Suffolk has something more than the coziness of Kent and Surrey. There is a hint of wildness in its tamed beauty, and the tang of the North Sea is never far away.
The county of Suffolk (meaning ‘southern folk’) was formed from the south part of the kingdom of East Anglia which had been settled by the Angles in the latter half of the 5th century. The most important Anglo-Saxon settlements appear to have been made at Sudbury and Ipswich. Before the end of the Norman dynasty, strongholds had arisen at Eye, Clare, Walton and Framlingham. The boundary of the county has undergone very little change, though its area has been considerably affected by coastal erosion. Under the Local Government Act of 1888 Suffolk was divided into the two administrative counties of East and West Suffolk.
In 1974, East Suffolk, West Suffolk, and Ipswich were merged to form the unified county of Suffolk, with several districts: Babergh, Forest Heath, Ipswich, Mid Suffolk, St Edmundsbury, Suffolk Coastal, and Waveney. There has been some discussion of unitary authorities, but none have been created.
Flatford Mill is a Grade I listed watermill, built in 1733, on the River Stour at East Bergholt, in Dedham Vale. The mill is attached to a 17th-century miller’s cottage which is also Grade I listed. The mill was owned by John Constable’s father and it and the surrounding area are the subject of many of Constable’s art works.
The mill is located downstream from Bridge Cottage which, along with neighbouring Valley Farm and Willy Lott’s Cottage, are owned by the National Trust but leased to the Field Studies Council, a group that uses them as locations for arts, ecology and natural history based courses.
Pin Mill is a hamlet on the south bank of the tidal River Orwell, on the Shotley peninsula in southern Suffolk. It lies within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is a designated Conservation Area. It is now generally known for the historic Butt and Oyster public house, and for sailing.
It was once a busy landing point for ship-borne cargo, a centre for the repair of Thames sailing barges and home to many small industries such as sail making, a maltings (now a workshop) and a brickyard. The east coast has a long history of smuggling, in which Pin Mill and the Butt and Oyster pub allegedly played key parts.