Needham Market sits on the west bank of the River Gipping, eight miles north-west of Ipswich.
The towns’ name apparently means “needy homestead with a market”. Throughout the years it was spelt variously – Nedeham, Nedham or Neidham and it isn’t until 1245 that the present Needham Market is first recorded.
Much of this area of Suffolk at one time relied heavily on weaving, and there is evidence that some weaving was carried out in Needham Market, but the main trade seems to have been wool combing.
Needham was granted a market charter by Henry III in 1245 and the town and it’s market thrived until the plague, that lasted from 1663 thru to 1665 the town’s people suffered badly and the town almost disappeared. In this time much of the wool industry moved to either Ipswich or Stowmarket. After this time and indeed to the present day the main source of income for the town has been agriculture. Among the more unusual industries practised in the town over the years have been a glue works, a manure works and a mouse trap factory.
Needham Lake is a recreational area that provides angling – the lake being well-stocked with Tench, Roach, Perch, Carp, Bream, Chub and Pike. Bird watchers love to spend time looking for wide variety of birds that visit the area and these include Reed Warblers which regularly nest here.The surroundings also play host to regularly organised events including dog shows, open air theatre performances and activities for children. During the summer months there is also a Pitch and Putt course. There is ample parking and places to picnic.