Beccles shown within Suffolk
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Beccles is a market town and civil parish in the Waveney District of the English county of Suffolk. The town is shown on the milestone as 109 miles (175 km) from London via the A145 Blythburgh and A12 road, 98 miles (158 km) northeast of London as the crow flies, 16 miles (26 km) southeast of Norwich, and 33 miles (53 km) north northeast of the county town of Ipswich. Nearby towns include Lowestoft to the east and Great Yarmouth to the northeast. The town lies on the River Waveney on the edge of The Broads National Park.
The name is conjectured to be derived from Becc-Liss* (Brittonic=Small-court). However, also offered is Bece-laes* (Old English=Meadow by Stream). Once a flourishing Saxon riverport, it lies in the Waveney valley and is a popular boating centre. The town was granted its Charter in 1584 by Elizabeth I.
Long associated with Beccles (including recent mayors) is the Peck family. Among those Pecks who have made a place in history is the Rev. Robert Peck, described by Blomfield in his history of Norfolk as a man with a 'violent schismatic spirit' who led a movement within the church of St Andrews in nearby Hingham, Norfolk, in opposition to the established Anglicanism of the day. The Puritan Peck was eventually forced to flee to Hingham, Massachusetts, founded by many members of his parish, where he resided for several years, until King Charles I had been executed and Oliver Cromwell had taken the reins of government. Robert Peck then elected to return to Hingham, Norfolk, and resumed as rector of St Andrews Church. He died in Hingham but left descendants in America, including his brother Joseph Peck, who settled in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
In 1794, François-René de Chateaubriand, while in exile, taught here French language and literature. He fell in love with Charlotte Ives, daughter of Bungay's reverend (CF : First part of Les Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe, book 10, chapter 9 "Charlotte")
Under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 the borough was reformed, Beccles retaining municipal borough status until the reorganisation of local government in 1974, when it was merged with surrounding authorities to become Waveney District. The successor civil parish has adopted town status.
Buildings and industry
There is an 18th-century octagonal Town Hall.
Beccles Museum is housed in Leman House, a Grade I listed building and has a collection of agricultural, industrial and domestic items, including collections of tools, boat building, printing, costumes and natural history.
The townscape is dominated by the detached sixteenth-century bell tower (known as the Beccles bell tower) of St Michael's church. Like the main body of the church, the tower is Perpendicular Gothic in style and is 97 ft tall. The interior of the church was badly damaged by fire in 1586. It has a 13th-century font.
The tower is not attached to the church and at the wrong end of the church as the correct end would be too close to a large cliff.
It was at this church in 1749 that the mother of Horatio Nelson, Catherine Suckling, married the Reverend Edmund Nelson (a former curate of Beccles). The Suffolk poet George Crabbe married Sarah Elmy at Beccles church in the 18th century.
Beccles Airport is located 2.3 miles (3.7 km) southeast of the town.
Until 1960 the Beccles to Yarmouth Railway ran across the marshes. The town is still served by Beccles railway station on the Ipswich-Lowestoft East Suffolk Line. Today it can be reached by the A146 road.
Many of the modern streets have the suffix 'gate'; for example, Hulvergate, Smallgate and Blyburgate. This is derived from the Old Norse for "street", and is similar to the modern Danish word.gade
Future transport plans
|Proposer||Suffolk County Council|
|Cost estimate||£3.5 million (2006)|
Suffolk County Council has revealed they would like to construct a southern link road for Beccles. The scheme was estimated to cost £3.5 million in 2006 which was not enough to qualify a major transport scheme so Suffolk County Council and Waveney District Council are looking elsewhere to find funding. The reasons given for this scheme are to improve transport links to Ellough Industrial Estate and to facilitate regeneration of the market town of Beccles.
Beccles rail loop
|Cost estimate||£1–4 million|
The Beccles rail loop (now completed) has been designed to allow trains to pass each other on a previously singled section of rail track (between Lowestoft and Halesworth). One face of the disused island platform has been rebuilt, and track relaid so that trains may pass each other, and this allowing for an hourly service on the East Suffolk line, instead of the former two-hourly one. The works were tied in with the line resignalling. The hourly service is to start with the December 8th 2012 Timetable The station is also being adopted under a Network Rail scheme aiming to improve the station site.
Beccles is home to 759 (Beccles) Air Cadets, who take part in a variety of activities such as flying and gliding, expeditions and sports. Beccles Air Cadets play a small role in the community by assisting organisations and activities such as the Beccles Carnival.
Beccles' main football team is Beccles Town F.C., established in 1919. As of the 2012–13 season, they are members of the Anglian Combination Premier Division. Beccles also has a football team called Beccles Caxton.
The annual Beccles Carnival and Family Fun weekend is held during the third weekend in August.
- William Fiske, goalkeeper for Blackpool
- Chris Martin, forward for Norwich City
- Fearless Vampire Killers (band), death pop/punk 5-piece that have been signed by record labels Goremount and PIAS Recordings.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Beccles.|
- OS Explorer Map OL40: The Broads: (1:25 000) : ISBN 0 319 24086 X.
- An Account of the Beccles Fen in the County of Suffolk, with a Translation of Their Charter, Drawn up in the Year 1807 for the use of the Corporation, 1826
- "Peck, Robert". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- The Nonconformist's Memorial: Being An Account of the Ministers, Who Were Ejected or Silenced After the Restoration, Samuel Palmer, London, 1775.
- History of the Town of Hingham, Massachusetts, Thomas Tracy Bouve, 1893
- A Genealogical History of the Descendants of Joseph Peck Who Emigrated with His Family to This Country in 1638, Ira Ballou Peck, 1868
- Old Houses of the Antient Town of Norwich (Conn.), 1660–1800, Mary Elizabeth Perkins, 1895
- "Suffolk Local Transport Plan 2006–11". Suffolk County Council. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- Ellough Park Raceway
- Michael Joyce (2004). Football League Players' Records 1888–1939. SoccerData. p. 90. ISBN 1-899468-67-6.
- Martin's profile at Canaries.co.uk
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