Do you have a Sudbury freeman in your family tree?

We have made an alphabetical index to 1353 admissions to the Freedom of the Borough of Sudbury, Suffolk, from 1800 to 1899 which includes, (if possible), date of admission, address, name of father and career. The project is based on Allan W Berry’s research.  We have 20 individual project boxes on the page with each box representing a letter of the alphabet which relates to Sudbury freemen surnames: N = Noble, Zaccheus; Norden, George; Norden, Thomas; Norman; Joseph.

Each box is illustrated with something connected with either a freeman surname or an object associated with the Sudbury freemen. There is a brief explanation of the image used to illustrate individual letters on each page. We would be delighted to receive additional information about 19th century Sudbury freemen which could be added to the website.

“For most of the 18th century Sudbury dispensed with formal admission to the freedom by birth, and such freemen went unrecorded. Throughout the 19th century however there are comprehensive records of admission, entered in the Freemen’s Cocket Book and later in the Freemen’s Roll and the Minutes of the Town Council.

The 19th century saw great changes. Until the Reform Act of 1832 admissions included large numbers of non-residents, many of them living in London. The Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 put an end to admission by purchase. The rush of claimants to the freedom in 1818 is accounted for by the abolition of the fee charged by the Corporation. Until the Borough lost its parliamentary franchise in 1843 admissions tended to cluster just before elections.

Until the 1830s there were two kinds of freedom, that of the Borough and that of the Commons for which the Borough was a prerequisite, the two often being obtained together.”

Allan W Berry

Allan and Margret Berry also compiled lists of 18th century admissions from the Sudbury Freemen’s Cocket Books. We are beginning to add some of these names to the website, for example, for the Parsonson and Ray families. Please use our contact form if you would like us to add any additional family names to the list.