Suffolk Archives, Bury St Edmunds

Suffolk Record Office staff

Suffolk Archives holds an amazing range of information about the history of Suffolk and its people.

Some of the records go back to the 12th century, but not everything is old. You'll also find items from recent times relating to individuals and a wide range of organisations, such as churches, chapels, schools, hospitals, clubs and societies.

Each branch has a substantial collection of Local Studies material.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Open 9.30am-4.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Closed Wednesday and Sunday

Admission charges


Additional info

There are 3 branches of Suffolk Archives- one in Ipswich, one in Bury St Edmunds and one in Lowestoft. Please visit our website for branch locations and contact details (

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

The Battle of Fornham in 1173 with Clive Paine

  • 29 February 2020 10:30am-12:30pm

In 1173 the Angevin empire of Henry II was torn apart by rebellion led by the King’s sons and Queen Eleanor. In September 1173 the rebels, under the Earl of Leicester and Hugh Bigod, landed at Walton in Suffolk with an army of Flemings. The opposing forces met at Fornham St Martin, the Abbot of Bury sent the banner of St Edmund to inspire the King’s men. The fate of the nation hung in the balance...


£7.50 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

My ancestors’ life: Putting your family history in to context with Gill Blanchard

  • 7 March 2020 10:30am-1pm

Food, clothing, drink, work, travel, courting, health, entertainment, childcare, education, and more!
What did your ancestors eat, how did they travel; what did they do for entertainment; how did they manage financially when there was a bad harvest, or they lost their jobs; how did women prepare for childbirth; what happened when they were ill or had no money?
Take a journey into your ancestors lives through a range of sources that can help answer these questions and more.


£7.50 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

The Black Death in Suffolk: 1349 with Clive Paine

  • 21 March 2020 10:30am-12:30pm

The Black Death hit Suffolk in early 1349 and killed between a third and a half of the population. This talk looks at the evidence for this high mortality using court-rolls, from Walsham le Willows, Little Cornard and Rickinghall; and church records which record the induction of clergy into their livings. The immediate impact on individual families and communities will be examined, along with the long-term effect for village decline and depopulation. A case study will be the Breckland village of Wordwell, to the north of Bury, which in 2011 had one of the smallest populations of any Suffolk parish.


£7.50 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

Town v Abbey in 14th Century Bury with Clive Paine

  • 4 April 2020 10:30am-12:30pm

Several times in the 13th and 14th centuries the townspeople attempted to gain self-governing status, a desire always thwarted by the Abbot and supported by ancient Royal grants. Events came to a head in 1327; when over a period of nearly a year, the Abbey was attacked and looted, the Abbey gates destroyed and many monastic buildings burnt down. Follow these exciting events to their conclusion with dramatic consequences for the townspeople.


£7.50 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

10 Week Course: Tracing your Tudor and Stuart Ancestors with Gill Blanchard

  • 7 April 2020 1:30-4pm

A practical guide to tracing ancestors in the Stuart and Tudor periods from 1485 to 1714. This course will guide students through the historical changes that affected record keeping, learning what types of records that exist, how to understand and use them effectively and where to find them locally, nationally and online. The course includes examples from contemporary and historical sources, tips on reading documents and understanding the old calendar and terminology.

Types of resources covered include parish registers and other parish chest material; wills, administrations and inventories, manorial records and deeds; borough and city records; chancery and other court records; assize and quarter sessions court records; inquisition post mortems; taxation records; electoral records; maps, broadsheets and early newspapers; migration, insurance records; government generated paperwork; local histories, contemporary letters, diaries and other writings; apprenticeship and freemen records; universities and schools and inventories and more.

Week 1 and 2: Overview of Tudor and Stuart history, focussing on what affected record keeping and types of records relevant to the whole period.
Week 3: The Stuart Period and Records: 1660-1714
Week 4 and 5: The Civil Wars, Interregnum and Commonwealth: 1642 to 1660 and their impact
Half term week
Week 6: Your early Stuart Ancestors and their Records: 1603-1642
Week 7: Stepping Back into the Tudor and Elizabethan Period: 1558 to 1603
Week 8: The Tudor Period and Records Continued Further Back: 1538 to 1558
Week 9: The Tudor Period and Records Even Further Back: 1485 to 1538
Week 10: Review and taking your research further


£75 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

Crime on record: Prison and Criminal Court records with Gill Blanchard

  • 11 April 2020 10:30am-1pm

Were your ancestors’ the victims or perpetrators of crime? Were they involved in neighbourhood disputes that ended up in court, or pursued through the legal system over theft, fraud, bastardy, poaching or murder?
Discover the wealth of documents available locally, nationally and online to find out more.
Learn how the legal system in England and Wales developed and the difference between Petty Sessions, Quarter Sessions and Assize Courts.


£7.50 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

The Peasants Revolt in Suffolk: 1381 with Clive Paine

  • 2 May 2020 10:30am-12:30pm

In the uprising of June 1381, Simon of Sudbury the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor of England; Chief Justice Sir John Cavendish of Cavendish; and John Cambridge, Prior of Bury were among the most prominent local men to become victims of the mob. The town and Abbey at Bury were both attacked and looted.
This talk traces the causes of the rebellion, including the Black Death, Statute of Labourers and Poll Tax; including the tension between the Abbey and the townsmen of Bury; and the consequences, including the trial and punishment of the participants.


£7.50 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

Royal Burials at Bury Abbey with Clive Paine

  • 16 May 2020 10:30am-12:30pm

Learn more about those buried in the Abbey including Queen Mary Tudor.


£7.50 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

5 Week Course: From Southwold to Jura: snapshots from Orwell’s writing life 1934-1950 with Ann Kronbergs

  • 18 May 2020 10am-12pm

This course includes a focus on Homage to Catalonia, Coming Up for Air and Nineteen Eighty-Four.


£37.50 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

I Therefore Post Him as a Coward: the dual between a Lord and a Curate with Gill Blanchard

  • 30 May 2020 10:30am-1pm

The story behind my biography of a scandal that occurred in the north Norfolk village, Burnham Market, in 1836. Discover how and why the lord of the manor challenged the curate to a duel, the records used to uncover more and how such resources can be used to provide a lens into society at the time.


£7.50 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

5 Week Course: Tracing your House History with Gill Blanchard

  • 1 June 2020 1:30-4pm

Discover how to trace the history of a house or other property and how to access the relevant documents. Find out where your ancestors lived and worked and explore the sources that can tell you who lived in your home at different points in time and when it was built.

Week One: Starting Out
Week Two: Present Day back to Victorian
Week Three: Victorian and Georgian
Week Four: Going Further
Week Five: Finishing Off


£37.50 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

Pilgrimages, Saints and Relics in Medieval and Tudor Suffolk with Clive Paine

  • 13 June 2020 10:30am-12:30pm

Pilgrimages and the veneration of saints and relics were part of religious belief and practice before the Reformation. In East Anglia the shrines of Our Lady of Walsingham and St Edmund were the most popular. But Suffolk contained several other shrines including images of Mary at Woolpit, Stoke by Clare and Sudbury; Our Lady of Grace at Ipswich and of Pity at Sudbury; St Margaret at Southwold; and Roods at Beccles, Gislingham and Bramfield.
This talk investigates the doctrinal and personal motives for pilgrimages; the variety of shrines, images and relics and the benefits they were believed to bring to the faithful living and deceased.


£7.50 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

The Huguenot Daughters with Gill Blanchard

  • 27 June 2020 10:30am-1pm

Discover the story behind Gill Blanchard's forthcoming biography [Autumn 2020] of Mary Magdalen Walpole and Elizabeth Leheup (née Lombard). Daughters of Huguenot refugees, their lives shed a light on 17th century life, religious persecution, social class, politics, money and love. Through their marriages and family connections these two women were at the heart of eighteenth-century national and international political and social affairs.


£7.50 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

Gilds and Gildhall in Medieval and Tudor Suffolk with Clive Paine

  • 4 July 2020 10:30am-12:30pm

Learn more about Gilds and Gildhalls in the Medieval and Tudor period in Suffolk in this talk by Clive Paine.


£7.50 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

Life inside the Workhouse with Gill Blanchard

  • 11 July 2020 10:30am-1pm

Learn how people ended up in the workhouse; what life was like inside; who paid for the system; attitudes to the poor and where and how to find their records. Local Suffolk examples will be used.


£7.50 - Book in branch or phone 01284 741212

Suffolk Archives, Bury St Edmunds
77 Raingate Street
Bury St Edmunds
IP33 2AR




01284 741212

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.