The Town of Needham Market in Suffolk

Needham Market Holidays Suffolk

A visitors guide to the town of Needham Market in Suffolk, which lies in the Gipping Valley sandwiched between the much larger towns of Bury St. Edmunds and Ipswich. In days past Needham Market was where wool was prepared for weaving by employing the ancient art of combing.  Unfortunately this lucrative trade ceased when the plague came to town.

During the years 1663 to 1665 the town of Needham Market was placed into isolation because of the plague. Chains were placed at either end of the town effectively stopping anyone from entering the town and more importantly anyone leaving the town. Money and food were left by these chains by well wishers, but as the years rolled by rumours began to spread that everyone in the town had died. The streets were empty and grass began to grow in the roads. It is not known how many of its residents died from the plague, but Black Death effectively brought about the end of the towns wool industry.

To this day there are areas in the town named after these chains - Chainbridge at the north end of the town and Chainhouse at the south end of the town.

Those of you who are fans of the BBC series Eastenders may be interested to know that the character Dot Cotton actress June Brown came from Needham Market.  

Much of the High Street has been designated as a conservation area and there are many buildings of interesting architecture especially in the High Street, which contains a mix of Georgian and Tudor properties.  The church of St. John the Baptist also in the High Street contains a wonderful double hammer beam roof.

Needham Market has lots of places to eat and drink with a good selection of inns and pubs.

This is a good area for walking, cycling and bird watching with the River Gipping flowing through the town. It was on this river in 860 that the Danes sailed up and established the village of Rattles-dane, later the River Gipping was used to transport the stones for Bury St. Edmunds Abbey imported from Normandy. The Gipping River walk is a 17 mile 27km walk mostly following an old towpath which runs between Stowmarket and Ipswich.

Just on the edge of the town is Needham Lake contained within a 27 acre Nature Reserve site.  Here you will find a large lake and picnic area.  Events are held here during the school holidays and the area around the lake is also used as an Open Air Theatre during the summer months. Needham Market station is on the main Norwich-London line with regular services to Ipswich.

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