Suffolk (/ˈsʌfək/) is an East Anglian county of historic origin in
England. It has borders with
Norfolk to the north,
the west and
Essex to the south. The
North Sea lies to the east. The
county town is Ipswich; other important towns include Lowestoft, Bury
St Edmunds, Newmarket and Felixstowe, one of the largest container
ports in Europe.
The county is low-lying with very few hills, and is largely arable
land with the wetlands of the Broads in the north. The
and Heaths are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
5 Notable people
5.1 St Edmund
6.1 Primary, secondary and further education
6.2 Tertiary education
7.3.2 Horse racing
Suffolk in popular culture
8 See also
11 External links
Main article: History of Suffolk
By the fifth century, the
Angles (after whom
East Anglia and England
are named) had established control of the region. The
became the "north folk" and the "south folk", from which developed the
names "Norfolk" and "Suffolk".
Suffolk and several adjacent areas
became the kingdom of East Anglia, which later merged with
Suffolk was originally divided into four separate Quarter Sessions
divisions. In 1860, the number of divisions was reduced to two. The
eastern division was administered from
Ipswich and the western from
Bury St Edmunds. Under the Local Government Act 1888, the two
divisions were made the separate administrative counties of East
Suffolk and West Suffolk;
Ipswich became a county borough. A few
Essex parishes were also added to Suffolk: Ballingdon-with-
parts of Haverhill and Kedington.
On 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, East Suffolk,
West Suffolk, and
Ipswich were merged to form the unified county of
Suffolk. The county was divided into several local government
districts: Babergh, Forest Heath, Ipswich, Mid Suffolk, St.
Suffolk Coastal, and Waveney. This act also transferred
some land near
Great Yarmouth to Norfolk. As introduced in Parliament,
the Local Government Act would have transferred Newmarket and
Colchester from Essex; such changes
were not included when the act was passed into law.
In 2007, the
Department for Communities and Local Government
Department for Communities and Local Government referred
Ipswich Borough Council's bid to become a new unitary authority to the
Boundary Committee. The Boundary Committee consulted local bodies
and reported in favour of the proposal. It was not, however, approved
by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Beginning in February 2008, the Boundary Committee again reviewed
local government in the county, with two possible options emerging.
One was that of splitting
Suffolk into two unitary authorities –
Felixstowe and Rural Suffolk; and the other, that of
creating a single county-wide controlling authority – the "One
Suffolk" option. In February 2010, the then-Minister Rosie
Winterton announced that no changes would be imposed on the structure
of local government in the county as a result of the review, but that
the government would be: "asking
Suffolk councils and MPs to reach a
consensus on what unitary solution they want through a countywide
constitutional convention". Following the May 2010 general
election, all further moves towards any of the suggested unitary
solutions ceased on the instructions of the incoming Coalition
government, and the administrative structures of the county are,
Local Government Act 2010
Local Government Act 2010 and List of schools in Suffolk
West Suffolk, like nearby East Cambridgeshire, is renowned for
archaeological finds from the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron
Bronze Age artefacts have been found in the area between
Mildenhall and West Row, in
Eriswell and in Lakenheath. Many
bronze objects, such as swords, spearheads, arrows, axes, palstaves,
knives, daggers, rapiers, armour, decorative equipment (in particular
for horses), and fragments of sheet bronze, are entrusted to St.
Edmundsbury heritage service, housed at
West Stow just outside Bury
St. Edmunds. Other finds include traces of cremations and barrows.
In the east of the county is Sutton Hoo, the site of one of England's
Anglo-Saxon archaeological finds, a ship burial
containing a collection of treasures including a Sword of State, gold
and silver bowls, and jewellery and a lyre.
The majority of agriculture in
Suffolk is either arable or mixed. Farm
sizes vary from anything around 80 acres (32 hectares) to over 8,000.
Soil types vary from heavy clays to light sands. Crops grown
include:winter wheat, winter barley, sugar beet, oilseed rape, winter
and spring beans and linseed, although smaller areas of rye and oats
can be found growing in areas with lighter soils along with a variety
The continuing importance of agriculture in the county is reflected in
Suffolk Show, which is held annually in May at Ipswich. Although
latterly somewhat changed in nature, this remains primarily an
Below is a chart of regional gross value added of
Suffolk at current
basic prices published by
Office for National Statistics
Office for National Statistics with figures
in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
Regional Gross Value Added[fn 1]
See also: Companies based in Suffolk
Well-known companies in
Suffolk include Greene King and Branston
Pickle in Bury St Edmunds.
Birds Eye has its largest UK factory in
Lowestoft, where all its meat products and frozen vegetables are
processed. Huntley & Palmers biscuit company has a base in
Sudbury. The UK horse racing industry is based in Newmarket. There are
two USAF bases in the west of the county close to the A11.
nuclear power station is at
Sizewell on the coast near Leiston.
Bernard Matthews Farms
Bernard Matthews Farms have some processing units in the county,
Southwold is the home of Adnams Brewery. The Port
Felixstowe is the largest container port in the United Kingdom.
Other ports are at
Lowestoft and Ipswich, run by Associated British
Ports. BT has its main research and development facility at Martlesham
Sheep grazing among the ruins of
Bury St Edmunds
Bury St Edmunds Abbey, Bury St
Edmunds in 1920
List of settlements in Suffolk by population
List of settlements in Suffolk by population and Geology of
There are several towns in the county with
Ipswich being the largest
and most populous. At the time of the 2011 census, a population of
730,000 lived in the county with 133,384 living in Ipswich. The table
below shows all towns with over 20,000 inhabitants.
Ipswich Borough Council
Bury St Edmunds
St Edmundsbury Council
St Edmundsbury Council
Suffolk Coastal Council
Forest Heath District Council
Located in the East of England, much of
Suffolk is low-lying,
Pleistocene sand and clays. These rocks are relatively
unresistant and the coast is eroding rapidly.
Coastal defences have
been used to protect several towns, but several cliff-top houses have
been lost to coastal erosion and others are under threat. The
continuing protection of the coastline and the estuaries, including
the Blyth, Alde and Deben, has been, and remains, a matter of
The coastal strip to the East contains an area of heathland known as
"The Sandlings" which runs almost the full length of the
Suffolk is also home to nature reserves, such as the
RSPB site at Minsmere, and Trimley Marshes, a wetland under the
Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
The west of the county lies on more resistant
Cretaceous chalk. This
chalk is responsible for a sweeping tract of largely downland
landscapes that stretches from
Dorset in the south west to
the south east and north through
East Anglia to the
The chalk is less easily eroded so forms the only significant hills in
the county. The highest point in the county is Great Wood Hill, the
highest point of the Newmarket Ridge, near the village of Rede, which
reaches 128 metres (420 ft).
The county flower is the oxlip.
According to estimates by the Office for National Statistics, the
Suffolk in 2014 was 738,512, split almost evenly between
males and females. Roughly 22% of the population was aged 65 or older,
and 90.84% were "White British".
Historically, the county's population has mostly been employed as
agricultural workers. An 1835 survey showed
Suffolk to have 4,526
occupiers of land employing labourers, 1,121 occupiers not employing
labourers, 33,040 labourers employed in agriculture, 676 employed in
manufacture, 18,167 employed in retail trade or handicraft, 2,228
'capitalists, bankers etc.', 5,336 labourers (non-agricultural), 4,940
other males aged over 20, 2,032 male servants and 11,483 female
servants. The same publication records the total population of the
county at 296,304.
Most English counties have nicknames for people from that county, such
as a Tyke from
Yorkshire and a Yellowbelly from Lincolnshire; the
traditional nickname for people from
Suffolk is '
or 'Silly Suffolk', referring respectively to the supposed beauty of
its female inhabitants in the Middle Ages, and to the long history of
Christianity in the county and its many fine churches (from
Anglo-Saxon selige, originally meaning holy).
For a full list of settlements see the list of places in Suffolk
See also: List of settlements in
Suffolk by population
Mr and Mrs Andrews
Mr and Mrs Andrews (1748–49), housed at the National
Gallery in London, depicts the
Suffolk landscape of his time.
See also: People from Suffolk
In the arts,
Suffolk is noted for having been the home to two of
England's best regarded painters, Thomas Gainsborough and John
Constable – the Stour Valley area is branded as "Constable
Country" – and one of its most noted composers, Benjamin
Britten. Other artists of note from
Suffolk include the cartoonist
Carl Giles (a bronze statue of his character "Grandma" to commemorate
this is located in
Ipswich town centre), poets George Crabbe and
Robert Bloomfield, writer and
Literary editor Ronald Blythe,
actors Ralph Fiennes and Bob Hoskins, actress and singer Kerry
Ellis, musician and record producer Brian Eno, singer Dani Filth,
of the Suffolk-based extreme metal group, Cradle of Filth,
singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, and coloratura soprano Christina
Tim Westwood is originally from
Suffolk and the
influential DJ and radio presenter
John Peel made the county his
home. Contemporary painter, Maggi Hambling, was born, and resides,
Suffolk's contributions to sport include
Formula One magnate Bernie
Ecclestone and former
England footballers Terry Butcher, Kieron Dyer
and Matthew Upson. Due to Newmarket being the centre of British horse
racing many jockeys have settled in the county, including Lester
Piggott and Frankie Dettori.
Significant ecclesiastical figures from
Suffolk include Simon Sudbury,
a former Archbishop of Canterbury; Tudor-era Catholic prelate
Thomas, Cardinal Wolsey; and author, poet and Benedictine monk
Other significant persons from
Suffolk include the suffragette Dame
Millicent Garrett Fawcett; the captain of HMS Beagle, Robert
FitzRoy; Witch-finder General Matthew Hopkins; educationist
Hugh Catchpole; and Britain's first female physician and
mayor, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. Charity leader Sue Ryder
Suffolk and based her charity in Cavendish.
East Anglia and Christian martyr St Edmund (after whom the
Bury St Edmunds
Bury St Edmunds is named) was killed by invading Danes in the
year 869. St Edmund was the patron saint of
England until he was
St George in the 13th century. 2006 saw the failure of a
campaign to have St Edmund named as the patron saint of England, but
in 2007 he was named patron saint of Suffolk, with St Edmund's Day
falling on 20 November. His flag is flown in
Suffolk on that day.
Primary, secondary and further education
See also: List of schools in Suffolk
Suffolk has a comprehensive education system with fourteen independent
schools. Unusually for the UK, some of
Suffolk has a 3-tier school
system in place with primary schools (ages 5–9), middle schools
(ages 9–13) and upper schools (ages 13–16). However, a 2006
Suffolk County Council
Suffolk County Council study concluded that
Suffolk should move to the
2-tier school system used in the majority of the UK. For the
purpose of conversion to 2-tier, the 3-tier system has been divided
into 4 geographical area groupings and corresponding phases. The first
phase was the conversion of schools in
Lowestoft and Haverhill in
2011, followed by schools in north and west
Suffolk in 2012. The
remainder of the changeovers to 2-tier will take place from 2013, for
those schools that stay within Local government control, and not
become Academies and/or free schools. The majority of schools thus now
(2013) operate the more common primary to high school (11–16). Many
of the county's upper schools have a sixth form and most further
education colleges in the county offer
A-level courses. In terms of
school population, Suffolk's individual schools are large with the
Ipswich district with the largest school population and Forest Heath
the smallest, with just two schools. In 2013, a letter said that
"...nearly a fifth of the schools inspected were judged inadequate.
This is unacceptable and now means that
Suffolk has a higher
proportion of pupils educated in inadequate schools than both the
regional and national averages."
The Royal Hospital School
The Royal Hospital School near
Ipswich is the largest independent
boarding school in Suffolk. Other boarding schools within Suffolk
include Culford School,
Framlingham College, Barnardiston Hall
Saint Felix School and Finborough School.
The Castle Partnership Academy Trust in Haverhill is the county's only
All-through Academy Chain. Comprising
Castle Manor Academy
Castle Manor Academy and Place
Farm Primary Academy, the Academy Trust supports all-through education
and provides opportunities for young people aged 3 to 18.
Sixth form colleges in the county include
Lowestoft Sixth Form College
and One in Ipswich.
Suffolk is home to four further education
Lowestoft College, Easton & Otley College,
College (Ipswich) and
West Suffolk College (Bury St Edmunds).
The county has one university, with branches spread across different
University of Suffolk
University of Suffolk was, prior to August 2016, known as
University Campus Suffolk. Up until it became independent it was a
collaboration between the
Essex and the
East Anglia which sponsored its formation and validated its
degrees. UOS accepted its first students in September 2007.
Suffolk was one of only four counties in
England which did
not have a
University campus. The
University of Suffolk
University of Suffolk was
granted Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Quality Assurance Agency
for Higher Education in November 2015, and in May 2016 it was awarded
University status by the Privy Council and renamed The
Suffolk on 1 August 2016.
University operates at five sites with its central hub in Ipswich.
Others include Lowestoft, Bury St. Edmunds, and
Great Yarmouth in
University operates two academic faculties and in
2016/17 had 5,080 students. Some 30% of the student body are classed
as mature students and 68% of
University students are female.
Founded in 1948 by Benjamin Britten, the annual
Aldeburgh Festival is
one of the UK's major classical music festivals. Originating in
Aldeburgh, it has been held at the nearby
Snape Maltings since
1967. Since 2006, Henham Park, has been home to the annual
Latitude Festival. This mainly open-air festival, which has grown
considerably in size and scope, includes popular music, comedy, poetry
and literary events. The
FolkEast festival is held at
Glemham Hall in
August and attracts international acoustic, folk and roots
musicians whilst also championing local businesses, heritage and
crafts. In 2015 it was also home to the first instrumental festival of
musical instruments and makers. More recently, LeeStock Music
Festival has been held in Sudbury. A celebration of the county,
Suffolk Day", was instigated in 2017.
Suffolk dialect is very distinctive.
Epenthesis and yod-dropping
is common, along with non-conjugation of verbs.
The county's sole professional football club is
Ipswich Town. Formed
in 1878, the club were Football League champions in 1961–62, FA Cup
winners in 1977–78 and UE
FA Cup winners in 1980–81. Ipswich
Town currently play in the Football League Championship, the second
tier of English football. The next highest ranked teams in
Lowestoft Town and Needham Market, who all participate in the
Isthmian League Premier Division, the seventh tier of English
The town of Newmarket is the headquarters of British horseracing –
home to the largest cluster of training yards in the country and many
key horse racing organisations including the National Stud, and
Tattersalls bloodstock auctioneers and the
National Horseracing Museum
National Horseracing Museum are also in the town. Point to
point racing takes place at Higham and Ampton.
Speedway racing has been staged in
Suffolk since at least the 1950s,
following the construction of the Foxhall Stadium, just outside
Ipswich, home of the
Ipswich Witches. The Witches are currently
members of the Premier League, the UK's second division. National
Mildenhall Fen Tigers
Mildenhall Fen Tigers are also from Suffolk.
Suffolk C.C.C. compete in the Eastern Division of the Minor Counties
Championship. The club has won the championship three times
outright and has shared the title one other time as well as winning
MCCA Knockout Trophy once. Home games are played in Bury St
Edmunds, Copdock, Exning, Framlingham,
Ipswich and Mildenhall.
Suffolk in popular culture
Novels set in
Suffolk include parts of
David Copperfield by Charles
Dickens, The Fourth Protocol, by Frederick Forsyth, Unnatural Causes
by P.D. James, Dodie Smith's The Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Rings
of Saturn by W. G. Sebald, and among Arthur Ransome's children's
books, We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea,
Coot Club and
Secret Water take
place in part in the county. Roald Dahl's short story The Mildenhall
Treasure is set in Mildenhall.
A TV series about a British antiques dealer, Lovejoy, was filmed in
various locations in Suffolk. The reality TV Series Space Cadets
was filmed in Rendlesham Forest, although the producers fooled
participants into believing that they were in Russia. Several
towns and villages in the county have been used for location filming
of other television programmes and cinema films. These include the BBC
Four TV series Detectorists, an episode of Kavanagh QC, and the
films Iris and Drowning by Numbers.
Rendlesham Forest Incident is one of the most famous
UFO events in
England and is sometimes referred to as "Britain's Roswell".
The song "Castle on the Hill" by singer-songwriter
Ed Sheeran was
referred to by him as "a love letter to Suffolk", with lyrical
reference to his hometown of
Framlingham and Framlingham
List of places of interest in Suffolk
List of Lords Lieutenant of Suffolk
List of High Sheriffs of Suffolk
Custos Rotulorum of Suffolk – Keepers of the Rolls
Suffolk (UK Parliament constituency) – Historical list of MPs for
Suffolk Youth Orchestra
Healthcare in Suffolk
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner
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Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Suffolk.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Suffolk.
Suffolk County Council
Suffolk at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
Suffolk at the English Heritage Archive
Ceremonial county of Suffolk
Boroughs or districts
Bury St Edmunds
See also: List of civil parishes in Suffolk
Places of interest
Population of major settlements
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings
1974–1996 ← Ceremonial counties of
England → current
East Riding of Yorkshire
Isle of Wight
City of London
Tyne and Wear