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SUFFOLK

IN THE

NINETEENTH CENTURY.

CHAPTER I.

THE COUNTY: ITS PHYSICAL FEATURES AND CLIMATE.

SUFFOLK is a maritime and agricultural county situated in the eastern district of England. It is one of the largest English shires, and is bounded on the north by Norfolk, on the west by Cambridgeshire, on the south by Essex, and on the east by the German Ocean. Its form is irregular, though nearly approaching to the shape of a half moon. Its length, in a direct line from east to west, is 56 miles, and 32 from north to south. It has nearly 50 miles of sea coast on the eastern side. This extent of coast includes some good bays, creeks, and a fine range of cliffs and headlands. It is in the Sees of Norwich and Ely. The area is 1,481 square miles. It contains 947,681 statute acres, and 499 parishes. In 1851 there were 69,282 inhabited houses, 71,451 separate occupiers, and 337,215 persons. It had 238 persons and 47 houses to a square mile; 28 acres to every 10 persons; and about 28 per cent. of the population were located in towns. The real property assessed to the property and income tax, at the same period, amounted in value to £1,834,252. The population at each of the decennial periods has been

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Suffolk presents a gently undulating and pleasantly diversified SURFACE. No eminence worthy of particular mention can be found in Suffolk, and, excepting the fens at Mildenhall, it is not low. Little hills, gentle valleys, quiet and rapid streams abound. Along a considerable portion of the coast and the rivers, the land is flat, and only secured from overflow by embankments. The borders of several of the rivers are lined with marshes, but they do not reach to any great extent inland, although it is sandy for a considerable distance. The woods are of small extent, and are not generally of luxuriant quality; and on the borders of Cambridgeshire there is a large tract of heath and waste land, in which rabbit warrens are numerous. In the angle formed by the Orwell and the Stour, there are some spots, which, if not deserving to be classed as romantic scenery, possess a happy combination of wood and water, with hill and dale and verdant lawns not frequently surpassed.

The Coast extends in a line tolerably regular, and convex to the sea, from the estuaries of the Orwell and Stour, opposite Harwich, northward to Yarmouth. In many places the shore is low, but from Southwold to the mouth of the river Yare, there are a range of cliffs and Lowestoft Ness, a fine headland, is the most easterly point in Great Britain. Landguard Fort, at the entrance of the river Orwell, is also placed on a commanding spot of ground, the south-eastern point of Suffolk. From

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this point to Dunwich the coast is bleak and dreary, destitute of wood, and having little to interest the lover of the beautiful in coast scenery. There are low cliffs where the silver Deben pours its waters into the main, and a little more fruitfulness than ordinary graces its banks; but beyond this, for miles, no woods or green meadows beautify the water's edge; all you see is lonely headlands and a barren line of shore, on which the ocean waves ceaselessly roll. The harbours are the estuaries of the Stour and Orwell, Deben, Yare, Alde, Blyth, and the artificial cut through Lake Lothing into the Waveney. The harbour formed by the junction of the Orwell and Stour is acknowledged to be one of the finest in the kingdom. The regularity of outline along the coast has caused the bays to be shallow. Hollesley and Southwold are the only ones worthy of notice. The latter is an open roadstead, but the former affords tolerable anchorage for merchant vessels, a long bank of sand called the “Whiting,” being a protection from the south-east gales. There is better riding for shipping in the small bays to the north and south of Lowestoft Ness, as these roads are defended from the violence of the sea by sandbanks, which are dry at half ebb. The riding in the latter is so remarkably easy during gales from north to west, as to procure for it from seamen the name of “Abraham's bosom."

There are a great number of fine Springs and Rivulets intersecting almost every part of the country. Water may be said to be abundant. The principal RIVERS are the Gipping, Orwell, Deben, Yare, Alde, Blyth, and Lark. There are also the Waveney, Little Ouse, and Stour; but these are border rivers, the two former separating the county from Norfolk, and the latter divides it from Essex. The Gipping rises from a small spring in the parish of Gipping, and gradually winds through rich grazing lands, until, with gentle

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