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.


Naughty Newmarket

John Sutton

Saturday 24 January 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

Explore the Newmarket scene under the play-boy King, whose new palace was notable as royal brothel, infamous gambling den, and venue for riotous banquets. Discover the dare-devil exploits of his courtiers "the Wicked Earl" of Rochester and Beau Fielding, and the intrigues of his mistresses, the Duchesses of Mazarin and Portsmouth and witty, pretty Nell Gwynne.

Shop Till You Drop:Late Stuart and Georgian Style!

Dr Pat Murrell

Saturday 31 January 10.00 am Bury St Edmunds

In this consideration of shops, shopkeepers, and stock, hear how fashionable Georgian 'bow' windows and increased advertising tempted customers to buy in a new age of commercialisation and consumerism. Step back in time and enjoy the thrill of perusing the goods, whilst keeping most of your money in your pocket.


Bury St Edmunds in the Era of Magna Carta:1215

Clive Paine

Saturday 7 February 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

This talk examines the state of of the town and Abbey of Bury during the reign of King John (1199-1216). Before signing the Magna Carta , England had been excommunicated 1209-13, and the Abbey had been without an Abbot since 1211. The new Abbot was confirmed by John at Runnymede a few days before the signing. Following Magna Carta, a civil war broke out between John and the Barons, the latter aided by Prince Louis of France, who claimed to have stolen the body of St. Edmund.

"Upon his oath deposeth and sayeth that ......": Depositions from sixteenth century Ipswich Petty Court cases

Dr Deidre Heavens

Saturday 7 February 10.30am Ipswich

Two late sixteenth century books of Depositions survive in the Ipswich Borough Archives. These witness testimonies, given before the Ipswich Bailiffs, often provide a more lively account of cases listed in the formal court records. This talk will explore the financial disputes, maritime mishaps, and social misdemeanours recorded within these Depositions.

Great Historical British Bake Off

Dr Pat Murrell

Saturday 14 February 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

A consideration of late Stuart and Georgian cooks, cook books and feasts. Including manuscripts and printed recipe collections, this visual and verbal slice of history also comes with the opportunity to sample a few 'edible' documents - at our own risk !

Pevsner's Suffolk:1957-2015

Dr James Bettley

Saturday 21 February 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

Nikolaus Pevsner visited Suffolk in the summer of 1957, to prepare his guide to the county's architecture as part of his "Buildings of England" series. In this talk Dr. James Bettley, who for eight years has been working on a new edition of Pevsner's guide, explains the process behind the Pevsners, and explores the differences between the old and new editions.

Textile Manufacture in Medieval Suffolk

Prof. Mark Bailey

Saturday 21 February 10.30am Ipswich

The fabulous 'wool' churches of south Suffolk were nothing of the sort: they were actually constructed on the back of a hugely successful woollen textile manufacturing industry, which expanded rapidly in the later Middle Ages. This talk and seminar explores this momentous phase in Suffolk's history, through consideration of what happened, why it happened, and the sources available to the historian.

In and Out of the Workhouse and Prison:Two juvenile delinquents in mid-Victorian Bury.

Clive Paine

Saturday 28 February 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

Mary Ann Knott came from Ixworth and Jane Long from Great Barton. These friends spent most of their teens in either the Thingoe Union Workhouse or the Prison in Bury St Edmunds. This talk reconstructs their lives from documentary sources and examines the institutions and legal system that attempted to cope with these two unconventional and unrepentant young women.


Introduction to Suffolk Record Office

Louise Kennedy

Friday 6 March 10.30am 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.


'King Charles II slept here': the great country houses visited by the Merry Monarch around Newmarket, 1666-1684

John Sutton

Saturday 7 March 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

Whilst visiting Newmarket Charles II made regular progresses to the homes of prominent courtiers. Audley End, Little Saxham Manor, Euston Hall, Chippenham Park and Cheveley House were all visited by the Merry Monarch, whose licentious behaviour gave rise to much gossip. This lecture will follow the perigrinations of this portable King and explore the background of his hosts and their resplendent mansions.


'A fayre garden....very plesaunte for prospect" Suffolk Gardens before 1650

Edward Martin

Saturday 7 March 10.30am Ipswich

An exploration of how the evidence to be found in documents and maps can be combined with actual physical remains in the landscape of today to bring alive the gardens of the past. Suffolk's early garden heritage is surprisingly rich and varied and includes examples of national significance.


Health of the Nation

Gary Gascoyne

Saturday 14 March 10.30am Ipswich

We are used to good healthcare in the modern age. For much of our history though, this was not the case! Plagued ( literally) by mysterious disease, inexplicable illness, lack of knowledge about how the human body worked, quackery and ignorance, life itself was a dangerous journey where few reached their fifties! Gary will trace the progress of medical care from the Stone Age to the present. A story of faith, filth, superstition and folklore to discovery, enlightenment, science and government involvement.


The Queen, the Duke and the Cardinal in 1515

Clive Paine

Saturday 11 April 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

In 1515 Mary Tudor, Dowager Queen of France, married Charles Brandon the Duke of Suffolk. They incurred the wrath of her brother, King Henry VIII for marrying without his permission. Cardinal Wolsey negotiated their reconciliation with Henry, in exchange for humiliation and vast sums of money. Later the same year Wolsey began building his Palace at Hampton Court and in Suffolk, his magnificent house at Westhorpe near Stowmarket.

Thomas Gainsborough and Gainsborough House

Mark Bills

Saturday 25 April 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

This talk will explore the life and art of Suffolk's greatest artist, Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788). Presented by Gainsborough House's current curator Mark Bills ( previously curator at Watts Gallery, Museum of London and Russell-Cotes Art Gallery), it will also discuss the past, present and future of the artist's childhood home in Sudbury.


Napoleon,Waterloo and Suffolk

Clive Paine

Saturday 9 May 10.00am Bury St Edmunds

In 1815 Napoleon was finally defeated at Waterloo and accounts of the battle were written by Suffolk men who either took part, or later visited the site. General Sir Henry Bunbury of Great Barton was ordered to inform Napoleon of his exile to St Helena, while Capel Lofft of Troston objected to Napoleon being sentenced without trial, quoting Magna Carta. In Suffolk, the war led to agricultural depression, rioting and machine breaking.

Springtime in the Park: Guided Walk

Ivan Bunn

Sunday 17 May 11.00am Lowestoft

Come and explore the parks of north Lowestoft, finding out more about The Sparrows Nest, Belle Vue and Denes Oval, led by Ivan Bunn, our local historian.


Kirkley Byways:Guided Walk

Ivan Bunn

Sunday 19 July 11.00am Lowestoft

A new guided walk around historic South Lowestoft, taking in interesting features of Kirkley and led by Ivan Bunn.

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