Talks and Walks

Details of the talks and walks offered by Suffolk Record Office

All talks are £5.50 per person, walks are £5.00 per person.  Please note that the talks should be booked in advance through the relevant branch.  Contact Suffolk Record Office for further information.


Palaeography Taster Session

Dr Kate Jewell

Tuesday 9 September 9.30am Ipswich

Have you ever wanted to read old handwriting? Have you been researching your family history and need to find that missing relative in Latin parish registers? Come and try your hand at reading a Latin court roll with the help of an expert, it is easier than you think! If you enjoy this session why not sign up for Kate and John's ten week palaeography courses?

Old Cupola - The High House of an Apothecary

Dr Pat Murrell

Saturday 20 September 10.00am Bury St Edmunds 

Known from Victorian times as "Cupola" what was a fine Grade 1 listed building in the centre of Bury St Edmunds was destroyed by fire in June 2012. This talk considers the original late Stuart property, its fabric, layout, furnishings and occupancy by one of Bury's leading families - the Macros.

Location, location, location in eighteenth century Bury St Edmunds

Dr Pat Murrell

Saturday 27 September 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

Using the Warren town maps and contemporary illustrations this classroom "walkabout" explores the fashionable and unfashionable areas of Georgian Suffolk's second largest town in terms of population, but first in social ranking.


"What shall we do with our bastard, orphan, delinquent and pauper children ?" (Mary Carpenter, 1851)

Clive Paine

Saturday 4 October 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

This talk outlines the attempts made to care for problem children in the Victorian period. Institutions and organisations included the workhouse, reformatories, ragged schools, orphanages and emigration societies. The pioneering work of Mary Carpenter of Bristol inspired the formation of the Kerrison Reformatory at Thorndon in Suffolk.

Suffolk Witchcraft Trials of 1645

Clive Paine

Saturday 11 October 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

This talk investigates the belief in witchcraft in the Tudor and Stuart periods; the role of Matthew Hopkins, the "Witchfinder General"; and why most of the accused were women. Using documents and illustrations Clive will examine Hopkin's methods of extracting confessions, the range of charges and trials of the accused and the fate of the eighteen men and women tried at Bury St Edmunds in August 1645.

The Sport of Kings: Newmarket during the reigns of James I and Charles I

John Sutton

Saturday 18 October 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

Under the early Stuart Kings Newmarket's gradual transformation from a small market town into the nation's sporting capital got under way. Hare-coursing, hawking, horse-racing and a variety of other games all took place in Newmarket's hinterland, especially on its famous heath. A special hunting lodge was built in the town by James 1 as a base for these manifold sporting activities and this will form the focal point from which we will explore what an eighteenth century writer called "the English Olympus".

The Long Great War: family legacies

Mike Roper

Saturday 18 October 10.30am Ipswich

Although peace was formally declared in 1918, the impact of the First World War on survivors and their families reverberated across the twentieth century. This talk is about the family legacies of the conflict. Based on oral history interviews with children of returned soldiers, born after 1918 and now in their late eighties and nineties, it describes how the First World War was present in the settings of home and family life between wars.

Bury St Edmunds in Victorian Photographs

Clive Paine

Saturday 25 October 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

Come with our Town Guide as we step back in time to visit streets, buildings and churches of Bury. Using photographs from the 1860s to the early 1900s, including images from the Clarke-Spanton Jarman collection, we relive some of the events and discover some of the changes brought to the streets of Bury.

Bonfires and Bells: festivity and the landscape in Medieval Suffolk

Dr Kate Jewell

Saturday 25 October 10.30am Ipswich

Many people in Medieval Suffolk were dependent upon the agricultural landscape. Using fifteenth and sixteenth-century documents, this talk explores the ways in which they used festivals and rituals to protect the landscape and ensure its ongoing fertility. It also explores how important festivity and rituals were for legal issues concerned with landscape.


Charity Schools in Suffolk

Clive Paine

Saturday 1 November 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

Charity schools proliferated after the founding of the SPCK in 1699. Using records from local schools in Bury, Ipswich and Ampton we will investigate the motivation for the wealthy to establish schools for children of the poor, how the schools were financed, the mixed curriculum, teaching materials and methods and the career prospects of the pupils.

We have our King again, our laws again, and Parliaments again - the Restoration of Charles II

Dr Deidre Heavens

Saturday 1 November 10.30am Ipswich

With the return of monarchy in 1660 came the attempt to restore the old political and religious order to its position on the eve of the first English Civil War. Using surviving town and parish records this talk will explore what was happening in Suffolk during the late 1650s and early 1660s.

Introduction to Suffolk Record Office

Louise Kennedy

Friday 7 November 10.00am Ipswich

Through this talk you will be introduced to the work of Suffolk Record Office and the origins of Ipswich collections. Knowledgeable staff will walk you through the searchroom and give you a guided tour of the strongroom. You will have the opportunity to look through specially selected archives.

Small Beer: beer and brewing in Georgian Suffolk

Dr Pat Murrell

Saturday 8 November 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

Brewed on a small, medium and large scale, beer retained its position at this time as the national drink - seeing off the gin menace, and yet to be eclipsed by tea. Based on a range of sources, this talk highlights the Georgian origins of the Cobbold and Greene King commercial breweries as well as production at the domestic level, and by local publican brewers.

Mutiny and Rebellion: the Jacobite Cause

John Sutton

Saturday 8 November 10.30am Ipswich

Few people today realise that Ipswich witnessed the first Jacobite rebellion. In March 1689 a Scottish infantry regiment - the famous Royal Scots - mutinied after hearing an inflammatory sermon by a rabid nonjuring clergyman called Thomas Alexander at St Mary-at-the-Tower. They rampaged through the streets of Ipswich proclaiming their Jacobite loyalties to the recently deposed James II. What happended next ?

St Edmund - King of East Anglia and Patron Saint

Clive Paine

Saturday 15 November 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

Edmund, King of East Anglia, was martyred for his faith in 869. His head was guarded by a wolf, then reunited with his body and buried nearby. When exhumed c.903 he had not decomposed and the head and body were one again. He was moved to Bedericesworth, where c.1030 King Cnut built a stone church and established a monastery to honour the saint. The abbey grew to be one of the largest and wealthiest in England and Bury became one of the major pilgrim destinations. This talk examines the closing events of Edmund's life, his death.

Life in late Stuart and Georgian Suffolk

Dr Pat Murrell

Saturday 22 November 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

A look at some of the county's people, places and events through a wide range of documentary sources and contemporary illustrations in the company of a historian who has studied the subject for several decades.


A Victorian Christmas in Suffolk

Clive and Christine Paine

Saturday 6 December 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

Illustrated by lantern slides, extracts from local newspapers, advertisements and readings from Suffolk authors and Charles Dickens, Clive and Christine give a dramatic performance in Victorian costumes (made by Christine) tracing the components of a real Victorian Christmas.

Bookings should be sent to the relevant branch of the
Suffolk Record Office.