create these monochromatic black booties with stretch goring along the sides, and a pull-loop on the back.

Coach was founded in a Manhattan loft in 1941 as a family-run workshop with six artisans using skills handed down from generation to generation.  Today Coach, now greatly expanded, is a leading American design house of modern luxury accessories with its corporate headquarters remaining in mid-town Manhattan, New York City.  Although there is of course the county of Suffolk on nearby Long Island, the name has presumably been given to this brand because of the usual association with comfort and leisure.


Schöffel Suffolk Ladies’ Shirts: As a specialist countrywear brand, Schöffel Country Clothing has chosen Suffolk as the rural county in England that best represents the typical quality and class of the English countryside in the promotion of their range of ladies’ shirts (see left).  The company was founded by Georg Schöffel in 1804 at Schwabmünchen, Bavaria, in Germany, where it is still located, and it is at present run by the 6th generation of the family.





Handbags: As part of their autumn/winter 2013 collection, the British fashion house Mulberry has brought out a range of women’s bags called the Suffolk. Described as a ladylike version of a doctor’s bag, the Mulberry Suffolk comes in two sizes, small & regular, as well as a variety of colours such as pheasant green, teal, yellow, emerald, pink, oak, midnight blue & black. They are available in different leathers, such as (printed) Hair Calf, Ostrich, Classic Calf and Shrunken Calf. Other features include soft gold components, postman’s lock closure, leather top handle with D-ring attachment, detachable & adjustable leather shoulder strap, hanging fob with hidden padlock, metal feet on base, suede lining, internal zip pocket & phone pocket, internal metal Mulberry fob. Mulberry Suffolk bags can sell for up to £5,000, although an average price is more in the region of £1,500.

The Mulberry company was founded by Roger Saul & his mother Joan in 1971, in Somerset, England, & has registered offices in Somerset, London and New York. Why the name Suffolk has been used for this collection is not known.

Another company to also use the name Suffolk for their handbag range are London Fog. The range includes the Suffolk Saddle Bag (right), Suffolk Tote Bag (left), Suffolk Satchel & Suffolk Crossbody Bag, all of which come in a wide variety of colours. 

The American company London Fog was established by Israel Myers in 1923 as the Londontown Clothing Company. It was initially based in Baltimore, Maryland, but moved most of its offices to Seattle, Washington in 2000. The company was bought by Iconix Brand Group in 2006. Other accessories by London Fog have used English place-names for their products, such as Chelsea, Knightsbridge & Oxford. No other connection has been found to link the company with Suffolk.

Vans ‘Suffolk Wallet’: Another one where we have no idea why the manufacturer should choose this name.  Vans is an American manufacturer of shoes, clothing and related apparel, based in Cypress, California.  Brothers Paul Van Doren and James Van Doren with two other associates opened their first Vans store under the name ‘The Van Doren Rubber Company’ in 1966 at Anaheim, California, manufacturing shoes and selling them directly to the public.  From the outset, Vans aimed its products at the skateboard community.  Skateboarders liked Vans’ sticky rubber sole on the shoes that made them so good for gripping a skateboard.  Soon, Vans began to branch out to produce shoes and clothing for other sports, such as motor cross and surfing.  In 1988 Paul Van Doren sold the Vans company and name for US$74.4 million.

The earliest reference we have found for the Vans ‘Suffolk Wallet’ is from 2012.  It is a 100% polyurethane bi-fold wallet designed for the back pocket with numerous card slots, snap closure coin pocket and mesh ID window.  Although sold world-wide, it is obviously for the American market since one review complained that “British notes do not fit into this wallet.  You have to fold them to get them in at all.”

Suffolk Lavender Perfume: This is a perfume launched in London by the fragrance house Shay & Blue in 2013.  It is described as an Aromatic Fougère fragrance for women and men.  Fougère, meaning “fern-like”, is one of the main families into which modern perfumes are classified.  “Aromatic Fougère”, a derivative of this class, contains additional ‘notes’ of herbs, spice and wood.  With a scent of pine or fir, it is particularly popular as a fragrance for men in what is perceived as the aroma of the English countryside.  Hence the name “Suffolk” is again used to evoke images of a peaceful, summer’s day in the country.  

Lavender has been a staple of herbal lore for centuries, and is popular as an oil and fragrance used around the home to induce sleep, ease stress and relieve depression.  
The perfume itself is described commercially as: “Deep and intense, Suffolk Lavender is a natural scent blended with deliciously smoky incense, a sensual cluster of spices, and a hint of melon.”
Professionally, Suffolk Lavender is described as: “Top note is lavender; middle notes are incense and melon; base notes are praline, musk and pine tree”.  ‘Notes’ are descriptors of scents that can be sensed upon the application of a perfume, and are separated into three classes; ‘top notes’, ‘middle notes’, and ‘base notes’ which denote the scents which can be sensed with respect to the time after the application of a perfume from the knowledge of the evaporation process.  ‘Top notes’ for example are the scents that are perceived immediately on the application of a perfume.

The perfumer behind this fragrance is Julie Massé.  She has been a perfumer in the Fine Fragrances department at Mane SA since 2010.  This French corporate body is a major producer of flavours and fragrances, founded in 1871 when Victor Mane started producing fragrant materials from regional flowers and plants.  The company is still controlled by that family.

China/Tableware: Between 1966 & 1973, the Japanese tableware manufacturers Noritake produced a range of dinnerware with a pattern that they named “Suffolk” (Pattern no. 7549). The Suffolk pattern is described as  gold & orange flowers with brown leaves on an ivory background (see photos left & below right).

So why “Suffolk”? In exclusive correspondence with Planet Suffolk, David Spain of the Noritake Collectors Society said “I know from conversations I have had with a few people at the Noritake Company that the pattern names, of which there are MANY, were picked for almost random reasons so I think it highly unlikely that there was any special reason for using “Suffolk” as a pattern name”.

Over the years, Noritake has indeed produced literally hundreds of different designs of tableware, so it may never be known for certain why the name Suffolk came to be used. The Suffolk design is now a collectors item.

Noritake Co. Limited is a tableware & technology company based in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, which originally grew out of a trading company founded in New York City by the Morimura Brothers in 1876. In 1904, members of this trading company established Nippon Toki Gomei Kaisha, the forerunner of the present company, in the village of Noritake, a small suburb near Nagoya, Japan. The aim of this company was to make tableware for the European & American markets. After several mergers the company now comes under the umbrella of Nippon Toki Kaisha Ltd.


Between 1994-2004, as part of their English Country Cottages series, the Royal Doulton Company, under their Royal Albert brand, produced a china tea set (cup, saucer, side plate) named Suffolk. The shape of the cup is known as the Montrose (see photo, left).  There were twelve counties represented in this series, the others being Cornwall, Cumbria, Devonshire, Hampshire, Kent, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire & Yorkshire.

The Royal Doulton Company was originally  founded as a partnership between John Doulton, Martha Jones & John Watts in 1815 in Lambeth, London. In 1882 they acquired a factory in Burslem in the Potteries region of Staffordshire. The company was granted the Royal Warrant by King Edward VII in 1901, allowing the business to adopt the name Royal Doulton. The factory closed in September 2005 & the company, as well as the brand names Royal Doulton & Royal Albert are now owned by WWRD Holdings Ltd. 

Suffolk Shaped Mug: Dunoon Ceramics are a Staffordshire based family business that began producing Fine Bone China in 1974. They now produce a wide array of different shaped mugs, mostly with either Scottish (Jura, Lomond, Cairngorm etc.) or English (Richmond, Henley, Kent, Dorset etc.) place names. The Suffolk Shaped Mug has delicately sweeping curves, holds a capacity of 310 ml, has a height of 106mm & a rim diameter of 72mm (see photo, right).  They come in a wide variety of decorative designs, many with flora, fauna or oriental themes.

In correspondence with Planet Suffolk, Dunoon Ceramics explained that “Suffolk was chosen for this shape of mug as it was a quintessential English county and our product was typical English Fine Bone China”.


Royal Suffolk: One of the most sought after collectible dinnerware is the “Royal” line of the world famous Crown Devon Pottery in Stoke, England.  The owners, S. Fielding & Co Ltd, produced an enormous quantity and range of domestic and ornamental earthenware over the life of the business.    The Royal Devon was introduced in 1891 and proved extremely popular.  This led to a wide range of other patterns named “Royals”: Royal Chelsea, Royal Clarence, Royal Stuart, Royal Essex, Royal Sussex, etc).  The Royal Suffolk was introduced in 1898 with a backstamp of a lion on a crown.  The design has purple and pink flowers on a cream background, trimmed with gold (see photo, left).  

In 1870 Simon Fielding (who was not a potter) lent his life savings to three potters who had previously worked for Wedgwood.  They established their firm, known as Hackney, Kirkham & Co, at The Railway Pottery in Suth
erland Street, Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, for the manufacture of high quality ‘General Ware and Art Ware’.  The company ran into debt in 1878 and it was Simon’s son, Abraham Fielding, who paid off the debts and took charge of the company, henceforth known as S. Fielding and Co.  In 1891 Abraham Fielding enlarged the works, installed modern equipment and by 1892 the factory had seven of the largest kilns in the Potteries (the name of the district around Stoke).  

The circular Crown Devon backstamp appeared on a number of patterns from the 1880s.  This was a royal crown encircled by a band bearing the words Crown Devon.  In 1882 the company introduced the vellum ware and this became the best selling product for the next 20 years.  (Vellum or satin glaze is a finish with a medium reflectance, in between matt and gloss.)  The “Crown Devon” name thus became associated with vellum-coloured earthenware painted with a floral decorating style. It was soon synonymous with Fielding Pottery. The Crown Devon name became so popular that the Railway Pottery was renamed the Crown Devon Pottery in 1911.  It is not known why any of the names were adopted by the company.  None of the principals were particularly associated with Devon, and even less with the other counties, towns and rivers used in their lines.  It is intriguing that the county of Staffordshire nor Stoke were ever honoured in this way.

The last Fielding director retired in 1967 and the company passed into other hands.  However, mounting losses caused by the economic recession and overseas competition led to the pottery closing in 1982.  The products consequently are now more sought after than they have ever been.

Kitchenware and Relishes: The name Suffolk, when applied to kitchenware and food preparation, seems to bring to mind traditional, rustic settings.  More than one manufacturer has used the term “Suffolk Collection” to cover various items found in the kitchen, each of which is described as “Suffolk”, e.g. Suffolk Storage Jar, Suffolk Teapot, Suffolk Jug, Suffolk Butter Box, Suffolk Sugar Bowl, Suffolk Casserole Dish, etc.  

Within the county of Suffolk, England, Henry Watson’s Potteries at Wattisfield have been producing traditional terracotta earthenware since 1800, with its distinctive colour and texture.  The terracotta tradition they follow has origins that stretch back more than 4,000 years.  As the potteries are Suffolk based, the products are justifiably described as the “Original Suffolk Terracotta Collection”.

Another well-known “Suffolk Collection” in acrylic and wood kitchenware is that of David Mason Design.  This company began with salt and pepper mills, and has since expanded into other areas of kitchen accessories.  The first pepper mill with its grinding mechanism was invented in France in 1842.  The present company has its roots in London where Cole & Mason was founded in 1919 by Julian Cowan and was a family run business.  David Cowan established David Mason Design in London in 1962.  Today the company is run from Chesterfield, England, by his two sons.  As can be seen, there is no obvious connection with Suffolk, England.   

Another interesting brand name is that of “Suffolk Mud”.  This is one of the three brand names of the company Essfoods Ltd.  Richard Sheepshanks and Peter Kerr set up this company in 2004 to provide an alternative to mass-market production.  The aim is to produce in small batches, focusing on natural ingredients and traditional processes, free from artificial preservatives, colourings and flavourings, with animal welfare being high on the agenda by the avoidance of any battery-farmed produce.  The products are made in a converted coach house in the heart of rural Suffolk, England, at Rendlesham, and cover a range of jams, mayonnaises, sauces, mustards, relishes, chutneys and dressings.  The end products are all exotically named, and include: Suffolk Mud Bloody Mary Ketchup with Chase Vodka, Suffolk Mud Chilli Jam, Suffolk Mud Beetroot Relish, and so forth. 

Some of the products have “Suffolk” in their name as well, such as “Suffolk Mud Suffolk Dressing” and “Suffolk Mud Suffolk Mustard”, although there is nothing really specific to the county other than the ingredients being grown in Suffolk.  Another line is to combine their product with a well-known Suffolk alcoholic beverage.  So we have names such as “Suffolk Mud Bramley Apple Sauce with Aspall Cyder” and “Suffolk Mud Cyder & Horseradish Mustard” in partnership with Suffolk’s Aspall Cyder.  Then there is a partnership with St Peter’s Brewery at South Elmham to produce “Suffolk Mud Wholegrain Mustard with St Peter’s Honey Porter”, and “Suffolk Mud Farmhouse Chutney with St Peter’s Best Bitter” (originally just “Suffolk Mud Real Ale Chutney”). 

“Suffolk Crown” is the brand name that is used on a range of bacon products: Suffolk Crown Sweetcure Back Bacon produced using a traditional “age-old Suffolk recipe gently smoked over beechwood”; Suffolk Crown Smoked Rashers Bacon, Suffolk Crown Smoked Back Bacon and the same either Unsmoked or Lightly Smoked.  The name derives from the fact that the original producer, Lark Valley Foods, was located in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.  The county of origin with the crown indicates a high quality product.  Lark Valley Foods was founded in 1984 and soon gained a reputation for its quality bacon, particularly the “Suffolk Crown” brand.  As a consequence it was acquired in 1998 by Direct Table Foods.  Ownership subsequently passed to a Danish company in 1999 and then in 2016 to a German company.  However, the “Suffolk Crown” brand still continues to be produced in the factory at Bury St Edmunds under the name of Direct Table Foods, which is now a subsidiary company.       

Suffolk Sea Salt” is the brand name and company name of the product derived from the sea (see image, right).  Suffolk Sea Salt Limited was incorporated on 29 February 2012.  This Ipswich business has revived a traditional Suffolk industry.  It is the first salt producer in the county for more than 100 years, the last operation being Southwold Salt Works, which shut down in 1900.  Architect Robert Stephenson set up the business when he realised that the main ingredient for the product could be gathered for free.  The salt is harvested from the sea water of the estuary of the River Orwell and collected at Levington Marina.  The salt is collected on a monthly basis and the company is allowed to take 25,000 litres of sea water a day from anywhere along the river on an outward tide to get the best of it when it has been on the marshes.  This increases the salinity of the water.  The water, which is certified independently for quality, is then taken back to the factory in Ipswich where it undergoes a completely natural two to four-day process when nothing is added or taken away.  Double filtration and evaporation ensure purity is achieved.  Suffolk Sea Salt is now the third largest producer of sea salt in England.

Bridalwear: Another “Suffolk Collection” is that of bridal fashion designer Stephanie Allin.  It is a mystery to us why Suffolk should so be represented.  Stephanie Allin is an award winning bridal fashion designer of over 20 years.  She is Welsh; each of Stephanie’s gowns is said to be handmade in Wales, not Suffolk, and the flagship shop is in Westminster, London! 

Curtain & Fabric Designs: Chess Designs of Chesham in Buckinghamshire, England, is a family business founded in 1995 that has a “Suffolk Collection” of curtain designs.  This is described as a traditional range of co-ordinating jacquards available in four patterns named after the Suffolk towns of Aldeburgh, Hadleigh, Melford and Sudbury.  A jacquard is a fabric with an intricately woven pattern.  The Aldeburgh is a vertically striped pattern, the Hadleigh has a stylized floral motif, whilst the Sudbury features a leaf design. All three come in a choice of four colours: red, mulberry, marine & blue. The fourth design, the Melford, features a Paisley style pattern, but has a slightly different colour range of red, aubergine, marine or blue.


                   Aldeburgh                                                   Hadleigh                                                   Melford                                                   Sudbury

But why should a company in the Chilterns name its product after Suffolk towns?  The reason has as much to do with the part played by these towns in the history of weaving in England as with the warm image conveyed by Suffolk.  

The southern part of Suffolk was very strong in the dense, woollen broadcloth industry as early as the late 12th century, and the market towns of Hadleigh, Long Melford, Sudbury and Lavenham were the chief manufacturers of this cloth (see The Wool Towns section on the Suffolk, England page).  By the end of the 16th century the Suffolk broadcloth industry was in decline, but in the early 19th century Dutch and Huguenot weavers, with their lighter fabrics, moved away from London because of high taxation.  They settled in these towns in Suffolk, where there was a source of labour already familiar with the weaving processes, thus bringing a revival of the traditional industry.  We do not know why Aldeburgh should also be included as one of the four pattern designs since this was not a weaving town.  However, it could be that Aldeburgh is better known to the outside world for its cultural association with the composer Benjamin Britten, and the musical festival he founded in that town.    

Suffolk Rugs & Carpets: Another product name that, as far as we can tell, has nothing whatsoever to do with Suffolk.  Several manufacturers and design houses have used this title for their products.  None of the world’s Suffolks are particularly renowned for the production of carpets and rugs, and none of the companies concerned are based in a Suffolk.  Nevertheless, carpets and rugs do have connotations of leisure and warmth, so we guess this is the reason why they are so named.  It will be noted that, with one exception (Kingsmead Carpets), the following rugs and carpets are not actually made in the countries where they are largely sold (USA, Britain and Australia).   

Probably the largest number of rugs produced with the county name are the Rizzy Home Suffolk Collection Area Rugs*.  The producer’s brand name is “Rizzy Home” and their products are usually referred to as the Rizzy Suffolk Oriental Medallion Rug, the Rizzy Suffolk Oriental Floral Rug, the Rizzy Suffolk Abstract Rug, the Rizzy Suffolk Black Ikat* Rug and so on.  Rizzy Home introduced the Suffolk Collection in 2016.  

* An “area rug” in American English is a rug that is intended to cover only part of a floor.  In general, an area rug is larger than a rug and neither, unlike a carpet, covers the entire floor.  “Ikat” is a weaving style and dyeing technique deriving from the indigenous cultures of south-eastern Asia.

Rizzy Home is the North American arm of Rizwan Export House based in New Delhi, India.  It remains a family business that began in 1950 when Bhullan Ansari, entered the wool business, buying from shepherds in India, and after hand-spinning the fibres, selling the yarn on to the rug weavers.  His son, Illiya Ansari, evolved the company into the manufacture of handmade wool rugs in 1971 and began to export Indian rugs to the United States and Europe.  From 1992 the grandsons, Rizwan and Shamsu Ansari, assumed control and the name “Rizzy Rugs” was adopted from the older brother’s first name.  By 1997 Rizzy Rugs was the largest exporter of handmade rugs from India.  In 2001 a division called Home Texco (textile company) was formed.  In 2007 the Ansari brothers were the first manufacturers in India to create and export machine made area rugs.  That same year they established the American operations, known as Riztex USA, in Calhoun, Georgia, renamed Rizzy Home in 2010.  

An organisation trading under the name Royale Rugs has a Suffolk Collection which are said to be handmade by skilled weavers in India with a heavyweight 100% wool pile.

In the USA, the Calvin Klein Prairie Suffolk Rug is actually manufactured in India.  

A New Suffolk Rug is sold by Nordic Home Interiors in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a direct importer/retailer for the “finest home-interior products from Scandinavia”.  This rug is made by Everest Handicraft Industries Rugs; a company founded in 1999 by Mrs Ang Lami Sherpa in Kathmandu, Nepal, with a mission to promote handicraft products of Nepal.    

Couriston, another New York company, sells the Couriston Easton Suffolk Area Rug which is stated to be “crafted in Belgium”.  The ‘Suffolk’ is a particular pattern used on the rugs.

“Antrim Carpets (USA)”, based in Dalton, Georgia, is a leading importer and wholesaler of hand-loomed, broadloom carpet and custom area rugs, and it has a product named Suffolk Rug.  However, none of their products are made in the USA (which is why the use of the country’s name in the company’s title is of some concern to Americans).  We cannot tell where the “Suffolk Rug” is made, but we can be pretty certain that it is not Suffolk.

The Kingsmead Stoddard Suffolk Berber carpet is made by Kingsmead Carpets who offer a variety of colours, and it is designed for both domestic and office factory wear.  The name comprises two manufacturing brands (Kingsmead and Stoddard), and a type of carpet (Berber), but has nothing to do with Suffolk.  “Berber” ¬is a type of weaving based on the traditional handweaving of North African people who used handspun yarns made from the undyed wool of local sheep.  

The brand names come from former companies that were involved in the carpet industry in Scotland.  This industry flourished in the counties of Renfrewshire and Ayrshire to the southwest of Glasgow in the 19th and most of the 20th centuries.  Stoddard & Co. was actually founded by an American entrepreneur, Arthur Stoddard (1810-82), who was born in Northampton, Massachusetts.  He came to England in 1844 as a commercial agent and in 1853 moved to Elderslie in Renfrewshire, where he entered into partnership with a failing carpet manufacturer.  Stoddard revived the business and in 1862 took over the company which soon became one of the big names in the carpet industry.  Kingsmead began manufacturing in the Ayrshire town of New Cumnock in c.1967 and soon made a name for itself for the quality of its carpets.  

Both companies were subject to several take-overs by other weaving companies, although they were retained as subsidiary companies because of their prestige.  Both brands came under the same parent organisation in 1980 when the Guthrie Corporation (who had already taken over Kingsmead) acquired Stoddard.  Kingsmead Carpets was then merged with Stoddard, thus bringing these two names together for the first time.  Stoddard (with Kingsmead as a subsidiary) was launched as a separate company again in 1988, but it hit hard times at the turn of the century and had to sell off its subsidiaries before closing down completely in 2005.  Kingsmead Carpets was bought by the Headlam Group in 2004 and, with the imminent closure of the Scottish factories, it relocated to its present factory at Tamworth, Staffordshire.  In a reversal of fortunes, the Headlam Group bought the Stoddard name after that company’s demise, this time merging it into Kingsmead Carpets, thus the brand is now known as “Kingsmead Stoddard”.

Three “Suffolk Carpets and Rugs” advertised are actually the colour of the material.  These are: Suffolk Rye Sensation Twist Carpet manufactured by Lancashire based Cormar Carpets; Classic Suffolk Heather Carpet by Burmatex in Ossett West Yorkshire; and Monaco Suffolk Stone Rug by Safavieh in New York.  We know that the Suffolk paint manufacturer, Ingilby Paints in Glemsford, Suffolk, England, has a colour called “Suffolk Stone”.  However, we have no idea where “Suffolk Rye” and “Suffolk Heather” come from.  That they are colour descriptions is apparent from the advertisements which state this fact, and they may well be their own specific shades that have been invented by the manufacturers and given the ‘Suffolk’ name. 

Lighting - Suffolk Table Lamp and Suffolk Floor Lamp: These two products are frequently advertised by different manufacturers, both in North America and Britain, and are described as “traditional Suffolk”.  However, we cannot see why they are so described, where and when the design first originated or which particular manufacturer began this line.     

      Traditional Suffolk Table Lamp                           Traditional Suffolk Floor Lamp

They are defined as goose-neck lamps attached to an adjustable shaft to allow the user to position the height and angle of the light source without moving the item to be illuminated.  The “Suffolk Lamp” is invariably finished in Antique Brass and is supplied with a cream fabric shade to give it this “traditional” look.  The word “traditional” has to be taken with a ‘pinch of salt’ because it seems that this design first appeared in the 1920s in the USA, not Suffolk, England.  

Before the advent of electricity, both floor and table lighting was possible by candle and, later, gas illumination.  Fittings that could be adjusted by height were first introduced in France at the end of the 17th century, and the goose-neck design was a common feature; however, neither candle nor gas could illuminate whilst pointing downward, as seen with the “traditional Suffolk”.  This had to wait for the incandescent bulb and electricity.  The American Thomas Edison began the commercial exploitation of the electric bulb in 1880, and another American, Louis Tiffany, is credited with producing upright table lamps using incandescent bulbs from 1895 on a commercial basis.  However it was not until electricity reached the majority of homes that table and floor lamps became a part of everyday life, and from the 1920s adjustable height lamps, such as the Suffolk, began appearing in the USA.  It is presumed that some enterprising salesman decided (and we quote from an American advert): “this is reminiscent of the outstanding natural beauty of the Suffolk England countryside, and will add a touch of English to your home”.
Lighting - Suffolk Lantern: a lantern is a portable lighting device or mounted light fixture used to illuminate broad areas, usually outside.  In North America three different lighting companies have given the brand name “Suffolk” to a range of lanterns that can be fixed to the wall, mounted on a post or hung from an overhead structure.  These are variously known as the Suffolk Lantern, Suffolk Wall Lamp, Suffolk Post Lantern, Suffolk Hanging Lantern and Suffolk Mount Light.   

     Suffolk Hanging Lantern (Northeast)                 Suffolk Post Lantern (Hanover)        
Suffolk Wall Lantern (Acclaim)
The three companies are Northeast Lantern (founded in 1987) based at Exeter, New Hampshire; Hanover Lighting, New Jersey, a trading name of the world-wide Philips Group of the Netherlands; and Acclaim Lighting (founded in 2003) in Los Angeles, California.  All three companies claim that their “Suffolk Collection” lanterns are in a traditional or classic style based on 17th century English craftsmanship with colonial characteristics.  Each company has a specific style ranging from the lattice-work box lantern, to lanterns with differently shaped domes or tapered roofs.  In Britain, such designs are just referred to as an “Outdoor Box Lantern” or “Outdoor Wall Light”.  We know of no reason why such lanterns should be named after Suffolk, unless it is by association with the antique Suffolk Lantern Clock (see above) or the earlier Suffolk Table Lamps.   

Furniture: There are “Suffolk Collections” to be found with several different major furniture suppliers in North America and Britain who are not connected with the place-name.  As will be seen, the common factor is that ‘Suffolk’ implies craftsmanship, taste and tradition.

Kingsmill’s Suffolk Collection: In 1865 Thomas Frazer Kingsmill, an Irish immigrant, opened a dry goods store on the main street of London, Ontario, Canada.  Today, Kingsmill’s is one of the few remaining independent department stores in Canada, and it continues to be owned and operated by descendents of the founder.  The store has a Suffolk Collection of bedroom furniture (beds, dressers, wardrobes, chest of drawers).  Their publicity for the Suffolk Collection states that it “recalls the halcyon days of the British Empire in its fine attention to detail and craftsmanship.  Crafted of solid maple with a simulated antique Victorian mahogany finish, there are a number of unique and functional pieces that can transform any home into a castle”.  

Neptune’s Suffolk Collection: Neptune Outdoor Furniture Ltd, established in 1963, are based in Winchester, England, and originally concentrated on producing outdoor furniture.  The company provides the background to its ‘Suffolk’ brand name.  “We were first inspired by a beautiful series of old English antique chairs.  After careful research we discovered that these were first produced in a few workshops in the middle of Suffolk between 1790 and 1840.  Our original chair has been a great success and has led us to further research the East Anglian tradition of furniture making.  This saw the launch in 2001 of the full Suffolk Collection of tables, sideboards, dressers and occasional furniture, all incorporating the classic East Anglian look of pared back simplicity set to a perfect proportion.  No adornments are needed here as the elegance is plain to see.”  The company has recently launched a Suffolk Kitchen range to complement its Suffolk Collection.

Plymouth Furniture: This American manufacturer started out in 1973 designing and building “high quality American made furniture”.  It has a “Suffolk Collection” of seating in leather: armchairs, sofas and ottomans.  The company is based in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which is at least near to Suffolk County in Massachusetts.  Whether it adopted the brand name after that county on the basis of its colonial heritage is not known.  However, since the company emphasises its traditional American approach to its craftsmanship, this does seem most likely.

Flexsteel Industries’ Suffolk Collection: This American Group has been making and importing furniture since 1893.  They are currently one of the largest manufacturers in the industry, and their products are sold worldwide.  The furniture part of the Group started in 1893 as the Rolph & Ball Furniture Company in Minneapolis to meet the demands of the westward pioneers.  This company went through various name changes until in 1929 it was incorporated as Northome Furniture Industries, Inc.  In 1948 the company acquired the Flexsteel Spring Corporation of Dubuque, Iowa, and in 1958 the company adopted this name for the Group.  From one small factory in Minneapolis it has grown into a nationwide five-plant network, selling its products worldwide.  It has absolutely no connections with any Suffolk.  As befits a large conglomerate, it is divided into specialist divisions, and the Suffolk Collection just forms one of the many product lines in the ‘seating’ section of their home furniture division.  The collection comprises sofas, ottomans, armchairs, etc. made in leather, and is described as their “traditional” range with “craftsmanship a bonus”.

Casual Elements’ Suffolk Collection: Based in Sacramento, California, Casual Elements is family owned and has operated since 1996.  This firm specialises in hand-crafted, high quality garden and outdoor furniture using kiln-dried teak or mahogany wood.  Its “Suffolk Collection” comprises a dining table set (table and chairs) and dining bench which has the “traditional farm house look with distressed finish” (‘Distressed finish’ means to have signs of ageing artificially applied.)  Once again, we have the traditional, rustic and ancient associated with Suffolk.

‘Health Products’: Another use of the name ‘Suffolk’ can be found in a category of goods that come under the general heading of ‘Health Products’.  These products claim to have therapeutic qualities, and once again the brand name conjures up the image of being desirable and beneficial to the user.  Three such items follow.

The Kenroy Home Suffolk Indoor Table Fountain: Water rolls over a tiered, inclined face of the fountain which is bridged by an incense holder.  This purports to appeal to the senses of sight, sound, and sm
ell which have the effect of aiding relaxation and the relief of stress.

Tabletop water fountains are not new.  They were quite fashionable in Victorian days and are known to date back to Classical times.  Today, of course, they are powered by electricity.

Kenroy Home is a decorative lighting and home décor design and marketing company in Jacksonville, Florida, that have been going for over 50 years.  There is no connection with any Suffolk.


Suffolk Saddle Stool: In therapy this is a stool with a specially shaped seat designed to improve posture and relieve back pain.  We have seen more than one supplier that uses the terminology of a “saddle stool” with the same claim to improve posture.  The image shown here of the ‘Suffolk Saddle Stool’ is from Therapy 2000, a company in the beauty and medical market for over 50 years, based in Bromsgrove, England.




Suffolk Rehab Chair: Kirton Healthcare Group have designed a special rehab chair  which they have named the Suffolk (see photo, left).

With a highly mobile metal frame, foot rest, wheels, adjustable head & back rest & pressure relieving padding, the Suffolk has been created for stroke & head injury victims & the elderly, for use in specialist care & rehabilitation units, hospices & care homes.

Based in Haverhill in Suffolk, Kirton Healthcare were founded in the 1980s & produce specialist seating & furniture, as well as shower, toilet & commode chairs for what they refer to as ‘challenging environments’.




Whyte ‘Suffolk’ Road Bike: Jon Whyte came from the world of Formula 1 Motor Racing where, as the senior suspension designer at Benetton, he helped Michael Schumacher to win his first World Championship in 1994.  That year the American bicycle manufacturer Marin, operating through ATB Sales in the UK, sought the help of Jon Whyte to produce a full-suspension mountain bike to meet the needs of the 1990s.  At the time mountain bikes were “hard-tail”, i.e. having a front suspension fork without rear suspension.  In 1995 the new design went into production and, hence, Jon Whyte is known as the “father of the full-suspension mountain bike”.

In 2000 Jon Whyte established his own UK based design facility at Cirencester in the Cotswolds where he lived, and launched the widely acclaimed PRST-1.  Although Whyte retired in 2006, his research facility remains at Cirencester, and “Whyte Bikes” continues today as a well respected brand name in the bicycle world.  Research and development is accomplished in the UK, the bicycles are manufactured in Taiwan, and then distributed to shops in the UK and the rest of the world.  Whyte Bikes soon diversified and, as of 2015, their range of bikes includes trail, fold-up, road, terrain, commuter as well as mountain bikes.

Whyte name all their road bikes after places in London, e.g. Whyte Whitechapel, or counties in England.  This seems to have been a practice copied from their association with Marin, since the latter name all their models after locations in Marin County, California.  In 2014 Whyte introduced a range of disc-braked aluminium road bikes, among which was the Suffolk.  The other two models were named the Sussex and Dorset.  It appears that the Sussex and Suffolk have been named because these are considered good “cycling counties”.  The other county names have a West Country bent: Dorset, Cornwall, Somerset and Devon.  

The cycling world liked the bikes, but was less enthusiastic about the names.  As one correspondent said: “On the subject of names, Suffolk and Sussex are pretty lame unless you live in them.  I would be far more impressed if they had used Cumbria or Northumberland as these are suggestive of tough, challenging outdoor exploits rather than tractor drivers and commuting drones.”  Those of us who live in the county can console ourselves in knowing that the Suffolk is the most expensive of the bikes.  

The Suffolk Track Top is a cycling accessory but is not related to the bike of that name.  It is a creation of Road Rags Ltd based at Taunton, Somerset, in England.  As the name of this company indicates, it was founded in 2011 by Vaughan Hobbs to provide cycling wear that was stylish, practical and comfortable for its enthusiasts.  The Road Rags Suffolk Track Top, introduced in early 2016, is a seamless merino wool jersey with a full zip.  The Merino wool used is bought from Italy and then manufactured into a seamless jersey in the Midlands.  It is designed for both men and women and is also “great for skiing, fishing, golfing and the pub”.  Nothing to do with ‘Suffolk’ other than the usual connotation of pleasure.  Who are we to argue with that? 


Suffolk Pasture Topper & Suffolk Sweeper Collector: John Graham has over 50 years experience in farming and farm machinery, with his own agricultural contracting business (J E Graham Ltd) located at his farm in Brundish, near Woodbridge in Suffolk, England.  In 1999 John used this experience to design the Suffolk Pasture Topper (see photo, right).  A Pasture Topper is a piece of machinery that is attached to the back of a tractor and is designed to cut the top off areas of long growth within pasture fields.  It is used to keep pastures free from weeds and coarse grasses.  It does not cut the grass as short as a mower would do.  This helps establish a more even growth of the grass.


The success of the Topper led Graham to expand his range of pasture maintenance equipment to include a number of other implements, among them being the Suffolk Sweeper Collector for pastures and parks (see photo, left).  This runs independently on four rubber wheels in order to follow the contours of the ground.  There is an adjustable rake height and depth control.  The purpose is self-explanatory and grass is rejuvenated by removing dead and loose materials, thus keeping paddocks and parks well maintained.

The product range name of ‘Suffolk’ emphasises both the rural nature of the equipment and the location of the business.


Suffolk Silversmiths: “Antique Suffolk Silversmiths trays” are often up for sale, and unscrupulous dealers state that they are “Victorian made in sterling silver by an English silversmith”.  The facts are somewhat different.  They are not “Victorian”, not “sterling silver” nor made by an “English silversmith”.  In fact there has never been a company called “Suffolk Silversmiths”. 

The Suffolk Silversmiths castle silverplate mark (see photo, right) was registered by the Gorham Manufacturing Company, one of the largest American manufacturers of sterling and silverplate, which operates from Provide
nce, Rhode Island, in the USA.  So, why “Suffolk”?  

This story begins with the Alvin Manufacturing Company founded by Willia
m H. Jamouneau at Irvington, New Jersey, in 1886.  This company manufactured fine sterling silver flatware (cutlery) and also hollowware (metal tea sets, bowls, trays, etc).  In 1895 The Alvin Manufacturing Company relocated from New Jersey to Sag Harbor, Long Island, New York State, where it began manufacturing popular silverware based on historical patterns.  In 1905 it introduced onto its sterling silver tableware a floral scroll pattern that was  given the trade name “Suffolk” (see photo, left), after the county in New York State in which Alvin was located. 

Alvin changed hands and names several times over its history, and in 1919 it became Alvin Silver Co.  Alvin’s profitable historical reproductions brought it in direct competition with the prominent Gorham Company of Providence, Rhode Island.  Gorham thus negotiated the purchase of Alvin in 1928 and changed the name to Alvin Corporation.  The new owners retained t
he “Suffolk” trade name and registered it as “Suffolk Silversmiths” with the castle silverplate mark (see right).  They then began producing silver plated serving items under this mark from out of their Providence factory.  There never was a separate company of that name, and articles were never made in sterling silver.  Far from being “Victorian”, items with this mark basically date from the 1920s and 1930s, although 5 piece Suffolk Silversmiths silver plated tea and coffee serving sets continued to be produced into the 1960s.    

Textron purchased Gorham in 1967.  The silvermark was registered by Textron in 1969, but it was allowed to expire and is no longer used.  Gorham ceased production under the Alvin name in c.1970. 

Suffolk Watches:  As far as we can tell, there have been three occasions when companies have given the name ‘Suffolk’ to watches that they have made, yet none of the three companies have had any direct connection with Suffolk.

The first company did call itself the Suffolk Watch Company but it was only in operation for a few short months in 1901.  It was based in Waltham, Massachusetts.  This is in Middlesex County which we acknowledge is next to Suffolk County in Massachusetts.  Its story begins in 1896 when The Columbia Watch Co. was founded by Edward A. Locke in Waltham.  Locke was a successful businessman who had just arrived in the city and had already been involved in the manufacture of pocket watches.  He was well aware of the prestige attached to a watch “made in Waltham” because of the dominance of the American Watch Company in this market.  The latter company had been making watches in Waltham since 1851 and by the late 19th century a “Waltham watch” was understood to be a watch of a particularly high quality made by this company.  In July 1898 the American Watch Co. began a series of injunctions against various jewellers and watch dealers selling Columbia watches because the watches were inscribed with the names “Waltham” and “Waltham, Mass.”  Although “Waltham” was thus used in a geographical sense, the American Watch Co. argued that it had acquired a secondary meaning as a designation of watches of a particular class, and they sought an injunction to prevent other watchmakers from using this name.  The court
found in their favour in July 1899.

This ruling an
d the fact that another older watch company in Illinois had the same name led to The Columbia Watch Co. being renamed.  It was incorporated as the Suffolk Watch Co. in Maine on 19th December 1900.  Events now moved fast.  Since the court ruling had prevented the Suffolk watches from being known as “made in Waltham”, the financial future was now uncertain.  In May 1901 the Suffolk Watch Co. was bought by the Philadelphia Watch Case Co., and on 29 June 1901 the Suffolk Watch Co. was dissolved.

Approximately 26,000 Suffolk watches were produced.  The photograph left shows the face dial.  Note that it only states “Suffolk USA” in accordance with the court ruling.  

In the early 20th century Lady Suffolk was a brand name given to pocket watches and pendant watches made by the Swiss watchmaker Achille Hirsch (see photo,  right).  We presume that this name was adopted from the title of the English aristocratic Howard family (see Suffolk as a Title, above) because of the prestige that this would bring, rather than after the American trotting champion mare (see Lady Suffolk  in the Horse Racing section, below).  Many Swiss watchmakers are based at La Chaux de Fonds in the canton of Neuchâtel.  Achille Hirsh & Co. was registered there in 1899.  This company became one of the biggest producers of watches.  In 1914 the company, called at that time Les Fils de Achille Hirsch, merged with the Compagnie des Montres Invar, by which time the Lady Suffolk brand had been discontinued.  Today, this product brand commands good prices in the vintage watch market.

Daniel Wellington watches are designed in Sweden, manufactured in China and use a quartz movement made in Japan.  The company name, however, derives from a “dapper British gentleman”, and it markets its products under the names of British towns and counties.  This Swedish company was founded in 2011 by 26 year old Filip Tysander.  In 2006, when Filip was backpacking through Australia, he met Daniel Wellington, a British gentleman of impeccable style who had a particular fondness for wearing vintage watches on old, weathered “NATO straps”*.  

* It is difficult to provide a simple definition of a “NATO strap” and the reader is advised to refer to Wikipedia.  Suffice it to say that in 1973 the British MOD pioneered a functional and hardwearing alternative to leather and metal watch straps that would remain secure, but where the strap could quickly be changed if required.  The most notable feature of a NATO strap is its single-piece construction that passes underneath the watch; most other watch straps are composed of two separate pieces.

This made an impression on the young Swedish man and, when back home in Uppsala, after a spell in the fashion industry, Filip decided to create his own line of stylish, but cheap, watches.  Filip felt it was important to make the watch thin and elegant which provides a classic quality look for the wearer.  The watches were initially inspired after Filip met Daniel Wellington and the NATO straps were a fundamental element of the design that was decided on from the outset.  These interchangeable straps come in half-a-dozen colourful nylons and a few leather options.  In a range of colour combinations, each strap is interchangeable and the choice of which one to wear can suit any occasion and any mood.  It soon became apparent that a watch with a minimalist dial and interchangeable NATO straps had a wide-ranging appeal.

Apparently giving a British name to the watch embraces this concept of elegance and suaveness, reinforced by the brand styles being named after British locations.  The ‘Suffolk’ was introduced in 2016 supposedly as a “limited edition”, but this may well be a marketing ploy to encourage sales.  As noted elsewhere on this page, the county of Suffolk brings forth images of warmth, quality and well-being.  The name is not inscribed on the watch, only the initials DW (with the D reversed) above the full company name below in smaller letters (see image, right).  
Within five years this 26-year-old who could not afford a Rolex had built a $200 million watch empire.  In February 2017, Daniel Wellington was named the fastest growing company in Europe.  This success was brough
t about by having the watches made in China which keeps costs and the selling price low.  The other factor in its success is that unlike other brands that aim to stay exclusive by selling to selective, quality outlets, Daniel Wellington will distribute to any retailers that want its product.  Finally, the company uses social media to increase its brand exposure and broaden its customer reach.  Daniel Wellington has more than two million followers on Instagram, thereby dwarfing competing watch brands.

Suffolk Parade Bracelets: Handmade bracelets, crafted from sterling silver and made in the UK (see photo, right).  Suffolk Parade is an exclusive on-line fashion brand that was launched in August 2016.  Developed by Toby Dudfield, these products were designed and some made prior to there being a business or even having a name.  The goal was to create a classic yet contemporary looking bracelet that focused on quality, individuality, chic minimal sophistication, grace and classic elegance, and also promoted the locality of the UK design.  Then one day, Toby was walking down this street in Montpellier, Cheltenham, and the brand, Suffolk Parade, was born.  Suffolk Parade is located in the area known as The Suffolks, within the very popular Montpellier district.  This area was originally developed in the 1830s and many of the buildings have maintained their Georgian styling and classic, elegant feel (see The Suffolks, Cheltenham, on the Other Suffolks page).

Suffolk Parade Ltd was incorporated by Toby Dudfield in September 2015.  He lives at the village of Berrow in Worcestershire, England, near to Cheltenham.  Now aged 31, Toby is a young entrepreneur who studied Business Management at the University of Wales, Swansea.  He is also involved in promoting Overeen single malt whisky in the UK, imported from the Old Hobart Distillery in Tasmania, Australia. 


Suffolk Duck Dog Food: This is what it says: dog food primarily comprising of duck.  Whether the duck had anything to do with Suffolk is immaterial because the name of the company that sells the product is The Suffolk Group.  This is a family-run business based in Lowestoft, Suffolk.  The full product name is “Akela 80:20 Suffolk Duck Grain-Free Working Dog Food” (see image, left).  The 80:20 is the proportion of duck to fruit and vegetables in the composition of the foodstuff.  The emphasis is on it being completely free of grain, thereby providing a better dietary supplement for working dogs.  The trade name “Akela” comes from the fictional character in Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book stories.  He is the leader of the pack of Indian wolves and is the mentor and protector of the lost boy Mowgli.   




Suffolk Cottage is a name frequently given to residences in the county of Suffolk.  As such, we do not usually record it on the Planet Suffolk website.  However, we place this one on record because the name is used by a company outside the county.  Sawyers Park Homes is an independent family run business involved in the construction and management of park homes.  These are locations where a number of single level units are in a “park” with managers on each site providing for the maintenance and needs of the residents.  They specifically cater for the semi-retired and retired.  The company has seven basic models, one of which is the “Suffolk Cottage” (see photo, right).  The advertisement states that it has the “appearance and feeling of a classic country cottage. Wood is the main feature of this home with stained beams to the ceiling and a large timber fireplace”.  Sawyers Park Homes was incorporated in 2002; it is based in Kent and has five parks located in Kent and Essex.  


Suffolk Garage is a timber garage in the Dutch style marketed by Garden Affairs Ltd in Trowbridge, Wiltshire (see photo, left).  This company, established in July 2001 by Richard Squire, designs and installs high quality garden buildings: garden offices, summerhouses, studios, log cabins, gazebos, timber garages and garden sheds.  The company’s range of timber garages have various names for the different styles, but there does not seem to be any commonality about these: Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky and Oklahoma (after American states); Cleveland, Kent and Suffolk (after English counties).  The name “Suffolk” is also given to a style of garden shed and a style of garden store (barn) made by the company.  The “Dutch style” refers to the roof having four eaves on all sides which better protects the upper part of the walls from rain and snow.  There seems no particular reason to connect this style specifically with Suffolk in England, although buildings reflecting Dutch influence are found in Suffolk, New York, because the adjacent territory had previously been under Dutch colonial control. 

Suffolk Urn is the name given to a style of funerary (cremation) urn manufactured by Border Concepts, Inc. in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA (see image, left).  This company was formed in 1990 and is an independent garden centre that designs and makes its own garden and lawn pottery.  The practice of cremating bodies and preserving the ashes in a container has been around since 7000 BC.  The Suffolk Urn is made of a fibreglass and clay composite and is 9 inches in height.  There are four styles, three of which have been given names of localities around Hampton Roads in Virginia: Portsmouth, Suffolk and Newport (after Newport News).  The fourth style is Wickford which presumably is named after that place in Rhode Island.  We do not know why the designer chose these names, but it does seem that there may have been a connection with that area of Virginia.  

Suffolk Fairies is a product that we include with some reluctance because we can anticipate the comments of our Norfolk neighbours.  Be as it may, this is a well-known product line with regard to “outdoor garden décor”.  The product comprises little fairy statuettes from 3 to 18 inches in height, each of which are given a personal name, such as Chloe, Olivia, Peter Suffolk Fairy.  The occasional “fairy name” such as Candytuft Suffolk Fairy appears, and there is the ever popular Dreamer Suffolk Fairy (see image, right).  These have become collectibles of which there are at present 24 statuettes, including a set of 6 Suffolk Fairy Pot Plant Sitters.  These hand-crafted resin garden fairies are individually finished with an antique bronze patina.  The advertising material states that “each Suffolk Fairy has its own character and personality, and can be placed amongst the plants and rocks outside or inside a home, where they add magic to any room.”

The major purveyor of these collectibles is a company known as Efairies Com, a privately owned, single location business in Lakewood, State of Washington, USA, where it has a gift shop.  This company is categorised under Mail Order General Merchandise and was incorporated in 2003.

Credit for the concept is given to the fine art sculptor Trevor Kenny who designed the first statuettes, and because he lives in Suffolk, England, the fairies “bear the name of that beautiful place in the British Isles”.  We will not disagree with the latter part of this promotional description.

Click here to sign the Guestbook

Top of Page 

Suffolk Jaguar SS100 and Suffolk XK C-type Jaguar

The Suffolk Jaguar SS100 sports car has been created as a visually exact reproduction of the legendary Jaguar SS100.

The original Jaguar SS100 was designed in 1935 by William Lyons and built between 1936 and 1940 by SS Cars Ltd of Coventry, England.  Although only 314 of this 2-seater sports car were ever made, it is widely accepted as the high point of English sports car design prior to the start of World War 2.  The 100 refers to the theoretical maximum speed of the car as being 100 mph. As was the trend at the time, an animal name was thought appropriate for this model, with “Jaguar” being chosen. After the war, the use of the initials SS was thought of as having Nazi connotations, and the company became Jaguar Cars in 1945.

Due to the small number produced, original SS100s are such collectors’ items that they change hands for millions of pounds.  And for this reason, several replica and re-creations of the Jaguar SS100 have been manufactured since the 1960s. The best known and most accurate of these being the Suffolk Jaguar SS100.

Based in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England, the firm Suffolk Sportscars has been producing the replica Suffolk SS100 since 1990. The brainchild of company owner Roger Williams, more than 200 have been manufactured, and have been exported all over the world.  The Suffolk SS100 is thought of as being the most visually and dimensionally accurate of all replicas of the original on the market and, with its painstaking attention to detail, has become so popular that it has been accepted by Jaguar enthusiasts, specialist classic car registers and the Jaguar Company itself, as acceptable for entry into races and events as the Suffolk Jaguar.

As well as the SS100, Suffolk Sportscars also manufacture the Suffolk XK C-type Jaguar. Launched in 2006, this is a faithful replica of the Jaguar XK120-C, a racing sports car originally built and sold from 1951 to 1953 (the  C” standing for “Competition”). The cars were a success in the racing world, most notable at the Le Mans 24 hours race; winning there both in 1951 and 1953.  As only 53 C-Types were ever manufactured, they, like the SS100, have also become collectors’ items and sell for extortionate sums of money;  one auctioned in America in August 2009 fetching $2,530,000.

Both the Suffolk Jaguar SS100 and the Suffolk XK C-type Jaguar can be built to a specific customer order by Suffolk Sportscars, or can be supplied in component packages for self assembly.

Top of Page

Whitehall ‘Suffolk’ Tobacco Smoking Pipe

We deal with general information regarding tobacco pipes relevant to the Whitehall ‘Suffolk’ in the first part of this article, and then proceed to outline the evolution of the two names by which it was known.

The majority of pipes sold today, whether handmade or machine-made, are fashioned from briar.  Briar is cut from the root “burl” (US terminology; in the UK referred to as “burr” – a knot in the wood) of the tree heath (Erica arborea), which is native to the rocky and sandy soils of the Mediterranean region.  Briar is particularly well suited for pipe making since it is hard, has a natural resistance to fire, an inherent ability to absorb moisture and does not affect the aroma of pipe tobacco.  

Collecting smoking pipes is a hobby and like most hobbies the enthusiasts w
ill portray an in-depth knowledge of the style of pipe and its shape, which will differ dependent upon the supplier, the brand name, the maker and country of origin of the briar.  As such the brand name and country of origin are marked on the stem of the pipe as a stamp of authenticity, as shown in this photograph of a ‘Handmade Suffolk Algerian Briar Tobacco Smoking Pipe’.  Pipe brands are generally believed to have specific character or qualities that affect the flavour of the tobacco.

Pipes fall into two broad categories that are defined by the course of the smoke
channel (shape).  These are simply straight or bent.  However, there are more variations on shapes and styles than can be imagined.  In addition, since pipes are hand-crafted, the value of individual pipes (which may look the same to the observer) will vary according to any one aspect that could be different in its supplier, materials, type (or style), shape, brand name, specific model, imprint, colour, banding, finish, the craftsman (maker) and country of manufacture.   
The name ‘Suffolk’ has, therefore, been applied to several different models sold by the Whitehall Company, some of which are shown here.  The name of the country in which it is made is important to the collector.  


 Whitehall ‘Suffolk’ Bent Briar Tobacco Smoking Pipe Italy








Whitehall ‘Suffolk’ Rusticated Straight Billiard Briar Smoking Pipe England

(A pipe’s surface is described as being rusticated when its surface is given a rough texture rather than smooth.)








Whitehall ‘Suffolk’ German Briar Silver Band Estate Pipe

(An estate pipe, by the simplest definition, is a pipe that has had one or more previous owners and is being re-sold.  In some cases it may have been owned by a collector and kept in pristine condition.)





In the 1960s and 1970s Whitehall was a major distributor of tobacco smoking pipes in the U.S.A. and the ‘Suffolk’ was a very popular make.  The irony is that these were “American” pipes usually made in England from imported Italian or French briar.  Whitehall Products Co. was an American firm, but nearly everything else was derived from Europe, and from England in particular.  The names ‘Whitehall’ and ‘Suffolk’ seem to be quintessentially English.  It has to be said at the outset that the sources do not know with any certainty exactly when the names first appeared and how they originated.  

The ‘Whitehall’ name is said to have come from The Civic Company Limited of London.  This was formed in 1921 out of the Imperial Tobacco Co which was located in Hammersmith, London.  The Imperial Company itself was formed in 1901 in response to an aggressive takeover raid in Britain by American Tobacco and involved the pooling of tobacco retail outlets.  In 1902 Imperial purchased the Salmon & Gluckstein retail empire, which included a section that finished briar pipes, originally made in France, for sale in Britain.  It is this unit that in 1921 became The Civic Company Limited.  In 1928 it merged with other companies as part of Cadogan Investments.  The book “Who Made That Pipe?” by Herb Wilczak & Tom Colwell (1997) shows ‘Whitehall’ as an English made product by Civic/Ben Wade.  It seems that more than one pipe manufacturer used the name ‘Whitehall’, including Civic in the 1920s and 1930s, and Ben Wade in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  ‘Whitehall’ is a world famous name as the centre of government in Britain.  As a common and well known place name it cannot be protected as a trade mark.  

Nevertheless, ‘Suffolk’ as a brand name for a tobacco pipe is stated to be a “North American brand sold by Whitehall Products in the USA and Tyler & Co in England”.  The various sources indicate that ‘Whitehall’ was a great name in American pipes and tobacco, and that the pipes were made usually by Ben Wade and some by Civic Co in England from briar gathered in the south of France and Algeria, although one line was from Gasparini in Italy from briar harvested in Tuscany and Greece.  The pipes were made specifically for sale in the U.S. market.  However, as we indicate below, the facts do not exactly fit this picture.

The name ‘Whitehall’ in America is first recorded in 1936 as a brand name for pipe tobacco manufactured by the Christian Peper Tobacco Company of St Louis, Missouri.  At the end of the 19th century, St Louis was the largest processor of chewing and pipe tobacco in the United States.  Christian Peper, born in Germany, was a pioneer tobacco merchant who began his tobacco business in St Louis in 1852.  The latter company had acquired or started the brand name of ‘Whitehall’ of its own accord in 1936.  

Tyler & Co is recorded as a “tobacco manufacturer” in 1899 in Nottingham, England, and was later based at the intersection of Bank Street and Snig Hill in Sheffield.  It was still going in the 1940s and 1950s, but the firm folded in the 1960s.  Its location may be pertinent to the fact that it is said to have sold the ‘Suffolk pipe’ in England.  Presumably these were made by Ben Wade at Leeds.  The cities of Leeds and Sheffield are only 36 miles from each other.  

Bloch Brothers began selling pipes in 1948.  In 1952 they acquired Christian Peper Tobacco Company and the ‘Whitehall’ name came with it.  It seems that this name was then used for the Bloch Brothers pipe division at Wheeling, West Virginia, and this year was when the ‘Whitehall’ name became associated with tobacco pipes and the city of Wheeling.  It cannot be determined when the brand name ‘Suffolk’ first came into use by Whitehall, but it does not seem to have pre-dated 1960.  In 1969 Bloch Brothers was bought by the General Cigar and Tobacco Company who placed the Wheeling factory under the control of its subsidiary Helme Products, a New Jersey manufacturer of pipe and chewing tobacco.  

It is with Helme Products that the Whitehall ‘Suffolk’ pipe is most associated.  This is why some sources mistakenly indicate that the ‘Suffolk’ pipes came from Helmetta in New Jersey.  That location was the headquarters of Helme Products.  Whitehall Products Co. was a division of Helme Products and it marketed the ‘Suffolk’ pipe from Wheeling.  It ceased pipe sales in 1975 when the division was closed down.  However, old stock is known to have been sold up to and including 1980.

Ben Wade is one of the great names in English pipe making.  This family company was founded by Benjamin Wade in 1860 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England.  He was renowned for his high quality hand-made tobacco smoking pipes, and the family carried on this tradition after his death in 1929, continuing the company under his name.  The company continued to hand-carve the finishing to the basic pipe mould, and it is possible that the name ‘Suffolk’ was introduced by them as a new design around 1960.  However, it could be that the brand-name ‘Suffolk’ was suggested by their client in Wheeling, West Virginia, since this was where the marketing policy was dictated, and it was already known that this county name evoked images of relaxation and warmth.   

Herman G Lane, a New York City pipe manufacturer, wishing to expand his product base, bought both Ben Wade of Leeds and Charatan of London pipe brands in 1962.  In 1965 he closed the factory in Leeds and moved manufacture to London.  So this was the end of Ben Wade pipes stamped “Made in Leeds, England”.  However, using the well esteemed name of Ben Wade, Lane Ltd started the fabrication of entirely machine-made pipes at Charatan’s Prescott Street factory in London.  The stamping now read “Made in London, England” or just “London”.  Nothing was left from the quality of the pipes once made in Leeds.  

The situation got worse for pipe-collectors as the manufacturers were only too eager to make a profit out of a reputable name.  In 1971 a young Danish pipe-maker, Preben Holm, because he was having difficulty in establishing his hand-carved pipes in the American market, approached Herman Lane.  It did not take long before both parties realised that Preben Holme would be able to sell his pipes at a very much higher price under the Ben Wade name which was now owned by Lane Ltd.  Within a very short time Ben Wade pipes, carved in his very own personal style in Denmark, but now of a much higher quality, were being sold by Lane Ltd in far much larger quantities than Preben Holm had ever dreamed of.  Although they were marked “hand made in Denmark”, this did little to assuage the feeling among collectors that the Ben Wade name was being purposely manipulated for pure profit.  This led to the degradation of the Whitehall ‘Suffolk’ pipes to a second-class brand and a decline in sales, such that production ceased in 1975.  The Ben Wade brand continued to be produced until the untimely death of Preben Holm in 1989 at the age of 41.

In reality the popular “American” Whitehall ‘Suffolk’ tobacco smoking pipe only lasted around 15 years; it was not made in America; its reputation of being hand-carved by the Ben Wade company was only true for 5 of those years; it was only made in England for 11 years; and for 6 of those years it was not even hand-carved.  The briar out of which it was made, however, was undoubtedly from the Mediterranean.

Top of Page

Suffolk Maid

Butterworth & Son is a family run business originally specialising in tea and coffee.   The family’s interest in tea can be traced back to the end of the 19th century when Harry Butterworth was a tea dealer in the Manchester area.  His grandson, Robert Butterworth Snr, founded the present business in 1976 at Bury   St Edmunds when he developed a blend of tea that was suitable for the hard water conditions found in this part of East Anglia.  A few years later when Butterworth’s was well established, a strong and full-flavoured blend of tea was produced called Suffolk Special Blend, and soon after another one was made carrying the county name, Suffolk Gold Blend (see images, below).

As public demand grew for Butterworth quality so other products of local interest were added and in 1988 two brands were created to ensure distinctiveness and products of a traditional flavour: Old Colonial and Suffolk Maid.  The latter name was deliberately chosen as an allusion to “Suffolk Made”.  Butterworth & Son sell many varieties of tea under the Suffolk Maid name: Breakfast, Earl Grey, Peppermint, Russian Caravan (see below) to name a few.  In addition to the two blends of tea mentioned above, the name ‘Suffolk’ is also to be found in the Suffolk Regiment’s Malabar Chutney (see below).  This is a spicy tomato chutney recalling the regiment’s days in Imperial India.  It is specially prepared by hand in the UK from natural ingredients made by traditional methods.

Another notable feature of Suffolk Maid is that it continues the tradition of placing tea cards in its packaging.  This is covered in the following article. 

Top of Page

“Suffolk” Cigarette and Tea Cards

In order to stiffen the cigarette packaging to protect the product, American tobacco companies used to insert trade cards into the packs.  These were also used to advertise their other cigarette brands.  In 1875 the Allen and Ginter tobacco company began the practice of depicting actresses, baseball players, Indian chiefs, and boxers on their cards.  These are considered to be the first cigarette cards.  This was an astute marketing strategy as sales of cigarettes increased when customers attempted to collect complete sets of the individuals depicted.  Other tobacco companies soon followed suit and the practice spread to the UK and elsewhere.

Individual cigarette cards within a set of similarly themed cards did include pictures of Suffolk features.  There are many examples of these, particularly with regard to the Suffolk Regiment (included in “Uniforms of the Territorial Army” and “Territorial Regiments” J
ohn Player & Son); the Suffolk Punch in “Types of Horses” (John Player & Son); “Marine Series” (Clarke’s Cigarettes) includes HMS Suffolk; the Ancient House, Ipswich, and Abbot’s Bridge, Bury St Edmunds, both appear in “British Royal and Ancient Buildings” (Westminster Tobacco Company).  However, there was one company that produced a couple of sets specifically devoted to Suffolk.  This was from the firm of W A and A C Churchman of Ipswich.  This had started as a small pipe tobacco manufacturer in 1790, but by the end of the 19th century cigarettes were the largest part of its output.  In 1912 the company issued two sets containing 50 cards in each set devoted to: West Suffolk Churches and East Suffolk Churches.  These were photographs shown in a sepia tone (see image of Hasketon Church, part of the East Suffolk set, right).  In 1922 a further set of 50 cards depicted the Rivers & Broads of Norfolk & Suffolk.

In 1939 as war broke out across Europe, Britain experienced significant paper and board shortages.  This meant that issuing cigarette cards became untenable and so production in the UK ceased.  Although there were sporadic attempts to revive the practice after the war, cigarette cards were never issued on any significant scale again.  

However, from 1954 until 1999, packets of Brooke Bond tea included illustrated cards, usually 50 in a series, which were collected by many children.  Other tea manufacturers also adopted this practice.  In 1993 Robert Butterworth Snr, a keen local historian and traditionalist as well as an avid collector of picture cards, put together a set to be included in every packet of tea sold.  This first set depicted historic scenes of Bury St. Edmunds.  A second set of 18 colour picture cards was produced in 1999 depicting historic battles and uniforms of the Suffolk Regiment throughout the ages.  With children becoming more immersed in computer-based technology, the novelty of collecting tea cards wore off.  The major tea producers stopped adding them to their packaging some years ago, but Butterworth’s Suffolk Maid has kept faith with the tradition.  Most of the sets are on topics relating to the county, but five of them are specifically named Suffolk, as outlined below with the number of tea cards in the set shown in brackets:

The History of the Suffolk Regiment (18) issued 1999.
Suffolk Steam Railways (12) issued 2006; a further (6) issued 2009.
Suffolk Regiment Land Rover Series (6) issued 2011.
A re-issue of the 1912 Churchman sets w
as made in colour:
East Suffolk Churches (25) issued 2015.  
West Suffolk Churches (25) issued 2016.

The London to Ipswich 1909 Machine Wagon Low Loader transporting a stuffed giraffe for Ipswich Museum is particularly striking (part of the Suffolk Steam Railways series).  The giraffe was carefully angled to pass under overhead obstacles.  The giraffe is still on display in the museum - see image below. 

Top of Page

"Suffolk" Playing Cards

Until the latter part of the 18th century playing card backs were left plain white.  The problem with this was that card backs became accidentally (and sometimes deliberately) marked.  This enabled the player opposite to determine the card that was held.  Card manufacturers began to print repeating geometric patterns of stars or dots on the reverse of the cards to minimise this problem.  Advances in colour printing in the 19th century led to more decorative backs to be produced.  At first the backs displayed advertising material, but c.1900, with the advent of better photography and responding to the rise of tourism in Europe, Swiss card manufacturers began producing packs with scenic photographs on the reverse of the cards.  Obviously the same photograph had to be displayed on each card of a normal 54 pack.  However, this did allow for “sets” to be produced, thereby encouraging people to collect several packs for display rather than actual use.  

This became the basis of Waddington’s ‘Beautiful Britain’ playing cards which depicted scenes of seaside and country resorts.  The first ‘Beautiful Britain’ series was introduced in August 1924, subsidised to begin with by the Great Western Railway.  The Great Western Railway withdrew their sponsorship in 1925, but the series continued to be subsidised by the London and North Eastern Railway until 1929.  This series included a set of the ‘LNER Lowestoft Railway Harbour’ scene in Suffolk, c.1926.  



Zazzle is an American online marketing business that allows designers and customers to create their own products with independent manufacturers, as well as to use images from participating companies.  Since 2013 it has offered 10 playing card packs, each pack having a different topic from Suffolk in England on the reverse.  These are:

Ploughing Scene in Suffolk (painting by John Constable, c.1824)
Cottage in a Cornfield, Suffolk (painting by John Constable, 1833)
The Entrance to Fen Lane, Dedham, (painting by John Constable)
Lowestoft, Suffolk (painting by William Daniell (1769-1837))
The Orford Ness Lighthouse, Suffolk (painting by Willia
m Daniell)
The Suffolk Hunt – Gone Away (painting by John Frederick Herring Snr (1795-1865))
The Suffolk Hunt – Going to Cover (painting by John Frederick Herring Snr)
Two are portraits of Suffolk personalities:
Major John Dade (1726-1811) of Suffolk, (painting by Thomas Gainsborough c. 1755)
Sir William Drury, of Hawstead, Suffolk (1527-79) (artist unknown)

Suffolk Sheep (watercolour)

The first nine above are produced by Bicycle Playing Cards, a brand name of the US Playing Card Co., the leading manufacturer of playing cards.  ‘Suffolk Sheep’ is produced by On Demand Technologies, Kansas (see examples below).


       The Suffolk Hunt – Going to Cover                                                                            Suffolk Sheep

It is relatively easy to produce a set of 54 cards (the usual 52 plus 2 Jokers) with the same illustration on the reverse since this wo
uld provide no information to the player sitting opposite.  However, it would seem more difficult to produce a set with a separate image on each card.  Nevertheless, this is possible by placing the image in the centre of the front (face) of the card.  Neil MacLeod Prints & Enterprises Ltd at Port Glasgow has introduced county sets of playing cards that feature 54 different fine art illustrations of a famous or picturesque location in each of the counties.  The “Suffolk Playing Cards” pack is shown in the photograph left with three familiar images of Suffolk places on the front.  We do not have any images of the actual Suffolk playing cards, but the image of Tower Bridge from the London set (right) shows how this is done.       
Another interesting set is the “Suffolk Tudor” Olde English playing cards, produced by Lady Heather Hall, a calligraphist (someone skilled in decorative writing).  Apparently she came across some cards found in Hinderclay, Suffolk, England.  Their similarity to other known cards fro
m the period and their proportions suggested that they dated from early in the 16th century.  With fragments from several surviving packs to guide her, she has reproduced a set of  cards representing the late Tudor period.  These were issued in 2015 (see image, right).  The fronts are individually crafted, with the backs left blank (white), as was the practice of that time.  It should be pointed out that Lady Heather Hall is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism.  This is an organisation that stages historical re enactments and is dedicated to researching and re creating the arts and skills of pre-17th century Europe.  The members take medieval titles, hence the “Lady Heather Hall”, and are located in “kingdoms” and “cantons”.  She is in the Canton of Foxvale in the Middle Kingdom, which equates in modern terms to Aurora, Illinois, about 35 miles west of Chicago.    

Top of Page

The Suffolk Dartboard

There seems to have been, at one time, a dartboard used in Suffolk, England that differed from the standard dartboard in common use today.

Although the standard or “London” dartboard is now used throughout the British Isles, as well as much of the rest of the world, regional variations are or were quite common. Some, such as the Yorkshire Board, the Lincoln Board & the Irish Board are still in use today. Others such as the Norfolk, Rochester & Staffordshire boards have fallen into disuse. It is into this latter category that the Suffolk Board falls.

In Life and Tradition in Suffolk and North-East Essex, published in 1976, Norman Smedley states: The Suffolk darts board differs, or did, from the regular pattern in the arrangement of the numbers. What order the numbers were in, or how widespread the use of this dartboard was, I have so far been unable to ascertain.

There is a possibility that this could be another name for the Ipswich Fives Board (see Ipswich Fives Darts Board (aka Wide Fives Dart Board) on

If anyone knows anything more about this subject, please let me know at

Why not sign the Guestbook

Top of Page

Suffolk Steel Quoits

The game of quoits, in which iron or steel rings are thrown at a stake in the ground,  can be traced back to medieval times & is known to have been played to varying sets of rules throughout Britain. Over the course of the centuries, many of these games died out, with only a few areas still retaining their own versions of the game.  Today there are basically two versions of the game still in existence, the Northern Game & the Long Game. As the name suggests, the Northern Game is played in the north of England & uses a shorter pitch than the Long Game. The Long Game survives today, in differing forms, in Scotland, Wales & Suffolk. Whereas the Welsh & Scottish games are played with heavy quoits weighing up to 10lbs, those used in the Suffolk game are lighter & the rules & size of the pitch differ to make Suffolk Steel Quoits a unique game, & the only version of the Long Game still extant in England.

Suffolk Steel Quoits is played on a pitch 18 yards long with a 3 ft square clay quoit bed enclosed in a wooden frame at each end. The clay needs to be of a consistency that allows the quoits to embed themselves in at an angle. Within the quoit bed, a metal pin or hob is set flush with the clay, around which is marked a circle 18 inches in diameter. The quoits used in the Suffolk game must not exceed 7¼ inches in diameter & weigh no more than 7¼ lbs.  Each player throws two quoits in turn; the aim being to land nearest to the pin. The quoit nearest the pin scores one point, & if both of a player’s quoits land nearer the pin than those of his opponent, he scores two points. Any quoit that encircles the pin is known as a “ringer” & scores an extra two points. Any quoits landing outside the 18 inch circle, or that land upside down, don’t count. Once an end is complete, the players then turn & throw at the quoit bed at the other end. Where the Suffolk game differs from the others is that quoits that land cleanly over the pin are removed immediately prior to the next throw, as are quoits that land upside down or are inclined in a backwards direction. The first player to reach 21 points is the winner,or in league matches 31 points.

The earliest cup competition, the Suffolk Challenge Cup, was first contested in 1888, and leagues were established in the early years of the 20th century.

Although Suffolk Steel Quoits is an outdoor, & therefore predominantly summer game, an indoor version of the game evolved during the twentieth century. This version of the game, played mainly in pubs, involved the throwing of small flat rubber rings at a Suffolk Quoits Board (see picture, left) from a distance of eight feet. The board features five scoring zones, plus a central ‘bullseye’ worth ten points. These boards are now quite rare, but occasionally turn up at auctions.

A variant on the Suffolk Quoits Board is the Suffolk Caves Board, which is said to have been invented by the licensee of the Black Boy pub in Bury St Edmunds during the early years of the twentieth century. The main difference between the two boards seems to have been that the Suffolk Caves Board had depressions into which the quoits had to land.


Thanks to Mark Shirley for the photo. See

Top of Page

Destination Suffolk – Board Game

The board game Destination was invented by Rachel Lowe from Portsmouth, England, and was first published by RTL Ltd in 2004. The first edition was Destination London!. Subsequently, many other versions of the game have been published, featuring many places within the UK such as Portsmouth, Birmingham, Sheffield, Cardiff, as well as international locations like New York, Paris and Dublin, plus national editions for Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland and South Africa. A Harry Potter version of the game, called Destination Hogwarts, has also been produced, as well as an edition based on the 2012 London Olympics. There is even a Destination Christmas! version.

The game is for 2 to 6 players, and suitable for age 8 to adult. The aim is for players, as taxi drivers, to acquire money by navigating around the various locations on the board. The game begins with each player being given seven destination cards and two fuel cards, the latter each being sufficient to get the player to one destination. The strategy of the game is for the players to plan a logical route in order to take them past a garage, in order to acquire more fuel cards on the way to visiting their seven targeted landmarks. Players can also push their opponents back to the taxi rank, be forced to the garage, or lose their licence. The first player to visit all their destinations and return to the taxi rank receives £250 bonus, at which point the game comes to a close and the winner is the player with the highest earnings.

Each edition of the game has 40 local landmarks. The places featured on the Destination Suffolk edition were voted for by listeners to BBC Radio Suffolk and include Framlingham Castle, Kentwell Hall, Gainsborough’s Statue, Lakenheath Fen, University Campus Suffolk, Brandon Country Park, Ness Point, Landguard Fort, West Stowe, Lavenham, Sizewell, Newmarket Racecourse, Pin Mill, Sutton Hoo, Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion, Southwold, Hoxne, The Nutshell Pub at Bury St Edmunds, the Scallop on Aldeburgh Beach, Spring Road Viaduct in Ipswich, and Blundeston Prison.

Interestingly, whereas most of the regional/national editions of the game are suffixed with an explanation mark (Destination London!, Destination Bournemouth & Poole!, Destination Dublin! etc.) the Suffolk version omits this and is simply Destination Suffolk.

Top of Page

suffolciensis - Wasps Species

Claude Morley (1874-1951) was an English entomologist who was born in Blackheath near Halesworth. He came to Ipswich in 1892, before moving to Monk Soham, where he lived for the rest of his life. A founder member of the Suffolk Naturalists’ Society, his collection of material from 1898 - 1951 forms the core of Ipswich Museum ’s British insect collection, with an estimated 150,000 specimens. He became a Fellow of the Entomological Society of London in 1896. He specialised in Hymenoptera & Diptera but also worked on Coleoptera, Hemiptera & Ichneumonidae. His major legacy is the five volume Ichneumons of Great Britain (1903-1914). He wrote many articles for the Entomologist magazine, & was on the editorial staff from 1909.

Morley used the suffix suffolciensis nine times to describe species that he discovered in Suffolk. Confusingly, however, some of these describe the same insect & there are now only three recognised species. Only one of these is now an accepted name, the other two having since been reclassified as being synonymous with other known species.  

All three are in the order Hymenoptera, which comprises wasps, bees, ants & sawflies, of which over 130,000 species have been recognised worldwide. The name derives from the Ancient Greek ‘hymen’ meaning membrane & ‘pteron’ meaning wing, hence ‘membrane winged’. Within the Hymenoptera, all three are species of parasitic wasp in the superfamily Ichneumonoidea; which contains more than 58,000 species worldwide.  One of the three is in the family Ichneumonidae, (commonly called ichneumon wasps), whilst the other two are in the family Braconidae.

Apanteles suffolciensis:

This species is listed under the following names:

Apanteles suffolciensis
Choeras suffolciensis
Hypomicrogaster suffolciensis
Microgaster suffolciensis
Hygroplitis suffolciensis

These all seem to be the same species, however. Morley first described the species in 1902 in the Entomologist magazine 38:4-5, under the title A new species of Microgaster. The species has now been reclassified & is known as Apanteles (Choeras) dorsalis, which is in the family Braconidae.

Glyphicnemis suffolciensis:

Also listed under the name Stylocryptus suffolciensis.

Morley first described this species in 1907 in Ichneumonologia Britannica. ii. The Ichneumons of Great Britain. Cryptinae.  This species is now classified as Glyphicnemis atrata in the family Ichneumonidae.





Dyscritulus suffolciensis:

Also called Dyscritus suffolciensis, & sometimes known as the Suffolk Wasp”, this is the only species with the suffolciensis suffix that is still an accepted species name.  It belongs to the family Braconidae.  In 1933, Morley described this species in the Entomologists 66:201-203 Notes on Braconidae XIV: Alysiides.



Antaeon suffolciensis:

Another wasp species, this one not named by Morley, was described in 1908 by the entymologist A J Chitty and given the name Antaeon suffolciensis.  This one was from another parasitic wasp family, the Dryinidae.  It was later noted that this species had already been described by the naturalist Johan Wilhelm Dalman in 1823 and given the name Antaeon brachycerum, thus the name given by Chitty is no longer recognised.  

  All images shown larger than actual size.  All Photos in this section reproduced by kind permission of Colchester & Ipswich Museum Service

Top of Page

suffolciensis and suffolkensis – As used in the Names of Extinct Species

The suffix suffolciensis has also been used in naming a number of extinct aquatic species found as fossils in the chalk and crag deposits of Suffolk, England.  The suffix suffolkensis has been used once in relation to England, but is more often used for extinct species found in Suffolk, Virginia.

Borsonia suffolciensis:

This name was given to a fossil marine gastropod mollusc (sea snail) of the family Borsoniidae.  It was found in the Red Crag of Suffolk by Frederic William Harmer of Norwich, one of the pioneers in the field geology of East Anglia.  It is described in The Pliocene Mollusca (1915).  The name Borsonia was given in 1839 by Luigi Bellardi, the Italian malacologist (one who studies molluscs), in honour of Stefano Borson (1758-1832), the professor of mineralogy and geology at the Royal School of Mines at Moutiers, France.

Echinocyamus suffolciensis and Fibularia suffolciensis:

This particular fossil is found in the Crag beds of Suffolk and was described by Professor Edward Forbes in his Monograph of the Echinodermata of the British Tertiaries (1852).  The majority of fossil finds are derived from the older Coralline Crag (see Suffolk Crag section on the Suffolk, England page).  The phylum Echinodermata comprises the starfish, brittlestars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.  Echinocyamus suffolciensis was a type of sea urchin probably related to the modern Sea Pea or Green Urchin.  It belonged to the class Echinoid. 

In Echinoids, the skeleton is almost always made up of tightly interlocking plates that form a rigid structure or ‘test’ in contrast with the more flexible skeletal arrangements of starfish, brittle stars, and sea cucumbers. The order Clypeasteroida and family Fibulariidae constitute the complete classification of the genus Echinocyamus.  In all, the Echinocyamus suffolciensis possessed an oval rigid skeleton consisting of calcium carbonate plates arranged in a fivefold radial pattern.  The skeleton or ‘test’ was flattened and covered by short movable spines which would have in turn been covered with very small hairs (cilia).  Its anus was on the underside behind its mouth.  It probably grew no more than a centimetre.  The animal thrived in the North Sea Basin burying itself in coarse sandy marine sediments deposited during a warm climate during the Pliocene and early Pleistocene epochs, feeding on detritus and foraminifera.

Echinocyamus suffolcieusis
is recorded as a fossil, but this is probably an accidental mis-spelling of the above species, replacing ‘n’ by ‘u’ in the suffix.

Fibularia suffolciensis is an earlier name given to Echinocyamus suffolciensis.  It is described by Henry Thomas De La Beche in his A geographical manual (1832) under “Radiaria” fossils found in East Anglian Crag.  In Lamarck’s classification (1801-12), “Radiaria” is a class of animals that was divided into the orders Mollia and Echinoderma.  This species name was superseded in 1852 by Forbes in his treatise mentioned above.  

The name Echinocyamus was given in 1774 in a treatise by the Dutch physician, Murk van Phelsum (1732-79).  The name in Latin is descriptive: “echino-” means ‘prickly’ or ‘spiny’, and “cyamus” is the Latin name for the ‘Egyptian flat bean’.  In 1816 the renowned French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829) in his “Histoire Naturelle des Animaux” creates a new genus Fibularia in which he placed three species, one of which is obviously Echinocyamus.  Since Echinocyamus was an earlier name than Fibularia, in the scientific world it should have taken precedence, but such was Lamarck’s reputation that Fibularia continued to be used for various species, such as Fibularia suffolciensis.  Although a compromise was reached in 1846, some scientists refused to accept the decision and kept using whichever name they personally preferred.  This caused confusion, but the dispute rumbled on until 1954 when the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature made a definitive ruling: Echinocyamus was to apply to species “of a low type with internal radiating walls” (we would say ‘flat ones’), and Fibularia was to apply to species “of a high type without internal radiating walls” (we would say ‘round ones’).       

Membranipora suffolciensis:

This fossil was described by Reginald Marr Brydone in his Further notes on new or imperfectly known Chalk Polyzoa (1936).  Polyzoa is the old name for the modern phylum Bryozoa, more commonly known as “moss animals”.  These are typically aquatic invertebrate animals of less than a millimetre in length.  They are filter feeders that sieve food particles out of the water using a retractable ring of tentacles lined with cilia, known as a lophophore.  Membranipora suffolciensis belonged to the widely distributed Membraniporidae family, of the Cheilostomata order in the Gymnolaemata class of the phylum.  These animals were composed of calcium carbonate and formed large colonies that lived under seawater inhabiting the surfaces of rocks, kelps and seaweeds.  This type species was found in the chalk deposits of Suffolk and differed in detail from others of its genus. The name of this lace-like Bryozoan was given in 1830 by the French zoologist and anatomist Henri de Blainville (1777-1850) and is self-explanatory, since the Latin equivalent is much the same in most European languages: a membrane that allows the passage of water though the pore (pora).

Melanogrammus suffolkensis:

This is the name given to fossil otoliths found at Sutton and Gedgrave, Suffolk, England, in the Coralline Crag, and were named after the county. They were laid down in the Early to Middle Pliocene epoch, between 5.3 and 3.6 million years ago.  

Otoliths are commonly referred to as “earstones” or “fish ear bones”.  They are hard, calcium carbonate structures located directly behind the brain of fish.  Otoliths help with balance, orientation, and sound detection.  They have a very distinct shape, which is characteristic of the species of fish.  That is, different fish species have differently shaped otoliths, thus biologists can determine the species of fish from this one individual structure.

Melanogrammus suffolkensis was first described by Ernst Hermann Koken (1860-1912), a German palaeontologist and professor of geology at the University of Tübingen in 1891 (“Neue Untersuchungen an tertiaren Fischotolithen, Part II”.  Zeit. Deutsch. Geol. Gesell., 1891).  It was more recently described in “The Otoliths from the Miocene of the North Sea Basin” by Werner Schwarzhans, 2010.  

Koken originally named this fossil species Otolithus vulgaris var. suffolkensis and placed it in the genus Merlangus, the fish commonly known in English as the whiting.  He soon realised that it should be in the genus Melanogrammus (the haddock) which is in the same family, Gadidae.  The original name is still sometimes seen as a synonym for this fossil.  The name Melanogrammus comes from the ancient Greek ‘black’ (melaina) ‘line’ (grammē), referring to the black lateral line running along its white side, a name given by the American ichthyologist Theodore N Gill in 1862.

Callianassa suffolkensis:

Callianassa is a genus of mud shrimp, in the family Callianassidae of the order Decapoda (crustaceans).  The genus was described and named by William Elford Leach (1791-1836) in 1814 (“Crustaceology.” Brewster’s Edinburgh Encyclopedia. London, 1814).  Leach was an English zoologist and marine biologist employed in the Natural History Department of the British Museum, where he had responsibility for the zoological collections.  He named it after one of the fifty Nereides (nymphs of the sea) in Greek mythology: Callianassa, which means “the lovely queen”.

The fossil species Callianassa suffolkensis was named by Mary J. Rathbun in 1935 (“Fossil Crustacea of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain.” Geological Society of America, Special Paper (2), 1935).  One specimen (a holotype, i.e. a single physical example of an organism) was found in the Yorktown Formation, three miles northeast of the Borough of Suffolk, Virginia, hence its species name.    

Mary J. Rathbun (1860-1943) was an American zoologist who specialised in crustaceans.  She worked at the Smithsonian Institution from 1884 until her death.  In 1935 she published the first comprehensive paper on the fossil crustaceans, principally decapods, of the Atlantic Gulf Coastal Plain of Eastern North America.  In this landmark paper she describes or mentions all of the fossil decapods.  All but one were listed as occurring in deposits of the Yorktown Formation which at that time was regarded as Miocene.  However, later stratigraphy studies of southeastern Virginia have revised this dating, and a number of species, including Callianassa suffolkensis, are now regarded as Upper Pliocene, dating from 3.6 to 2.6 million years ago.

The Yorktown Formation is composed primarily of silty sand with marine shell fragments and was originally many hundreds of feet thick, deposited in a shallow, tropical sea 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago when eastern Virginia was submerged.   During a subsequent glacial period when the sea level fell and exposed Yorktown sediments on the surface, the upper portion of the Yorktown Formation was removed by subsequent erosion, which has cut deep channels into its surface, exposing levels of strata that contain these fossils.

Cytheromorpha suffolkensis:

Ostracods are a class of the Crustacea more commonly known as seed shrimp.  They are small crustaceans, typically around 1 mm in size, with their bodies flattened, round and protected by a bivalve-like, calcareous ‘shell’.  Seed shrimp eat dead plant matter lying on or inside the upper layer of the sea floor.  The name comes from the Greek “óstrakon” meaning ‘shell’.  Ostracods are found in marine, freshwater, and wet-terrestrial habitats worldwide.  Roughly 13,000 extant species in four orders have been described, but four times as many species are known only as fossils.  As such, ostracods are by far the most common arthropods in the fossil record.

The oldest generic names given to ostracods are Cypris and Cythere by the Danish naturalist Otto Friedrich Müller in 1776 and 1785.  These are also names of the Greek islands known in English as  Cyprus and Cythera; both names are alternative names given to the Goddess of Love, better known as Aphrodite, who according to the myths emerged from the sea foam from the severed genitals of the god Uranus, nearby either one of these islands.  Otto Müller (1730-84) was one of the first to study micro-organisms, and established the classification of several groups of animals all unknown to Linnaeus.  Müller obviously saw a relationship between the shape of these tiny sea creatures and the sea foam of the myth.  These two names are now commonly used as prefixes in ostracod nomenclature.  

Cytheromorpha is a genus of the family Loxoconchidae in the order Podocopa, described by the Finnish naturalist Nikolaj Hirschmann in 1909.  As noted above, the prefix is used with the Greek word “morphē”, meaning ‘shape’.  In 1977 Joseph E Hazel of the U.S. Geological Survey recorded a new species found in the Yorktown Formation at Suffolk, Virginia, which he named Cytheromorpha suffolkensis.  However, this was not described to a sufficiently high enough standard to be accepted.  In 1983 full reference was provided on a similar fossil found at Lee Creek Mine, near Aurora, North Carolina (“Age and correlation of the Yorktown (Pliocene) and Croatan (Pliocene and Pleistocene) formations at the Lee Creek Mine.” Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology, Vol. 53, 1983 (Hazel)).  This Cytheromorpha suffolkensis was found in the Yorktown Formation strata with an age range from 5.3 to 3.6 million years ago, and is a holotype, although it is accepted that others probably do exist in the same Formation elsewhere in Suffolk, Virginia.  

Eontia incile suffolkensis:

Thomas Say (1787-1834) was an American naturalist.  He helped found the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia in 1812, and accompanied Major Stephen Long as zoologist on his expeditions to the interior of North America, from which he gave the first descriptions of the many animals encountered.  Thomas Say carried on his monumental work describing insects and molluscs of North America, and he is widely considered to be the father of descriptive entomology in the United States.  In 1822 he gave the name Noetia ponderosa to an ark clam found along the Atlantic coast of North America.  The ark clam is the common name for a family of small to large-sized saltwater clams or marine bivalve molluscs.  The species have a large flat area between the umbones which, in an undamaged shell, resembles a deck of a wooden boat such as Noah’s Ark was thought to have been.  Say gave the Latin name for Noah to this species (arca Noe = Noah’s ark), and the family name became Noetiidae.  They are differentiated from the other ark clams by the presence of striations on the hinge ligament and on the placement of this ligament.  They usually grow to around 6 cm in length, with a maximum of 10 cm.

In 1824 Say recorded a fossil clam which he named Noetia incile; the species suffix is Latin for “trench”, alluding to the deep grooves on the shell.  These were noted to be the primary bivalves found in the sedimentary strata representing the intertidal sand flats and shallow, muddy areas that became the Alum Bluff Formation in the Florida Panhandle.  In 1937 Francis Stearns MacNeil (1909–1983) of the U.S. Geological Survey proposed that the Noetia genus should be further subdivided into two groups (“Species and Genera of Tertiary Noetinae” U.S. Department of Interior Geological Survey Professional Paper, Issue 189, 1937).  He showed that the genera usually referred to as Noetinae were two distinct groups relative to their geographic positions in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and he outlined the morphologic differences that distinguished the two.  The Atlantic Group comprised three genera and a sub-genus.  MacNeil named this new sub-genus Eontia, an anagram of Noetia, and Noetia incile became Eontia incile.

MacNeil noted that occurring with the typical specimens of Eontia incile in the upper part of the Yorktown Formation around Suffolk, Virginia, was a quite distinct form that could be distinguished by several different morphologic characteristics.  He surmised that the two stocks became separated by noticeable changes in the type of deposits that indicated a colder regime in one area to the other, and that this resulted in the two stocks developing independently.  He named this different species Eontia incile suffolkensis.  The type locality was found at Rock Wharf, near Smithfield in Isle of Wight County, with other occurrences one mile east of Chuckatuck, Suffolk, Virginia.  The age range is between 3.6 to 2.6 million years ago.

Urosalpinx suffolkensis:

Urosalpinx is a genus within the family Muricidae. The name was given by Thomas Say (see Eontia incile suffolkensis, above) in 1822, combining the Greek words “uro-” = tail, and “salpinx” = an ancient Greek trumpet which it resembles.  Most species of muricids are carnivorous, active predators that feed on other gastropods, bivalves, and barnacles.  This particular genus is commonly known as oyster-drills or drill snails.  Access to the soft parts of their prey is typically obtained by boring a small hole through the shell by means of a softening secretion and the scraping action of the radula (a rasp-like structure of tiny teeth used like a drill) that carves the hole.  Once the hole is made, the snail will draw in and digest the soft meat of the prey.

The fossil drill snail Urosalpinx suffolkensis was described by the American geologist Gardner in 1943.  Julia Anna Gardner (1882-1960) worked for the United States Geological Survey for 32 years from 1920, and was known worldwide for her work in stratigraphy and mollusc palaeontology.  The fossil was first recorded in “Mollusca from the Miocene and Lower Pliocene of Virginia and North Carolina, Part 1, Pelecypoda” U.S. Department of Interior Geological Survey Professional Paper, Issue 199, 1943 (Gardner).  

The shell is described as heavy with an aperture approximately half the total height, whorls convex, about six of them.  It has a height of 31.0 mm and a diameter of 15.8 mm.  The type specimen was found in the Yorktown Formation at a locality one mile northeast of Suffolk, Virginia, hence the species suffix.  It has also been found in different strata formations at various locations in North Carolina.     

Uzita suffolkensis:

Uzita is a name given to a fossil sea snail.  The modern equivalent is Nassarius, a genus name coined by the French zoologist André Duméril in 1805.  The common name is a mud snail (USA), or dog whelk (UK).  These are small to medium-sized predatory sea snails, in the family Muricidae (the rock snails), found mostly in sandy or muddy, shallow water, often intertidal.  Nassarius is derived from the Latin “nassa”, which is a wicker basket with a narrow neck for catching fish.

Uzita was recorded in 1853 in “The Genera of recent mollusca, Vol 1” (1853) H & A Adams.  Arthur (1820-78) and Henry Adams (1813–77) were English brothers, and together they wrote “The Genera of recent mollusca: arranged according to their organisation” (three volumes, 1858).  Uzita was the name of a 16th century chiefdom and its town near the mouth of the Little Manatee River on the south side of Tampa Bay, Florida, where the fauna were first identified.  The brothers gave this name to Nassariids from the tropical western Atlantic Ocean because they considered them to differ slightly from those found elsewhere.  However, Uzita was not accepted as the genus name for existing taxons, the earlier Nassarius being preferred, but it has been retained for the extinct taxon because of their abundance in the Tertiary fauna of the Atlantic Coastal Plain.

Uzita suffolkensis
was first referred to in 1926 by Julia Gardner (see Urosalpinx suffolkensis, above) in “The Molluscan Fauna of the Alum Bluff Group of Florida, Part VI, Pteropoda, Opisthobranchia and Ctenobranchia”, U.S. Department of Interior Geological Survey Professional Paper, Issue 142, 1926.  This was with reference to a find in the Yorktown Formation near Suffolk, Virginia, hence the species name.  This was the first use of this suffix relating to Suffolk, Virginia.  However, the detail given was not then sufficient to have this new species accepted by the scientific community, so Gardner had to provide additional information at a later date.  This was produced in “Mollusca from the Miocene and Lower Pliocene of Virginia and North Carolina, Part 1, Pelecypoda” U.S. Department of Interior Geological Survey Professional Paper, Issue 199, 1943 (Gardner).  The description provides greater detail of the specimen shell which has a height of 10.4 mm and a diameter of 5.2 mm, and is stated as remarkable for its low and very flat spirals.  It is found at locations in the Yorktown Formation within 1½ miles of Suffolk, and also in the same Formation at Swift Creek in Edgecombe County in North Carolina.  The age range has since been adjusted to the Middle and Later Pliocene.  

Top of Page

Suffolk as used in Virus Names

The classification of viruses shares many features of zoological nomenclature, particularly in the taxon structure, although it differs from other taxonomic codes on several points because of the peculiar nature of viruses, not least because of the importance of identification in view of their capability to transmit diseases.  Viruses are infectious parasites consisting of nucleic acid (RNA or DNA, which is the first classification in their taxonomic tree) enclosed in a protein coat (called a capsid).  In some cases a membranous envelope may cover the capsid.  Viruses are further classified based on the presence or absence of this envelope.  Non-enveloped viruses are more virulent and can survive harsh conditions, including resistance to heat, acids and drying.  A minor point is that names of orders and families are italicised, unlike in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature; names of virus strains (by which they are commonly known) are not italicised.  

Mycobacteriumphage Suffolk:

A bacteriophage (usually shortened to phage) is a virus that infects and replicates within a bacterium.  The term is derived from “bacteria” and the Greek word “phagein” which means ‘to devour’.  Bacteriophages are composed of proteins that encapsulate a DNA or RNA genome (an organism’s complete set of DNA or RNA, i.e. basically the code for life).  

Mycobacteriumphages are viruses that infect bacteria of the family Mycobacteriaceae.  A bacteriumphage found to infect Mycobacterium smegmatis in 1947 was the first documented example of a mycobacteriophage.  The Greek prefix “myco- means ‘fungus’, alluding to the way mycobacteria have been observed to grow in a mould-like fashion on the surface of liquids when cultured.  More than 4,200 mycobacteriumphages have since been isolated from various sources, and the genetic make-up of about 600 has been completely sequenced.

Mycobacteriumphage Suffolk is a species in the family Siphoviridae.  This is a family of double-stranded DNA viruses in the order Caudovirales (also known as the ‘tailed bacteriophages’).  The characteristic structural features of this family are a non-enveloped head and non-contractile tail.  This virus was found as part of a science program at Oregon State University in 2010 in Corvallis, Oregon, USA.  It was taken from the surface soil of a drying mud puddle in front of the University Beef Barn.  The puddle was covered with a glossy sheen and the material was very damp and sticky.  The phage was isolated from its host Mycobacterium smegmatis, and its genome sequenced in 2011.  The name ‘Suffolk’ was given by its founder, Michelle Janik, because of her association with the Suffolk Sheep breed.  As she states on her website: “Raising a small flock of registered Suffolk Sheep and competing in livestock judging gave me a greater appreciation for Oregon agriculture, and fueled my passion for food animal veterinary medicine”.

Influenza A/equine/2/ Suffolk 89 (H3N8):

Influenza A virus causes influenza in birds and some mammals, and it is a genus in the Orthomyxoviridae family of viruses.  The Orthomyxoviruses (name derived from Greek words: “orthos” for ‘straight’, because of its shape; “myxa” for ‘mucus’) are a family of RNA viruses.  No separate species are currently recognised in the genus Influenza A and the genus is comprised of a cluster of strains.  In the viral taxonomy they are known as “negative-sense, single-stranded, segmented RNA” viruses which are categorised into several subtypes based on the type of two proteins on  the surface of the viral envelope, labeled according to an H number (for the type of hemagglutinin) and an N number (for the type of neuraminidase).  Different influenza viruses encode for different hemagglutinin and neuraminidase proteins.  The H3N8 virus designates an Influenza A subtype that has a type 3 hemagglutinin (H) protein and a type 8 neuraminidase (N) protein.  Each virus subtype has mutated into a variety of strains with differing pathogenic profiles.  Variants are named according to the host species in which the strain is endemic, in this case it is “equine influenza”, subtype 2.

Equine influenza had been sporadically reported from AD 330, but it was a widespread outbreak in North America in 1872 that brought it to the attention of the scientific community as a matter for study.  The virus is extremely contagious and has a short incubation period of one to five days.  The disease has a nearly 100% infection rate in an unvaccinated horse population with no prior exposure to the virus.  Mortality today is low and only found in foals and horses that are already seriously ill or not adequately rested.  Nevertheless, periodic outbreaks in populations that are partially immune is a persistent problem in parts of Europe and North America, and indicates that as the virus spreads, it undergoes mutation and its structure changes.

In 1963, the H3N8 subtype created an epidemic of equine influenza in Miami and subsequently spread throughout North America and Europe.  Vaccines were developed and following a mandatory vaccination policy in 1980, equine influenza was not experienced in the UK and Ireland until 1989 when both countries suffered an outbreak in horses that had been vaccinated.  Genetic analysis of one of the viruses isolated at the Dept of Infectious Diseases at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, Suffolk, proved to be a significantly different strain from previous epidemics.  Further analysis indicated that in the late 1980s, there was an acceleration of evolution of the H3N8 virus that had diverged into two separate lineages: an “American” lineage and a “European” lineage.  This new strain was given the name A/equine/2/ Suffolk 89, indicating the place and date of isolation.

Mononegavirales Suffolk Virus:

In the viral taxonomy, the category “RNA virus” includes the “negative-sense, single-stranded, segmented RNA” viruses which includes the Order Mononegavirales.  This name means exactly what the preceding description says, and is derived from the Greek “monos” which means ‘single’; the Latin “negare” which means ‘negative’; and the taxonomic suffix “-virales”, denoting a viral order.  The order currently includes five virus families which embrace numerous related viruses that are commonly known, e.g. Ebola virus, measles virus, mumps virus, and rabies virus.  All of these viruses cause significant diseases in humans.

In the last few years there has been concern in the New York State Department of Health and local health departments of an increase in the number of tick-borne diseases that they seemed to be treating.  Patients treated with antibiotics in the early stage of an infection usually recover rapidly and completely, but if untreated, a number of health problems may arise.  It was noted that these tick-borne diseases are most frequently found on Long Island and in the lower Hudson Valley region.  The full range of microbes that are found on ticks has not yet been fully explored, so as part of a viral surveillance and discovery project in arthropods, adult ticks were collected in Heckscher State Park in Suffolk County, Long Island, in April 2013.

Analysis was conducted at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, New York, and new viruses were discovered, among them was one that was given the scientific name of Suffolk Virus by researchers Rafal Tokarz and W Ian Lipkin.  The genetic analysis of Suffolk Virus, sequenced in June 2015, showed that it was a tick-borne virus related to Mononegavirales.  It has been given a taxonomic identifier but could not be placed in an existing family, so Suffolk Virus is placed as an “unclassified Mononegavirales”.  Additional studies are needed to determine if a particular tick is the primary host for Suffolk Virus or if other arthropods have a role in its transmission.

Top of Page

Suffolk Pigs

The Black Suffolk, also known as the Small Black, is a now extinct breed of pig. Originating in the nineteenth century, its exact origins are unclear, although it is possible that it was created by crossing the Essex Pig with foreign breeds; the short upturned snout & pricked ears, together with its size, are suggestive of some contribution from imported Chinese pigs.

Another theory is that the Suffolk Pig predates the Essex & that the latter was created from a cross between the Suffolk & the Yorkshire White Pig.

Although the Suffolk matured early, it was said to have a delicate constitution & too great a percentage of fat, so by the beginning of the twentieth century its popularity was on the wane.  The Small Black seems to have died out after being cross bred with the breed known as the Devon Pig to produce the Large Black; a breed also indigenous to Suffolk. The Large Black Pig Society was formed in Ipswich in 1898. It produced the Herd Book of Large Black Pigs in 1899.  In it the large black pigs of Devon and Cornwall were combined under one name with the remnants of the smaller Black Essex, Black Suffolk or Small Black, and other black East Anglian breeds whose numbers had fallen below sustainable levels.  This date is accepted as the year of extinction for the breed. 

The Suffolk White Pig was well documented in early 19th century agricultural literature.  It is described as a pig that “stands high, is narrow in the back, and the forehead is rather broad; the ears stand pretty well; the hair is short with many bristles.  The weight when fully grown is from 16 to 19 stone.” (from “Treatise in the Breeding and Management of Live Stock” by Michael Parkinson, 1810 (Cadell and Davies)).  Similar descriptions follow and the breed was still being recorded in 1842 by the Encyclopedia Britannica.  It finally became absorbed with the Small White (in America known as the Small Yorkshire) well before the end of the century.  However, the popularity of the Middle White led to the rapid decline of the Small White breed and that was declared extinct in 1912.  The breed survived in the United States for a few more years (see next paragraph).

The American Suffolk is believed to have been developed from a Small (Yorkshire) White imported to the United States in 1855 by John Wentworth of Illinois.  It was called the American Suffolk because of its similarity to the English Suffolk White, and it was accepted as a distinct breed by the National Swine Breeders’ Convention at Indianapolis in 1872.  A full, detailed description of the breed was compiled; this can be briefly summarised as having a small head, very short snout, dished face, upright small ears, short thick neck, a good length of body, pinkish skin and soft fine hair.  It matured early and gave excellent meat.

The American Suffolk pig in a breed comparison was essentially a Small Yorkshire, although there were finer distinctions in the dish and size of the face.  Otherwise the two breeds were to all intents and purposes the same.  The Small (Yorkshire) White was developed in England in the early 19th century by cross-breeding the traditional Old Yorkshire with imported Chinese pigs, from which it inherited the dished face.  This characteristic also distinguished the American Suffolk from the English Suffolk White.

The distribution of the American Suffolk pig was mainly in the Mississippi Valley, small herds being kept in Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, numbering between one and two thousand pigs in total.  There were a few hundred registered in Canada. The American Suffolk breed never had much development in that country and, although an association was organised on its behalf, the American Suffolk was not recognised in the 1904 list of accredited swine-record associations of the United States Department of Agriculture.  Like the English Suffolk White, the breed was absorbed by the Small Yorkshire.  The American Suffolk was no longer recorded by the US Department of Agriculture in its “Breeds of Swine” publication of 1917, which also states that “the Small Yorkshire is but slightly bred today either in England or America”.

Top of Page

Suffolk Dun & Red Poll Cattle

The now extinct Suffolk Dun cattle are thought to have derived from stock imported from Holland during the late sixteenth & early seventeenth centuries.  The Suffolk Dun were a large breed of dairy cattle with a high milk yield. Predominantly dun coloured, they were later crossed with the beef breed known as the Norfolk Red (also now extinct) to produce what was originally called the Norfolk and Suffolk Red Polled cattle; a name that was adopted in 1863. The breed became known as the Red Polled in 1883, then the Red Poll in 1888. The Norfolk cattle had been a horned breed, but this has been bred out, resulting in the hornless Red Poll of today. The increased popularity of the dual beef/dairy purpose Red Poll resulted in the Suffolk Dun dying out in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

The Red Poll was introduced into Australia in the 1860s & New Zealand in 1898. It was introduced to America in 1873 & is the oldest registered breed in the United States.

As the name suggests, the Red Poll is red in colour (although of varying shades), with white only on the tail switch and udder. Along with the Suffolk Sheep & Suffolk Punch horse, the Red Poll is today considered part of the “Suffolk Trinity” of local breeds.

Top of Page

Suffolk Chocolate (Breed of Cat)

The Suffolk Chocolate is one of the newest breeds of cat accepted for registration in June 2014 by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), the premier registration body for cats in the UK.  The breed had been developed over the previous ten years by two dedicated Havana breeders who both live in Suffolk, hence its name.

In 1920, the Siamese Cat Club of Britain decided that brown cats without blue eyes were no longer desirable, and that was that.  Breeders lost interest in them until the 1950s, when a group of British cat breeders set themselves the task of determining the genetic makeup of a solid brown-coloured cat.  As the result of a cross between a shorthaired black cat and a chocolate Siamese, they eventually produced a chestnut-brown cat that came to be known as the Havana Brown (whose only connection to Cuba is the supposed resemblance of the colour to that of a Havana cigar).  From 2007 Havana breeders made progress in isolating the chocolate genetics from the existing bloodlines in Britain, and with further matings they began consistently producing kittens in chocolate and lilac, its recessive colour.  The Suffolk Chocolate was born.

The Suffolk Chocolate has a sleek shiny coat and vivid green eyes.  It is dog like in character, being devoted to its owner and family. They make an ideal house cat, as they prefer the company of their owner, rather than being left to wander. They are highly intelligent, and extremely curious.

Top of Page

Suffolk Chequer - Breed of Chicken

A new chicken breed has recently been accepted by the Poultry Club of Great Britain.  The Suffolk Chequer Breed Club made an application for recognition in 2011, and on 14 May 2013 it was decided to recognise the Suffolk Chequer as a unique breed in the True Bantam class.  The last native domestic fowl breed to gain standardisation was in 1956, thus making this quite a rare achievement.

There are hundreds of chicken breeds in existence.  Domesticated for thousands of years, distinguishable breeds of chicken have been present since the combined factors of geographical isolation and selection for desired characteristics created regional types with distinct physical and behavioral traits which were passed on to their offspring.  In 1877 the Poultry Club was founded to ensure that all pure and traditional breeds of poultry are bred according to predetermined breed standards set down by the governing organisation.

This breed has been developed by Trevor Martin from Norfolk in a process that has taken 15 years, starting in 1995.  When Mr Martin retired to near Stowmarket in Suffolk, he decided to keep some poultry.  After a while, he started to selectively breed.  He wanted to create a new type of bantam (miniature) barred fowl based on the Barred Plymouth Rock, but with a much larger tail.   This particular feature had dwindled in size in the Barred Plymouth Rock because of specific selection that had been made to ensure greater precision in barring.  (“Barring” is when the feathers are marked with distinctive bands in contrasting colours.)  The new type was first shown in 2002 at which time it was decided to call the breed the Suffolk Chequer - after the county in which it had been bred, and the checkered black and white pattern of its plumage (see photo, left).

For show purposes standard specifications have to be observed to maintain the desirable carriage and tail that are characteristic of the breed.  The preciseness of barring in males and females is not of primary importance and should not be perfectly defined as in the Barred Plymouth Rock.

Top of Page

Pied Suffolk - Breed of Chicken

Pied Suffolks are Rhode Island Red and Suffolk Chequer hybrids that have the prolific egg production associated with the Rhode Island Red.  They have a striking appearance; a black body with black and white neck feathers, hence the name “pied”. This look can vary from black with white flecks to white with black flecks (see photo, right).  They lay brown eggs and maintain an excellent shell quality.  They are a nice size bird with a very thick plumage.  This makes them a hardy bird and well suited to the British climate.  Many modern hybrid hens have Rhode Island Red fathers, mainly due to the prolific egg laying characteristic of the Rhode Island Red, which is passed down through the males.  The Pied Suffolk hen lays up to 240 large, light brown eggs per year.  They make excellent “backyard chickens”, i.e. utilitarian birds that are not bred for show purposes.

The Suffolk Chequer and Pied Suffolk are not yet known in the USA.

Top of Page

Suffolk Ant-lion

Ant-lion is a name applied to a group of about 2,000 species of insects in the family Myrmeleontidae that belong to the same order as the more familiar lacewings.  Strictly speaking, the term “ant-lion” applies to the larval form of the members of this family, but while several languages have their own terms for the adult, there is no widely used word for the adult in English.  The ant-lion larva is often called “doodlebug” in North America because of the odd winding, spiralling trails it leaves in the sand while looking for a good location to build its trap, as these trails look like someone has doodled in the sand.

The scientific name (Myrmeleo) is the literal Ancient Greek translation for “ant-lion”, and in most European and Middle Eastern languages, the larvae are known under the local term corresponding to “ant-lion”.  The name, therefore, goes back to antiquity and probably arose from people noticing a large terrestrial biting insect, surpassing ants in size and predatory habits, and hence resembling the lion in being the most “feared of the insects and ants”.  Ant-lions are worldwide in distribution.  The species found in Europe is the Euroleon nostras, whose scientific name means “our European lion”.  

Euroleon nostras adults are free-flying, brown in colour and are generally similar in appearance to dragonflies and damselflies; however, the four large wings are decorated with dark spots.  Larvae are very different in appearance to the adults; they are voracious predators with huge jaws, and the name ant-lion refers to this stage, not to the adults.  Larvae require dry sandy soil, close to vertical sandy ledges that help adults emerge. The adults need tall, isolated Scots pine trees (Pinus sylvestris) nearby, where mating takes place.

The larvae (see photo, left) spend their life underground; they create ‘ant-lion pits’, by burrowing backwards into the sand.  The larva buries into the bottom of the pit but leaves its jaws sticking out.  When unsuspecting insects, woodlice, spiders and millipedes pass by the pit, the ant-lion larva flicks sand at them until they fall in, where they are grabbed by the huge jaws, sucked dry and then tossed out of the pit.  The body of the larva is covered with forward-facing bristles that prevent it from becoming dislodged from its pit.  These hairs mean that larvae can only move backwards.


The traps, often all that is seen of the ant-lion, are conical pits (see photo, right) which it forms by flicking sand outwards with its head.  They are found in colonies in loose, dry sand at the base of small south facing sandy cliffs.  The larvae take two years to mature in the ground where they pupate and emerge in late summer as winged adults.  After allowing their wings to harden they gather in a tall pine tree, where they mate.  After mating, the female flies to the ground, where she lays her eggs in the sand. She has to be particularly wary of ant-lion larvae at this time, which are the main predators of  adult females.  Males live for up to 20 days, while females last a little longer, with an average life span of 24 days.

E. nostras is an extremely rare insect in Britain.  It was originally only known from the Minsmere area of the Suffolk Sandlings, and more than 80% of the larvae occur in a restricted area not open to the public.  Hence, it is commonly referred to as the Suffolk Ant-lion, although it is not considered a sub-species of E. nostras.  The first confirmed record of the ant-lion in Britain was in 1931 although an earlier sighting was made in 1781 but recorded under the wrong name.  It seems likely that individual larvae arose from mated adult females being blown across the North Sea from the populations in mainland Europe.  However, it was first confirmed as a resident breeding species in Britain only as recently as 1996.  The data indicated that a sizeable population could be present in the Suffolk Sandlings which showed that the insect had probably been present in the area for 70 years or more.  Because of the difficulty in recognising the signs, it seems that E. nostras was overlooked for a long time in Britain. (Info. from “The Suffolk Ant-lion Euroleon nostras”. British Wildlife, Plant, C.W., 1999.)   Since 1999 entomologists have been looking out for this unusual insect and several more colonies have been found all along the Suffolk Sandlings, and in August 2008 a colony was discovered on the Norfolk coast.  It does seem that the Suffolk Ant-lion is making a determined effort to become a native of these islands.  

Top of Page

Suffolk Merries

This is one of the many alternative names for Prunus avium.  This is the “wild cherry” in England, but that name is also used for other species of Prunus that grow wild in habitats in other English speaking countries such as North America, where the “wild cherry” is, botanically speaking, the Prunus serotina.  The Prunus avium means “bird cherry” in the Latin language, but in English the “bird cherry” refers to Prunus padus.  Confused so far?  Never mind.  Back to basics below.

Prunus avium is believed to be one of the parent species of all the others.  It is a deciduous tree growing to 50-100 ft (15-32 m) tall, and in its wild state is native to most of Europe, including Britain.  Evidence of consumption of cherries has been found as far back as the Bronze Age, but modern cultivated cherries, which differ from wild ones in having larger fruit, have been cultivated in Asia Minor and Greece since 800 BC.  Suffolk Merries refers to the small bitter black cherry, the fruit of the Prunus avium, as well as the tree that bears this fruit.  So how did it come to get this name?

The English word cherry comes directly from the Norman French cherise.  This and the modern French cerise ultimately derives through Greek and Latin from the place Cerasus, today a city in northern Turkey called Giresun from where the cherry was first exported to Europe.  The French merise is recorded in c.1275 and is believed to come from a merging of amer = bitter and cerise = cherry.  In English merise is recorded from 1675 for the small bitter black cherry.  In the eastern counties of England this was spelt “merries”, and Suffolk was particularly notable for the widespread range of this tree and its fruit, hence it was known as the Suffolk Merries.

Top of Page

Suffolk Osier

The Suffolk Osier has tentatively been accepted as an alternative name for the Common Osier (Salix viminalis) by the Royal Horticultural Society.

The Common Osier is a small deciduous, shrub willow tree native to Eurasia.  This fast-growing willow has been cultivated for centuries for its flexible shoots, which can be woven into baskets and wicker chairs.  Suffolk is one of the traditional willow growing areas of England.  Willows require a fertile lowland site, especially clay and silt, and wet but not waterlogged soil, so having well maintained ditches and drainage systems are essential.  In England the three most important species of willow are the Salix triandra (almond-leafed willow) for general purpose work, the Salix purpurea (purple willow) with its slender rods for small, high quality basketware, and the Salix viminalis (common osier) that produces stouter rods for heavier basket work, hurdles and fencing.  The earliest record of a basket maker in England is Johanne Hoo in a Poll Tax return in Suffolk in 1381.

Top of Page

Suffolk Grass

Poa annua is commonly known in Britain as Annual Meadow Grass, Causeway Grass or Suffolk Grass.  In America it is more commonly known as Annual Bluegrass.  It is the most general plant in nature that grows in every situation where there is vegetation.  It is a widespread low-growing, tufted, annual plant found in temperate climates.  ‘Poa’ is Greek for fodder since it is one of the sweetest grasses for green fodder, and ‘annua’ because it is an annual plant.  The terms Meadow Grass and Causeway Grass were given because of its natural habitat, but the name Suffolk Grass had long been applied to it because it was widespread in the county.  It was the Norfolk naturalist, Benjamin Stillingfleet (1702-71), who popularised this name in the earliest standard textbook on grassland cultivation “Observations on Grassland” in 1759.  He stated that ‘he had seen whole fields of it in High Suffolk without any mixture of other grasses and as some of the best butter comes from that county, Suffolk Grass is most likely to be the best grass for the dairy.’

Suffolk Grass does not thrive on acidic soils and is found chiefly on loam and sandy soils.  It is officially described as a cool-season winter annual.  However, it is the most common and widely distributed grassy weed in the world.  It is mentioned as a weed in nearly every plant commodity.  There are many different forms and it can spread rapidly by seeding.  The sub-types are so diverse that they can easily adapt to everything from waste ground to closely maintained putting greens.
Growth is strongest in the late spring, although there is often a flush of growth in autumn.  Plants can become reproductive from the age of one month.  Flowering is most prolific in spring, but in moderate climates Suffolk Grass can flower and produce seed in any month of the year.  The feature that makes it such a successful grass plant is its ability to seed at cutting heights as low as 5 mm, and to flourish in any site conditions.

Because Suffolk Grass grows in arable land as well as in turf, there are no areas of land completely clear of it.  It occurs as a common constituent of lawns, where it is usually treated as a weed.  As one of the most invasive weeds in turf, it is also one of the most difficult to control because it is actually a diverse group of different biotypes with varying characteristics dependent on the climatic conditions where it grows.  Efforts to find chemical controls for Suffolk Grass have been thwarted by its diverse genetic make-up.  However, it is sometimes the most suitable lawn grass for many sites because of its short growth, and can form most of the entire grass sward in some lawns.  On lawns it grows better in rich soils, but is usually small enough to be overlooked.  It does not compete with other plants.  Many golf putting greens are planted with this grass.

Top of Page 

Suffolk Lungwort

The Suffolk Lungwort or Unspotted Lungwort (Pulmonaria obscura) is a rare native plant, Suffolk having the entire British population of this species.  It is found in only three ancient woodlands and its conservation status is classed as Vulnerable.  The areas are protected wildlife sites; there is no public access and permission to enter must be obtained from the owners before any visit.  One very private, ancient wood is opened annually, for one day only, to raise funds for the local church.

Pulmonaria (lungwort) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae, native to Europe and western Asia.  The scientific name Pulmonaria is derived from Latin pulmo meaning ‘lung’.  In Medieval times, the spotted oval leaves of Pulmonaria officinalis, the Common Lungwort, were thought to symbolise diseased, ulcerated lungs, and so were used to treat coughs, respiratory infections and diseases of the chest.  The common name in many languages refers to lungs, as in English “lungwort” and German “Lungenkraut”; the noun ending ‘wort’ in Old English indicated a plant or herb used as a medicine.

The Common Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis) was introduced into Britain, probably by the Normans, as it was grown in herb gardens for its medicinal qualities and was given its alternative name of Our Lady’s Milk Drops because of the white spots on its leaves.  It is an herbaceous evergreen perennial with a hairy stem and green heart-shaped pointed leaves with large white spots, growing to a height of 6-12 ins (15-30 cm).  The newly opened flowers are light red, changing later to purple and finally blue.  The reason for the colour change is probably to do with pollination; only the freshest flowers have the nectar that the pollinators are interested in, but the older flowers increase their size and florescence to make them look more impressive and, therefore, continue to play a part in attracting insects, even as they age.  

Pulmonaria obscura is similar to Pulmonaria officinalis, differing only in its unspotted leaves, lack of over-wintering leaves, and chromosome number.  The Belgian botanist Barthélemy Dumortier described the differences in 1865 and P. obscura or the Unspotted Lungwort (its given common name) was recognised as a wild flowering plant in the forests of eastern Europe soon after.  Formerly P. obscura had been considered a subspecies of P. officinalis.  However, on the basis of the sterility of hybrids between the two taxa, its specific status as a separate species has been accepted since 1972 (Merxmiiller & Sauer).  

In 1842 a lungwort with unspotted leaves was discovered in Burgate Wood, East Suffolk by C. J. Ashfield.  It was soon realised that it was distinct from Pulmonaria officinalis, and it was referred to as the “Suffolk Lungwort”.  Its discoverer and others considered it to be a true native of Suffolk.  Nevertheless, there was a reluctance to acknowledge this lungwort as native.  Several taxa of lungwort were included in early British books on horticulture, but none of these include P. obscura because of its rarity.  This may account for its having been overlooked by early English botanists, and left to enjoy its native shade in Suffolk.  Later the Suffolk Lungwort was found to occupy sites in Burgate Wood, Stubbing’s Wood and Gittin Wood, all adjacent ancient woods located on chalky till in East Suffolk.  Within these woods the lungwort is confined to areas far into the interior of the woodland with poorly drained, fertile soils with a history of management by coppicing.  In 1985 C. D. Pigott saw the lungwort in Burgate Wood and confirmed that it was P. obscura, a species which he had seen in Poland, and this was later confirmed in 1993 when a specimen was examined by Prof. W. Sauer.  In 1994 the total population covered some 18 square metres and produced about 600 flowering stems.

It was not until the 1990s that P. obscura was finally considered truly native to Suffolk and not an introduction by man.  It grows in a genuine wild, natural locality; there is no evidence that P. obscura has ever been cultivated by man in Britain either as an ornamental plant and, therefore, likely to be a “garden escape”, or ever used for its medicinal properties since the latter purpose is only associated with the lungwort with the spotted leaves.  The plant is plentiful where it grows, and it reproduces sexually.  Since the habitat and its association with the same plant communities closely match those of P. obscura found on the nearest continental sites in the Ardennes, it seems most probable that it arrived in Suffolk carried by wind or birds, a direct distance of some 250 miles (400 km), and thus gained a toehold here some time ago.  Formerly it was more abundant and its decline since the 1930s seems to be related to a decline and cessation of coppicing at two of its habitats.  Coppicing of these two sites has been reinstated in recent years because the plant is classed as Vulnerable. 

Top of Page

Varieties/Cultivars - Introductory Note

In the horticultural world a “variety” is a naturally occurring plant which is different from others within a species, and a “cultivar” is the same, except that it has been ‘man made’.  However, it is common for gardening outlets to refer to them all as “varieties”, and we have adopted this practice, although all of the following are actually cultivars.  Where we have been unable to find an image of the actual plant, we have used an image of a similar variety.

Top of Page

Suffolk Pink - Variety of Apple

The Suffolk Pink is a dessert apple with pale translucent lemon-and-pink complexion & has a Gala-like sweet & mild flavour.

The Suffolk Pink apple was first ‘discovered by Dan Neuteboom at his orchards at Braiseworth near Eye in Suffolk, England. It was first noticed in the 1980s that one tree, that had originated from a nursery at Thurston, Suffolk during the 1970s, was different from the other trees in the orchard. After carrying out trial propagation during the 1980s & 1990s, Suffolk Pinks were planted at other orchards in Suffolk, such as at Hemingstone & Stonham Aspal. It is now grown commercially.

Nowadays the Suffolk Pink is a popular variety sold in many outlets in Britain, including Waitrose & Sainsbury’s supermarkets.

Top of Page

Suffolk Stiles Pippin - Variety of Apple

A recent discovery from an old village garden in Horringer, Suffolk, England.  It is a dark green Catshead type cooking apple that keeps until March and is then sweet enough to eat as a dessert.   

Mrs Maureen Chessel had lived with the same apple tree in her garden for 37 years in Horringer.  When she intended moving house she wanted to plant the same cooking apple variety in her new garden, so she started a search to identify it.  After a three year search, she had failed to find out what variety it was, so in 2008 she contacted the head gardener at Ickworth House, where they safeguard ancient fruit trees.  It was only then that it was realised that this was a rare, unknown, unnamed variety of cooking apple.  Therefore, Mrs Chessel got the opportunity to name it “Suffolk Stiles Pippin” after her family name “Stiles”, and the county of origin of the tree.

The original tree, thought to be more than 400 years old, has been donated to the National Trust garden at Ickworth House in Suffolk, and it has recently been propagated for other local orchards.

Top of Page

More Varieties of Apple Named ‘Suffolk’

The Little Book of Suffolk (2013) by Neil R Storey lists five varieties of apple to use the name ‘Suffolk’, without giving any further details. Apart from the Maxton/Suffolk Superb, none of these are grown commercially today, & some may no longer exist. Although information on some of these is scant, below are the details that we have been able to discover about these varieties:

Lord Suffolk: This could be another name for the Lord Stradbroke variety, first grown at Henham Hall near Wangford in 1900 by Lord Stradbroke’s gardener, Mr Fenn. Also known as Fenn’s Wonder or Fenn’s Seedling, the Lord Stradbroke is a large red apple with white flesh used mainly for cooking.

The earliest mention we can find of the “Lord Suffolk” apple is in a poem by James Crowden in 1999 entitled “Apple Day Laureate Poem”. It is supposed to be a ‘Veneration of the Apple God’ and goes through England from north to south recording the apples in each county.  However, he places the “Lord Suffolk” in Dorset:

“Where you can ask the difference
between Queen Anne and Sheeps Nose,
Summer Stibber Sops in Wine,
Lord Suffolk and Greasy Pippin,….”

This of course could be poetic licence, given that Lord Stradbroke does not fit the metre.   

Suffolk Beaufin: The earliest reference to this apple that we have found is in “An Encyclopædia of Gardening” by John Claudius Loudon, 1824.  No further information is available, although this is probably similar to the Norfolk Beaufin, a variety grown in that county and originally known as the Norfolk Beefing.  It is a medium to large greenish-yellow apple with dark red streaks, hence the reference to “beef”, first recorded in 1698.  The spelling “Beaufin” is a fabrication to pretend it derives from French meaning “beautiful and fine”.  It has a crisp, dry taste used predominantly for cooking and drying.  In cooking it is usually baked and flattened in the form of a cake, known as a “biffin”, a name obviously derived from “beefing” (1822).

Suffolk Beauty: Described in 1869 by Downing as a new variety from Deer Park, Long Island.  Fruit medium, yellowish-white ; flesh subacid; season August and September.  Nothing else is known about it.  (From “The Apples of New York” 1905).  Andrew Jackson Downing (1815 -1852) was an eminent American landscape designer and horticulturalist from New York.  His 1869 book was “Rural Essays”.

Suffolk Foundling: No details available, although this may be related to the Bedfordshire Foundling, an Orange Pippin cultivar first produced in that English county sometime in the early nineteenth century. This is a large round cooking apple with a rich sweet-sharp, fruity flavour.

Suffolk Superb: More commonly known in Britain as the Maxton, this was discovered in an orchard in Assington, Suffolk, in 1939 by Richard Heseltine, a fruit farmer originally from Kent, who was then living at Assington. The name Maxton was partly derived from the apple being a local clone of Laxton Superb. It was sent to the National Fruit Collection in 1961 where it was known as the Suffolk Superb. Later in that decade it was sent for trial in Holland. Maxton/Suffolk Superb is a sweet flavoured, juicy dessert apple.

If anyone can provide further information on these varieties of apple, please email details to   

Top of Page

Suffolk Thorn - Variety of Pear

This dessert pear pre dates 1841 & was originally cultivated by Andrew Arcedeckene at Glevering Hall, Hacheston, Suffolk, England. It is said to have been raised from Gansel's Bergamot (Pyrus communis) & to be very similar both in appearance & in flavour. The tree is said to be quite hardy, whilst the skin of the fruit is pale lemon-yellow & covered with numerous small dots and irregular patches of pale ashy grey russet. The flesh is yellowish white in colour, & the taste sweet & juicy. The fruit ripens in October.

Have you signed the Guestbook yet?

Top of Page

Suffolk Red Grape & Suffolk Pink Grape

Vitis labrusca (Fox grape) is a species of grapevines belonging to the Vitis genus in the flowering plant family Vitaceae.  The vines are native to the eastern United States and are the source of many grape cultivars.  It has a characteristic “foxy” musk.  This musk is not related to the fox animal, but rather the earthy aromas that the early  European settlers to the New World associated with the grapes.  Vitis labrusca was likely to have been the species spotted by the Norse explorer, Leif Ericsson, growing wild along the coast of Vinland in the 11th century.  There is ample evidence that the labrusca was growing wild in North America centuries before the Europeans discovered the continent. However, the vine was not officially identified and recorded until American vine species were catalogued in the mid 18th century.  Vitis labrusca varieties can better withstand the severe continental conditions of eastern North America with severely cold winters and hot, humid summers.
During the 19th century, grape cultivators responded to consumer preferences by developing improved varieties or cultivars of seedless grapes.  In 1935 a seedless red grape was developed at Cornell University’s research facility in Geneva, New York State.  The fruit was first described in 1941, and the selection was propagated in 1944.  It was not until the late 1960s that state-funded research became available for the wine industry.  A Cutchogue farmer, John Wickham, in association with a Cornell professor, John Tomkins, were then able to develop a hybrid seedless table grape variety that they named the Suffolk Red in 1972. The vine of the Suffolk Red has good vigour and is only moderately hardy.  It produces large clusters of very round, medium sized red grapes.   The flesh is sweet and of very good quality. The Suffolk Red is not sufficiently winter hardy for colder areas.  However, with relatively mild winters as in Suffolk County on Long Island, it is successfully cultured, and this area gave its name to the grape.  These grapes are seedless, have very tender skin and are eaten fresh or cooled down as a dessert.  Suffolk Red wine can be produced from the grape, but it is not sold commercially and has to be home-made.

The Suffolk Red Seedless Grape is a hybrid cross between the Mediterranean hybrid Vitis vinifera ‘Russian Seedless’ and a cultivar of American Fox Grape (Vitis labrusca ‘Fredonia’).  Vitis vinifera is the ‘common grape vine’ native to Europe and Asia that produces over 99% of the world’s wines today.  The attribute of having a Mediterranean grape variety as one parent has given rise to differences in nomenclature.  Hybrids tend to resemble one species more closely than the other, but in this case it is difficult to tell.  So, in North America the vine is referred to as Vitis labrusca ‘Suffolk’, whereas in Europe it is referred to as Vitis vinifera ‘Suffolk’.  Just to confuse us even more, the common name of the vine on both sides of the Atlantic can be ‘Suffolk’, ‘Suffolk Red’, ‘Suffolk Seedless’ or ‘Suffolk Seedless Red’.    

Modern breeding has introduced yet another variety known as Vitis vinifera ‘Suffolk Pink’.  The longer summers that are now occurring in Britain favour seedless varieties better suited to the climate, both for greenhouse growing and outdoors.  Greenhouse-grown vines give bigger and earlier crops.  This variety has a definite pink colour and a crisp, watery crunch.  It was first developed in 2011 by Stephen Read at Reads Nursery, a small family business that has been going since 1841 in the heart of Suffolk’s Waveney Valley, near Bungay.  The name is equally appropriate as the vine was bred in the original county in England as well as being descended from the vine developed in the county of the same name in America. 

Top of Page

Suffolk Belle - Variety of Conifer

Suffolk Belle is an officially recognised cultivar of the conifer genus Chamaecyparis lawsoniana first grown in 1985 in Great Britain.  It is not recorded which nursery developed this cultivar or why this name was given.  Our presumption is that it was a nursery in Suffolk.

The Lawson’s Cypress or False Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) is a large evergreen coniferous tree that can reach 200 ft tall, with feathery foliage usually blue-green in colour. It is native to eastern Asia, and western North America.  It was first noted near Port Orford in Oregon, and introduced into cultivation in 1854 by collectors working for the Lawson & Son nursery in Edinburgh, Scotland, after whom it was named. In North America it is officially known by the name Port Orford Cedar, but as it is not a cedar, international botanists prefer to use the name Lawson’s Cypress. When grown together with regular maintenance, it is an excellent wind break hedge and it grows well in dry, windy environments.  They are of considerable importance as ornamental trees in horticulture; several hundred cultivars have been selected for various traits, of which the Suffolk Belle is one.  

A cultivar (short for ‘cultivated variety’) is a plant that has been propagated not from seed, but selected intentionally, e.g. by stem cuttings.  With this method of propagation, the offspring will retain the characteristics of the parents for just the one generation because the seeds of cultivars may not stay true to form.  By contrast, a “variety” arises naturally in the plant kingdom, and plants grown from its seeds will typically come out true to type.

The fact that there is no description or information available on the Suffolk Belle would indicate that it was a type that did not catch on with the horticulturalists, although they do know how to propagate it again, if desired.

Top of Page

Why not sign the Guestbook?

Suffolk - Variety of Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky Bluegrass, Smooth Meadow-grass, or Common Meadow-grass (Poa pratensis) is a perennial species of grass native to Europe, Asia, North America, and northern Africa.  The name Kentucky Bluegrass derives from its flower heads, which appear during the spring and summer, and are blue when the plant is allowed to grow to its natural height of two to three feet.

Kentucky Bluegrass exhibits a great range of genetic diversity and this enables varieties to be developed for a number of different usages.  These varieties have been classified into 14 groups based on growth and performance characteristics, and within these groups are found “types” that can be successfully used for turfgrass, and are commercially exploited accordingly.  Since the 1950s, 90% of Kentucky Bluegrass seed in the United States has been produced on specialist farms in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.  There are currently more than 200 Kentucky Bluegrass cultivars that are evaluated in the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program in the USA.  These cultivars are different from one another in many ways, and turf managers need to know how those cultivars will perform.

Kentucky Bluegrass is one of the toughest and most vigorously growing grasses and they are excellent for making lawns in parks and gardens, on golf courses and sports facilities.  A sub-group that is used extensively on sports fields which are needed for early spring sporting events is the Bellevue type.  Bellevue varieties include “Classic”, “Freedom” and “Suffolk”.  “Suffolk” was registered with the US Department of Agriculture as a cultivar of Kentucky Bluegrass in May 1992.  Its main author was AD Brede supported by RH Hurley, AW Jacklin, LA Brilman and CR Funk.  It is not recorded why this name was chosen.  We suspect that it is the association of the name “Suffolk” with leisure and pleasure that has been noted elsewhere.

Top of Page

Old Suffolk Bronze – Variety of Primula auricula

Primula auricula, commonly known as Mountain Cowslip or Bear’s Ear (from the shape of its leaves), is a species of flowering, low-growing plant in the family Primulaceae, that is found on rocks in the cooler mountain ranges of central Europe.  It is an evergreen perennial growing to 8 in (20 cm) tall that typically has stems bearing five-lobed flowers of various colours.  The botanic name Primula has been applied to various flowers, especially the primrose and cowslip, since the 12th century and literally means ‘little first one of spring’.  The Latin auricula means ‘the external ear of an animal’ and was added from the 17th century to represent the common name for the flower.   

Cultivars have been grown for centuries and thousands are now available.  The Primula auricula ‘Old Suffolk Bronze’ has medieval origins, presumably from Suffolk, England.  It is a ‘border’ Auricula, a flower that can happily live in a garden border; ideal as a typical cottage plant.  It has large leaves and bronze wavy edged petals.  The corollas are usually heavily covered with a white or grey farina.  The term ‘farina’ is Latin for flour, which is what the powdery coating looks like.  This gave the plant an ancient look, and the practice began of using the word ‘Old’ before the plant’s name to give credibility to its age and long history as a garden flower.

Top of Page

Suffolk Blue – Variety of Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)

Rosemary is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region.  It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes many other herbs.  The name derives from the Latin for “dew” (ros) and “sea” (marinus), or “dew of the sea”, which is supposed to have been given to the plant because it grew on the cliffs near to the sea.

Rosemary is used as a decorative plant in gardens and has many culinary and medical uses.  The fresh and dried leaves are used as a food preservative, and in traditional Mediterranean cuisine as a flavouring agent.

Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden use, among which is Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Suffolk Blue’, with hardy, bright sky-blue flowers.  Common rosemary has pale blue orchid-like flowers.   

Top of Page                     

Suffolk Pink – Variety of Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums are flowering plants of the genus Chrysanthemum in the family Asteraceae or Compositae, commonly known as the daisy or sunflower family.  The name itself is derived from the Greek words “chrysos” (gold) and “anthemon” (flower), and is recorded as early as 1578 for small, yellow, daisy-like flowers, such as the camomile and corn marigold, well before the modern cultivated chrysanthemum, which is native to Asia, was known in Europe. 

The modern chrysanthemum is known to have been first cultivated in China as a flowering herb as far back as the 15th century BC.  In AD 386 it arrived in Japan and it was the Japanese that developed it as the versatile flow
er that it is today.  Over 500 cultivars had been produced by the year 1630.  It was first recorded by Europeans in 1689, and in 1753 Karl Linnaeus, the renowned Swedish botanist, introduced the name as a botanical term for this genus.  In 1789 the first cultivated chrysanthemum was brought to France from the Far East, but it was not until 1827 that the seed was successfully produced.    

In 2007 the plant shown in the photograph left was found growing in an old estate garden in Suffolk.  It was not identified by the collection holder nor was it known to the Chrysanthemum Growers Association.  It was subsequently named by them as Chrysanthemum ‘Suffolk Pink’.  It is a strong, vigorous, hardy chrysanthemum having deep magenta-pink flowers and a yellow centre.

Top of Page

Suffolk Guard – Variety of Hemerocallis

Daylily is the common name of a plant in the genus Hemerocallis; the background to this genus is given on the Ips Misc. page of

Hemerocallis ‘Suffolk Guard’ was introduced by the botanist, David Murray Gates, in 1963.  Dr Gates was Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 1965-1971.  It is not known why it is so named. 




Top of Page

Duke of Suffolk – Variety of Hemerocallis

Hemerocallis ‘Duke of Suffolk’ was bred in 2011 at Le Petit Jardin in McIntosh, Florida.  It has a height of 27 inches and a bloom size of 5.5 inches.  It is described as lavender with a black purple eye and picotee, a green throat and a gold edge. (‘Picotee’ describes flowers where the edge is a different colour than the flower’s base colour.  The word originates from the French picoté, meaning ‘marked with points’.)



Top of Page

Lady Suffolk – Variety of Hemerocallis

Hemerocallis ‘Lady Suffolk’ was bred in 2017 by J. Price in America.  It has a height of 22 inches and a bloom size of 5 inches.  It is described as light violet with a blue eye and green yellow throat.

Top of Page

Fuchsia – Varieties Named ‘Suffolk’

The background to the Fuchsia genus is given in the Flora section on the Ips Misc. page of

The Fuschia ‘Suffolk Punch’ was introduced in 2000 by Gouldings Fuschias of Bentley, Ipswich,Suffolk, England. It has long slender flowers with rose-red sepals and violet petals.


Fuchsia ‘Suffolk Splendour’ (see photo, left) was introduced in 2009 by Charles Welch of the Potash Nursery, Stowmarket, Suffolk, England.  It was named to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stowmarket Flower Club.  This is a large flowered double white with a magenta tube and sepals.



Top of Page

Suffolk Rose - Three Varieties of Rosa

It is believed that roses (Family: Rosaceae; Genus: Rosa) were grown in all the early civilisations of temperate latitudes from at least 5000 years ago.  They are known to have been grown in ancient Babylon and Egypt, and records exist of them being grown in Chinese gardens from at least 500 BC.  Most of the roses in these early gardens are likely to have been collected from the wild.  However, cultivars of the rose were being produced in China during the first millennium AD.  Significant breeding in Europe started slowly from about the 17th century, and this was encouraged by the introduction of the China rose into Europe in the 19th century.  

The original tea-scented China roses were Oriental cultivars named for their fragrance being reminiscent of Chinese black tea.  Immediately upon their introduction in the early 19th-century, breeders went to work with them.  The Teas are the originators of today’s “classic” rose form.  Tea roses are the most popular group of roses, and the hybrid tea is a classification within this group.  The world’s first hybrid tea is generally accepted to have been ‘La France’ in 1867, raised by a French nurseryman by cross-breeding two types of roses, hybrid perpetuals with tea roses.  It is the oldest group classified as a “modern garden rose”.

A very large number of hybrid tea cultivars have been introduced by breeders over the years, and Rosa ‘Suffolk’ is one of them (see photo right).  It is near white with pink edges and has a high-centred bloom with 45 petals.  Each flower can grow to 8-12.5 cm wide, and it has a mild fragrance.  It was bred in 1983 by Astor Perry, an agronomist from Raleigh in North Carolina, and named after nearby Suffolk in Virginia.  It was introduced the next year in the USA by Perry Roses of Grand Blanc, Michigan.


Rosa ‘Suffolk’ is also the name given to a shrub.  Roses classed as shrubs tend to be robust and low growing, making them recommended for use in a mixed shrub border or as hedging.  Commonly referred to as the “Suffolk Rose”, it is a deciduous, ground-cover rose with light green foliage and masses of dark red, single blooms from summer through to autumn (see photo, below left). It has little or no scent. It can grow to a height of around two feet and spreads over an area approximately four feet in diameter. 

This plant was first produced by the world famous German rose breeding company, W. Kordes’ Söhne, in Schleswig-Holstein.  It was bred by Reimer Kordes in 1984 or 1985 and given the name ‘Suffolk’, although it is not known why.  At the time the company was not aware of the existence of the American “Suffolk Rose”.  The flower was, and still is, marketed in Europe as Rosa ‘Suffolk’.  However, in 1988 the shrub was exhibited in Ireland under the name Rosa ‘Bassino’ by Samuel McGredy and Son, nurserymen at Portadown.  This was undoubtedly to prevent confusion between two different types of rose.  Officially the shrub is now named Rosa ‘Bassino’ with the synonym Rosa ‘Suffolk’.  Generally, in Britain reference to the “Suffolk Rose” means the shrub, and not the garden rose. To distinguish this “Suffolk Rose” from the next one below, it is often referred to by its registration name as Rosa ‘Kormixal Suffolk’. 

The third “Suffolk Rose” is usually referred to by its registration name as Rosa ‘Poulgode Suffolk’ (see photo, below right).  It is a Floribunda Miniature Rose, yellow in colour with small 9 to 16 petals, in a cupped bloom form; it has a strong, wild rose fragrance.  This is a product of the famous Poulsen Roser nursery in Denmark.  This was a family business started in 1878 by Dorus Poulsen.  His son, Dines Poulsen, introduced the first hybrid cross of polyantha roses with tea roses in 1907.  This created a flower with the floral magnificence and colour range of the tea rose with the abundance of blooms of the polyantha.  In 1930 a new class with the name “floribunda” was given to cultiv
ars which were descended from crosses between hybrid teas and polyanthas.  In 1981 the company introduced the miniature version.

The present variety was first bred in 1989 by Olesen-Poulsen.  This is the professional name of the breeders, Pernille Poulsen, the granddaughter of Dines Poulsen, and her husband, Mogens Olesen, who took over the company in 1976.  The new hybrid was introduced to Denmark in 1993 as ‘Yellow Cover.  It has a number of synonyms: Rosa ‘Golden Cover’, Rosa ‘Lexington’, Rosa ‘Lexiton’, Rosa ‘Sparkling Yellow’ and Rosa ‘Suffolk’.

Top of Page

Dianthus – Varieties named ‘Suffolk’

The background to the Dianthus genus is given on the Ips Misc. page of Planet Suffolk’s sister site  These flowers are commonly known as ‘Pinks’.  The following cultivars were grown by the breeder Gerald Kiddy of Wissett, Halesworth, Suffolk, in England, and named after his home county.

Dianthus ‘Suffolk Pride’ (see photo, right) is a compact spreading perennial with double, deep rose-pink flowers and is slightly clove scented.  It reaches a height and width of 4 in (10 cm).  This cultivar was collected by the Royal Horticultural Herbarium in 1991 and won an RHS Award in 1997.






Dianthus ‘Suffolk Summer’ (see photo, left) was collected by the Royal Horticultural Herbarium in 1990 and won the RHS Award of Garden Merit 1993. It is a compact evergreen perennial that grows to a height of 25cm, with blue-grey foliage and strongly clove-scented, pinkish white flowers 5cm in width.  This hardy plant grows to make a clump.





The next three cultivars were grown by Gerald Kiddy and registered in 2003.

Dianthus ‘Suffolk Hussar’: First grown in 1999.  Height 15cm and a spread of 35-40mm.  It is a double bloom (meaning flowers with extra petals, often containing flowers within flowers), pinkish red with a dark crimson eye, and deep purple lacing (see photo, right).

Dianthus ‘Suffolk Countess’: First grown in 1996.  Height 36cm and a spread of 45mm.  A double bloom, vivid purplish red with a slightly darker marking near the base of the petal.

Dianthus ‘Suffolk Festival’: First grown in 1996.  Height 25-30cm and a spread of 45mm.  A double bloom with an almost closed centre, a vivid deep pink with irregular stripes and flecks of near deep red.  The fancy irregular markings give the flower a “festive appearance”, hence its name.  It is strongly scented.  

Gerald Kiddy submitted two “trial plants” to the RHS in 1995 named Dianthus ‘Suffolk Silk’ and Dianthus ‘Suffolk Yeoman’, but these were not accepted for further dissemination.

Another plant, Dianthus ‘Suffolk Dorothy Deaton’, is an accepted name in the RHS Horticultural Database, but nothing else can be found about it.  We wonder if this is an error for Dianthus ‘Sutton Dorothy Deaton’, grown in 2000 by M A Newby and first published in the Yorkshire plant list 2002 and also appears in the RHS Supplement for 2003.  This was named after an old friend of the registrant and the registrant’s locality; Newby Hall and Sutton Park are in Yorkshire, not Suffolk.

Top of Page

Dahlias – Varieties named ‘Suffolk’

Dahlia is a genus of bushy, herbaceous perennial plants native to the high plains of Mexico. Although some species are found in Central America and Colombia where they were probably introduced from Mexico. A member of the Asteraceae or Compositae family, related species include the sunflower, daisy, chrysanthemum and zinnia. There are at least 36 species of dahlia, with hybrids commonly grown as garden plants.  

Spaniards reported finding the plants growing in Mexico in 1525, but the earliest known description is by Francisco Hernández de Toledo, who was ordered to visit Mexico in 1570 by King Philip II to study the “natural products of that country”.  They were used as a source of food by the indigenous peoples, and were both gathered in the wild and cultivated.  The Aztecs used them as a medicine, and employed the long hollow stem of the Dahlia imperalis as pipes to move water from mountain streams to their villages.  However, it was not until 1789 that the flower arrived in Europe.  Abbe Antonio Jose Cavanilles, a Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens of Madrid, received the first specimens from Mexico that year.  He named the flower Dahlia in 1791, in honour of his good friend, Dr Anders Dahl (1751-89), a noted Swedish botanist.  In 1803 John Frasier, an English nurseryman, introduced the Dahlia coccinea from France, and in 1804 Lady Holland sent seed to Britain from Madrid.  These became the beginning of garden dahlias in Britain that were first described in English botanical magazines.  It was soon discovered that the dahlia could and would easily change its form, face and colour, so from the few plants that survived the journey from Mexico, commercial plant breeders since 1813 have been able to produce many thousands of brightly coloured cultivars of the dahlia.  The exact date the dahlia was introduced to the United States is unknown, but in 1840 Thomas Bridgeman supplied a catalogue of “all the choicest varieties available”.  Today, there are over 18,000 different cultivars.

In 1966, the international community of botanists and dahlia lovers finally decided how to classify dahlias in a way that was acceptable to all.  The single flowering types were the first to have been cultivated.  They have petals in circular rows around a visible central disk, much like a daisy.  Most large flowering dahlias are doubles.  Double flowering dahlias have multiple, overlapping layers of petals with no visible central disk.  Dahlias are further classified by the diameter of the fully opened flowers.  From there it gets trickier; shapes, petal arrangements and petal forms vary greatly.  Flowers can be round pom
poms, convex or wildly spiky, and of course they come in various colours and blends, except blue, black or green.  

We only describe those classifications applicable to the dahlias with the name ‘Suffolk’.  All of these are double flowering, having multiple, overlapping layers of petals with no visible central disk.

“Ball dahlias”,
as the name suggests, have flowers that take on the form of a ball.


                 An image of a typical ball dahlia

“Cactus and semi-cactus” varieties have numerous petals that are long and pointed, and curve in slightly near the end, giving the flower a spiky look.  With the cactus type the petals are narrow from tip to base, and in the semi-cactus type the petals have a broad base.  
“Formal decorative dahlias” produce smaller blooms, perfect in form; the petals are generally flat but may curve a little, and have an even, regular placement throughout the flower.  “Informal decorative dahlias” produce the largest blooms that can grow to more than 18 inches in diameter, and they look like their name sounds: the petals can be twisted, curled, bent downwards, and are generally in irregular patterns.

“Water-lily dahlias” get their name because their petals are broad and curve upward in a saucer-like shape similar to a water-lily.

The earliest cultivar we have found containing the name ‘Suffolk’ is Dahlia ‘Suffolk Hero’.  The notable breeder, Samuel Girling (d.1846), of the Danecroft Nursery, Stowmarket, in Suffolk, England, developed this variety and it was exhibited at shows between 1837 and 1840, winning many prizes.  It is classified as a ball dahlia and is in a dark red colour.

One that has been bred in North America is Dahlia ‘Suffolk Baby’: a miniature formal decorative type, less than 4ins in diameter, a dark burgundy-red in colour; introduced by 2008 in the USA by Skagit Heights Dahlia Farm in the State of Washington.

All of the other cultivars that we have found bearing the ‘Suffolk’ name have been introduced by Geoffrey H A Flood, a breeder who lives in Beccles, Suffolk, England.  These are normally marketed through Braintris Dahlia Nursery in Beccles. 

Dahlia ‘Suffolk Bride’: Medium semi-cactus type, 6 to 8ins in diameter, white; introduced in 1974.

Dahlia ‘Suffolk Christine’: Medium semi-cactus type, 6 to 8ins in diameter, dark pink to lavender; introduced in 1982.    
Dahlia ‘Suffolk Conquest’: Medium semi-cactus type, 6 to 8ins in diameter, white blending to lavender; introduced by 1975.    

Dahlia ‘Suffolk Fancy’:
It seems that a water-lily type with this name, coloured bronze, was first introduced in 1979 by Geerlings Dahlias, Heemstede, in Holland.  In 1983 Geoffrey Flood introduced another water-lily dahlia with the same name, but orange in colour. 

Dahlia ‘Suffolk Fantasy’: A water-lily type with a small diameter, 4 to 6ins, orange in colour; introduced in 1982 (see photo, left).

Dahlia ‘Suffolk Gold’: Medium semi-cactus type, 6 to 8ins in diameter, a rich golden yellow; introduced in 1975.

Dahlia ‘Suffolk Hero’: A small formal decorative type, 4 to 6ins in diameter, white in colour; introduced by 1975, reviving a name first used in 1837, as described above.

Dahlia ‘Suffolk Liz’: Medium semi-cactus type, 6 to 8ins in diameter, yellow colour; introduced by 1979.

Dahlia ‘Suffolk Prince’: A medium formal decorative type, 4 to 6ins in diameter, white in colour; introduced in 1979.

Dahlia ‘Suffolk Punch’: This was first introduced in 1973 by Geoffrey Flood as a medium informal decorative type, 6 to 8ins in diameter, rosy-red to purple in colour; the same name was given to a medium decorative type, dark red in colour, introduced by Flood in 1992 (see photo, right).

Dahlia ‘Suffolk Signal’: Medium semi-cactus type, 6 to 8ins in diameter, bright scarlet in colour; introduced by 1980.

Dahlia ‘Suffolk Snowball’: A small formal decorative type, 4 to 6ins in diameter, white in colour; introduced by 1975.

Dahlia ‘Suffolk Spectacular’: A medium informal decorative type, 6 to 8ins in diameter, pure white in colour; introduced in 1975.

Dahlia ‘Suffolk Straight’: Medium semi-cactus type, 6 to 8ins in diameter, white in colour; introduced by 1980.

Top of Page

Pelargoniums – Varieties named ‘Suffolk’

Pelargoniums are sometimes called geraniums but true geraniums are a separate genus of herbaceous plant.  The background to the Pelargonium genus is given on the Ips Misc. page of  

Pelargonium cultivars are divided into seven distinct groups.  Varieties which are named ‘Suffolk’ are in four of these groups, as noted below.

Regal (R): Bushy evergreen perennials and shrubs with rounded leaves sometimes lobed or partially toothed, producing single, rarely double, flowers in shades of mauve, pink, purple or white grown for outdoor or indoor display.

Decorative (Dec): ‘Decorative Regals’ are descendants of the Regals grown in Victorian times, and come in various flower forms in a wide range of colours.

Angel (A): Similar to Regals, but more compact and bushy, having small round leaves and pansy like flowers.  They always flower in profusion and can be grown as a pot plant or in hanging baskets.
Miniature (Min): Mature plants with foliage normally less than 5” (125mm) above the rim of the pot.

There are 10 cultivars listed by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) that have been named after Suffolk.  The group to which they belong is shown in brackets, with the date last listed by the RHS Plant Finder.  This implies that seeds are generally no longer available, although this may be because the growers retired and disposed of their stock in 2011.  We found that Suffolk Coral and Suffolk Garnet (see photograph, below) were still being advertised. 

Suffolk Agate (R) 2010  
Suffolk Amethyst (A) 2010
Suffolk Coral (R) 2010
Suffolk Coral Salmon (R) 2007
Suffolk Emerald (A) 2010
Suffolk Garnet (Dec) 2010
Suffolk Gold (Min) 1998
Suffolk Jade (Min) 2010
Suffolk Jet (Min) 2010
Suffolk Salmon (R) 2010

                                                                                                                                                               Suffolk Garnet

The growers of these varieties, not surprisingly, were connected with Suffolk.  Pelargonium ‘Suffolk Gold’ was exhibited by the Rev. C. Rowe of Bury St Edmunds in 1998.  All the others, which seem to have a gemstone theme, were bred by Brian and Pearl Sulman of Mildenhall.  Pearl was born into the Woollard family of Mildenhall, Suffolk, and her father Arthur was a well known and respected nurseryman.  Brian and Pearl met at Wisbech Horticultural College, and they later took on the nursery business of Pearl’s father, dealing in speciality pelargoniums.  At their peak, the couple did about 30 shows a year and were awarded 52 Royal Horticultural Society gold medals, including seven at the Chelsea Flower Show, and the society’s Anthony Huxley Trophy for their pelargoniums at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 2009.  They did their last show in 2010 before retiring and selling their stock in 2011.  After a long illness, Pearl Sulman passed away, aged 65, in 2012.

Top of Page

The Suffolk Turnip

Turnips are native to temperate Europe, and have been cultivated for human and livestock consumption for over 4000 years.  However, in the latter half of the 17th century an agricultural revolution occurred in High Suffolk with the introduction of turnip husbandry.  Until then turnips had only been grown in market gardens, mainly as a food for poor people and livestock.  Now, it became established as a field crop, and it was a long time before it was introduced into any other farming county.  Richard Hill, a farmer of Toft Monks, which is actually in Norfolk four miles north of Beccles in Suffolk, is credited with introducing this new style of cultivation in 1661, and it soon spread to neighbouring farms in High Suffolk.

Around 1720, Viscount Townshend, a British Whig statesman and Secretary of State, promoted the use of turnips in a four-year crop-rotation system that enabled year-round livestock production on his estate at Raynham Hall in Norfolk, hence his nickname of “Turnip Townshend”.  By this time the humble turnip had been grown for long enough in Suffolk as a field crop that it was now known as the “Suffolk Turnip”, or occasionally the “Norfolk Turnip”.  Its botanical name is Brassica rapa var. rapifera.

At that time, turnips were distinguished by different names according to their shape and colour.  The three common varieties were the round turnip, the long turnip or Suffolk turnip, and the yellow turnip.  The Suffolk turnip was more oval than the others and grew to a larger size, being at least three times as long as it was wide, and the primary root tapered gradually to a long point at its base.  It was very sweet and succulent, much relished by cattle.  (As described in “A Compleat Body of Husbandry” by Thomas Hale, 1758)

Livestock production relied on crops to sustain animals all year round, and turnips became important for winter feeding of sheep and cattle.  However, the first hybrid turnip is recorded in 1844.  With new varieties of vegetable forage crops becoming available that gave larger yields and better storability, the long turnip or Suffolk turnip lost popularity and is now rarely grown.  Currently, most varieties of turnip are globe shaped.

Top of Page

The Suffolk Regiment

The origins of the Suffolk Regiment, an infantry regiment of the British Army, date back to 1685. In that year the Duke of Norfolk's Regiment of Foot was raised on the orders of King James II, in response to the threatened Monmouth Rebellion. The Regiment was mainly made up of men from Suffolk & Norfolk & was initially stationed at Landguard Fort near Felixstowe & Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. Although set up to support the Catholic king, the Regiment ended up fighting against him in Ireland, including at the Battle of the Boyne (1690).

During the eighteenth century the Regiment found itself at various times in such places as Flanders, the West Indies, Germany, Holland, Catalonia & Minorca & saw action in the War of the Austrian Succession, the Seven Years War & the Siege of Gibraltar, as well as spending some time in Scotland in the aftermath of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s ’45 Rebellion. Whilst not overseas, during the 1730s & early 1740s, the Regiment was intermittently headquartered at Ipswich.

In 1751 the Regiment was renamed the 12th Regiment of Foot & in 1782 was given a county association as the 12th (the East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot.

The 12th Regiment of Foot, along with five other British regiments, took part in one of the most famous battles of the Seven Years War on 1st August 1759 at the town of Minden in what was then Prussia, but is now in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Known as the Battle of Minden, it is said that the soldiers picked roses & wore them in their hats during the battle. This has been celebrated ever since each 1st August as Minden Day, when red & yellow “Minden Roses” are worn; a tradition still observed by 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment. 

Another Regiment with a link to Suffolk came into being in 1758, when the 2nd Battalion of the 8th (The King's) Regiment of Foot became 63rd (the West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot .(In 1881 this amalgamated with the 96th Regiment of Foot to form the Manchester Regiment).

The 12th Regiment of Foot was stationed in Gibraltar from 1769 to 1783, & was involved in the Siege of Gibraltar by the Spanish and French from 1779 to 1783. From that time on, the Regiment took the arms of Gibraltar as its crest, with the castle & key emblem becoming part of the cap badge. The Regiment were also stationed on the rock between 1823 & 1834. A legacy of the Regiments time in Gibraltar can be found in Suffolk House on the Upper Rock, which was a Ministry of Defence building until 2004. The time spent in this part of the world was also remembered closer to home when, in 1878, the new barracks in Bury St Edmunds were named Gibraltar Barracks.  

In 1810 the Second Battalion of the 12th (the East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot was formed, but this was disbanded in 1818. A Reserve Battalion was formed in 1842 &, after its return from South Africa, where it had taken part in the Kaffir Wars, was renamed as the newly reformed Second Battalion in 1858.

In 1852, part of the First Battalion was aboard HMS Birkenhead enroute to South Africa, when they were shipwrecked off the Cape coast. A memorial to the 55 soldiers who drowned can be seen in St Mary's Church, Bury St Edmunds.

The nineteenth century also saw the Regiment at various times in such places as Australia, New Zealand, India, Burma, Mauritius, Egypt & Ireland. During this century, the Regiment had frequently depended on the Suffolk Militia for recruits and had maintained recruiting parties in the county. In 1873 Cambridgeshire was also added to the recruiting area, & in that same year the Depot of the Regiment was established at Bury St Edmunds, with barracks being built there five years later.

In 1881 the Regiment became known as the Suffolk Regiment. At this time The West Suffolk Militia and The Cambridgeshire Militia became the 3rd and 4th Battalions respectively.  By the end of the century 90% of the men came from Suffolk.

The First Battalion were stationed on the Northwest Frontier from 1876-92 during the Second Afghan War (see Suffolk Hill Piquet, Pakistan page). They were also in South Africa for the Second Boer War (1899-1902). This included a battle that took place in 1900 on a hill near Colesberg in the Northern Cape which was subsequently named Suffolk Hill (see Suffolk Hill, South Africa page).

In 1908 the Territorial Force was formed (the forerunner of today’s Territorial Army). This was organised on a county basis with the 4th Battalion established in East Suffolk and the 5th Battalion in West Suffolk.

During the First World War, various battalions of the Suffolk Regiment fought in Europe & Palestine. Altogether, 23 Battalions of The Suffolk Regiment were raised during the Great War. This included a notable battle that took place in 1914 to the west of Le Cateau-Cambrésis in northern France defending a small hill that became known as Suffolk Hill (see Suffolk Hill, France page).

In June 1935 a London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) Class B17 steam locomotive, was named The Suffolk Regiment (see below).

In the Second World War, the First Battalion were sent to France; being evacuated from Dunkirk, but then returning to Normandy in June 1944 & seeing action in Belgium, Holland & Germany. The Second Battalion were initially on the Northwest Frontier, before being redeployed in Burma. The 4th & 5th Battalions were in Singapore, whilst the 7th Battalion, as 142 Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps, were deployed in North Africa & were the first to use Churchill Tanks.

In 1944 the Suffolk Regiment was granted the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Bury St Edmunds.

After the war, the Regiment served as a peace keeping force in India, Palestine, Malaya, Greece & Cyprus. The Second Battalion was disbanded in 1947.

On 29 August 1959 the First Battalion Suffolk Regiment amalgamated with the First Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment to form the First Battalion, the First East Anglian Regiment (Royal Norfolk and Suffolk). This was the forerunner of today’s Royal Anglian Regiment, formed in 1964, which still includes the First (Royal Norfolk and Suffolk) Battalion. In 1995 the Battalion renamed each of its 4 companies after the old county regiments; B Company becoming B (Suffolk) Company.

The Suffolk Regiment has also provided its name to roads and cemeteries in Europe where it was involved in major battles during both World Wars (see Roads in Europe named after the Suffolk Regiment and Cemeteries in Europe named after the Suffolk Regiment, below), as well as at locations in the British Empire where it was stationed (see Suffolk Road, Vacoas, Mauritius and Suffolk Road (Triq Suffolk), Pembroke, Malta, below).

The Suffolk Regiment Museum is based in Gibraltar Barracks, Newmarket Road, Bury St Edmunds. Established in 1935, the museum contains displays & artefacts from throughout the Regiment’s existence. Admission is free, & the museum is open on the first & third Wednesdays & the first Sunday of each month. Also in Bury St Edmunds is the Suffolk Regiment Gallery, situated in Moyses Hall Museum, Cornhill.

Don't forget to sign the Guestbook

Top of Page

The Suffolk Regiment - LNER Class B17 Steam Locomotive

From 1935 to 1959, a London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) Class B17/1 steam locomotive LNER no. 2845, BR no. 61645) was named The Suffolk Regiment, in honour of the county’s regiment (see The Suffolk Regiment, above).

Built at the LNER’s Darlington Works in 1935, it was officially named at a ceremony at Ipswich station by Colonel in Chief, Brigadier General Sir John Ponsonby on the 22nd June 1935, where it was decorated with Minden Roses.


After the Second World War, the engine was used to bring the Suffolk Regiment troops, on their return from Malaya, back to Suffolk from Liverpool.  

The Suffolk Regiment was withdrawn from service on 26th February 1959 & was disposed of at British Rail’s Doncaster Works soon afterwards.

Between 1928 & 1937, LNER built 73 class B17 steam locomotives. Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, they were predominantly in use for passenger services on the Great Eastern Main Line. Over the course of the years that they were being built, five different classes were produced (B17/1 – B17/5). From 1943 onwards, however, many of the original engines were rebuilt with 100A boilers & reclassified to become the B17/6. The Suffolk Regiment underwent this reclassification in December 1952.

The first B17, built in 1928, was named Sandringham, which began a trend of naming subsequent engines after English country houses or castles (e.g. Alnwick Castle, Harewood House, Harlaxton Manor). From 1936 onwards, however, most were named after English football clubs. Most kept their names throughout their existence, although a few underwent name changes, such as the Burnham Thorpe becoming The Lincolnshire Regiment, or the Thoresby Park being renamed Tottenham Hotspur.

All B17s were withdrawn by 1960 & none have survived.

Model railway specialists Hornby now sell models of many B17 locomotives, including a replica of 61645 The Suffolk Regiment.

Top of Page

Roads in Europe named after the Suffolk Regiment

Suffolkweg, Oude Suffolkweg and Suffolkweg Zuid, Weert, Holland: These three roads (Suffolk Road, Old Suffolk Road & Suffolk Road South in English) are all so named because it was the Suffolk Regiment that liberated the city of Weert on September 22, 1944.  A memorial plaque in commemoration of this event can be found on the city bridge.  Oude Suffolkweg, Suffolkweg and Suffolkweg Zuid is the main thoroughfare running along the northwest side of the Zuid Willemsvaart canal from the Belgian border towards the city bridge in Weert.  The liberation event is still commemorated annually by a torch relay between Weert and Brussels in Belgium (around 100 miles away by road).

Weert lies around 19 miles southeast of the city of Eindhoven in southeast Holland, not far from the border with Belgium.

Rue de Suffolk Régiment, Colleville-Montgomery, Normandie, France: The road between the towns of Biéville-Beuville and Colleville-Montgomery in Normandie, France, is named the Rue de Suffolk Régiment. This is to commemorate the capture of the Hillman Battery by the 1st Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment on 6 June 1944.  At the southern end of Colleville-Montgomery is a 24 hectare site (Site Fortifié Hillman) comprising 18 casemates and underground galleries, built by the Germans from 1942 to 1944 as their defensive command post.  A plaque is located on the Hillman Battery main blockhouse in memory of the soldiers of the Suffolk Regiment who died in this assault.

Colleville-Montgomery is situated close to the coast, around 10 miles north of Caen, & approximately 155 miles west of Paris.

Boulevard de Suffolk, Biéville-Beuville, Normandie, France: A separate road in the adjacent town of Biéville-Beuville commemorates the same event. 

Biéville-Beuville is immediately south of Colleville-Montgomery, about 5 miles from Caen. 

Top of Page

Cemeteries in Europe named after the Suffolk Regiment

Suffolk Cemetery, Vierstraat, Ieper, West Vlannderen, Belgium: Suffolk Cemetery is located 6 km south west of Ieper town centre, on the Kriekstraat.  From Ieper leave through the Lille Gate and head towards Armentieres (N365), after close to 1km on the right just before the level crossing is the N331 Kemmelseweg, after 5km along this road is a right turn onto Poperingestraat, a further 800 metres along here is a left turn into Kriekstraat, the cemetery is a further 80m on the right. Access and parking are easy, although there is a short grassed path leading to the cemetery.

This small battlefield cemetery was started in March-April 1915 by the 2nd Bn. Suffolk Regiment who gave the cemetery its name because of their casualties buried there.  Apart from one burial made in November 1917, the cemetery was not used again until October 1918 when soldiers of the 1st/4th and 1st/5th York and Lancasters were buried.  There are 47 First World War burials, 8 of whom are unidentified.

The cemetery was originally known as “Cheapside Cemetery” after the road which runs south west nearby, but this was thought an unsuitable name for those who had made the final sacrifice. The cemetery grounds were assigned to the United Kingdom in perpetuity by King Albert I of Belgium.


Suffolk Cemetery, La Rolanderie Farm, Erquinghem-Lys, France: Erquinghem-Lys is a village and commune in the Département du Nord, on the main road from Estaires to Armentières, and on the south bank of the river Lys.  From the Mairie in Erquinghem head north east towards Armentières.  After the school, turn right towards Bois Grenier.  Continue along this road for 900 metres, crossing the railway line on the way, then turn right into the farmyard. The track leading to the cemetery is immediately after the barn building.

La Rolanderie Farm was used by the 34th Division as Brigade Headquarters in February and August 1916 and in March 1918.  It later become the headquarters of the 121st Brigade, and was severely shelled and bombed.  

In April 1918 this cemetery was made on the south-west side of the farm.  It covers an area of 405 square metres and is enclosed by a low brick wall.  The cemetery contains the graves of 43 soldiers from the United Kingdom, of whom 36 belonged to the 11th and 12th Suffolk Regiment.  Eight are unidentified.

The name, originally La Rolanderie Farm Military Cemetery, was changed in 1925 at the request of the Suffolk Regiment.

Top of Page

Reserve Forces in Britain Bearing the Name Suffolk

By 1907 Britain had three reserve forces.  They were the Militia, the Yeomanry, and the Volunteers.

The Militia was the oldest force.  It had been formed in England in the middle ages as a home defence force.  Each county of England had to provide a force of foot soldiers from the male civilian population in times of crisis to supplement the regular army.  Militia members were not paid soldiers, but served as volunteers on an ad hoc basis to protect their home and country.  From 1852 it had become a volunteer force of infantry, artillery, engineer and medical units.  Largely based in the rural parts of the country, landowners acted as officers, and farm labourers formed the bulk of the rank and file.  As well as a home defence force, the Militia also acted as an organisation for regular soldiers who transferred to the reserves on completion of full-time service.  

The Yeomanry had been formed in the 1790s as a force of volunteer cavalry whose ranks were filled by independent farmers who were sufficiently wealthy to provide their own horses.  Often used as a police force during the 19th century, being in the Yeomanry was seen as glamourous, with a high public profile.

The Volunteers began as rifle clubs in the cities and large towns as a popular movement from 1859.  During the 1860s they were enlarged to include artillery and engineers as well as infantry.  From the start the Volunteers had a strong local connection and were originally raised by Lord Lieutenants of counties.  They were more vigorous than the Militia, but confined to home defence.  The local connection and the fact that they were volunteers indicated that the force were under no obligation to serve overseas, although they could volunteer to do so.  Originally highly autonomous, the units of volunteers became increasingly integrated with the British Army after the reforms in 1881, before forming the bulk of the Territorial Force (now the Territorial Army) in 1908.

East Suffolk Militia/Suffolk Artillery, and West Suffolk Militia: The obligation that all able-bodied males should serve in the militia in England derives from a common law tradition, and dates back to Anglo-Saxon times.  The decline of the feudal system led to the nobility abandoning their personal armies, thus the militia took on a new importance in the 16th century.  They were organised on the basis of the shire county, and were one of the responsibilities of the Lord Lieutenant, a royal official.  Every parish furnished a quota of eligible men, whose names were recorded on muster rolls, and it was their duty to defend the country in times of war or emergency.  The Militia was supposed to be mustered for training purposes from time to time, but this was rarely done.

The Militia Act of 1757 aimed to create a professional national military reserve. Musters were still kept, and the men were selected by ballot to serve for longer periods, and thus obtain better training.  In 1759 East and West Suffolk Militia Battalions were formed, organised at Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds respectively.  Although muster rolls were prepared as late as 1820, the element of compulsion was abandoned, and the Militia was transformed into a volunteer force.  They were intended to be seen as an alternative to the regular army.  Men would volunteer and undertake basic training for several months at an army depot.  Thereafter, they would return to civilian life, but report for regular periods of military training.  The Militia was at first an entirely Infantry force, but in 1853 the East Suffolk Militia was converted into an Artillery unit known as the Suffolk Artillery Militia.  The West Suffolk Militia continued as Infantry, and was eventually absorbed into the Suffolk Regiment in 1881 as the 3rd Battalion (see The Suffolk Regiment, above).
The purpose of the Artillery was to defend vulnerable locations around the coast.  In 1855, divisions of the Suffolk Artillery were quartered at Landguard Fort, Tilbury Fort, and Hull.  Ipswich remained the headquarters and in February 1855 the new Artillery Militia Barracks was opened at Ipswich on the north side of the town, occupying the 2½ acre site of an older barracks between Norwich Road, Anglesea Road, Berners Street and Orford Street.  The barracks remained until 1929, when they were demolished & the land redeveloped into a residential area.

In April 1882 the unit was renamed the 3rd Brigade, Eastern Division, Royal Artillery, until 1889 when it again became the Suffolk Artillery Militia.  In 1902 it became the Suffolk Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) as part of another reorganisation that made the RGA responsible for the coastal defence batteries.  The unit continued to be known colloquially as the “Suffolk Artillery”.  The shortcomings of the Army organisation revealed during the Boer War led to the  
Territorial and Reserve Forces Act of 1907 that reformed the auxiliary forces of the British Army by transferring existing Volunteer and Yeomanry units into a new Territorial Force (TF), and disbanding the Militia to form a new Special Reserve of the Regular Army.  This resulted in the disappearance of the “Suffolk Artillery” on 1 April 1908.  The volunteer element of the artillery units continued the name in part as the 1st Suffolk & Harwich RGA, a “defended ports unit” of the Territorial Force guarding the coastal facilities, with its headquarters at Harwich, and the Suffolk & Essex RGA based at Colchester.  In 1924 the RGA was re-amalgamated into the Royal Artillery and ceased to exist.

With the creation of the Territorial Force in 1908, the former West Suffolk Militia , now the 3rd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, became the 3rd, Special Reserve, Battalion.  The original militiamen soon disappeared, and the battalions became training units pure and simple.  Upon mobilisation, the Special Reserve units would be formed at the depot and continue training while guarding vulnerable points in Britain.  Thus the 3rd, Special Reserve, Battalion remained in Britain throughout the First World War, but their rank and file did not, since the object of the special reserve was to supply drafts of replacements for the overseas units of the Suffolk Regiment.  The Special Reserve reverted to its Militia designation from 1921 until 1923 when the 3rd Battalion was placed in suspended animation.  In 1953 the Militia was finally formally abolished.  However, the West Suffolk Militia by then had long faded away.

Suffolk Yeomanry (also known as the Duke of York's Own Loyal Suffolk Hussars): In the 1790s, the threat of invasion was high after the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte.  To improve the country’s defences, volunteer cavalry regiments were raised in many counties, and these regiments became known collectively as the “Yeomanry”.  While the word “yeoman” in normal use meant a small farmer who owned his land, Yeomanry officers were drawn from the nobility or landed gentry, who could afford to provide their own horses and equipment.  

The Suffolk Yeomanry was formed in 1793 by Arthur Young of Bradfield Combust in Suffolk.  Arthur Young (1741-1820) was an English writer on agriculture and economics and in 1793 he had just been appointed secretary of the Board of Agriculture.  In celebration of its centenary, the Duke of York (later George V) reviewed the Suffolk Yeomanry on 25 May 1893 and conferred on them the title of the “Duke of York’s Own Loyal Suffolk Hussars”.

Members of the Yeomanry were not obliged to serve overseas without their individual consent.  Nevertheless, they served in South Africa during the Boer War as the 43rd and 44th Squadrons of the Imperial Yeomanry.  In 1908 the Imperial Yeomanry became the Cavalry arm of the Territorial Force.  In 1914 Yeomanry regiments were asked to volunteer for overseas duty as dismounted infantry.  The Suffolk Yeomanry went to Gallipoli in September 1915; from 1 January 1917, they were designated the 15th (Yeomanry) Battalion, the Suffolk Regiment, and were in Egypt as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force and in France from May 1918 until demobilisation in June 1919.  After World War I, it had become clear that cavalry was obsolete and in 1920 the Suffolk Yeomanry lost its separate identity to become a Royal Artillery regiment and merged with the Norfolk Yeomanry to form the 108th (Suffolk and Norfolk Yeomanry) Field Brigade, R.A.  This became an Anti Tank Regiment (Suffolk & Norfolk Yeomanry) of the Royal Artillery, and was attached to various Territorial Army Divisions during World War II.  The name still survives today as one of the designations in the Territorial Army, and the units bearing the name continue to have a close relationship with Bury St Edmunds.

Suffolk Rifle Volunteer Corps: The 1st Suffolk Rifle Volunteer Corps was raised in October 1859 at Ipswich.  Subsequent Rifle Volunteer Corps were raised throughout the county.  In 1863 the Volunteers in Suffolk were organised into three administrative Battalions, with Headquarters at Sudbury, Woodbridge and Halesworth.  In 1881 these units were organised into the 1st East Suffolk Rifle Volunteers (HQ at Woodbridge) and the 6th West Suffolk Rifle Volunteers (HQ at Sudbury).  In 1886 they became the two Volunteer Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment: the 1st (formerly the 1st East Suffolk) and the 2nd (formerly the 6th West Suffolk).  Volunteers were not obliged to serve overseas, but in 1900 a Special Army Order called for volunteer companies to fight in South Africa, and the Volunteer Battalions did supply two Companies of troops to fight in the Boer War.  Under the 1907 Territorial Force Act the 1st and 2nd Volunteer Battalions became respectively the 4th and 5th Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment (see The Suffolk Regiment, above).

As well as the three well established reserve forces detailed above, three other units were raised in Suffolk during the late eighteenth century to counter the threat of invasion from the contintent. These were short lived, however, lasting only until the first decade of the nineteenth century:- 

Suffolk Provisional Cavalry/Suffolk Fencible Cavalry: Formed in the same decade as the Suffolk Yeomanry (see above), & recruited from the same class of people & for the same purpose of defending the country against invasion from France, the Suffolk Provisional Cavalry was formed with six troops in 1796.  John Rous (later created the Earl of Stradbroke) was the “leader” of these cavalry volunteers in 1797. It was later commanded in 1798 by Lt. Col. Sir William Rowley of Tendring Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland (son of Admiral Sir Joshua Rowley. See Suffolk Bay, St Vincent & the Grenadines on The Ones That Got Away page). Around 34 Fencible units were formed all over the British Isles during this period, most of them on a county basis.

Sources vary as to when exactly the Suffolk Provisional Cavalry became known as the Suffolk Fencible Cavalry, although by August 1799 all Provisional Cavalry units in Britain were converted to “Fencible Cavalry” (the word being derived from ‘defencible’).

In February 1797, the Suffolk Fencible Cavalry was stationed in Bristol at the time of an attempted invasion by the French along the Pembrokeshire coast at Fishguard. With the first phase of the Napoleonic Wars coming to an end, Parliament ordered all fencible units to be disbanded in March 1800, except for those who had volunteered to serve in Europe. In 1802, with the signing of the Treaty of Amiens, the remaining fencible regiments were disbanded.

Suffolk Regiment of Fencible Infantry: The Suffolk Regiment of Fencible Infantry (also sometimes simply known as Suffolk Fencible Infantry) was raised in October 1794, under the command of Colonel John Robinson. In 1798, they were sent to Ireland by the British government to help quell what became known as the Irish Rebellion of 1798; an uprising against British rule that lasted from May to September.  On 24th May they were involved in the opening skirnishes of the rebellion, which took place in County Kildare.  One month later, on 21st June, they were part of a force that were engaged in the Battle of Vinegar Hill, near Enniscorthy, County Wexford, in which the British force of 15,000 troops launched an assault on the headquarters of the Wexford United Irish rebels.

Like their cavalry counterparts, the Suffolk Regiment of Fencible Infantry had been disbanded by 1801.

Suffolk Sea Fencibles: Another volunteer militia to bear the name Suffolk, there is very little detail now available on the Suffolk Sea Fencibles (also sometimes known as the Sea Fencibles, Suffolk District), although it is probable that one of their duties would have been to assist in the manning of the Martello Towers along the Suffolk coastline. We do know from the obituaries section of the Gentleman’s Magazine of November 1835 that one Edward Killwick, who died at Southwold in that year, held an appointment with the Sea Fencibles, Suffolk District from 1798 to 1802.

Sea Fencibles were naval militia formed to provide a line of defence along the coast of Britain to protect against invasion by France during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. They were established by order of the Admiralty in 1798, & were made up of naval officers & volunteer seafaring men.  The Sea Fencibles organisation was divided into districts, with each district covering a stretch of coast and under the command of a Post-Captain, assisted by between three & six Lieutenants, depending on the size of his command. Many smugglers joined the Sea Fencibles, as it gave them immunity from being impressed into the navy, although most volunteers were fishermen, bargemen or merchant sailors. The volunteers were trained in the use of arms & were employed to man watchtowers & operate a fleet of small vessels.  They were disbanded after the Treaty of Amiens of 1802. The ensuing peace, however, lasted only until the following year, when the Sea Fencibles were reformed. At this time they were given a more prominent role at sea; being a second line of defensive blockade behind the naval fleet. With the threat of invasion diminishing, the Sea Fencibles were finally disbanded in 1810.

Top of Page

Suffolk Redoubts, New Zealand

The 12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot was involved in the Waikato War 1863-1864.  This was a key conflict in New Zealand history in which the British colonial government intended to crush Maori power.  When the smoke cleared, the British seized over a million acres of tribal territory, and the door was open to complete European control of the North Island.

The Maori had built defensive earthworks along the Koheroa Ridges above the Mangatawhiri River, the northern boundary of their territory, just south of Auckland.  It was the British decision to cross the stream under arms that began hostilities on 17 July 1863.  The commander of the British Army, Lieutenant General Duncan Cameron, with 553 men attacked the Maori positions, held by some 100 to 150 Waikato Maori.  After a brief skirmish, the Maori fell back to their base further south.  Thirty men, including the chief, Te Huirama, had been killed in the fighting.  The British lost one soldier.  

The Maori retreated to the swamplands and now resorted to guerrilla warfare, where between 20 to 200 Maori warriors would regularly cross the Waikato River to harass the British troops and kill settlers towards Auckland.  In September 1863 Cameron responded by creating a series of about 20 stockades and redoubts, designed to protect his supply line and impede the ability of the Maori to attack further north.  Redoubts were built on the Koheroa Ridges because they gave good views of the Waikato River to both the north and south.  Two of these were manned by the East Suffolk Regiment.  They were basically earthwork enclosures surrounding a small wooden fortress containing between 25 to 50 men.  The conflict moved further south and by April 1864 these redoubts were vacated.  

The Suffolk Redoubts are now protected archaeological sites designated S15/12 and S12/238 at a height of 78m (255ft) on top of the Koheroa Ridges.  The basic earth mounds and depression inside the mounds are still intact.  They are included in the key historical sites visited on guided tours of the Waikato War Trail.

Top of Page

Suffolk’s Ridge or Suffolk Ridge, Gaza

Gaza’s strategic position was such that any power holding that town could control access to the Sinai and Egypt (and the Suez Canal) or, the other way, could gain access to Palestine and the Levant.  In the First World War, Gaza was part of the Ottoman Empire, Germany’s ally.  In 1915, the British had thwarted an Ottoman attempt to take the Suez Canal.  The Turks had fallen back on Gaza which was defended by a strongly entrenched Ottoman Army garrison.  It was essential that the Entente Powers should take Gaza to prevent further attacks and eliminate this stronghold that blocked the passage to Palestine and the Middle East.

In December 1915 the 1/5th Battalion and 15th (Suffolk Yeomanry) Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment were sent to Alexandria to join the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, and during 1917 they were involved in the three Battles of Gaza.  The first and second battles were fought in March and April 1917.  Both were defeats for the British and Imperial troops.  However, in the Second Battle of Gaza between the 17th and 19th April the front line was advanced slightly and the Suffolks were able to dig a trench on a small ridge in the desert to the southeast of the town of Gaza.  Thus, the name Suffolk’s Ridge was given to this entrenchment (see photo, below).  Fatal casualties in this vicinity were hastily buried on the battlefield in what became known as Suffolk Ridge Cemetery.

This entrenchment soon had to be abandoned because it was exposed to hostile fire, and the Ottoman troops occupied it.  On 1st November the Third Battle of Gaza commenced and this broke the Ottoman line so that the garrison in Gaza was in danger of being isolated.  The Turks were forced to evacuate the town and on the 5th November Suffolk Ridge fell into British hands again.  

This wartime name was only temporary and soon forgotten, except by the soldiers who had fought in this theatre of the war.  Today the city’s buildings cover this and other ridges.  The casualties buried in the Suffolk Ridge Cemetery were exhumed and reburied in the Gaza War Cemetery, opened in  Gaza City’s Tuffah district in 1920, and still in the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.




                                                                                                                                Regimental Aid Post, ‘Suffolk’s Ridge’, Sheikh Abass.  (Second Battle of Gaza)
                                                                                                                                                                  Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

Top of Page

Fort Suffolk

Fort Suffolk was a temporary fort built at the Siege of Colchester during the English Civil War.  

By the end of 1646 the Parliamentarians had defeated the Royalists of King Charles I. However, in May 1648 the conflict was re-ignited when Royalists in Kent rose against Parliament. They were defeated and the remnants of the Royalist forces commanded by the Earl of Norwich fled to Essex, hoping to raise the eastern counties.  General Thomas Fairfax at the head of a Parliamentary force remained in close pursuit, forcing the Royalist army of about 5,600 men to retreat behind the walls of Colchester.  Fairfax arrived on 13th June with about the same number of men and placed the town under siege.

Both sides appealed to the Suffolk Trained Band for assistance.  Trained Bands were local militia regiments organised on a county basis in the use of the pike and musket for the defence of the county.  Neither party was sure for which side the Suffolk Trained Band would fight for, but on coming up to Colchester with six companies of horse and dragoons on the 21st June, they declared for Parliament.  The Suffolk men were actually more concerned about preventing either side from spreading destruction into their county and they, therefore, took on the task of guarding the approaches to the bridges across the River Colne to the north and east of the town.  On 23rd June the Suffolk forces began to build a fort called Fort Suffolk, on the north side of the town, to close off the Suffolk road towards Stratford.  The Royalists attacked the Suffolk Trained Band on 5th July, and drove them into their fort.  This assault was repulsed, and by mid-July the perimeter had been secured and Colchester was then subject to an 11 week blockade.

It is recorded that Colchester’s inhabitants had taken to eating cats, dogs, soap and candles to stay alive.  Word came on the 22nd August that Oliver Cromwell had defeated the Royalist army at Preston.  With no possibility of being relieved by friendly forces from the north, the Royalists finally surrendered on 27th August.  All Lords and Gentlemen were taken prisoner, with common soldiers sent home on condition that they never again take up arms against Parliament.

Fort Suffolk was dismantled after two months in use.  Its location was at Mayors Spinney in Highwoods Country Park, 1 mile (1.5 km) north of Colchester town centre.  To the east is the residential development of Highwoods and Ipswich Road.  The surrounding fields have produced musket balls associated with the 1648 Siege of Colchester.

Top of Page

Suffolk Square Pillbox

Along the East Anglian coastline, as elsewhere in the British Isles, a number of WWII coastal anti-invasion defences remain more or less intact.  Between Felixstowe and The Wash, a large number of these were hastily constructed in 1940, necessitated by the imminent invasion by Nazi Germany.  The defences take various forms, the most commonly seen is the ‘pillbox’.  For our non-British readers we need to explain what this is.  A ‘pillbox’ is a small fortified structure, commonly known in other countries as a ‘blockhouse’ or ‘surface bunker’.  The modern concrete structure was first built by the Germans in 1917 as a defensive post along the Hindenburg Line on the Western Front.  They were popularly known to the British as a ‘pillbox’ by reference to their shape which was reminiscent of the hexagonal boxes in which medical pills were once sold.

Pillboxes are concrete military redoubts or small fortresses equipped with embrasures (openings through which to fire weapons).  They come in many forms: usually having five or six sides. The most common being the hexagonal shape with a blast wall protecting the entrance.  The embrasures differ too, from small to large and vary in number in each wall.  Out of an estimated 28,000 only just over 6,000 survive.  Today they remain as permanent monuments and a silent tribute to the courage and tenacity of the British people during the uncertainty of the early 1940s when Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany.

Although some square pillboxes (known as Type 26) were built elsewhere in the country, the Suffolk Square, as its name suggests, is a design unique to Suffolk.  Their distinctive shape comes from the construction work of 55th Division Royal Engineers who were based in Suffolk in the summer of 1940.  It is a square shaped infantry pillbox for rifles and light machine guns, designed to protect its occupants against small arms fire only.  They are not hardened “shell-proof” structures since the walls are only 15 (38cm) thick w
ith the roof and floor 11 (28cm) thick, built of 3 (8cm) concrete blocks.  The walls are 12 6 (3.81m), similar to a Type 26 but slightly larger.  They are most commonly shuttered with concrete blocks and have two embrasures in the front face with one each in the other faces.  Concrete shelves inside the pillbox under the embrasures allowed riflemen to rest their elbows when firing.  The entrance is protected with an L shaped blast wall or porch.  Rather alarmingly for the occupants, there was no anti-ricochet wall to prevent incoming bullets spinning around the interior.  Records list the number constructed as 245 of which 37 examples of this type remain today.


Suffolk Square pillbox at Knodishall Whin near to Friston, Suffolk

Top of Page

Suffolk Lane and Ipswich Walk, Mönchengladbach

At first sight, it seems strange to have these British place-names in a German town.  However, this becomes clear when it is realised that the town in question was the headquarters of the British Armed Forces in Germany.  JHQ (Joint Headquarters) Rheindahlen was a military base located just outside Mönchengladbach, Germany, active from 1954 to 2013.  It was known as the Rheindahlen Military Complex.  

In October 1954 Britain centralised its military functions previously located across several towns in Northern Germany to Rheindahlen.  The facilities in the complex included a NAAFI superstore, German shops, a travel agent, a German bank, post offices, libraries and restaurants. There were medical and dental centres, four British primary schools and a secondary school.  It was really a separate town with housing for the married servicemen.  The roads in the Complex were all named after UK and Commonwealth places; these generally follow a thematic pattern.  Ipswich Walk comes off Cambridge Drive and is between Newcastle Way and Bath Walk, with Colchester Walk the next road after that; all named after English towns.  Suffolk Lane comes off Norfolk Lane and meets up with Sutherland Lane in an area where they are named after counties.  Ipswich Walk contained married quarters, but Suffolk Lane does not seem to have been built on.

The Rheindahlen military complex was handed back to German federal authorities in December 2013.  It has remained a ghost town since then with civilian security guards.  In April 2016 refugees were accommodated in some of the billets.  Many of the buildings are still in good condition and it is, in effect, a ready-made town.

Top of Page

Places Associated with the Noble Houses of Suffolk

A number of places have been given the name “Suffolk” from association with either the Dukes of Suffolk or the Earls of Suffolk.  Most of these have been dealt with separately.  (See Suffolk Hills, Arizona page.  On Other Suffolks page see Suffolkpynten, Norway; The Suffolks, Cheltenham; and London Suffolks sub pages.  On Suffolk Misc. page see Suffolk Palace, Kingston-upon-Hull; Suffolk House, Ewelme & Suffolk House and other Suffolks in Sevenoaks sections, below). Of other places bearing the name “Suffolk”, only a handful seem to be associated with the noble family.  

At the Dissolution of Malmesbury Abbey in 1539 much of its property was bought by a prosperous clothier of the town named William Stumpe.  His eventual heiress, Catherine Knyvet, married Thomas Howard, who was created first Earl of Suffolk in 1603.  A House was built on her estate of Charlton Park just outside Malmesbury in the county of Wiltshire, and after her death it was inherited by her second son Thomas, created Earl of Berkshire in 1626.  The lands around Malmesbury subsequently descended with the earldom of Berkshire which, in 1745, also inherited the earldom of Suffolk.  The family still live at Charlton Park House.

The family owned over 8000 acres of land around Malmesbury and acquired other property in Cheltenham, just over the border in the county of Gloucester.  On the land that they owned, three public houses were given the name The Suffolk Arms.  These were located in Cheltenham, Malmesbury and Brinkworth.  The oldest one in Cheltenham still exists (
see The Suffolks, Cheltenham page), but the other two, both established in the late 19th century, sadly are no more.  The Malmesbury pub (on Tetbury Hill) was demolished in 2004 to make way for a housing development.  The Brinkworth pub (on The Common) was closed in 2010 to be converted into a private house.

Suffolk Close in the village of Charlton, those already covered under The Suffolks, Cheltenham page, and Suffolk Way, Sevenoaks, are the only streets that are directly associated with the family in that they were built on land owned or leased by the Earls of Suffolk.   Six thoroughfares with the name Suffolk in three other cities are indirectly connected to the family.  They are:  

i.   Suffolk Street (Sraid Suffolc) in Dublin, Ireland.  This was named after the Earl of Suffolk in 1682.  He did not own the land but the Earl of Orrery, who did own the land, was the grandson of the 2nd Earl of Suffolk; his mother, Lady Margaret Howard, being the Earl’s daughter.  She married the Irish peer, Roger Boyle, the 1st Earl of Orrery. (See Suffolk Street – The Heart of Viking Dublin, below)

ii.  Suffolk Road and Suffolk Lane in Sheffield, England.  The manor of Sheffield passed to the Dukes of Norfolk by marriage in 1616.  Between 1771 and 1778 the 10th Duke of Norfolk laid out Sheffield’s first planned streets on land that he owned south of the city centre.  Wide straight streets were built north to south, and east to west.  Behind each street there was a narrow back lane for deliveries to the establishments that had frontages on the wider roads.  The back lanes had the same name as the streets they served.  These thoroughfares were named after the family and possessions of the manorial lord of Sheffield, hence there is a Norfolk Street and Surrey Street for his titles; Charles Street and Howard Street for his proper name; Earl Street for his rank as Earl Marshal; Arundel Street for his main residence, and Furnival Street for his ancestors.  Suffolk Road (originally Street) and Suffolk Lane were an extension south of Howard Street, named after his relatives the Howard Earls of Suffolk. (See also Suffolk Works, Sheffield, England & the “Suffolk Knife”, below)

iii. Suffolk Road, Suffolk Road Lane and East Suffolk Road in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Gilmour Road, Granby Road, Suffolk Road and Wilton Road were built after 1888 on the estate of Sir Robert Gilmour of Craigmillar and Liberton.  They were named after Robert Gilmour and fellow peers in the House of Lords in celebration of himself being elevated to the peerage in 1887.  Suffolk Road was named after Henry Howard, 18th Earl of Suffolk.  Streets further north were named after members of the House of Commons, namely McLaren, Bright, Cobden, and Peel.  Suffolk Road Lane is a service road for garages at the backs of premises on Gilmour Road and Craigmillar Park.  East Suffolk Road has nothing to do with the administrative county of that name, but is simply an extension eastwards of Suffolk Road.  A late 20th century development has seen the conversion of former college Halls of Residence into multiple apartments known as East Suffolk Park (see East Suffolk Road & East Suffolk Park, Edinburgh, below).

A fourth area of land in Scotland may also be associated with the Earl of Suffolk name, but no direct connection can be determined.  As this is a geographical feature, it is therefore shown on a separate sub page under Other Suffolks (see Suffolk Hill, Scotland page).

Top of Page

Suffolk House, Ewelme, Oxfordshire, England

Ewelme is best known for its beautiful 15th century cloistered almshouses, officially called “The Two Chaplains and Thirteen Poor Men of Ewelme in the County of Oxford”.  The almshouses were established in 1437 by Alice de la Pole, Duchess of Suffolk, as a Trust.   She was the granddaughter of the poet, Geoffrey Chaucer.   She and her father had both lived at Ewelme Palace which once stood in the village and they are both buried in St. Mary’s Church, which adjoins the almshouses.  The almshouses are still run as a charity by the Ewelme Trust.
The original almshouses were modernised by the introduction of bathrooms around 1970.  This meant that the 13 almshouses became just 8, although the original external appearance was retained.  To maintain the correct number of almspeople, a modern complex of 5 almshouses was built beside the stream just a short walk away.  The new building was named Suffolk House.

Top of Page

Suffolk Palace, Kingston Upon Hull, England

There is no trace of this palace in Hull now.  Yet the palace and its magnificent grounds once encompassed nine acres around the entire area now bounded by Lowgate, Queen’s Gardens, Bowlalley Lane and Quay Street.

There is a record of a house built in the manor of Myton and Tupcoates in Hull in the early 14th century, and it presumably passed to the de la Pole family, prominent Hull merchants, when they acquired the manor about 1330.  The manor house and grounds occupied a large, roughly triangular area bounded by Marketgate (now Lowgate), Bishopgate (now Bowlalley Lane), and a common way running alongside the town wall.  Michael de la Pole became Earl of Suffolk in 1385 (see Suffolk as a Title above), and in 1387 he rebuilt his manor house into a stately mansion, which then became known as “Suffolk Palace”.
In 1504, by the attainder of Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, all the revenues, manors, lands, and estates of that nobleman were confiscated and forfeited to the king; amongst which was the manor of Myton and Tupcoates with Suffolk Palace.  King Henry VIII granted the Palace to Sir Henry Gate from whom it passed to the Hillyard family of Winestead, who lived a few miles to the east of Hull.  Under the Hillyards it lost its title of Suffolk Palace and became known as the King’s Manor or Manor House.  The family sold it to King Charles I, and he converted it into a magazine for arms in 1639.  At the Restoration the property again reverted back to the Crown, but King Charles II immediately sold it to Hull Corporation from whom it was bought by Henry Hillyard of Horsey, Surrey in 1663.  The glory days were over, and it was for the most part pulled down, but the gateway is said to have remained until 1771.

The former palace and gardens were sold off to become a typical busy city centre.  Today it is one of the busiest areas of central Hull.  The present Town Hall occupies the area that was the northern end of the palace; the remainder of the property is now occupied by mostly business premises, the former General Post Office (which has now been converted into apartments) and a public house called The Three John Scotts (named after three generations of Anglican ministers in Hull with the same name).


 Top of Page

Suffolk House and other Suffolks in Sevenoaks, Kent

General John Howard, 15th Earl of Suffolk, 8th Earl of Berkshire (1739 –1820) was primarily a British soldier.  He was the grandson of a second son who was himself descended from the seventh son of the second son of Thomas Howard, the first Earl of Suffolk (see no. 5 in Suffolk as a Title, above).  So, on the surface, there seemed little chance that John was destined to inherit the Suffolk title.  As was common for the lesser members of aristocratic families, John Howard entered the military in the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards.  In 1779 he was sent to America and was active in several of the campaigns of the American War of Independence, including the final southern campaign of General Cornwallis.  He was wounded in 1781 and sent home, thus escaping the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.  John Howard remained in military service, but destiny was taking a hand in removing one by one the likely heirs to the Suffolk title.  Thus, in 1783, he succeeded a distant cousin as Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire.  In 1807 we have the earliest record of the Earl of Suffolk being in residence at the mansion in Sevenoaks that hereafter would be known as “Suffolk House”.  His date of leaving is unknown, but he left the mansion before he died in 1820.  In this short period of time, the name “Suffolk” became associated with this part of Sevenoaks.   

The large mansion dominated this part of Sevenoaks.  The frontage of the estate stretched from the Hole-in-the-Wall (a pedestrian entrance to Knole Park on Seal Hollow Road), up Seal Hollow Road (B2019), and along the eastern side of the High Street to the Tesco Metro supermarket site of today.  It adjoined Knole Park, a medieval deer park of a thousand acres; Knole was once the palace of the Archbishops of Canterbury.  Knole is one of England’s largest houses, the oldest parts dating from the 15th century.  The park has remained unchanged for 400 years and is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

In 1585 the 36 acres estate surrounding the future Suffolk House was owned by John Blome, a prosperous textile merchant and town butcher.  That year he built the mansion that stood where Suffolk Way today joins the High Street.  Within that area of the town, there was no other house of importance.  In 1717 the property passed to the Fermor family.  This family developed the garden and added a 40 acres deer park that later became known as “Suffolk Paddock”.  The house and garden were sold in 1807 to the Earl of Plymouth, the owner of Knole Park.  That same year the Earl of Suffolk rented the estate and, soon after, the name “Suffolk House” became attached to the mansion.  The Knole estate was enlarged by the purchase of Suffolk Paddock some time between 1825 and 1830.  It thereafter became known as “Knole Paddock”.  In 1927 the local authority bought Knole Paddock and it became playing fields for football, cricket and tennis; it is also the home of the Sevenoaks Rugby Club.
Meanwhile, Suffolk House was sold to a local auctioneer, Benjamin Sanders.  He demolished the mansion around 1820 and made a start on building “Suffolk Place” on the High Street (see photo, left).  The conversion of the Suffolk estate was continued by Robert Comfort who completed Suffolk Place, the stables became a brewery and he made the coach house into a dwelling.  This became known as “Suffolk Cottage” and was later renamed “Suffolk Lodge”.  Suffolk Place became a terrace of homes for “gentlemen” from the mid-1820s; gentry rather than aristocracy.  In 1901 it was home to doctors, dentists and a small school for “the children of gentlefolk”.  In 1936 Suffolk Lodge was demolished and rebuilt in a similar fashion to Suffolk Place, all of which were converted into shops with flats above them.  They are still there, but today they are a sorry sight as most of them have been empty for several years. 

Further south on the High Street up to the site which is now the Tesco Metro supermarket, building continued on the Suffolk estate until about 1847.  These buildings were named as “Suffolk Terrace”.  These became mainly commercial buildings with residential flats above them.  The final one became a bank building from 1839 to 1874 and was then converted into shops.  Further refurbishment in 1926 took place and they remained retail outlets until 1978, when they were finally demolished to make way for the Tesco supermarket.  

The brewery was behind and next to Suffolk Place.  This was sold in 1865 to the brewers James Smith & Co. but ceased its activities in 1899.  It remained a depot until 1911 when its buildings on the High Street became the “Cinematograph Electric Theatre” showing silent moving pictures.  For a short period in 1913, part of the old brewery became the public generating station bringing electricity to Sevenoaks, until a larger plant was completed elsewhere the next year.  In 1935 the High Street picture house became “The Cinema” seating 1,200 patrons, renamed “The Plaza” (1937), which was later taken over in 1948 as the “Granada”.  It closed in 1960 and was eventually demolished to make way for the “Suffolk Way” development.

In 1980 the local authority decided to develop the area behind these buildings to build a library, leisure centre and car park.  The access route to these facilities has been named Suffolk Way, a new road off the High Street where the cinema was once located.  On the corner of Suffolk Way and the High Street is “Suffolk House”, an imposing detached office building built in the mid-1980s.  (This is not to be confused with the original house of that name which occupied more or less the same site.)  There is one other office building along Suffolk Way, otherwise it is devoid of buildings.  The main presence is the short-stay “Suffolk Way Car Park”.  Suffolk Way connects to a much older road, Buckhurst Lane, from which the new library and leisure centre take their addresses.    

The names Suffolk Place and Suffolk Terrace for these rows of shops are still in existence although rarely used.  They were applied before street numbering became common.  Today the premises have addresses in the High Street, Sevenoaks. 

Top of Page

Suffolk House, Old Inn Lane, Fosdyke Bridge, Lincolnshire, England

This is an early 18th century two storey red brick building, colour washed white, probably encasing timbers from an earlier building.   An extension was added in the 19th century.  It is a Grade II listed building.  It is now the farmhouse of “Suffolk House Farm”, but it was long an inn by the ferry crossing situated on the north bank of the River Welland estuary in Lincolnshire.  The dates of the original building here and when it became an inn are lost in antiquity, but its name in the first record of it in 1805 was already the “Old Inn”.  The small hamlet of four or five houses that sprung up around the inn in the 19th century became known as “Old Inn Corner”.  It was owned by Soames Brewery of Spalding in the early 1900s, but was sold before 1910 as a private residence, renamed then as “Suffolk House”.  The name of this house of refreshment was retained in the name given to the lane leading to the hamlet.  The larger settlement became known as “Fosdyke Bridge” after the structure built in 1815 that probably sealed the fate of the “Old Inn”, since there was no longer the necessity for travellers to stop and imbibe whilst waiting for the ferry or a change in the tide.    

The Old Inn was best known for the “Fosdyke Tidal Clock”.  This is a unique longcase (grandfather) clock showing high tide for the River Welland estuary at Fosdyke Wash (see photo, right).  It was made in the 1740s by William Bothamley of Kirton, Lincolnshire.  Although it looks like a conventional longcase clock denoting the time, day of the month and the phases of the moon, the special feature of the clock is that it shows the rising and falling of the tide in Fosdyke Wash which indicates when it was safe for the guides and drovers with their cattle to start to cross this dangerous estuary, which was then a distance of two miles through bare sands and shifting channels.  For many years this clock was located at the Old Inn.  It is known that it was there in 1805 since the clock was part of the inventory when Thomas Rothwell took the tenancy of the Old Inn.  Travellers and cattle drovers would wait at the inn until the clock indicated that it was safe to cross the estuary.  With the building of Fosdyke Bridge nearby in 1815, the clock became unnecessary and it was sold in 1866.  However, it still exists and occasionally appears for sale at auctions.  

The “Suffolk House” name seems to have been given by the Hurst family who came from that county.  Henry Hurst and his wife, Mary Ann, were born in Suffolk in 1841 and 1835 respectively.  Henry states on the census form for 1881 that he was born at “Wentworth” while his wife was born at Westerfield.  There is no village or hamlet named “Wentworth” in Suffolk, but it is likely that Henry was born on the Wentworth family estate adjacent to the village of Nettlestead.  Westerfield and Nettlestead are only 8 miles apart to the north of Ipswich.  Two of their six children were also born at Westerfield.  By 1871 the family was in Lincolnshire and by 1878 they were resident at Old Inn Corner where one of their sons was born.  It is not clear from the census forms which of the five houses at Old Mill Corner they lived in.  Henry Hurst gives his occupation as a farm labourer.  It may be that in a large building such as Old Inn, part of it was leased out and this large family from Suffolk lived in that part.  Hence, it became known colloquially as “Suffolk House” and after the pub was sold by Soames Brewery, this name was adopted since, as a private residence, it could no longer be called “Old Inn”.  By this time, the Hurst family had moved on, but it does seem that they had left a lasting impression on the small hamlet.

Top of Page

Suffolk Street Queensway & Suffolk Works, Birmingham, England

Suffolk Street, Birmingham, England: Suffolk Street has long been an inner city thoroughfare just west of The Bull Ring in the centre of Birmingham, leading south onto the Bristol Road.  It is still included in the modern road system of England as part of the A38 route which runs from the North Midlands down to the South West of England.  

In the early 18th century Birmingham was still a country market town and the present site of Suffolk Street was an area of market gardens on the outskirts of the town.  However, this small country town was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution and by the middle of the century a series of parliamentary acts allowed the large estates to be sold for development.  The estates were divided into plots which were acquired by builders, but many were leased directly to manufacturers.  Both parties sub-let their plots for the erection of workshops, thus the character of these areas was one of streets congested with dwelling houses and small factories.

Suffolk Street is first shown on a map of 1778, but still has market gardens to the west of it, while to the east the narrow streets are already in place.  The exact date when Suffolk Street was built is unclear, but it is known that some of the adjoining streets were constructed in the 1760s, so it must have been during this period.  The land on which it was built was originally demesne land of the lord of the manor of Edgbaston.  Since the 14th century this had been the Middlemore family.  In 1717 that family sold the manor to Sir Richard Gough.  His son, Sir Henry Gough (died in 1774), married the heiress to the Calthorpe estates in Norfolk and Suffolk, around the villages of Calthorpe and Ampton respectively.  Thus, for this reason Suffolk Street, and a smaller Norfolk Street that led off Suffolk Street, were named after these counties.  Another road off Suffolk Street was named Gough Street, although the land in this case belonged to the brother of Sir Henry.

The first canal to be built in the city was the Birmingham Canal, built from 1768 to 1772 under the supervision of James Brindley.  This ended at the edge of Birmingham adjacent to the north end of Suffolk Street (hence Navigation Street which crosses Suffolk Street towards the canal, built in 1769).  This district later became the industrial area where two of the “Suffolk Works” were located (see Suffolk Works, Berkley Street, and Oozells Street, below).  Further development of the area to the west of Suffolk Street had to wait until the Worcester and Birmingham Canal was built.  This began in 1792 but progressed slowly; it was opened in December 1815.  The terminus of the canal was at Worcester Wharf in Severn Street, named because the canal made a connection to the River Severn possible.  This was built in 1792 just off Suffolk Street.  In 1825 a map still shows market gardens existing along the southern end of Suffolk Street, but over the next ten years the same complex of housing and small factories was built along streets coming off Suffolk Street, where access to the canal assisted the transportation of materials.  

The southern end of Suffolk Street merged into a lane called Brick Kiln Lane.  In 1777, because of increasing congestion in the town centre, the horse fair where trading in horses took place was moved to here.  Brick Kiln Lane soon became known as The Horsefair.  The horse fair survived until 1912 but the name stuck.  When the Inner Ring Road was built in the mid-1960s a mosaic mural 30 metres in length depicting the horse fair was erected in the centre of the roundabout built at this location at the end of Suffolk Street.

The next big developme
nt to affect Suffolk Street before the 20th century was the coming of the railway.  By the late 19th century the railway had superseded the canals as the favoured form of transport.  The Midland Railway acquired the land between Suffolk Street, Severn Street, and Wharf Street in 1881.  The Worcester Wharf Goods Station opened for traffic on 1st July 1887.  This later became the Birmingham Central Goods Station.  The site of the depot was built over the old Norfolk Street and was bordered by Suffolk Street at the front.  (The Gough family had built a much larger Norfolk Road when they released their lands in Edgbaston for development in the 1850s.)  The Goods station closed in 1967.



Looking along Suffolk Street in the 1960s with Birmingham Central Goods Depot behind the hoardings on the left and the Matthew Boulton College of Technology towering on the right.

After the Second World War the increase in road traffic had grown too heavy to be adequately served by the existing system.  The construction of an Inner Ring Road was planned to impose a new pattern of roads, junctions, and subways in the centre of the city.  It was designed as a dual carriageway crossing all the main arterial roads leading out of the city and would thus quicken the flow of through traffic.  The new Inner Ring Road encompassed Suffolk Street as part of the main A38 national roadway system.  Work was begun in 1957.  In 1971 when Queen Elizabeth II opened the Inner Ring Road, then called the Ringway, she was invited to name part of it as The Queensway.  However, after the queen had been driven around the Ring Road it was suggested that the whole of it should become The Queensway: hence the official name of this particular segment is now known as Suffolk Street Queensway.

The building of the Inner Ring Road improved the image of Suffolk Street itself and it became a desirable commercial address.  This is demonstrated by the Alpha Tower (see photo, right), a high quality 28 storey office building in Suffolk Street completed in 1973.  It is a prominent landmark, being one of Birmingham’s tallest buildings at 328 feet (100 metres).  It was the city’s tallest tower block for 35 years.  It was originally the headquarters of the commercial television company ATV and its production studio complex known as ATV Centre.  After the closure of the TV studios in 1997, Birmingham City Council bought the tower and it is now the main offices for the City Council, and also provides office space for a number of other organisations.  

In the late 20th century the area to the west of Suffolk Street had become subject to industrial decay.  Factories were derelict, the canals were in disuse, and most of the former public buildings were empty.  The City Council decided on a plan for the urban regeneration of this district with the aim of making the city more pedestrian friendly, and improving its general aesthetic appearance.  The first development was around the canals where the former Suffolk Works had been located.  This mixed use scheme known as Brindleyplace began in 1994 and was completed in early 2009 (see Suffolk Works, Oozells Street, below).
Another major redevelopment is the Mailbox, an upmarket complex of offices, designer shops, restaurants, bars and luxury city-centre apartments, previously the location of canal wharves along the streets adjacent to Suffolk Street.  The site was the location of the Royal Mail’s main sorting office and the largest building in Birmingham, hence its name.   The building was converted to include two hotels, office accommodation, retail space with restaurants and a health club.  A public square to the front of the Mailbox beneath Suffolk Street Queensway was designed as a social area.

The Suffolk Street Fellowship, also called Suffolk Street Christadelphians, was the name of a Christian sect that existed from 1885 to 1957, and took its name from this street in Birmingham where the founding members met (see below).

Suffolk Works, 118 Suffolk Street: Birmingham’s relatively inaccessible location meant that its industries were dominated by the production of a wide variety of small, high value metal items.  The small scale workshop, rather than the large factory or mill, remained the typical Birmingham manufacturing unit in the 19th century, characterised in part by entrepreneurial expertise that brought small scale technological improvements to existing designs.  It was during this period that Birmingham established itself as the principal commercial centre for the Midlands and the leading metal manufacturing centre in the country.

It was probably inevitable that one of the small workshops along Suffolk Steet would call itself “Suffolk Works”.  William Chambers Day is recorded in James Pigot’s Commercial Directory for 1828-29 at “Suffolk Works”, 118 Suffolk Street, Birmingham.  He is listed primarily as a Beam Scale Manufacturer, but also worked as a general iron founder in screw plates, die stocks and weighing machines.  His firm became best known for its manufacture of beam scales, also known as steelyards.  These are industrial usage weighing machines where a balance consisting of a scaled arm is suspended off centre, and the object which is to be weighed is hung on a hook at the shorter end; a counterbalance at the longer end can then be moved to find the weight.  The name William Chambers Day is marked on coin weights and is a collector’s item.  

The firm, known as Day & Co. from about 1850 onwards, amalgamated with the firm of John Millward in 1852, and the address of “Day & Millward” is recorded as the Suffolk Works, Birmingham.  William Chambers Day died in 1863 and John Millward in 1889.  The latter’s sons continued the business using the same name and address but, in 1895, the firm was dissolved by mutual consent.  Thereafter, although other businesses operated from the address of 118 Suffolk Street, it seems that the name “Suffolk Works” was no longer used.  This is probably because a larger and better known concern using this same designation had been operating since 1851 a short distance away in Berkley Street.

Suffolk Works, 11 Berkley Street: Berkley Street runs parallel to Suffolk Street, a couple of blocks away on the other side of the canal.  In 1851 an enterprising young man, aged 22, named John Eliot Hodgkin set himself up as a mechanical engineer and iron founder.  J.E.Hodgkin came from a well-to-do Quaker family in Tottenham where his father was a notable barrister.  John Hodgkin was interested in engineering and his father obtained an apprenticeship for him with Ransome & Sims, the engineering firm in Ipswich, Suffolk.  The keen young engineer moved to Birmingham and named his new venture “Suffolk Works”.  This is not surprising since in 1854 he was to marry Sarah Ransome, the daughter of his previous boss.  It is just coincidence that Suffolk Street was a short distance away from his new factory.  John Hodgkin specialised in steam operated pumps, and soon established a reputation in this line.  In 1858 he sold the business and moved on to bigger engineering ventures in London and Reading.  Although he was a very successful engineer and businessman, John Eliot Hodgkin, who died in 1912, became better known as a collector of rare books and manuscripts.  

“Suffolk Works” continued as an iron foundry specialising in steam engines, steam pumps and hydrants under the ownership of Charles Walter May and George Mountain, trading as “May & Mountain”.  In 1881 this company went into liquidation.  A Scottish engineer, Andrew Shirlaw, acquired “Suffolk Works”.  He is described as a toolmaker, and manufacturer of steam and hand-powered lifting gear.  Later, around 1884, he started to produce the Spiels petroleum spirit engine, under licence from its German owner.

Indicative of the industrial nature of Berkley Street in 1889 are the surrounding factories: a Wire & Nail Works, Sword & Matchet (old spelling for machete) Works, Galvanized Iron Works, Tube Works, and Carriage Works.  However, in 1890 Shirlaw & Co. moved the “Suffolk Works” from Berkley Street to Oozells Street into a three-storey building built in about 1860.  This was all of 100 yards away in what was really a continuation of Berkley Street, across the other side of one of the main thoroughfares of Birmingham (Broad Street).

Suffolk Works, 15/16 Oozells Street: Shirlaw & Co. ceased trading around 1896, and in 1900 an electrical engineer, H.H.Berry, acquired Suffolk Works, Oozells Street, where he started to manufacture electrical accessories.  At the time functional electric fires and radiators were perfectly suitable for heating the working environment, but in the comfort of their homes the public wanted open fires.  When Berry developed pneumonia, his doctor ordered his open fire to be replaced by a dust-and-soot-free radiator.  As Berry convalesced, he soon missed his open fire and began to plan an electric substitute.  In 1916 he patented the first electric ‘flicker’ fire; the effect was produced by a small fan driven by the heat rising from a coloured lamp bulb.  In 1917 he formed Berry’s Electric Ltd, and in 1920 the Magicoal electric fire was launched with a coke-and-glass mixture moulded by hand to resemble coal.  The new coal-effect electric fire soon caught on as it gave the impression of a traditional open hearth for homes, and H.H.Berry had started a new industry at his Suffolk Works.  The success of the new invention brought the need for new modern premises, and in 1920 Berry’s Electric Ltd moved to the wider spaces of Hall Green.

“Suffolk Works” continued to house various manufacturing and engineering companies through to 1974.  However, a 19th century building was now of limited use for modern industrial use, and it became more of a warehouse and storage facility.  Nevertheless, although empty, in 1982 it was considered worthy of listing for preservation as a typical 19th century factory.  It is described as “a three-storey red brick building on a blue engineering brick plinth, a slate roof with projecting cornice moulding”.  (An “engineering brick” is a type of brick used where strength and low water porosity resistance are needed.)  

At this time Birmingham City Council was developing its inner city regeneration plan, and the area around Oozells Street was occupied by derelict factories.  An application to demolish Suffolk Works was made in 1985 and rejected.  Thus, the building was saved, and from 1993 onwards it was re-developed as part of Brindleyplace (named after the 18th century canal engineer James Brindley).  Brindleyplace is an award-winning large mixed-use canalside development of office blocks, public open spaces, restaurants, bars and shops in the centre of the city.  Today “Suffolk Works” (although no longer referred to by that name) is one of the smaller high-rise buildings now occupied by offices, with restaurants and retail outlets at ground floor level, located on Oozells Square within Brindleyplace, Birmingham.

Top of Page

Suffolk Works, Sheffield, England & the “Suffolk Knife”

Sheffield in Yorkshire, England, has been the home of cutlery in Britain for over 700 years.  The first recorded mention of Sheffield cutlery is in the inventory of the possessions of King Edward III in the Tower of London in 1340.  In the 1380s Chaucer wrote about a Sheffield knife in the Reeves Tale.   

Thomas Turner established his knife manufacturing company in Sheffield in 1802 and moved to a workshop on Norfolk Street in 1824.  A new plant was built on Suffolk Road in 1834 and hence was known as “Suffolk Works”.  Thomas Turner & Co soon became one of the most important cutlery firms in Sheffield, although the company mixed steel and tool manufacture with knifemaking.  The company made a large range of goods including table knives, saws, files and edge tools.  Like some of the other larger cutlery
firms, it also produced and forged its own crucible steel using imported Swedish bar iron.  

The compan
y supplied the Royal Navy with open razors until 1890, and exported its knives across the British Empire.  Of particular significance was the “Suffolk Knife”.  This table knife became renowned for its resilience in regular use, and the fact that its handle stayed on (see advertisement).  The blade was made of steel and was joined to a stag haft (handle).  The making of stag and horn hafts attached to knives, forks and open razors was a huge industry in Sheffield.  Stag was a very popular choice as it was cheap, durable and attractive.
The Turner family was involved in the business until 1893 when it was sold to other parties.  By the early 1900s it had increased in size by merging with the cutlery firms Wingfield, Rowbotham & Co and Joseph Haywood & Co.  This increased its number of employees from 300 to 1,000 to become one of the largest cutlery factories in Sheffield.  A souvenir publication dating to around 1903 notes that 18,000 machine forged table knife blades were being produced at Suffolk Works each week.  The Turner name was retained by the new owners until 1919, but the company did not survive the Depression and went bankrupt in 1932.  The Suffolk Works were taken over by Viners of Sheffield but it was finally cl
osed in 1953.  The factory was demolished in 1970.



                     From a brochure of 1882


This knife and fork are of the kind that would have been found on the dinner table of an average working home in the 1890s.  The price varied according to the thickness of the stag handles.




(For details of Suffolk Road & Suffolk Lane in Sheffield, see Places Associated with the Noble Houses of Suffolk, above)

Top of Page

East Suffolk Road & East Suffolk Park, Edinburgh, Scotland

East Suffolk Road in the Newington area of Edinburgh, Scotland, is about 2 km south of the city centre.  It is the eastward extension of Suffolk Road, the name of which is derived from the Earl of Suffolk (see Places Associated with the Noble Houses of Suffolk section, above).  It is situated in the historic Craigmillar Park Conservation Area.

This area south of Edinburgh was open farmland until the 1850s.  It was never under single ownership, but was divided by the Pow Burn.  The land south of the Pow Burn was in the possession of the Gilmours of Craigmillar and Liberton.  This included the present Suffolk Road and East Suffolk Road.  By 1886 the southern spread of Edinburgh had reached the Pow Burn.  However, Sir Robert Gilmour had realised that there was a demand for villa type accommodation by the wealthy merchants of the city, and he laid out plans for such housing on his land south of the Pow Burn to the west of the main road, which was soon to be renamed Craigmillar Park.  After 1888 the “West Craigmillar Park” development commenced, including Suffolk Road.  

To the east of the Craigmillar Park road, Sir Robert Gilmour planned a crescent-shaped communal garden to be known as East Craigmillar Park.  In early 1895 he leased the land to form a 9 hole golf course and a small pavilion was erected, designed by the famous architect, Alexander Lorne Campbell.  In 1904 the golf club moved to another site but the pavilion and playing field was retained for the use of other sports clubs, including St Margaret’s School that had opened in East Suffolk Road in 1890.

St. Margaret’s School was one of Edinburgh’s leading private schools based at 4 East Suffolk Road.  The curriculum was based on the Scottish education system.  St. Margaret’s was founded in 1890 by James Buchanan.  He initially named his new school The Queen Margaret College for Young Ladies.  The inclusion of the word College in the name was to emphasise that secondary education was available.  Mr Buchanan died suddenly in 1897, aged only 48.  Mr Buchanan’s wife, Mrs Annie Buchanan, was appointed as Principal and, despite having a young family to look after, threw herself into the role.  She remained in the post for over 30 years, and during her tenure of office, St. Margaret’s became one of the leading schools in Edinburgh.  In 1903 the school was the first independent school in Edinburgh to offer a “Leaving Certificate”.  New buildings were built along East Suffolk Road, and others acquired, including the Craigmillar Park Church (renamed Buchanan Hall) in 1965.  However, it was suddenly announced in June 2010 that the school was going into administration and would be shut down at the end of that month.  This was because of debts built up by the school trying to maintain high staff numbers with a low pupil intake.  Attempts to save the school failed.  It is now being sold off in separate lots, but as many of the buildings are excellent examples of late Victorian period architecture, they are to a large extent protected from modern re-development.

Craigmillar Park Church was built in 1898.  The building became Buchanan House, part of St. Margaret’s School, and is now a protected historic building.  Following the school’s closure, it has become the Iqra Academy (mosque).

On the Craigmillar Park Road adjacent to Suffolk Road and opposite the school was the Suffolk Hall Hotel.  This was a Victorian town house with large grounds built in 1877 before Suffolk Road and East Suffolk Road had been developed.  It was obviously not called by this later name then, but was known as “The Firs”.  It was converted into a hotel some time between 1947 and 1954 as an Edinburgh map of the latter date shows the building named accordingly, whereas on a 1947 map it was still “The Firs”.   Most sources indicate that this conversion occurred in 1976, but that was obviously only a renovation of the existing building.  It took the name “Suffolk Hall Hotel” from the prestigious surroundings in which it was located.  In June 2002 the hotel closed down, but the property was bought by St Margaret’s School for use as dormitories for the girls.  In June 2011 the property was taken over for use as a nursery school and playground, and continues to carry the county name as Suffolk House Nursery Day Care.

At the turn of the 20th century there was only limited provision for accommodating the increasing number of female students attending the educational institutes in Edinburgh.  The possibility of providing hostels for women students was first raised as early as 1906, and the Edinburgh Provincial Training College (later the Moray House College of Education, which ultimately became part of Edinburgh University) joined with four other educational bodies to set up a charity for this purpose.  It was agreed that one large scheme was preferable to a number of smaller hostels.  In 1913 the charitable association purchased approximately 19 acres of Sir Robert Gilmour’s land at East Craigmillar Park, including the adjacent playing fields and pavilion.  Three hostels were built accommodating 156 students which were opened in 1916.  The East Suffolk Road Hostels at 8 East Suffolk Road, Newington, Edinburgh, were the first purpose built halls of residence developed exclusively for women students in Scotland.

The halls of residence in a sheltered rural setting with high quality views towards the city of Edinburgh, overlooking the playing fields, made a significant impact on East Suffolk Road, and prevented it being swallowed up by later urban development.  After World War II the East Suffolk Road Hostels were renamed Moray House Newington Campus.  When it eventually closed in 1997, the property was sold to developers.  An application was made to re-develop the hostels and also to build 58 housing units on the playing field, which would have involved the permanent loss of this valuable green space, as well as the demolition of the historic Pavilion.  Protests led to a public inquiry.  In 2001 permission was given to allow the hostels to be converted into residential accommodation without altering the existing buildings and external architecture, but it was ruled that the playing field should remain as open space.
The former Moray House Newington Campus has now become East Suffolk Park.  Historic Scotland eventually listed the Pavilion because of its unique design and association with Alexander Lorne Campbell.  It can, therefore, no longer be subject to separate development, and in 2007 Edinburgh City designated the East Suffolk Road Playing Field as an official Open Space.

Top of Page

Suffolk Street – The Heart of Viking Dublin, Ireland

The area of Suffolk Street (Sraid Suffolc) in Dublin, Ireland, has played a vital administrative, commercial and cultural role in Dublin’s history for over 1,000 years.  Suffolk Street itself runs from Grafton Street, one of the two principal shopping streets in Dublin city centre, in the south, to Church Lane and College Green, in the north.  Trinity College and the former Irish Houses of Parliament are located in College Green, which is also the major assembly point for political rallies and demonstrations.

Although there were small settlements in this part of Ireland before the coming of the Norsemen (Vikings), it was the latter that founded the modern city of Dublin.  The Vikings had established temporary camps in the area during their raids in the ninth century, but in 914 they arrived to settle in a place close to the sea.  The area they chose was just to the south of today’s College Green, and the site of the Viking assembly mound or Thingmote, was at the intersection of today’s Church Lane and Suffolk Street. This Thingmote was an earthen terraced mound which stood about 40 feet high and had a circumference of 240 ft.  This was the place where the Viking Kingdom of Dublin held its assemblies, passed laws, enjoyed tournaments, and may also have been a place of ritual sacrifices.  Excavations in Suffolk Street have unearthed weapons from the Norse period.  In 1857 workmen in Suffolk Street also discovered a cist grave containing the skeleton of a man and two copper axe-heads dating to about 1800 BC.  This would seem to indicate that Suffolk Street had been a ceremonial site before the arrival of the Vikings, so the latter may have adapted an existing important location for their Thingmote.

In 1172 King Henry II of England had a temporary palace built there so that he could entertain and receive the submissions of the Irish chieftains.  In later medieval times it served as a place for public entertainment and sometimes public executions.  In 1240 there is record of a road leading to Hoggan Green which was named as “Teigmote”.  Hoggan Green was an earlier name for College Green and “hoggan” is from Old Norse “haugar” meaning mounds.  This indicates an ancient area of significance with a number of small mounds surrounding a larger special mound.  By 1647 the smaller mounds had been destroyed, but the larger mound at today’s Suffolk Street was described as “the fortified hill near to the College”.

In 1681 the mound was levelled by Sir William Davis, the City Recorder and Chief Justice of Dublin, since he wanted to extend his property in this direction, and a thoroughfare is recorded there in 1682 as “Suffolk Street”.  This was named after the Earl of Suffolk.  The Earl of Orrery was in some way associated with the property.  He either owned part of the land, or had helped finance the levelling of the mound.  He was the grandson of the 2nd Earl of Suffolk; his mother, Lady Margaret Howard, being the Earl’s daughter.  She had married the Irish peer, Roger Boyle, the 1st Earl of Orrery. 

In the 18th century Suffolk Street was much sought after as a commercial and residential area.  Today it is still prime property.  It is particularly noted for its traditional Irish bars and restaurants.  O’Neills Bar and Restaurant at 2 Suffolk Street (see photo, left) has existed as licensed premises, in addition to being a grocer and tea, wine and spirit merchant, since at least 1755 when the Coleman family operated it.  The pub was purchased by the Hogan Brothers in 1875, and it became “O’Neills of Suffolk Street” once the O’Neill family purchased it from the Hogans in 1927.  It is probably one of Dublin’s most famous, historic pubs, renowned for its ageless character and numerous alcoves, snugs, nooks and crannies, with traditional Irish folk music being played every night.  It is now one of Dublin’s “protected structures”.

The other notable hostelry on Suffolk Street is O’Donoghue’s Bar which had previously used the ancient Norse name of The Thingmote, and before that was known as the Suffolk House (see Suffolk in the Names of Public Houses, Bars & Inns, above).

Top of Page

Suffolk Street, Kells, County Meath, Ireland

The word “Suffolk” in Suffolk Street, Kells, is an anglicisation of the ancient place name Siofoic, the meaning of which is today uncertain, but it is known that it was a place located in Kells, County Meath.  The Annals of the Four Masters, dating from the 12th century, mentions a fire in 1156 burning the area of Kells from the cross of the gate to SiofoicSiofoic is also mentioned in old Irish land charters. The name may be derived from the existence of a suidhe, a fairy mound, possibly a prehistoric tumulus, at the junction of Suffolk and Farrell Streets. A hillock at this site was cleared away in the early 19th century with the widening of Farrell Street.  The street name in Irish is Sráid na Siofóige.  The anglicisation of the name had taken place by 1663 when Suffolk Street is recorded on a street map.  The famous Book of Kells is also said to have been found on Suffolk Street, Kells, in 1660 when it was sent to Trinity College, Dublin, for safekeeping.

The town of Kells lies approximately 40 miles northwest of Dublin. The name is derived from the Irish Ceann Lios, meaning Head Fort.

Top of Page

Suffolk Park, El Paso, Texas, USA

Suffolk Park is a one acre area of open space with trees, situated on Suffolk Road at the junction with Edgemere Boulevard, in the city of El Paso, Texas. This residential area was developed from 1960 to 1963 on open land south of the International Airport. Many of the other streets in the vicinity seem to have either Irish or Scottish place names, so why the name Suffolk was chosen is a mystery at present. If anyone knows anything, please email  

Top of Page 

Suffolk Mills, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

The building of the Suffolk Mills on the banks of the Merrimack River in Lowell, Middlesex County, (around 25 miles from Suffolk County) was completed in 1832; the year after the Suffolk Manufacturing Company had been incorporated.  Ten years prior to this, the river had been chosen as a prime site for mills due to the abundant waterpower produced by the Pawtucket Falls; through which the river cascades 32 feet over the course of a mile. In 1822 the construction of a power canal system had been initiated, with the first mill being built in the following year. By 1823 Lowell was the leading producer of textiles in the USA. The canal system would eventually stretch more than five & a half miles & included the Western Canal, also known as the Suffolk Canal, due to the Suffolk Mills being located on its west bank.
The Suffolk Manufacturing Company had been established in 1831 by the firm A & A Lawrence & Co, which itself had been founded in Boston, Suffolk County in 1814 by brothers Amos & Abbott Lawrence (who incidentally were descendants of one John Lawrence, who was born at Wissett in Suffolk, England & had immigrated to America in 1635). On the opposite bank of the canal, & built during the same period as Suffolk Mills, stood Tremont Mills, which was also owned by A & A Lawrence. Forty 40 years later, in 1871, the two would combine to form the Tremont and Suffolk Manufacturing Company.

In the 1840s, Suffolk Mills’ British born engineer James Bicheno Francis, together with another engineer, Uriah Boyden, began experimenting with turbines instead of the previously used waterwheels, which greatly improved efficiency & led to the “Francis Turbine” being named in his honour. Four new turbines designed by Boyden were installed at Suffolk Mills in 1853, & these lasted until 1897, when smaller, yet just as powerful Francis Turbines were installed.  

Today, the only surviving building from the original Suffolk Mills is the counting house; most other structures having been dismantled & rebuilt around the time of the Civil War, when greater profits could be made from selling raw cotton rather than woven cloth. The wheel pits, however, still exist.

The Tremont & Suffolk Manufacturing Company closed down in 1926, wi
th Suffolk Mills being sold to the Nashua Manufacturing Company. The mill changed ownership several times thereafter, finally closing for business in 1981, at which time it was known as the Wannalancit Mill.

Today the Suffolk Mills Turbine Exhibit operates one turbine for demonstration purposes as part of the guided tour of the Lowell National Historical Park, which is run by the National Park Service. The turbine is housed in one of the original wheel pits that were constructed in 1853. Also on display is one of the hydroelectric generators that were installed in the early twentieth century.

Lowell National Historical Park was opened in 1978 & includes various sites around the city related to the textile industry & the canals. As well as the Suffolk Mill Turbine and Powerhouse, other features include Pawtucket Dam and Gatehouse, pathways along the Lowell Canal System, & the Boott Cotton Mill and Museum.

Top of Page

Suffolk Brewery, Christchurch, New Zealand

Situated in Barbadoes Street South in Christchurch, this brewery was one of the oldest in South Island, New Zealand, having been established in 1858 by Samuel Manning.  Manning was born in 1841 in Suffolk, England, and educated at Needham Market, Suffolk.  He accompanied his father to Lyttelton on the ship Egmont, which arrived in December 1856.  Samuel and his father became engaged in the brewing business at nearby Christchurch, and Samuel started the Suffolk Brewery in 1858 and then the Christchurch Brewery in 1860.

It seems that Samuel Manning concentrated his efforts on the Christchurch Brewery and, from unpretentious beginnings of two men and a boy, he built a business that in 1865 became S.Manning & Co. when the Christchurch Brewery moved to Ferry Road.  This developed into a large and important concern which he sold in 1882 but remained managing director of; filling that position until 1889.  He sat on several community enterprises, was elected to the Christchurch City Council and served as mayor in 1890-91.  Samuel Manning later retired from the brewing industry, and died in 1933.

Meanwhile, the Suffolk Brewery passed into other hands, successively Pitt & Harris, W.John Disher, and, in 1878, McIvey & Baird.  These last two formed it into a company under the name of “The Suffolk Brewery Company, Limited”.  It appears that the Manning family kept a majority shareholding in this company since a William Manning, possibly the son of Samuel, is known to be the owner of the company in 1891.  By 1885 the Suffolk Brewery was leased to Scarlett & Co., another well-known Christchurch brewing company.  The plant was capable of turning out about 2,000 hogsheads a year, and the quality of its ale is amply attested by the fact that the brewery obtained first and second-class medals at the annual local shows.
Scarlett & Co. obtained their own brewery and moved out of the premises, and it seems that the Suffolk Brewery declined thereafter.  It was last heard of in 1891 when William Manning died and the trustees of his estate tried to sell it as a going concern.  However, this did not materialise and the property on Barbadoes Street South was sold for other uses, the Suffolk Brewery passing into history.

The Prohibition movement was strong in New Zealand in the early 1900s and reached 49.7% in a referendum in 1919.  This brought a decline in the brewing industry and by 1923 only two brewers were left in Christchurch: the Christchurch Brewery of S. Manning & Co on Ferry Road, and Wards’ Crown Brewery.  In 1923 the largest brewers in the country closed ranks and amalgamated to form New Zealand Breweries.  This resulted in the Christchurch Brewery being closed that year, and it was then used as a bottling plant and store.  Finally, in 1940 the buildings were demolished and the last link with Suffolk was gone. The site is now the Christchurch City Bus Depot.

Top of Page

Suffolk Road, Vacoas, Mauritius

Suffolk Road, Vacoas is best known as the address of the famous golf club, the Mauritius Gymkhana Club.  The club has the oldest golf course in the southern hemisphere and the fourth oldest in the world.  The precise date when the Club was actually founded in not known as no documentary proof exists.  However, historical records indicate that the club was founded on an informal basis and golf was played between 1834 and 1844.  Thus Mauritius is the third country to have introduced golf in its modern form, after the United Kingdom and India.  As with India the credit for this goes to the British military who usually brought their sporting activities with them at their garrisons throughout the British Empire.  Correspondence dated 1849 to the War Office from the officer commanding troops in Mauritius, requested authorisation to start a club to provide recreational and sporting events for the officers on the island.  This is the formal date of the opening of the then British Gymkhana Club on Suffolk Road (now renamed Suffolk Close).  As its name implies, the club was chiefly for equestrian pursuits, particularly polo, but there was a 9-hole golf course.  It was transformed into an 18-hole course in 1950.  The club now has tennis courts, a swimming pool, squash courts, a gymnasium and a modern clubhouse.

After being colonised and abandoned by the Dutch, the island passed under French dominion in 1715 and was known as the Île de France.  Following the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars in 1803, the security of the route to India and the Far East became a high priority for the British.  To combat the privateers supplied and licensed by the French governor, an attack on the island was launched under Captain Willoughby in August 1810, but it was defeated.  On 29 November 1810, led by General Abercrombie, the British launched a full scale invasion.  After brief skirmishing, the British troops soon took possession of the island.  

With peace in 1814 the island became a British colony and resumed its former Dutch name of Mauritius.  A British garrison was maintained on the island with bases at various locations around Mauritius.  Vacoas was no more than a small village at the beginning of the 19th century.  However, the British soon realised the benefits of a base in a central position on the island on the high plateau that would be free from malaria, and they began building a military base at Vacoas soon after 1820.  This, of course, attracted a population to support the needs of the garrison and a sizeable town grew round the base.  

Suffolk Road gets its name from the 12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot (see The Suffolk Regiment, above).  In 1810 the British troops from India included the East Suffolk Regiment, and the Regiment remained the garrison force on the island until 1818.  The First Battalion of the East Suffolk Regiment returned again for garrison duty from December 1837 to December 1847, and its Reserve Battalion from May 1843 to 1851.  This was, of course, during the period when the British Gymkhana Club was established at Suffolk Road.  The other two roads built around the garrison were also given names associated with the capture of the island: Willoughby Road, after the first unsuccessful attempt, and Decaen Road, after Charles de Caen, the defeated French governor of the island.  (General Abercrombie had a settlement near Port Louis, the capital, rather than a mere road, named after him. This is now a district of Port Louis.)

In 1916 the Vacoas garrison became the Army HQ on the island.  In 1960, the British Government decided to withdraw its garrison from Mauritius after 150 years of service in the island.  On the departure of the British, the Mauritius Special Mobile Force was formed.  The SMF is a paramilitary force; it is an integral part of the Mauritius Police Force with its main function to ensure the internal and external security of the island.  It has taken over the former Army HQ.  The British Gymkhana Club was renamed the Mauritius Gymkhana Club and membership is now open to all residents.  Suffolk Road has been somewhat shortened by building work and is now Suffolk Close, but it remains the address of this prestigious club.  

Top of Page      

Suffolk Road (Triq Suffolk), Pembroke, Malta

Pembroke is a town on the northern coast of Malta. It is considered to be the country’s newest town, and has developed into a pleasant residential town rather than a tourist resort. The whole area was formerly a British military base from 1859 to 1979, complete with barracks, a hospital, cemetery, school and parade grounds.  The first barracks were constructed between 1859 and 1862 overlooking St George’s Bay and were named after England’s patron saint, St George.  Later, other barracks were built and were named after the patron saints of Ireland and Scotland, St Patrick and St Andrew.  

The military base was named after George Augustus Herbert, the 11th Earl of Pembroke (1759-1827) by his younger son, Sidney Herbert, the then British Secretary for War 1859 to 1861.  (Note that Wikipedia is incorrect in stating that “Pembroke is named after Robert Henry Herbert, the 12th Earl of Pembroke and British Secretary at War in 1859”.  Robert Henry Herbert (1791-1862), after a dissolute youth and a scandalous marriage in Sicily, which both Sicilian and British authorities annulled, succeeded to the title but lived an irregular life in exile, and he never entered politics.  It was his younger brother Sidney Herbert who took control of the family estates and finances.)

The 1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, was stationed in Malta from April 1897 to January 1899, but not at Pembroke at that time (see The Suffolk Regiment, above).  They were stationed on the island again from November 1907 to January 1911.  This time the battalion was in St Andrews Barracks, Pembroke.  St Andrew’s Barracks were begun in 1901 and buildings were still being erected until the late 1920s.  The barracks could accommoda