7 famous people buried in Suffolk

Aldeburgh’s St Peter and St Paul's Church

Aldeburgh’s St Peter and St Paul's Church - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Following the news that Ed Sheeran has submitted plans for a 'burial zone' under the chapel on his estate, here are just a few famous faces whose final resting place is right here in Suffolk.

The grave of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears in the graveyard at Aldeburgh Church

The grave of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears in the graveyard at Aldeburgh Church - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Benjamin Britten 

One of the country’s most famous composers, Sir Benjamin Britten was Suffolk born and bred. Born in Lowestoft in 1913, he was a pivotal figure in British music in the 20th century. Some of most revered pieces include the 1945 opera Peter Grimes, his 1945 orchestral showpiece The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, and 1962’s War Requiem.  

In addition, he also founded the Aldeburgh Festival in 1948, and created the Snape Maltings concert hall in 1967. In his last year of life, he was also the first composer to receive a life peerage.  

Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears pictured near Snape Maltings in May 1975

Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears pictured near Snape Maltings in May 1975 - Credit: Victor Parker

Britten sadly passed away on December 4, 1976 at the age of 63. A funeral service took place three days later, and he was buried at Aldeburgh’s St Peter and St Paul's Church. Westminster Abbey offered to bury Britten there, but he requested to buried in a grave next to his lifelong friend and collaborator, tenor Sir Peter Pears.  

The grave of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson at Aldeburgh Church

The grave of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson at Aldeburgh Church - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson 

A true pioneer and trailblazer, suffragist and physician Elizabeth Garrett Anderson spent many of her years here in Suffolk. Born in London on June 9, 1836, she lived to 81 and during her lifetime achieved a number of great things. She was the first woman in Britain to qualify as a surgeon and physician, and following that she co-founded the first hospital staffed by women in 1866.

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In addition, she was also the first dean of a British medical school, and the first woman to be elected to a schoolboard. In her later years, she served the town of Aldeburgh as mayor – making her the first female Mayor in Britain. Elizabeth passed away in 1917, and her grave can be found in St Peter and St Paul’s Churchyard, Aldeburgh. 

St Peter's Church in Sibton

St Peter's Church in Sibton - Credit: Tom Kupper

Nicholas Clay  

With a filmography spanning across three decades, London-born actor Nicholas Clay appeared in a number of films, television shows and West End productions. Just some of his select roles include playing Charles Darwin in The Darwin Adventure, Lancelot in 1981’s Excalibur, and Dr Angus Harvey in the 1999 television drama Psychos. He sadly passed away on May 25, 2000, and his grave can be found in St Peter's Church in the Suffolk village of Sibton. 

Thomas Clarkson 

An important figure of the 18th and 19th century, Thomas Clarkson was a prolific abolitionist and a leading campaigner against the slave trade during the British Empire.

Thomas Clarkson

Thomas Clarkson - Credit: Suffolk Records Office

Born in Cambridgeshire, he helped found The Society for Affecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade and was also instrumental in the passage of the Slave Trade Act 1807, which ended British trade in slave.

Clarkson also campaigned for slavery abolition in the Americas during his later years. He passed away on September 26 1846 and was buried in Playford’s St Mary’s Church on October 2.  

Sir Alf Ramsey's resting place in Ipswich

Sir Alf Ramsey's resting place in Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Sir Alf Ramsey 

One of this country’s greatest footballing legends, few have a legacy comparable to Sir Alf Ramsey. As a footballer, he played for Southampton, Tottenham Hotspurs, and England before managing the likes of the England national team during its victorious 1966 World Cup win, Birmingham City, and of course Ipswich Town.  

Following his retirement as a manager, Ramsey continued to live in Ipswich until 1999 when he passed away at the age of 79. His funeral was held in St. Mary-le-Tower Church in Ipswich, before he was cremated and interred at Old Ipswich Cemetery. 

Edith Pretty 

A name everyone is now familiar with thanks to Netflix’s 2021 film The Dig, Edith Pretty was instrumental in helping bring to light one of the most important historical discoveries of the 20th century.  

Ms Pretty was the landowner where the ancient Sutton Hoo ship burial was found, and had she not hired local archaeologist Basil Brown to come excavate the site, those mounds have may been left unearthed.  

Edith passed away on December 17, 1942 after suffering a stroke, and her grave can be found in the All Saints churchyard in the village of Sutton.  

John Peel's gravestone at Great Finborough

John Peel's gravestone at Great Finborough - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

John Peel 

Musical pioneer and all-around pop culture legend, John Peel was BBC Radio One’s longest-serving DJ, spinning tracks from 1967 until his death in 2004.  

He was best-known for promoting a variety of genres on his show including punk, electronic, indie, hip hop, metal, reggae, and rock, and showcasing a variety of up-and-coming acts on his ‘Peel Sessions’. John also appeared as a presenter on Top of the Pops in the 80s. 

In the 1970s, Peel and his wife Shelia moved to a cottage in the Suffolk village of Great Finborough, which they nicknamed ‘Peel Acres’ where he would occasionally record shows from his living room. Peel sadly passed away at the age of 65, and his grave can be found in the graveyard of St Andrew's Church in Great Finborough. 

Are there any other famous or historical graves in Suffolk that didn’t make the list? Get in touch with danielle.lett@archant.co.uk