Needham Market

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About Needham Market

A small town sited on the bank of the river Gipping, which originated as a hamlet of the settlement of Barking. It appears on John Speed's 1610 map as "Nedeham". The long main street has many fine timbered buildings; look for the carved angel cornerpost on the former Bull inn. The parish church has no graveyard; the dead were taken along an old footpath (called the Causeway or "corpseway") for burial at Barking. The church roof is a remarkable piece of medieval carpentry. In 1755 Rev Joseph Priestley, better known as the discoverer of oxygen, was the preacher at the Congregational chapel.

Needham suffered from several outbreaks of the plague during the 17th century which destroyed it as a centre of the woollen cloth industry. The name Chainhouse Road is a grim reminder of the chain stretched across the main road to isolate the village at that time.

The railway station is still in use and was designed in 1846 by Frederick Barnes; it overlooks Station Lake. This expanse of water was formed when gravel was extracted to build the by-pass (now the A14) in the early 1970s. A pleasant picnic area has since been created on its edge.

At least two watermills operated in Needham Market: Bosmere Mill stands on the Coddenham Road and Hawk's Mill on Hawksmill Road.


Some historical information from English Heritage's National Monuments Record.