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Suffolk ( ) is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Angliamarker, Englandmarker. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Seamarker lies to the east. The county town is Ipswichmarker; other important towns include Lowestoftmarker, Bury St Edmundsmarker and Felixstowemarker, one of the largest container ports in Europe.

The county is low-lying with few hills, and is largely wetland habitat and arable land with the wetlands of The Broads in the North. The Suffolk Coast and Heathsmarker are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

History

Administration

Suffolk was part of the kingdom of East Angliamarker which was settled by the Angles in the 5th century AD.

Suffolk was divided into separate Quarter Sessions divisions. These were originally four in number, reduced to two in 1860, the eastern division being administered from Ipswichmarker and the western from Bury St Edmundsmarker. The two divisions were made separate administrative counties as East Suffolkmarker and West Suffolk under the Local Government Act 1888, with Ipswich becoming a county borough. A few Essex parishes were also added to Suffolk: Ballingdon-with-Brundon, and parts of Haverhillmarker and Kedington.

Under the Local Government Act 1972, East Suffolk, West Suffolk and Ipswich were merged to form a unified county of Suffolk on 1 April 1974. This was divided into several local government district: Baberghmarker, Forest Heathmarker, Ipswichmarker, Mid Suffolkmarker, St. Edmundsburymarker, Suffolk Coastalmarker, and Waveneymarker. This Act also transferred some land near Great Yarmouthmarker to Norfolk. As introduced in Parliament, the Local Government Bill would have transferred Newmarketmarker and Haverhill to Cambridgeshire, but Colchestermarker would have been transferred in from Essex; but those changes were not included in Act as passed.

In 2007 the Department for Communities and Local Governmentmarker referred Ipswich Borough Councilmarker'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. The Boundary Committee is currently reviewing local government in the county, which may result in the splitting of Suffolk into two unitary authorities - Ipswich & Felixstowe and Rural Suffolk.

Archæology

West Suffolk is, like nearby East Cambridgeshiremarker, renowned for archæological finds from the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Bronze Age artefacts have been found in the area between Mildenhallmarker and West Row, in Eriswellmarker and in Lakenheathmarker.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 the Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds. Other finds include traces of cremations and barrows.

In the East of the county is Sutton Hoomarker, the site of one of England's most signicant Anglo-Saxon archæological finds; a ship burial containing a collection of treasures including a Sword of State, gold and silver bowls and jewellery and a lyre.

Economy

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 through 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 in lighter areas along with a variety of vegetables.

The continuing importance of agriculture in the county is reflected in the Suffolk Show, which is held annually in May at Ipswich. Although latterly somewhat changed in nature, this remains primarily an agricultural show.

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Suffolk at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
Year Regional Gross Value Added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 7,113 391 2,449 4,273
2000 8,096 259 2,589 5,248
2003 9,456 270 2,602 6,583


See also: Companies based in Suffolk


Well-known companies in Suffolk include Greene King and Branston Pickle in Bury St Edmunds. Birds Eye have their largest UK factory in Lowestoft, where all their meat products and frozen vegetables come from. Huntley & Palmers biscuit company are now 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. Sizewell B nuclear power stationmarker is at Sizewellmarker on the coast near Leistonmarker. Bernard Matthews have some processing units in the county, specifically Holtonmarker. Southwoldmarker is the home of Adnams Brewerymarker. The Port of Felixstowemarker is the largest container port in the United Kingdom. Other ports, are Port of Lowestoftmarker and port of Ipswich run by Associated British Ports. BT has its main research and development facility at Martlesham Heathmarker.

Geology, landscape and ecology

Much of Suffolk is low-lying on Eocene 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 in the past. The continuing protection of the coastline and the estuaries, including the Blyth, Alde and Deben, is, in 2008, a matter of considerable discussion.

The coastal strip to the East contains an area of heathland known as "The Sandlings" which runs almost the full length of the coastline.

The west of the county lies on more resistant Cretaceous Chalk. This chalk is the north-eastern extreme of the Southern England Chalk Formation that stretches from Dorsetmarker in the south west to Dovermarker in the south east. The Chalk is less easily eroded so forms the only significant hills in the county. The highest point of the county is Great Wood Hillmarker, the highest point of the Newmarket Ridgemarker, near the village of Rede which reaches 128 m (420 ft).

Demographics

The Census 2001 Suffolk recorded a population of 668,553. Between 1981 and 2001 the population of the county grew by 13%, with the district of Mid Suffolkmarker growing fastest at 25%. The population growth is due largely to migration rather than natural increase. There is a very low population between the ages of 15 and 29 as the county has few large towns and institutions of higher education, though the 15-to-29 population in Ipswich is average. There is a larger population over the age of 35, and a larger than average retired population.

Most English counties have nicknames for people from that county, such as a Tyke from Yorkshiremarker and a Yellowbelly from Lincolnshiremarker; the traditional nickname for people from Suffolk is 'Suffolk Fair-Maids', 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).

A fascinating 19th century snapshot of employment in Suffolk is recorded in 'The British Almanac', published during the earlier 19th century. According to the 1835 edition, the county had 4526 occupiers of land employing labourers, 1121 occupiers not employing labourers, 33,040 labourers employed in agriculture, 676 employed in manufacture, 18,167 employed in retail trade or handicraft, 2228 'capitalists, bankers etc', 5336 labourers (non-agricultural), 4940 other males aged over 20, 2032 male servants and 11,483 female servants. The same publication records the total population of the county at 296,304.

Cities, towns and villages

Figures for the number of established communities in Suffolk vary greatly among sources because of the treatment of the large number of all but non-existent hamlets which may consist of just a single farm and a deconsecrated church: remnants of wealthy communities, some dating back to the early days of the Christian era. Suffolk encompasses one of the most ancient regions of the UK: A monastery in Bury St. Edmundsmarker founded in 630AD, plotting of Magna Carta in 1215; the oldest documented structural element of a still inhabited dwelling in Britain found in Claremarker.

This comparatively recent evidence is but a coda to the widespread settlement in the region shown by earlier archaeological evidence of Mesolithic man as far back as c.7000BC, (Grimes Gravesmarker, Norfolk - a 5000 y/o flint mine) with Roman settlements Lakenheathmarker, Long Melfordmarker, later Bronze and Saxon settlements. Sutton Hoomarker: burial ground of the Anglo-Saxon pagan kings of East Anglia.

For a full list of settlements see the List of places in Suffolk.


Notable people from Suffolk



See also: People from Suffolk
In the arts, Suffolk is noted for having been the home to two of England's best regarded painter, 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 Ipswichmarker town centre), poet Robert Bloomfield, writer and editor Ronald Blythe, actors Ralph Fiennes and Bob Hoskins, musician and record producer Brian Eno and Dani Filth, singer of the Suffolk-based extreme metal group, Cradle of Filth. Hip-hop DJ Tim Westwood is originally from Suffolk and the influential DJ and radio presenter John Peel made the county his home.

Suffolk's contributions to sport include Formula One magnate Bernie Ecclestone and England football Terry Butcher, Kieron Dyer and Matthew Upson. Due to Newmarketmarker being the centre of British horseracing many jockeys have settled in the county, including Lester Piggott and Frankie Dettori.

Significant ecclesiastical figures from Suffolk include former Archbishop of Canterbury, Simon Sudbury, Tudor Catholic cardinal Thomas Wolsey, and author, poet and Benedictine monk John Lydgate

Other significant persons from Suffolk include the Suffragette, Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett, captain of HMS Beagle, Robert FitzRoy, Witch-finder General Matthew Hopkins and both Britain's first female physician and mayor, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. Charity leader Sue Ryder settled in Suffolk and based her charity in Cavendishmarker.

St Edmund

King of East Anglia and Christian martyr St Edmund (after whom the town of Bury St Edmundsmarker is named) was killed by invading Danes in the year 869. St Edmund was the patron saint of England until he was replaced by St George in the thirteenth 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 will be flown in Suffolk on that day.

Education

Primary and Secondary

Suffolk has a comprehensive education system with fourteen independent schools. Unusually for the UK, most 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 study has concluded that Suffolk should move to the 2-tier school system used in the majority of the UK. The exception to this is in the Ipswich district and parts of the districts of Suffolk Coastal, Mid Suffolk, and Babergh, where the more common 11-16 age schools are in place. All of the county's Upper schools have a sixth form as there are at present (2008) no specific sixth form colleges (though 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.The Royal Hospital Schoolmarker near Ipswich, is the largest independent boarding school in Suffolk.

Tertiary

University Campus Suffolkmarker, a collaboration between the University of Essexmarker, the University of East Angliamarker, partner colleges and local government, began accepting its first students in September 2007. The main Ipswich based waterfront campus building is due for completion in September 2008. Prior to this Suffolk was one of the few English counties not to contain a University campus.

Culture

Sport

Football

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 UEFA Cup winners in 1980–81. Ipswich Town currently play in the Football League Championship - the next highest ranked teams in Suffolk are Bury Town and AFC Sudbury of the Southern League Division One Midlands, and Lowestoft Townmarker in Isthmian League Division One North.

Horse racing

The town of Newmarketmarker is the headquarters of British horseracing - home to the largest cluster of training yards in the country, many key horse racing organisations, including the National Studmarker, and Newmarket Racecoursemarker. Tattersalls bloodstock auctioneers and the National Horseracing Museummarker are also in the town. Point to point racing takes place at Highammarker and Amptonmarker.

Speedway

Speedway racing has been staged in Suffolk since at least the 1950s, following the construction of the Foxhall Stadiummarker, just outside Ipswich, home of the Ipswich Witches. The Witches are currently members of the Speedway Elite League, the UK's top division. Speedway Premier League team Mildenhall Fen Tigers are also from Suffolk.

Cricket

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 the MCCA Knockout Trophy once. Home games are played in Bury St Edmunds, Copdockmarker, Exningmarker, Framlinghammarker, Ipswich and Mildenhall.

Arts

Founded in 1948 by Benjamin Britten, the annual Aldeburgh Festivalmarker is one of the UK's major classical music festivals. Originating in Aldeburghmarker, it has been held at the nearby Snape Maltingsmarker since 1967. Since 2006, Henham Parkmarker, 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.

Suffolk in popular culture

The Rendlesham Forest Incident is one of most famous UFO events in England and is commonly referred to as "Britain's Roswell".

The Fourth Protocol, a novel written by Frederick Forsyth, is a Cold War spy thriller partly set in Suffolk and was made into a film starring Michael Caine and Pierce Brosnan. Other novels set in Suffolk include Unnatural Causes by P.D. James and Among the Arthur Ransome's children's books "We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea" and "Coot Club".

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 Forestmarker, although the producers pretended to the participants that they were in Russiamarker. Several towns and villages in the county have been used for location filming of other television programmes and cinema films. These include an episode of Kavanagh QC and the film Iris.

See also



Notes

  1. Felixstowe South reconfiguration inspector's report Department for Transport
  2. Unitary Ipswich - Ipswich's bid for unitary status
  3. Communities and Local Government - Proposals for future unitary structures: Stakeholder consultation
  4. , p. 81-88
  5. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  6. includes hunting and forestry
  7. includes energy and construction
  8. includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  9. "Sea Defences to be saved" East Anglian Daily Times - 29th October 2008
  10. Suffolk Coast and Heaths
  11. Suffolk Profile (2001 Census)
  12. "St. Edmund will be Suffolk's patron saint" East Anglian Daily Times 23rd April 2007
  13. "Middle Schools Under Threat" Suffolk Free Press - Dec 2006
  14. University Campus Suffolk - Ipswich
  15. "Lovejoy" (1986) - Filming locations


References

  1. Felixstowe South reconfiguration inspector's report Department for Transport
  2. Unitary Ipswich - Ipswich's bid for unitary status
  3. Communities and Local Government - Proposals for future unitary structures: Stakeholder consultation
  4. , p. 81-88
  5. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  6. includes hunting and forestry
  7. includes energy and construction
  8. includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  9. "Sea Defences to be saved" East Anglian Daily Times - 29th October 2008
  10. Suffolk Coast and Heaths
  11. Suffolk Profile (2001 Census)
  12. "St. Edmund will be Suffolk's patron saint" East Anglian Daily Times 23rd April 2007
  13. "Middle Schools Under Threat" Suffolk Free Press - Dec 2006
  14. University Campus Suffolk - Ipswich
  15. "Lovejoy" (1986) - Filming locations


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