Beccles is a market town in Suffolk, England, within an area known as The Broads. It had an estimated population of 9,850 in mid 2005. The town is shown on the milestone as 109 miles from London via the A145 Blythburgh and A12 road. Worlingham is a suburb of Beccles. The combined population of Beccles and Worlingham is estimated at 13,580. Beccles is twinned with Petit-Couronne in France.


Once a flourishing Saxon riverport, it lies in the Waveney valley and is a popular boating centre. The town was granted its Charter in 1584 by Elizabeth I.

Sir John Leman (died 1632) was a tradesman from Beccles who became Lord Mayor of London.

Long associated with Beccles (including recent mayors) is the Peck family. Among those Pecks who have made a place in history are the Rev. Robert Peck, described by Blomfield in his history of Norfolk as a man with a 'violent schismatic spirit' who led a movement within the church of St. Andrews in nearby Hingham, Norfolk, in opposition to the established Anglicanism of the day. The Puritan Peck was eventually forced to flee to Hingham, Massachusetts, founded by many members of his parish, where he resided for several years, until King Charles I had been executed and Oliver Cromwell had taken the reins of government. At that time, Robert Peck elected to return to Hingham, Norfolk, and resumed his pastorship of St. Andrews Church. He died in Hingham but left descendants in America, as well as his brother Joseph Peck, who settled in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.


The townscape is dominated by the detached sixteenth-century bell tower (known as the Beccles bell tower) of St. Michael's church. Like the main body of the church, the tower is Perpendicular Gothic in style and is 97ft tall. The interior of the church was badly damaged by fire in 1586. It has a 13th century font.

The tower is also not attached to the church and at the wrong end of the church as the correct end would be too close to a large cliff.

It was at this church in 1749 that the mother of Horatio Nelson, Catherine Suckling, married the Reverend Edmund Nelson (a former curate of Beccles). The Suffolk poet George Crabbe married Sarah Elmy at Beccles church in the 18th century.

Buildings and industry

There is an unusual 18th century octagonal Town Hall.

Beccles Museum is housed in Leman House, a Grade I listed building and has a collection of agricultural, industrial and domestic items, including collections of tools, boat building, printing, costumes and natural history.

Roos Hall is said to be the most haunted house in England.

Beccles has strong connections with the printing trade. The firm of William Clowes was once the town's biggest employer and also the largest printing firm in the world. There was a printing museum containing many examples of composing and printing equipment, now demolished to make way for a Tesco supermarket.

Nowadays the plastics industry provides most of the jobs in the Beccles area.

Beccles Airport is located 2 nautical miles (3.7 km) southeast of the town.

Until 1960 the Beccles to Yarmouth Railway ran across the marshes. The town is still served by Beccles railway station on the Ipswich-Lowestoft East Suffolk Line. Today it can be reached by the A146 road.

Beccles is served by Sir John Leman High School (13-18) as well as two middle schools and a range of primary schools.


Beccles is home to "759 (Beccles) Air Cadets" , who take part in a variety of activities such as flying and gliding, expeditions and sports. Beccles Air Cadets play a small role in the community by assisting organisations and activities such as the Beccles Carnival.

Beccles' main football team is Beccles Town F.C.. Established in 1919, in the 2008-09 season, they are members of the Anglian Combination Premier Division. Beccles also has a football team called Beccles Caxton.


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