A-Z of Norfolk nostalgia: A history of Beccles in pictures

Beccles town sign. Photo: Archant Library

Beccles town sign. Photo: Archant Library

Right on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, Beccles is believed to date back well beyond 960, when its name was first mentioned in the granting of its manor to St Edmundsbury monastery by King Eadwig.

Some say Beccles means 'pasture by the stream' but others believe it comes from the Anglo Saxon 'clisson', meaning an enclosure.

Once a prosperous Saxon port, over the 16th and 17th centuries, Beccles was hit by severe fires and much of the town was destroyed, meaning much of the architecture today comes from the Georgian period onwards.

St Michael's Church in the town centre boasts an large detached tower to the East. Legend says that the reasoning behind the church tower only having three clockfaces is because they wanted to keep the west side empty so that their Norfolk neighbours couldn't read the time for free.

Today, the town draws in lots of tourists with a beautiful quay, outdoor swimming pool and annual carnival and duck race.


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