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Eastbridge windpump.jpg
Eastbridge Windpump
Grid reference: TM048588
Location: 52°11’24"N, 1°0’0"E
Population: 15,059  (2001)
Post town: Stowmarket
Postcode: IP14
Dialling code: 01449
Local Government
Council: Mid Suffolk
Bury St Edmunds

Stowmarket is a small market town in Suffolk, on the busy A14 trunk road between Bury St Edmunds to the west and Ipswich to the southeast. The town is on the main railway line between London and Norwich, and lies on the River Gipping, which is joined by its tributary, the River Rat, to the south of the town.

The town takes its name from the Old English word stow meaning simply 'place'. It was granted a market charter in 1347 by Edward III. A bi-weekly market is still held there today on Thursday and Saturday.

The population of the town has rapidly increased from around 6,000 in 1981 to its current level of around 16,000, with considerable further development planned for the town and surrounding villages as part of an area action plan.

Church of St Peter and St Mary

Parish church

The Church of St Peter and St Mary is in the Decorated style and dates to the 14th century.[1][2]

The 16th century former vicarage has now become the town council offices and register office, has associations with John Milton, and 'Milton's Tree' in its grounds is believed to be an offshoot of one of the many trees he planted there.


Opened in 1967, the Museum of East Anglian Life occupies a 70-acre site close to the town centre. The former corn exchange was refurbished and re-opened as the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts in early 2013. It is named after the late influential DJ and broadcaster who lived just outside the town.[3][4]

Transport links

In the 18th century the Gipping was made navigable between Stowmarket and Ipswich by a series of locks. The newly created canal was known as the Ipswich and Stowmarket Navigation.[5]

Stowmarket railway station is on the Great Eastern Main Line from London Liverpool Street to Norwich. It is also the junction of the line to Bury St Edmunds.

Sport and leisure

  • Football: Stowmarket Town FC, which plays at Greens Meadow.
  • Rugby, played at on Chilton fields


Disaster struck Stowmarket on 11 August 1871, when an explosion at a local gun cotton factory claimed twenty-eight lives, the site is now home to a large paint factory.

Stowmarket has received welcome press coverage in local papers on annual events in summer time such as the well-attended carnival and the recent music festival "Stow-Fest". The event has gained popularity over the years with large numbers of bands and musicians from Stowmarket and the surrounding area's attending.

Outside links


  1. Pevsner, N.; Radcliffe, E. (1974). Suffolk. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth. pp. 443–444. 
  2. National Heritage List England no. 384564: Church of St Peter and St Mary (Grade I) (Historic England)
  3. "John Peel Centre in Stowmarket reopens". News Suffolk (BBC). 31 January 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-31. .
  4. Matt Hunter (Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 6:00 AM). "John Peel Centre for Creative Arts prepares for first music gig". East Anglia Daily Times. Retrieved 2013-01-31. 
  5. National Monuments Record: No. 1383928 – Ipswich and Stowmarket Navigation