Sudbury is an ancient English market town, in south Suffolk on the border with Essex. It is the shopping, commercial, educational and recreational centre for the local area. The town dates back to the Anglo Saxon period and there are more than 240 listed buildings in Sudbury, dating from the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The town is the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough and also lays claim to being the ‘Eatanswill’ of Dickens’ ‘Pickwick Papers’. The town is famous for its silk weaving industry.
Browse through our Gallery to see more images of Sudbury today – a beautiful Suffolk town with wonderful riverside meadows that are the oldest continuously grazed pasture of which we have record in East Anglia. As Allan Berry has noted: ‘Time after time through the centuries it has only been the attachment of the freemen to their meadows that has preserved them from encroachment and from the designs of people and authorities coveting them for some passing interest.’
Information about the Sudbury Common Lands will be posted on this page. We are very grateful to Adrian Walters of the Sudbury Common Lands Charity for providing us with monthly updates about Sudbury’s meadows and riverside.
We are also compiling a series of articles about the history of the town which relate to incidents involving the freemen. Entitled memories of Sudbury, this section is intended to share some of the forgotten stories of ordinary Sudburians and has been put together using material from local newspaper archives such as ‘The Suffolk and Essex Free Press’, together with information from freemen families. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff at the Suffolk Free Press for their help with accessing a unique archive.
(More stories about the freemen of Sudbury may be found in the members past and present section.)