Exploring Suffolk history during the coming Easter holidays
In past blogs we have looked at some of the famous names and dates in history that are associated with Suffolk.
But with the Easter holidays coming up we have some suggestions for historic places that you might be interested in exploring with your children.
Here are some suggestions:
How many people are aware that two Suffolk sisters, both born in June, made a significant impact on women’s lives?
Recently, the first ever statue of a woman was installed in London’s Parliament Square. That woman was Millicent Fawcett, born in Aldeburgh to a Leiston Entrepreneur, Newson Garrett, in June 1847. She was famous for her work to promote Women’s Suffrage and a president of the Suffragist Movement for 50 years. She was also one of the founders of Newnham College, Cambridge.
Millicent’s elder sister Elizabeth Garret Anderson was born in June 1836 and she, too, was a pioneer on behalf of women. Not without considerable struggle and in the face of some determined male opposition Elizabeth was the first woman to openly qualify in Britain as a physician and surgeon, the first female dean of a British medical school, the first female Doctor of Medicine in France and the first ever female mayor of Aldeburgh.
Our Most Famous Artist
Our third famous June birth is the landscape painter John Constable, who was born in East Bergholt in June 1776. He was the son of the son of Golding Constable, who owned mills at Flatford and Dedham and also ran a barge transport business. Many of John Constable’s landscapes feature the beautiful countryside around his home, the Stour Valley and Dedham Vale and among the best known of his many works is The Hay Wain, completed in 1821.
Flatford Mill John Constable
Did You Know?
Joseph Conrad, the Polish author of Heart of Darkness, about the Congo during its period as a Belgian colony, arrived in Lowestoft in June 1878 on the British steamer, the Mavis, knowing just six words of English.
The author George Orwell was actually born Eric Arthur Blair in India in 1903. He went to school in Southwold and returned to live there for a number of years from 1929. He named himself George Orwell after the River Orwell.
Another famous author, Hammond Innes lived in Kersey with his wife Dorothy in his later years and died there on the 10th June 1998. A prolific writer of adventures and thrillers, four of his early works were made into films. They were The Lonely Skier, The White South, Campbell’s kingdom and The Wreck of the Mary Deare.
This month we’re spotlighting two famous Suffolk sons, one historic and one modern and both born during the time covered by our enewsletter.
Thomas Gainsborough the artist and landscape painter was born in Sudbury in May 1754, the youngest son of a cloth merchant.
At the age of 13 he was apprenticed to a London silversmith, and was taught by Hubert-François Gravelot, a French book-illustrator.
Although his real first love was landscape painting, Gainsborough quickly turned to portraits for their popularity and the financial stability they offered. His works, painted in dark colours with economical brush strokes, were of contemporary celebrities as well as local merchants and townspeople. He gained widespread acclaim and emerged as one of the leading portrait artists of the century. Among his most notable works are his portraits entitle “The Blue Boy” 1779 and Mr and Mrs Andrews 1750
He returned to Suffolk after his marriage to Margaret Burr in 1746 and in 1752 established a studio in Ipswich, after which he and the family settled in Bath in 1759.
The National Portrait Gallery in London is hosting an exhibition of over 50 of Gainsborough’s works entitled “Gainsborough’s Family Album” running from 22 November 2018 – 3 February 2019.
Music composer and writer
Brian Eno was born in May 1948 in Suffolk and studied painting and experimental music at the art school at Ipswich Civic College in the mid-1960s and then at Winchester School of Art. His full name is Brian, Peter George Eno which he later altered to Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno.
He is an English musician, composer, record producer, singer, writer, and visual artist and he joined glam rock group Roxy Music as synthesiser player in 1971. After recording two albums with the band, he departed in 1973 to record a number of solo albums, coining the term “ambient music” to describe his work. He has collaborated with many artists including David Bowie, U2, Grace Jones, Coldplay and Damon Albarn.
Thomas Wolsey was educated in Ipswich and then studied at Magdalen College, Oxford. He was ordained around 1498 and became chaplain to the archbishop of Canterbury and later chaplain to Henry VII.
He was known as an efficient administrator and was often sent on diplomatic missions but his real rise in influence came in the reign of Henry VIII, when he was created archbishop of York and a year later the pope made him a cardinal. Soon afterwards the king appointed him lord chancellor.
For the next 14 or so years, he was given the responsibility for more and more state business, eventually gaining almost complete control over England’s foreign policy.
He amassed great wealth which he invested in building both his London home, York Place in Whitehall, and at Hampton Court, 20 miles south west of London. He also founded Cardinal College at Oxford (later King’s College, and now Christ Church). Whilst in Ipswich at St Peters Church stands “Wolsey’s Gate”. It is Grade I listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Not surprisingly increasing arrogance contributed to his lack of popularity, but his downfall came when he failed to arrange the annulment of Henry VIII’s first marriage to Catherine of Aragon, whose nephew, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, dominated the pope at the time.
Wolsey was accused of treason and arrested near York in 1530 and died in November of that year on his way to London to face trial.
It is believed that the earliest recorded horse race took place on Newmarket Heath on 29 August 1750. The Earl of March and the Earl of Eglinton bet 1,000 guineas against Theobald Taaf that four horses could pull a four wheeled chaise carrying one person 19 miles in under an hour. The route started at the 6 mile house, went through the running gap and then took
The Battle of Lowestoft took place on 13 June 1665 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. The two opponents were, at the time, struggling to dominate the ‘carrying trade’. A fleet of more than a hundred ships of the United Provinces commanded by Lieutenant-Admiral Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam attacked an English fleet of equal size commanded by James, Duke of York forty miles east of the port of Lowestoft in Suffolk, England.