In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Southwold like this:
SOUTHWOLD, a town and a parish in Blything district, Suffolk. The town stands on the coast, between a creek and the river Blythe's mouth, 8 miles E by S of Halesworth r. station; was known to the Saxons as Sudwald, signifying "south-wood;'' belonged, at Domesday, to Bury abbey, and paid it then 25,000 herrings; passed to the Earls of Gloucester, and had a castle of theirs; was nearly all destroyed by fire in 1659; witnessed great sea-fights, between the English and the Dutch, in its near vicinity, in 1665 and 1672; was chartered by Henry VII., and is governed, under the new act, by a mayor, 4 alder men, and 12 councillors; is a seat of petty sessions, and a bathing-place; carries on extensive fishing, iron and brass founding, brewing, rope-making, and salt-manufacture; and has a post-office‡ under Wangford, a banking office, two chief inns, a pier-harbour formed in 1749-52, a breakwater to prevent sea-encroachment, a battery of six 18-pounders, a coastguard station, several handsome marine villas, a town hall of 1819, a recently restored church of 1460, 144 feet long by 64, with a tower 100 feet high, Independent and Wesleyan chapels, national schools, a dispensary, charities £43, and a fair on Trinity Monday and the two following days.The parish is conterminate with the town. ...
Acres, 566; of which 20 are water. Real property, £6,053; of which £25 are in gasworks. Pop., 2,032. Houses, 484. The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of Norwich. Value, £130.* Patron, the Rev. E. Hollond.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Southwold has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Waveney. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Southwold and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Southwold, in Waveney and Suffolk | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 23rd May 2013
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