1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Aldeburgh

ALDEBURGH [Aldborough], a market town and municipal borough in the Eye parliamentary division of Suffolk, England, the terminus of a branch of the Great Eastern railway, 99½ m. N.E. by E. from London. Area, 1629 acres. Pop. (1901) 2405. The surrounding district is open and somewhat bleak, but a fine stretch of sand fringes the shallow inlet of the North Sea known as Aldeburgh Bay. To the W. the river Alde broadens as if into as estuary, but its outflow is here prevented by the sand, and it runs south for nearly 10 m. parallel with the shore. The sandbanks have arrested the encroachments of the sea, which submerged a former site of Aldeburgh. The church of St Peter and St Paul is Perpendicular, largely restored, and contains a monument to the poet George Crabbe, born here on the 24th of December 1754. A small picturesque Moot Hall of the 16th century is used for corporation meetings. Slaughden Quay on the Alde admits small vessels, and fishing is carried on. Aldeburgh is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors.

Aldeburgh (Aldburc) takes its name from the river Alde on which it stands. It is not mentioned in pre-Conquest records, but at the Domesday survey most of the land was held by Robert Malet, a Norman. In 1155 the manor was granted to the abbey of St John of Colchester, later to Cardinal Wolsey, and on his disgrace, to Thomas Howard, duke of Norfolk, to whom Elizabeth in 1567 granted a market on Saturday. In the 16th century Aldeburgh was a place of considerable commercial importance, due, no doubt, to its position on the sea-coast. Aldeburgh claims to be a borough by prescription; the earliest charter is that granted by Henry VIII, in 1529. Edward VI. in 1548 raised it to the rank of a free borough, granting a charter of incorporation and a market on Wednesday. Later charters were granted by Philip and Mary in 1553, by Elizabeth in 1558 and 1567, by James I. (who granted two annual fairs) in 1606, and by Charles I. in 1631 and 1637. The corporation included 2 bailiffs, 10 capital and 24 inferior burgesses, until the Municipal Corporations Act 1883. The fairs and markets became so unimportant that they were discontinued about the middle of the 19th century. The town returned two members to Elizabeth's parliament of 1572, and continued to be so represented till the Reform Bill of 1832 disfranchised it. Frequent disastrous incursions of the sea in the 18th century reduced Aldeburgh to a mere fishing village. In recent years it has grown as a seaside resort, with excellent golf-links.

See John Kirby, The Suffolk Traveller (2nd ed., 1764); N. F. Hele, Notes about Aldeburgh (1870); Victoria County History—Suffolk.