Sudbury is a pleasant market town situated on the River Stour in South Suffolk on the borders with Essex. There is easy access to London from its train station.

It is famous for being the birthplace, in 1727, of Thomas Gainsborough the artist with a museum and statue dedicated to him. Many years ago silk was the main industry and is still produced here today.

In 1381 Simon Theobald, Lord Chancellor of England was beheaded during the Peasants' Revolt and his head placed upon a spike in London. His mummified head was returned to his home town and now rests in the vestry of St Gregory Church. Next to the church there is a statue of Bishop Aelfhun, Bishop of Dunwich who, according to the Saxon Chronicle, died whilst visiting the town in AD 798.




 The water meadow, with cows grazing in the summer months, is another feature of Sudbury. The surrounding area encompasses some of the most pretty and famous villages in Suffolk.

Long Melford, Lavenham and Kersey are all within 10 miles whilst the famous Constable Country lies some 15 miles to the east.




Our Group

The Sudbury & District Group, founded in 1995, meets at :
          Long Melford Village Hall
          Hall Street (opposite the Bull Hotel)
          CO10 9JQ

Plenty of parking is available and there is disabled access.

The meeting starts at 7.30 pm usually on the last Tuesday of each month.
Entry is £2.00 for SFHS members and £2.50 for non-members.  

You will be warmly welcomed by a member of our committee and, following an interesting talk, tea or coffee and biscuits are served.

We are a lively group who enjoy a good laugh as well as a chance to discuss Family History interests. If you need help please feel free to ask. We usually have a newsletter.

As well as the monthly meeting we organise coach trips and outings to record offices and local places of interest.

We have a very active Monumental Inscription project group who meet to record the local headstones once a fortnight, when weather permits. If you would like to help with this project please contact us.



Sheila by Email:

Last Modified on 16/03/2017 by K Pulford


News Update

Posted by Sheila Piper on Thu, 29th Oct 2015

For our latest newsletter. Download the file at the bottom of this page.

Technology in the Cemetery

Posted by Sheila Piper on Sat, 24th Oct 2015

I happened to be walking past Clare cemetery one evening recently heading to a local nature reserve with the Clare Horticultural Society. Chatting about my efforts with the Monumental Inscriptions group I was fascinated to be told by the gentleman leading the walk that it is fairly common now for people to request micro-chips to be inserted in new headstones so that with a compatible smart phone you can “zap” on and then retrieve the information placed there which usually provides an obituary, family heritage information, life story, photographs etc. I have googled this and it’s true. Well I never……

Barbara Stewart

Do You Need Help?

Posted by Helen Richardson on Sat, 24th Oct 2015

If you need help with your Family History research please talk to any of the committee members.

We don’t always have access to our research material (some parish records on fiche & many books) which we store here but if you would like to look at anything in particular let us know and we will try and get it out or have it ready for the next meeting.

Some Grave Humour....

Posted by Sheila Piper on Sat, 24th Oct 2015

I have just seen a book by John Timpson entitled Timpson’s Towns of England and Wales (1989) in which there is a chapter on church memorials of various kinds. There are some very curious (and, with hindsight, amusing) ones indeed. For example, the parish church of Macclesfield, Ches., has a brass plaque recording how the Legh family was pardoned by Pope Gregory in 1506 for 26,000 years and 26 days. (Who’s counting? What happens when time’s up?)

A little nearer here in Coggleshall parish church it is stated that Mary Honywood had 367 living descendants when she died aged 93 in 1620! She achieved this by having 16 children herself. They, in turn, produced for her 114 grandchildren who had 228 greatgrandchildren. They had nine great-great grandchildren. (She must have spent a fortune on birthday cards.)

In Maldon, Essex, in 1750 they had problems when local man Edward Bright popped his clogs. Weighing in at 44 stone, a crane was used to lift him into his grave. Pity the poor gravediggers… (Obesity is not confined to 21st century!)

In Corsham, Wilts, Sarah Jarvis lived to the ripe old age of 107 before dying in 1753. Pretty good for the time but, it is noted on her gravestone, that ‘some time before her death she had fresh teeth’.

Robert Philips wrote his own slightly sour yet triumphal epitaph in Kingsbridge, Devon:

Here I lie at the chancel door

Here I lie because I’m poor.

The further in the more you’ll pay,

Here lie I as warm as they.

The words of 21-year-old Sarah Smith’s epitaph of 1763 in St Margaret’s church, Newcastle-under-Lyme, indicate that her parents had a pretty good idea as to who had been responsible for poor Sarah’s demise:

It was C-S B-W that brought me to my end,

Dear parents mourn not for me

For God will stand my Friend.

With half a pint of Poyson

He came to visit me.

Write this on my grave

That all that read it may see.

So who was C-S B-W? And what if he hadn’t done her in after all? Did he sue for libel?

This looks to be an interesting website: (Found it while trying to discover who C-S B-W was… I just had to try but no luck!)

Anne Grimshaw

Monumental Inscriptions

Posted by K Pulford on Sat, 24th Oct 2015

Work continues at Bures and Sudbury Cemetery, come and join us.

The Fallen Heroes of Normandy

Posted by Matt Ball on Sat, 24th Oct 2015 is a free online archive providing photographs, records and information about those, of all nationalities, who lost their lives in Normandy during the Second World War. If you can provide any photographs or information about any individual buried or commemorated in Normandy please email:


27/10/2015Lady Alice of Acton
Lady Alice of Acton
Pip Wright
24/11/2015Rural Rebellion
The Tythe Wars of Suffolk
Ashley Cooper
29/12/2015Sheila's Meeting
A presentation from Shiela
26/01/2016The History of the Printed Cartoon
The History of the Printed Cartoon
Martyn Roper
23/02/2016Caring and Cartooning at Belle Vue
Caring and Cartooning at Belle Vue
Sue Tibbetts
29/03/2016The Poor Man’s Encyclopaedia
The story of cigarette cards
Brian Aket
26/04/2016'General' Quiz Night
All are welcome
31/05/2016The History of Sudbury Museums
Lowestoft Group Annual General Meeting will be held before the talk
Phyllis Felton
28/06/2016Carnival Drama and Popular Protest in Medieval Suffolk
Carnival Drama and Popular Protest in Medieval Suffolk
Kate Jewell
26/07/2016Miss Grimwade and the Girls of Hope House
Miss Grimwade and the Girls of Hope House
Linda Sexton
30/08/2016To be arranged
To be arranged
27/09/2016Giles and his Adopted Town
Giles and his Adopted Town
John Field


For further details on the programme you should contact

Sheila by Email:

Group Contact

Sheila by Email:

Group Projects


Sudbury_News_Oct_2015 (.doc) - Uploaded 29/10/2015