Facts about Beccles
Sir John Leman (died 1632) was a tradesman from Beccles who became Lord Mayor of London. Long associated with Beccles is the Peck family. Among those Pecks who have made a place in history is the Rev. Robert Peck, described by Blomfield in his history of Norfolk as a man with a ‘violent schismatic spirit’ who led a movement within the church of St Andrew’s in nearby Hingham, Norfolk, in opposition to the established Anglicanism of the day.
Under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 the borough was reformed, Beccles retaining municipal borough status until the reorganisation of local government in 1974 when it was merged with surrounding authorities to become Waveney District. The successor civil parish has adopted town status. Beccles was struck by an F1/T3 tornado on 23 November 1981, as part of the record-breaking nationwide tornado outbreak on that day.
Beccles Museum is housed in Leman House, a Grade I listed building and has a collection of agricultural, industrial and domestic items, including collections of tools, boat building, printing, costumes and natural history. The townscape is dominated by the detached 16th-century bell tower (known as the Beccles bell tower) of St Michael’s Church. Just like the main body of the church, the tower is Perpendicular Gothic in style and is 97 ft tall. The interior of the church was badly damaged by fire in 1586.