Alde Valley Suffolk Family History Group


LOCAL HEROES (and a very few villains)

For the Garrett Family, also see here.


links so annotated lead initially to another page on this website for further selections


Rædwald (c.560-c.624): c.599: King of the East Angles;  c.616: E.Anglia's only Bretwalda ("high king" of Britain);  likely occupant of Sutton Hoo (NT) burial ship

St Edmund the Martyr (c.841-869): Anglo-Saxon Chronicle claims him as King of the East Angles; martyred by Danish Great Heathen Army; inspired our flag

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (1473-1530): b.Ipswich; as Henry VIII's Chief Minister, opposed the King's divorce from Catherine of Aragon; built Hampton Court

Thomas Seckford (1515-1587) of Woodbridge, philanthropist; advisor to Elizabeth I; financed first atlas of England & Wales (first-ever atlas of a country) ☞map

Sir Thomas Cavendish (1560–92), "The Navigator": b.Trimley St Martin, Felixstowe; privateer; 1585: Roanoke Colony; 1586-88: 1st deliberate circumnavigator

Bartholomew Gosnold (1571-1607): privateer, "prime mover of the colonization of Virginia"; named Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard; founded Jamestown

Christopher Jones (c.1570-1622): important citizen of (and possibly born in) Harwich; Captain of the 1620/21 voyage of the 'first' "Mayflower"

William Dowsing (1596–1668): b. Laxfield; 1643/44: Civil War Puritan Commissioner for destruction of monuments of idolatry and superstition;  See re Snape

Matthew Hopkins (c.1620-1647): 1644-47: The "Witch Hunter Generall" during the English Civil War, commemorated at Aldeburgh Museum

Daniel Defoe né Foe (c.1660-1731): pamphleteer, spy, writer of Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders and Tour through the Eastern Counties of England, 1722

Thomas Gainsborough FRSA (1727-1788): late C18th portraitist, but also originated the British landscape school; founding member of the Royal Academy

John Frere FRS FSA (1740-1807), "who from his [Paleolithic / Old Stone Age] discoveries at Hoxne was the first to realise the immense antiquity of mankind"

George Crabbe (1754-1832) poet: The Village and The Borough (influenced Britten's Peter Grimes) ; clergyman in Parham, Gt Glemham and Rendham

Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805): born in Burnham Thorpe (Norfolk); killed during his final Napoleonic Wars victory at the Battle of Trafalgar

Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846) researched/campaigned against slavery; recruited William Wilberforce; main speaker at first World Anti-Slavery Convention

John Constable RA (1776-1837): known principally for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, now known as the "Constable Country"

Sir William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865) of Halesworth: b. Norwich; third Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883): translator of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám; buried in Boulge churchyard (three miles north of Woodbridge)

Joshua Chard "The Suffolk Hero" (1812-1875): Aldeburgh longshoreman and unlicensed pilot, who "piloted over 100 boats to safety, ... a record unsurpassed"

Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) succeeded his father William at Kew; Ross expedition on Erebus to Antarctica, etc; friend/champion of Charles Darwin

Sir Richard Wallace (1818-1890) of Sudbourne Hall: art collector of the Wallace Collection, donated to the nation in 1897, now held at his former London home

Fitzedward Hall (1825-1901) of Marlesford: American-born orientalist and linguist; major collaborator with Sir James Murray on the Oxford English Dictionary

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (1836-1917): first woman to openly gain a medical qualification in Britain; created a medical school; first woman mayor in England

Visit our «The Garretts» page, which also outlines the history of Richard Garrett & Sons and The Long Shop.

Millicent Garrett Fawcett (1847-1929): suffragist leader of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies; only female statue in Parliament Square

Philip Wilson Steer, OM (1860-1942): Professor of Painting at The Slade School of Fine Art, noted for his Impressionist paintings of Walberswick

Flora Sandes (1876–1956): the only British woman officially to serve as a soldier in WWI, as an officer of the Royal Serbian Army: View short biography

Sir Alfred James Munnings, KCVO, PRA (1878–1959): b. Mendham; best known for his equine painting; president of the Royal Academy; d. Dedham

Arthur Ransome (1884-1967): author of Swallows and Amazons  book series including We didn't mean to go to Sea, connected with Pin Mill on the Orwell

Cecil Howard Lay FRIBA (1885-1956) of Aldringham: poet, painter; innovative architect of local buildings incl Aldringham Baptist Church - watch documentary

Margery Spring Rice née Garrett (1887-1970): "Pioneer of Women's Health in the Early Twentieth Century": for biography see our Ref-ID "BIO MS RICE"

Basil Brown (1888-1977) in 1939 made "one of the most important archaeological discoveries", the C7th Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo — now NT

George Orwell (1903-1950): author of Nineteen EIghty-Four and Animal Farm, lived in Southwold and commemorated in a mural at the pier there

George Ewart Evans (1909–1988) of Blaxhall: writer, collector of oral history and the oral tradition of E.Anglia (including "Ask The Fellows Who Cut The Hay")

Dr Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (1910-1994) of Beccles: Nobel Prize winner for advanced X-ray crystallography, leading to development of synthetic penicillin

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976): Peter Grimes  and The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra ; founded Aldeburgh Festival, then Snape Maltings concert hall.
                           Besides the WIkipedia article, there's another excellent one about his life at  Also see panel below.

☞  also visit: and  ... suffolk-women/

"Suffolk Magazine" biographies can be downloaded here of Cardinal Wolsey and Basil Brown, by local historical author Sarah Doig (articles 6 & 3 respectively)





Read here about his home in Snape's Old Mill, 1937-47.

Read here about Maggi Hambling's "Scallop",
commemorating Britten's opera "Peter Grimes" (1945).

See photos of him at home in Aldeburgh in the 1960's.


image by Benhall artist Jenny Toombs (1940-2018),
who also designed the title banner
for our local "Ebb and Flow" magazine




also click on either image









Roger Bigod, 2nd Earl of Norfolk (1143-1221) — builder of Framlingham Castle, and a leading baron forcing King John's assent to Magna Carta

Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk (1473-1554) — uncle of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard (both beheaded); was due for execution too when Henry VIII died in 1547

"Bloody" Mary I (1516-1558) — daughter of Henry VIII by Catherine of Aragon;  1553: declared Queen at Framlingham to oust Lady Jane Grey (the "Nine Days' Queen"), thereby becoming England's first undisputed "queen regnant"; oversaw the Counter-Reformation 

"Veritas temporis filia" — "Truth is the daughter of time"