Aldeburgh and Southwold are now very much delightful, fashionable coastal towns, set amid Suffolk’s flat farming country, but in the eighteenth century the poet George Crabbe, a native and local clergyman, characterised the poverty wrought by Suffolk’s ruined agricultural economy in his poem ‘The Village’. Today’s residents and visitors walk not only in the steps of Crabbe but also in those ranging from the novelist Thomas Hardy to the explorer and Arabist C. M. Doughty. The Tudor and Jacobean holiday village of Thorpeness, dating from the 1920s, contrasts with the all-but-vanished village of Dunwich, with nine parish churches covered by the sea. Francis Drake’s Golden Hindwas built in Aldeburgh, and the Battle of Sole Bay took place off Southwold. Aldeburgh was also a place where women’s entry into medicine and female suffrage took significant steps. At Blythburgh is the ‘cathedral of the marshes’; at Wenhaston a medieval doom painting; while at Framlingham are the tombs of the Howard family, which include that of an illegitimate son of Henry VIII.
The picturesque corridor from Aldeburgh to Southwold disguises a significant and volatile history that ebbed and flowed like the sea that has shaped it. Fully illustrated, this book delves beneath the surface to discover the area’s lesser-known tales.