Framlingham in 1842
Framlingham is in the hundred of Loes, 18 miles north-north-east of Ipswich. It was probably a place of consequence in the Anglo-Saxon period, and St. Edmund, king of the East Angles, is said to have been besieged here by the Danes, in 870. In the middle ages it was important from its strong castle, granted by Henry I to Hugh Bigod, and at different times held by the Bigods, the Mowbrays, the Howards, and other illustrious families. Sir Robert Hitcham, having purchased the castle and manor of the Howard family, bequeathed them for pious uses to the master and fellows of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, by which society they are still possessed. The parish of Framlingham has an area of 4,470 acres ; the population in 1831 was 2,445, about two-fifths agricultural.
The town stands near the head of the river Ore, which just to the north of the town expands into a spacious pond or mere. The streets are irregularly laid out, but there is a spacious market-place of triangular form, and the houses are many of them well built and respectable. The streets are lighted with oil. The church is in the middle of the town ; it is large and handsome, built of black flint, with a tower 96 feet high, in which is a peal of eight bells. The roof of the nave is of curiously carved oak ; and in the church are several monuments of the Howards (among them those of Thomas, second duke of Norfolk, and his son the accomplished earl of Surrey, beheaded by Henry VIII), and the monuments of the duke of Richmond, natural son of Henry VIII, and of Sir Robert Hitcham.
On the north side of the town, adjacent to the mere, are the ruins of the castle. The outer wall is yet standing : its form is irregular, approaching to a circle, and it is strengthened at intervals by square towers, thirteen in number. The wall is 44 feet high and 8 feet thick ; the towers rise to the height of 58 feet. The principal gateway is on the south side, opposite the town, and is adorned with the arms of the principal families which have possessed the castle, carved in stone. There are some remains of the outworks. The area comprehended by the walls of the castle is above an acre and a quarter ; but the demolition of the interior is so complete, that very little idea can be formed of its arrangement. In the vacant area are, or were lately, an almshouse and a workhouse, built of the materials of the castle. The castle was defended, except where it was protected by the mere, by a double ditch, which still remains.
There are in the town an almshouse and a free school founded by Sir Robert Hitcham, a second almshouse founded by Thomas Mills, and places of worship for Unitarians, Independents, and Wesleyans. Some malting is carried on in the town. There is a market on Saturday for corn, and occasionally for cattle ; and there are two yearly fairs. The living is a rectory, united with the chapelry of Saxtead, which is in the parish, of a clear yearly value of £1,201, in the gift of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. It is in the rural deanery of Loose (or Loes), in the archdeaconry of Suffolk, and the diocese of Norwich. There were in 1833 twelve day-schools of all kinds, with 294 scholars, namely, 98 boys, 93 girls, and 103 children of sex not stated ; and four Sunday-schools with 378 scholars, namely, 61 boys, 33 girls, and 284 children of sex not stated. Two of the day-schools have endowments, one bequeathed by Sir Robert Hitcham, and the other by Thomas Mills.