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