Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 16°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Gallery: 10 things you might not know about Stowmarket

10:30 04 May 2014

The top of St Mary-le-Towers tower in Ipswich is roughly the same height above sea level as the River Gipping near Stowmarket Station.

The top of St Mary-le-Towers tower in Ipswich is roughly the same height above sea level as the River Gipping near Stowmarket Station.

Archant

Sometimes overlooked in favour of the celebrated Suffolk greats of Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich, Stowmarket is not without its own charm and illustrious history.

shares
Guncotton ExplosionGuncotton Explosion

Steve Williams, chairman of the Stowmarket Local History Group, highlights 10 things you probably didn’t know about the town.

1 Stowmarket’s Memorial Gates dedication service in 1920 had one of the early snippets of newsreel film dedicated to it and was shown in the early cinemas across the county.

2 Of all the names of the brave men from all three services who died in both the First and Second World Wars listed on the plaques, there is only one female who is also the only civilian mentioned as one of the War dead. She was Mrs Rhoda Farrow who was unfortunate to be the only fatality in the town during the whole of the Second World War. She had just seen her son off from Stowmarket Railway Station to go back to his RAF unit near Manchester and returned to her Kensington Road house just as bombs were dropped, destroying the old Congregational Church in Ipswich Street, as well as her house immediately behind the church.

3 The top of St Mary-le-Tower’s tower in Ipswich is roughly the same height above sea level as the River Gipping near Stowmarket Station.

4 The Rev. Thomas Young, who was the poet, John Milton’s tutor at Cambridge, was vicar at Stowmarket in the 1600s and was also the person who invited and paid for Matthew Hopkins, the ‘Witchfinder General’, to come to the town. He was reported to have found two unfortunate women that were tried as witches.

5The ‘tonic sol-fa’ (doe, ray, me, far, so, la, tee, doe, - as used in the ‘Sound of Music’ film) music notation system was devised by John Curwen in 1841–42, while he was minister of Stowmarket’ Congregational Church.

6 The Rev. Thomas Young, who was the poet, John Milton’s tutor at Cambridge, was vicar at Stowmarket in the 1600s and was also the person who invited and paid for Matthew Hopkins, the ‘Witchfinder General’, to come to the town. He was reported to have found two unfortunate women that were tried as witches.

7 The original place name for this settlement was Thorney, which means ‘isle of thorns’, a distinction it shares with the site of Westminster Palace and Cathedral in London. It originally denoted a safe crossing place through marshland and rivers etc. However, due to the fact that in the 12th Century the town was granted a licence to hold a market for the hundred of Stow (which means the place), the place quickly became known as Stow’s – market and simplified to what it is today.

8The team gathered together by a government directive to investigate the causes of the ‘Guncotton Explosion’ of Friday August 11, 1871, has been acknowledged as being the official start of the ‘forensic science’ department that is used on many crime scenes today. Two explosions occurred at Prentice’s Gun Cotton factory which killed 28 people, mostly workers at the factory but also some people who had run to the factory after the first explosion and who were caught in the second explosion, including two members of the Prentice Family.

9 When the railway was first brought to Stowmarket in the 1840s, the track layers encounted many problems as they approached the site near to the where the station now is situated. They would lay several metres of track only to return a day or so later to find their work had disappeared completely into the boggy ground and hopelessly un-recoverable. This happened more than once and so a way had to be found to ‘float’ the rails over this large section using thousands of faggots of willow staves and osiers and combined with vast quantities of soil from the surrounding countryside. The mission was successfully completed by 1844.

10 From the late eighteenth through to the early twentieth Centuries, Stowmarket was second only to Burton-on-Trent for its malt product output. At its height the town had seventeen maltings scattered around the town, with the bulk of them along the river bank.

shares
The scene of the accident on the A133 at Weeley between a push bike and a van.

A cyclist has died in hospital following a collision with a van on the A133 at Weeley.

Ladbrokes

Four men have been arrested following an armed robbery in Felixstowe on Friday night.

Police are investigating after rope was tied across a road

‘Lives are being put at risk’ – that’s the warning from Essex Police after motorists had to manoeuvre around a rope which was tied across a road.

Writer and historian Dr Mark Felton

A historian and author from Colchester whose book has been picked up by Hollywood has released a new thriller based on another daring Second World War mission.

Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House in Ipswich.

The number of high earners at Suffolk County Council has risen for the first time in four years, according to new figures.

Toby Freeman from Robin Cancer Trust, Ben Payne from Reflective Ice Limited and Angie Diggens from St Helena Hospice are teaming up to have a charity night at the Winter Wonderland and Ice Rink in Colchester Castle Park.

An ice rink planned for central Colchester this winter will be taken over by local charities for a night.

Knives handed in during an amnesty at Clacton Police Station

A survey by a weapons awareness charity has found one-quarter of youngsters in Clacton have been threatened with a knife.

The Energy from Waste Site in Great Blakenham.

Nearly a year after it first started to turn Suffolk’s waste into something useful – electricity – the Great Blakenham incinerator is helping to keep rubbish out of the county’s holes in the ground.

Maggie Scorer and Oscar in front of Brighton Pier

It has taken close to six months, covering a distance of almost 5,000 miles, but the home stretch is in sight for round-Britain cyclist Maggie Scorer and her travelling companion, Oscar.

Robert Morton

The new chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service, Robert Morton, has big plans for the future of the trust.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages