Appleton’s map of Aldeburgh and Slaughden
Slaughden is the name of the narrow strip of land stretching South of Aldeburgh towards the Martello Tower and Orford Ness. Today there is room only for two sailing clubs and a boat-building yard but once, before erosion took its toll and the river mouth shifted down towards Hollesley, it was a thriving commercial centre.
This map, made by Ananias Appleton in Armada year (1588), shows a busy quay at Slaughden sheltered from the North Sea by a broad stretch of land. A long row of tiny ‘store houses’ fronts the quay some distance from the sea. Entrance to the quay is at Orford. The new Haven provided shelter for fishermen in bad weather; boats were built or repaired here; merchant ships in increasing numbers sailed in to unload and take on new cargoes.
Here is the town with the Moot Hall and Market Cross sited well back from the beach and surrounded by houses. The church is lined up with two windmills and two ‘fire trees’ (warning beacons) along what is now the Terrace. There are cannon on the beach.
Ananias Appleton was a freeman of Aldeburgh and served as a burgess or town councillor. His map is beautiful but not at all accurate. Details of his commercial activities appear in the Chamberlains’ Account Books for the period.
Detail showing the Haven at Slaughden. The town quay (marked V) is surrounded by banana-shaped boats and the row of little ‘store houses’ can be seen along the inland edge of the spotty shingle.