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Clare, Suffolk

Clare is today a small town located midway between Ipswich and Cambridge, about 25km south of Bury St Edmunds. It lies on the north side of the valley of the River Stour, which marks the county boundary between Suffolk and Essex for much of its length. Clare today is centred on three streets, High Street, Church Street and Market Street, which together define a rectangular area which appears to be an in-filled former market place. The imposing parish church of St Peter and St Paul lies within the northern end of this area, while three other streets connect the market place with roads linking Clare with neighbouring villages and towns: Callis Street runs north from the church, Cavendish Road runs east from Church Street and Nethergate Street extends south-west from the southern end of the High Street. Callis Street and Nethergate Street are both noticeably wide and appear also to have been market areas. 

On the south of the town, immediately adjacent to the river, is the site of Clare Castle, a major monument with a large class 1 motte, two baileys and ponds all preserved as earthworks and the remains of a medieval stone tower extant on top of the motte. The area enclosed by the baileys also included the lost church of St John the Baptist. The summit of the motte provides a commanding view of the town, overlooking the former market area and the church. The remains of an Augustinian priory lie c. 300m south-west of the castle, on the other side of the river. The multi-period prehistoric, Romano-British and medieval earthwork enclosure of Clare Camp (also know as Erbury) lies on the northern edge of Clare, just west of Callis Street as it continues north into Bridewell Street. 

Local Information Websites

Clare Historical and Archaeological Society

Clare Town Council Website- History of Clare


British History Online

Heritage Gateway

Suffolk Heritage Explorer Parish Summary


Projects by Year



Test Pit Pottery Distribution Map 2011

Test Pit Animal Bone Distribution Map 2011

Test Pit Flint & Burnt Stone Distribution Map 2011


Click here to read the full report from the Clare test pit excavations