History of BoS

A Short History of Business in Saxmundham

The Market Charter was originally granted in 1272 by Henry III to John de Rammeseye. The Charter was for a Thursday market and an annual three day fair. The medieval market would have extended towards the area of the present railway station. A pillory was owned by Hannah Dowsing and was demolished in 1830.

The present Bell Hotel was built in 1842 on a site which has been occupied as an inn for centuries. The original cellars still exist beneath the present hotel. The inn formerly had stabling for 40 horses, six acres of pasture and a chaise house.

Perhaps the Bell’s most prestigious visitor was King George II who came to Saxmundham in January 1737. Having landed in Lowestoft at noon, he arrived at the Bell at 7pm where the party changed horses. It took another four hours to reach Ipswich.

The coming of the railway in 1859 caused the decline of Saxmundham as a centre of coach travel but gave the town regular travel services to London and Yarmouth, with a branch line to Leiston and Aldeburgh - and easier carriage of produce. The line operates a regular service from Lowestoft via Saxmundham to Ipswich and on to London. The average journey time between Saxmundham and London Liverpool Street is 1 hour 58 minutes; the first train leaving at 07:13.

Since the town was bypassed in 1987 it has become a more pleasant place for shopping. Most of the buildings in the High Street and Market Place are much older than their present shop fronts.

The opening of Fromus Square in 2004 has given Saxmundham a new focal point and a long awaited war memorial.

Why not visit Saxmundham Museum for more information on our town? It is situated just before the railway bridge and is open each morning (except Sunday) from 10am-1pm from the beginning of April to the end of September, admission free.