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St.John the Baptist Church, Saxmundham - - 1193447.jpg
St John the Baptist Church, Saxmundham
Grid reference: TM381632
Location: 52°12’54"N, 1°29’13"E
Population: 2,712  (2001)
Post town: Saxmundham
Postcode: IP17
Dialling code: 01728
Local Government
Council: East Suffolk
Suffolk Coastal

Saxmundham is a small market town in Suffolk. It is set in the valley of the River Fromus, a tributary of the River Alde, some 5 miles from the coast at Sizewell and 18 miles northeast of Ipswich. The beaches of Aldeburgh lie just 6 miles away.

The town's name comes from the Old English Seaxmundes ham ("Seaxmund's farmstead"), after an unknown founder.


The earliest recorded mention of Saxmundham is in the Domesday Book of 1086 which mentions three churches. It has had a market charter since at least 1272, and carries a market is continued in the town to this day.

In fiction

Brother Eadulf, has become Saxmundham's most famous international fictional character. He appears in the best-selling Sister Fidelma mysteries written by Peter Tremayne (nom de plume of author Peter Beresford Ellis). Brother Eadulf is companion and assistant to Sister Fidelma and often plays a crucial part in resolving the mystery. He is introduced as originally the hereditary gerefa (magistrate) of "Seaxmund's Ham in the land of the South Folk." He attends the famous Synod of Whitby in 664 AD and joins Sister Fidelma in solving a murder of one of the delegates (Absolution by Murder, 1994). He has since appeared in most of the novels and some of the short stories although the Saxmundham area has been used as a setting in only one of the novels, The Haunted Abbot.

Peter Tremayne chose Saxmundham as Eadulf's place of origin because of local connections, the nearness of the town to an ancient royal burial site of the East Angles as well as the East Anglian historic connections with Irish Christian missionaries. He has appeared in all but two of the Sister Fidelma series of mystery novels, set in 7th century Ireland.

Outside links