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About Saxmundham

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About Saxmundham

Notable people

The following people either lived and worked in Saxmundham or had some bearing on the town.

Henry Bright
Thomas Thurlow
Richard Garrett
Long family
Others

Henry Bright

Henry Bright

Click here to read more about Henry Bright.

(1810-1873) Landscape painter and member of the Norwich Society of Artists or 'Norwich School' (John Sell Cottman and J B Chrome are the most well-known of this group). Born in Saxmundham in 1810 in Ashford House (now the offices of Flick & Sons), son of famous clockmaker Jerome Bright.

After periods in London, during which he gained commercial and critical success, he returned to Saxmundham in 1858 to live at Park Lodge in South Entrance. Following further periods in London and abroad he settled in Ipswich, where he died in 1873.

 

Thomas Thurlow

Thomas Thurlow
The sculptor Thomas Thurlow was born and lived in Saxmundham

(1813-1899) Renowned sculptor who created memorials in various churches in the area, including a bust of the poet George Crabbe in Aldeburgh Church. His father, John Thurlow (b. c1784), was a builder and stonemason who built 'The White House' (now Holly Lodge) in the High Street. Both are buried along with other members of the Thurlow family in the churchyard of the parish church.

Thomas Thurlow was born in North Entrance in Saxmundham and went to a school in Brook Cottage; Henry Bright went to the same school, and in Thurlow's memoirs he also claims Newson Garrett (who later built Snape Maltings) as a school friend. As a teenager he would turn his hand to anything such as wood and plaster carving, polishing stones, and he even made a violin, succeeding at the second attempt. At the age of 23 he left home for London where he was engaged by a monument manufacturer in Regents Street. During his spare time he took lessons in oil painting, something he pursued throughout his life (some of his paintings are in the Moot Hall in Aldeburgh). After a time employed with the London Marble Works, where he gained valuable experience of stone carving, Thurlow returned to Suffolk first opening a business in Halesworth and then settling back in Saxmundham in 1839.

During his life, Thurlow completed many works for local people and various churches, including a memorial to Sir C. Blois in Yoxford Church, a life-size statue of Samuel Clouting in Kelsale Church, a marble bust of Richard Garrett III in Leiston Church, and a commission from William Long of Hurts Hall to carve a rose and spray for the entrance to his mansion. As well as paid works, he exhibited widely including at the Royal Academy and the Ipswich Fine Art Club.

He was active in the town being appointed the Secretary and manager of the Saxmundham Gas Works (which was in Gas Hill now New Cut), he was an Overseer for the Parish making and collecting the Rates, he was the town Surveyor supervising the building of Gurneys bank in Market Place amongst others, and in 1847 he acquired the License for Photography for the County of Suffolk which he practised for a time. He is reported to have given 'Penny Readings' in the Market Hall reciting from Dickens to packed audiences.

The webmaster is grateful to Les Higgs, editor of the Heritage Coast Gazette (available in H.G. Crisps in the High Street), who published a very interesting account of Thomas Thurlow and granted permission for parts of it to be used here.

Richard Garrett

Richard Garrett III was the successor to the world-renowned Richard Garrett & Co., Engineers of Leiston in Suffolk. He was a pioneer of the assembly line method of production when he built the 'Long Shop' in 1853 for the large scale manufacture of traction engines.

His connection with Saxmundham is that he lived at Carlton Hall (1/2 mile north of Saxmundham) during the 1860s at the height of the success of Garretts. The Hall overlooks Carlton parish church where Garrett is buried with his wife. An invoice from J Woolterton of Saxmundham in 1867, shows that he commissioned the jeweller to 'wind & keep going' four clocks at Carlton Hall and a further four clocks at the Leiston Works for the annual sum of £5.0.0.

 

Long family

The Long family have been associated with Saxmundham from the 17th century, originally coming from Wiltshire; there are several memorials to the Long family in the parish church. South East of the town is Hurts Hall, the seat of the Long family until the 1950s. The much older sub-manor of the Swan family was absorbed into the Long manor in about 1778.

Samuel Long (1638-1683) was appointed secretary to the Jamaica Commissioners after the conquest of that island. Lt Col Charles Long (1679-1723) bought the Hurts Hall estate in the early part of the 18th century. He was MP for Dunwich. A later Charles Long (1760-1838) became Lord Farnborough and was MP successively for Rye, Midhurst and Haslemer (but never for Dunwich as is sometimes cited). There is a monument to the later Charles Long in Saxmundham Church but he did not live at Saxmundham.

According to the 1840 census, William Long lived in Hurts Hall with his wife Ellenor, their five children, a governess, five male servents and ten female servents. It was William who built the Market Hall (originally a corn exchange), the school rooms next to the parish church, and he donated the Town Pump.

When the contents of Hurts Hall were sold in 1958, the portraits of the Longs were given to the Christchurch Mansion gallery in Ipswich where they can be seen, and the records of the estates in Suffolk and Jamaica were given to the Suffolk County Record Office.

Others

Jerome Bright (1770-1846), a distinguished clockmaker who is included in Bailey's [Baillie's?] Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World. At some time he worked at 23 High Street (now Kerseys) where one of his clocks made around 1790 can be seen today. He was Henry Bright's father.

Richard Stopher (b.1767) held many positions in Saxmundham including Overseer, constable, and assistant commissioner of taxes; he was auctioneer and postmaster.

 
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