Facts and Figures about Snape

Access Cambridge Archaeology

A comrehensive compilation of facts and figures outlining the history of Snape

from the Domesday Book onwards sourced from Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA)

 1.  Parish: Snape
Meaning: Pieces of land or poor grasing (Ekwall)
2. Hundred: Plomesgate
Deanery: Orford (1785-1914), Saxmundham (1914 -)
Union: Plomesgate
RDC/UDC: (E. Suffolk) Plomesgate RD (1894-1934), Blyth R.D. (1934-1974), Suffolk Coastal D.C. (1974 -)

Other administrative details:

  • Abolished ecclesiastically (1785) to create Friston with Snape
  • Blything Petty Sessional Division
  • Framlingham and Saxmundham County Court District

3. Area:

  • 1,981 acres land, 30 acres tidal water, 123 acres foreshores (1912)

4. Soils:


a. Deep well drained sandy soils, some very acid, risk wind erosion

b. Deep stoneless non-calcareous/calcareous clay soils. Flat land. Slight risk of flooding by river

c. Some deep peat soils associated with clay over sandy soils, high groundwater levels, risk of flooding by river.

5. Types of farming:

1086 Wood for 6 pigs, 6 acres meadow, 1 mill, 2 cattle
Problems of acidity and trace elements deficiencies
1500–1640 Thirsk: Sheep-corn region, sheep main fertilizing agent, bred for fattening, barley main cash crop
1804 Young: ‘this corner of Suffolk practices better husbandry than elsewhere’…identified as carrot growing region
1818 Marshall: Management varies with condition of sandy soils. Rotation usually turnip, barley, clover, wheat or turnips as preparation for corn and grass.
1937 Main crops: Wheat, barley, beans, roots. Mainly arable/dairying.
1969 Trist: Dairying has been replaced with arable farming

6. Enclosure:

1860 248 acres of Church Commons in Snape enclosed under General Acts (1859)

7. Settlement:

1977/83 River Alde forms natural boundary to south. River Fromus forms natural boundary to west. Associated wet lands restrict development in these areas.

Extensive heath land occupies majority of eastern sector (called Snape Warren)

Small compact development not far from river. Church stands in secondary settlement at Church Common. Further secondary settlement at Cromford.

Scattered farms.

Inhabited houses: 1674 – 21, 1801 – 78, 1851 – 123, 1871 – 120, 1901 –118, 1951 – 171, 1981 – 201

8. Communications:

Road: Roads to Benhall, Sternfield, Friston and Tunstall

1844 Carriers to Woodbridge and Ipswich

1891 Carriers to Woodbridge Monday, Thursday and Saturday

1912 Carrier to Woodbridge Monday, Thursday, Saturday Site of toll- gate at junction of Grumford Land with the Aldeburgh to Ipswich Road (1948)

Rail: 1891 3½ miles Saxmundham station: Saxmundham – Aldeburgh line opened (1859), line to Aldeburgh closed for goods (1959), closed for passengers (1966). Spur from Saxmundham to Leiston still operational

1912 Rail station for goods only opened (1859), still operational

Water: River Alde: navigable to Snape Bridge for vessels of 100 tons (1844)

1844 Regular trading vessels to London Wednesday ‘Alde Estuary’ by W.G. Arnott (1952)

9. Population:

  • 1086 — 72 recorded (includes Domesday vill of Becclings) 1327 — 36 taxpayers paid £2. 0s. 3d. (includes Friston) 1524 — 34 taxpayers paid £2. 16s.
  • 1603 — 124 adults
  • 1674 — 37 households
  • 1676 — Not recorded
  • 1801 — 402 inhabitants
  • 1831 — 514 inhabitants
  • 1851 — 576 inhabitants
  • 1871 — 546 inhabitants
  • 1901 — 529 inhabitants
  • 1931 — 603 inhabitants
  • 1951 — 557 inhabitants
  • 1971 — 590 inhabitants
  • 1981 — 541 inhabitants

10. Benefice: Vicarage (with Friston)

1254 Valued £4.13s.4d.
1291 Valued £4.13s.4d.
1535 Valued £5. 5s. 7½d.
1603 Vicarage valued £5. 5s. 7½d. Incumbent also holds Freston
1831 No glebe house. Gross income £194 p.a. (curates
stipend included with Aldeburgh) Incumbent also holds
Vicarage of Aldeburgh
1844 2 acres joint glebe
Vicarial tithes commuted for £124. 4s. 9d. p.a. (1848)
1891 Incumbent resides rent free at Snape House. 2 acres
glebe at Friston and ½ acre glebe in Snape
1912 Joint nett value £195 with residence
Patrons: R.H.W. Vyse (1831), Col. T.H. Vyse (1844), H.H. Howard-Vyse (1891)
Commander F.C.U. Vernon-Wentworth (1912)

11. Church: St. John Baptist


Chancel, nave, S.porch, W.tower
1086 Church + 8 acres, valued 16d.
12thcent. Door jambs to blocked N.door
circa 1300 Traces in nave and chancel
14th/15th cent. Main structure
1597 Chancel decayed in thatching
1643/44 Pruitanical Vandals (William Dowsing) destroyed 4 popish pictures and took up 4 brass inscriptions
1864/1905 Restorations
Seats: 300 (1915)

11a. Other religious institutions: Priory Blessed Virgin Mary For Benedictine Monks

1099 Manor of Snape given to Abbot and Convent of St. John, Colchester.
Priory was cell of that Abbey
1155 Cell complete
14th cent. Pope granted independency. Disputed by Henry IV.
Priory continued as cell of Colchester
1508 Cell of Butley Priory for one year only
1524 Granted to Cardinal Wolsey
1525 Dissolved
1535 Valued £99. 1s. 11½d.
Situated to west of Snape Bridge.
Some remains visible
‘snape Priory’. Victoria County History Vol. II p.79/80
Illustration of Seal. Victoria County History Vo. ll p.72

12. Nonconformity etc:

Primitive Methodist chapel built (1862)

13. Manorial:

Snape Manor

1066 Manor of 4 carucates held by Edric of Laxfield
1086 Manor of 4 carucates belonging to Robert Malet and held by Walter
circa 1099 William Martel gave the manor to St. John at Colchester for the foundation of Snape Priory (which did not occur until 1155) (linked to Aldeburgh and Bedingfield)
Circa 1524 Granted to Cardinal Wolsey (linked to numerous manors throughout Suffolk)
1533 Thomas, Duke of Norflk owns (linked to numerous manors throughout Suffolk)

14. Manorial (cont’d): Snape Manor (cont’d):

Circa 1791 William Wentworth owns (linked to Friston)

1909 T.F.C. Vernon-Wentworth owns (linked to Friston, Haslewood and Aldeburgh)



No date John Okolte owns
1431 William de la Pole owns (linked to Aspall, Cotton,
early 18th cent. Debenham, Dagworth, Wattisfield and Creeting St. Olave) Sir Henry Johnson
circa 1791 William Wentworth owns (absorbed by main manor)
1408 Michael de la Pole owns (linked to numberous manors throughout Suffolk)
1405 William Worstade owns, gave to Snape Priory (absorbed by main manor)
No date Robert de Rising owns
1428 William de la Pole owns (absorbed by Courtlets)
Believed to have followed same course as Tastards
Snape Hall
circa 1352 Nicholas Launce owns

15. Markets/Fairs

1618/19 Fair held on 15th August and Our First Lady in Harvest
1792 Fair held on August 11th
1805 Fair held on 11th August for horses
1844 Large horse fair held at Snape Bridge on 11th August
(also called Dunningworth Fair)
1891 Fair on August 11th, obsolete by (1908)

16. Real property:

1844 £1,191 rental value
1891 £2,123 rateable value
1912 £1,817 rateable value

17. Land ownership:

1844/1891 Land sub-divided
1912 Commander F.C.U. Vernon-Wentworth, principal owner

18. Resident gentry:

1912 Rev. F.G. Cliff B.A., H.F. Fox M.A. and G.H. Garrett J.P.

19. Occupations:

1500–1549 2 yeomen
1550–1599 3 yeomen, 2 husbandmen, 1 carpenter, 1 spinster
1600–1649 5 yeomen, 2 blacksmiths, 6 husbandmen, 1 glasier, 1
carpenter, 1 petty chapman, 1 inn holder
1650–1699 3 yeomen, 1 blacksmith, 2 husbandmen, 1 smith
1831 77 in agriculture, 32 in retail trade, 1 professional, 16 in
labouring, 12 in domestic service, 4 others
1844 1700 quarters of barley shipped to Garrett warehouse in
Snape yearly, mainly for the London market. Cattle
dealer, wheelwright, blacksmith, farrier, corn/coal
merchant, book-keeper, pilot, joiner/builder, victualler,
schoolmaster, glover, brickmaker, butcher, 4
boot/shoemakers, 2 corn millers, 12 farmers, 3
grocer/drapers, 2 whiting manufacturers, whafinger
1912 Sub-postmaster, schoolmaster, station master, rabbit
warrener, gamekeeper, 2 shopkeepers, 6 farmers,
grocer/draper, photographer, 2 farm foremen, miller,
carrier, blacksmith/farmer, miller, brick/tile manufacturer,
pork butcher, publican, midwife/district nurse, beer
retailer/grocer, cowkeeper

20. Education:

1818 1 day school (13 attend), 1 dames school (20 attend)
1833 3 daily schools (14 attend)
1844 Schoolmaster recorded
School built (1836) near to church by William Long,
enlarged (1881), 180 attend (1891)
Public Elementary school built (1905) as memorial to
Newson and Louisa Garrett, average attendance (1912)


20. Poor relief:

1776 £36. 0s. 8d. spent on poor relief
1803 £190. 8s. 5½d. spent on poor relief
1818 £761. 18s. spent on poor relief
1830 £514. 7s. spent on poor relief
1832 £574. 7s. spent on poor relief
1834 £603. 6s. spent on poor relief

21. Charities:

Lambert’s Charity

1802 by Codicil of Rev. John Lambert: Interest on £200 distributed among those not receiving parochial relief at Christmas

22. Other institutions:

1776 Workhouse (20 inmates)
Village Hall built (1923)

23. Recreation:

1642 Inn holder recorded
1844 Crown Inn public house
1912 Crown Inn public house and beer retailer

24. Personal:

Newson Garrett (circa 1812-1894): began melting business at Snape (1854) and built the Maltings. His home was in Aldeburgh but during the period of winter malting he lived in Snape.

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976): composer, founder of the Aldeburgh Festival. Lived at Snape Mill (1942-1947)

A.J. Swinburne: resident of Snape (20th cent.), former H.M. Inspector of

Schools. Author of ‘Memories of a School Inspector’

25. Other information:

The Maltings: built in ‘functional’ tradition of red and yellow brick with white weatherboarding. 4 hoists. Oldest portion was on quay side Dates (1859, 1884, 1885 and 1952)

Original building erected (1812093) for Newson Garrett. Converted to concert hall for Aldeburgh Festival (1966/67) Restoration after severe fire (1969/70)

‘Snape Maltings Concert Hall – the Next Step’ (1970’s)

Barrow: survivor of group of approximately 6 such barrows. 3 were excavated (1840 and 1863)

Ship burial found few yards from surviving barrow. ‘Snape Tumuli’. Victoria County History Vol.I p.628

Illustrations and excavation notes of Snape ship burial. Victoria County History Vol.l p.326-329

Illustration of cinerary urn found at Snape. Victoria County History Vol.l p.267

‘The Snape Boat-grave’ by R.L.S. Bruce-Mitford. PSIA Vol.XXVI p.1

‘Snape: The Short History of a Suffolk Village’ by R.A. Irving (1948)

Snape Bridge demolished (1959)

‘Over Snape Bridge’ by R. Simper (1967)

Snape Quay is actually in the parish of Tunstall

‘Antiquities on Snape Common’. Proceedings of Society of Antiquaries 2nd Series II p.177

‘Anglo-Saxon Cremation Burials from Snape’ by S.E. West and E. Owles. PSIA Vol. XXXIII p.47

Snape manor held a water mill and rabbit warren (1530)

Frame of barn at Abbey Farm dates from (14th cent.)

Area known as Gromford/Grumford has also been called Caldwell Green, Cordial Green and Cundle Green.

Lords Demsne lands were divided up as 30% pasture/fen, 7% meadow, 21% close, 21% wood and 21% unspecified. Suggested reconstruction of these lands is on p.216 PSIA Vol.XXXXV

‘The Shaggy Man of Snape’ by C.R. Elliott. East Anglian Magazine Vol. 40 (November 1980) p. 36

Posted in History.