Beccles Timeline

Some key dates in Beccles history

Beccles is a Market Town with a lot of history. During the medieval period Suffolk was one of the wealthiest counties in the country and Beccles was its third most important town. The following is a list of historic events based on the one displayed in the museum. The events have in some way or another had an impact on the town, some are of a very local nature, others are of national importance. Over time I hope to be able to link many of these dates and titles to articles that tell you more about their importance and impact on the town and its development. To launch the site a few entries have supporting material, they are highlighted, to access them just click on the event.

75BCTrackway built across marsh to the River Waveney
955Manor of Beccles given to King Edwy to the monks caring for the shrine of St Edmund at Bury
1066Market already established in Beccles
1086Domesday Book
1270First mention of Leper Hospital at St Mary's
1369St Michael's Church built (or maybe rebuilt)
1428Seven Beccles people found guilty at heresy trials in Norwich
1455South Porch added to St Michael's
1515Start of the building of the Bell Tower at St Michael's
1539Bury Abbey dissolved
1540Fen brought from King Henry VIII by William Rede senior
1542William Rede junior buys Manor of Beccles from King Henry VIII
1543Town had grant of Fen revoked
1544Feoffees inherit the lands of the Guild of the Holy Ghost
1556Burning of the three Beccles Martyrs
1577St Mary's Church in Endgate taken down.
1584Surrender of Fen to Queen Elizabeth I and granting of Royal Charter
1586Great Fire of Beccles
1583Building of Roos Hall
1605James I confirms Royal Charter
1632Death of Sir John Leman and founding of a Free School
1640Conscripted soldiers at Beccles not paid and unruly.
People of Beccles refuse to pay ship money
1643Oliver Cromwell captures Beccles Royalist in Lowestoft.
Destruction of paintings and sculptures in St Michael's by William Dowsing
1673St Mary's Hospital Lands given to the town by King Charles II.
1680Prison and workhouse built at Beccles
1693Smallpox epidemic at Beccles
1699Fire destroys 100 Beccles houses
1707First mention of London coach
1709First mention of Beccles Race course
1710Meadows in Beccles Fen enclosed.
1758Part of the town is paved
1763New peal of ten bells hung in St Michael's Church Tower
1765Old Market cross pulled down
Town Hall built
1766Banks built along river to prevent Fen flooding
1767Opening of Shipmeadow House of Industry
1770Fauconberge School established
177150 Lamps bought to light the Town
1785Assembly Rooms (now Public Hall) built
1787New prison built
1799Town gets its first Fire Engine
1807First Police Officer appointed
1812Independent Chapel built in Hungate
1822Medical Dispensary in Hungate opens
1823Blyburgate burial ground consecrated
1832River Waveney deepened and Quay built
1835Beccles Public library established
1836Abolition of corporation of Beccles Fen and election of first Beccles Town Council
1837Gasworks built near Quay
National School built in Newgate
1844Beccles Theatre closes and building becomes Corn Exchange
1847James Hill and Jeremy the shoemaker rewarded for helping suppress a riot
1853100 men needed to clear snow from Beccles streets
1854Opening of Beccles Railway (Halesworth to Haddiscoe)
1856Steam pump installed on Fen
Beccles Working Men's Institute founded
1857Restoration of St Michael's
1859Lowestoft and Yarmouth railway line to Ipswich opened
1860Baptist Church built
1861Development of Station Road
1863Waveney Valley Railway opens
1865National School built in Ravensmere
Quarter sessions moved from Beccles to Ipswich
1867Crisps Maltings built next to Railway station
1868Elizabethan Manor House in Newgate demolished
Caxton Press built
1870Beccles Waterworks built
1871Beccles Soup Kitchen for the poor opens
1873First sewage system built
1874Hospital in Fair Close built
1884Old Bridge replaced by Iron Bridge
1889Commissioning of St Benet's
1894The new Bathing Place opens in Puddingmoor
1914The First World War
1924Beccles and District War Memorial Hospital opens
1939The Second World War
1972Beccles Borough Council buys St Michael's Bell Tower
1973Beccles Borough Council abolished, Waveney District Council formed.

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