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Southtown Hamlet

British Isles Genealogy | County of Suffolk

Southtown or Little Yarmouth

Is within the jurisdiction of Great Yarmouth, but a hamlet only, of the parish of Gorleston; to which the inhabitants are parochially assessed. It appears to have been formerly of greater importance, and divided into two parts, Southtown and Westtown; by which names it is described in the documents relating to certain disputes with the burgesses of Yarmouth. After the termination of these disputes, and it was placed within the liberties of the borough, trade failed, and the place gradually decayed. Between thirty and forty years since, it was very small and inconsiderable; until the merchants of Yarmouth, retiring from that town, began to erect houses; when it again emerged from obscurity.

In the time of King Edward I., William Woderove, and Margaret his wife, founded a Priory in this hamlet, of Austin Friars (or Friars Cremites). In 1310, these Friars obtained a patent to enlarge their precinct; which, from the remains, evidently extended into the parish of Gorleston.

A composition was afterwards entered into, between the Provincial of the Friars Cremites, of the order of St. Austin, in England and Scotland, and the Prior and Convent of St. Bartholomew, in London, proprietors of the church of St. Andrew, in Gorleston, and St. Nicholas, in Little Yarmouth; respecting a house and oratory, in these parishes. In 1544, it was granted to John Eyre: the ancient site now belongs to sundry persons.

An ancient cross, similar to one found at Little Carbrook, in Norfolk, and described, with a figure, by Blomefield, in his history of that county, was found buried among the ruins of this Monastery, in good preservation. It was formed of lignum vitae; and was probably interred with some religious person, belonging to this Convent.

The road from Yarmouth through this hamlet is accounted one of the best in the kingdom: ornamented on the west side by a line of very handsome houses, extending from Yarmouth Bridge more than half a mile to the south. The bank of the river on the opposite side of the road, is occupied by docks, timber wharfs, and ship-yards. The Royal Arsenal, erected in 1806, by Wyatt, at the cost of about 15,000, is situate in this hamlet; and during the late war, about 10,000 stand of arms were deposited therein; which, upon the peace establishment, were removed to the Tower of London.

County of Suffolk

Topographical and Genealogical, The County of Suffolk, 1844, Augustine Page

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