West Suffolk
West Suffolk was an administrative county
Administrative county
An administrative county was an administrative division in England and Wales and Ireland used for the purposes of local government. They are now abolished, although in Northern Ireland their former areas are used as the basis for lieutenancy....

 of England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 created in 1889 from part of the county of Suffolk
Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east...

. It survived until 1974 when it was rejoined with East Suffolk
East Suffolk
East Suffolk, along with West Suffolk, was created in 1888 as an administrative county of England. The administrative county was based on the eastern quarter sessions division of Suffolk...

. Its county town was Bury St Edmunds.

Before the introduction of county councils, Suffolk
Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east...

 had been divided into eastern and western divisions, each with their own quarter sessions
Quarter Sessions
The Courts of Quarter Sessions or Quarter Sessions were local courts traditionally held at four set times each year in the United Kingdom and other countries in the former British Empire...

. The western division corresponded to the Liberty of Saint Edmund. This area had been established by Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor also known as St. Edward the Confessor , son of Æthelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy, was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England and is usually regarded as the last king of the House of Wessex, ruling from 1042 to 1066....

 in 1044 and was a separate jurisdiction under the control of the abbot of Bury St Edmunds Abbey until the dissolution of the monasteries
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...


This history was reflected in the coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 of the county council. The council initially adopted the attributed arms of Edward the Confessor: a cross patonce between five martlet
A martlet is a heraldic charge depicting a stylized bird with short tufts of feathers in the place of legs...

s. When the council received an official grant of arms from the College of Arms
College of Arms
The College of Arms, or Heralds’ College, is an office regulating heraldry and granting new armorial bearings for England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

 in 1959, abbots' mitres and the emblem of St Edmund: crossed arrows through an open crown were added. The motto
A motto is a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottoes of governments...

 adopted was For King, Law and People, referring to the association of Magna Carta
Magna Carta
Magna Carta is an English charter, originally issued in the year 1215 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions, which included the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority to date. The charter first passed into law in 1225...

 with Bury.

Shortly before its abolition the West Suffolk County Council commissioned Elizabeth Frink to sculpt a staue of St Edmund to commemorate the end of 970 years of independent administration of the area. The statue, in the grounds of the abbey of Bury St Edmunds, was completed in 1976.


From 1894 the administrative county was divided into municipal borough
Municipal borough
Municipal boroughs were a type of local government district which existed in England and Wales between 1835 and 1974, in Northern Ireland from 1840 to 1973 and in the Republic of Ireland from 1840 to 2002...

s, urban district
Urban district
In the England, Wales and Ireland, an urban district was a type of local government district that covered an urbanised area. Urban districts had an elected Urban District Council , which shared local government responsibilities with a county council....

s and rural district
Rural district
Rural districts were a type of local government area – now superseded – established at the end of the 19th century in England, Wales, and Ireland for the administration of predominantly rural areas at a level lower than that of the administrative counties.-England and Wales:In England...

  • Boroughs: Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury
    Sudbury, Suffolk
    Sudbury is a small, ancient market town in the county of Suffolk, England, on the River Stour, from Colchester and from London.-Early history:...

  • Urban districts: Glemsford
    Glemsford is a village in the Babergh district in Suffolk, England, near the town of Sudbury. Glemsford is located near the River Glem and the River Stour also flows nearby...

     (created 1896, abolished 1935), Hadleigh, Haverhill
    Haverhill, Suffolk
    Haverhill is an industrial market town and civil parish in the county of Suffolk, England, next to the borders of Essex and Cambridgeshire. It lies southeast of Cambridge and north of central London...

    , Newmarket
  • Rural districts: Brandon
    Brandon, Suffolk
    Brandon is a small town and civil parish in the English county of Suffolk. It is in the Forest Heath local government district.Brandon is located in the Breckland area on the border of Suffolk with the adjoining county of Norfolk...

     (abolished 1935), Clare
    Clare Rural District
    Clare Rural District was a rural district in the county of West Suffolk, England. It was created in 1894. On 1 April 1935 it was enlarged by the addition of the parishes of Lidgate and Ousden from the disbanded Moulton Rural District, Cavendish and Hawkedon from the Melford Rural District and...

    , Cosford
    Cosford is the name of several places in England*Cosford, Shropshire**DCAE Cosford, formally RAF Cosford**Royal Air Force Museum Cosford*Cosford, Suffolk*Cosford, Warwickshire...

    , Melford
    Melford Rural District
    Melford Rural District was a rural district in the county of West Suffolk, England. It was created in 1894, under the Local Government Act 1894 from that part of the Sudbury rural sanitary district in West Suffolk .On 1 April 1935 it lost the parishes of Cavendish and Hawkedon to the Clare Rural...

    , Mildenhall
    Mildenhall, Suffolk
    Mildenhall is a small market town and civil parish in Suffolk, England. It is run by Forest Heath District Council and has a population of 9,906 people. The town is near the A11 and is located north-west of county town, Ipswich. The large Royal Air Force base, RAF Mildenhall as well as RAF...

    , Moulton
    Moulton, Suffolk
    Moulton is a village in the Forest Heath district of Suffolk in England. In 2005, it had a population of 1090.The village pre-dates the Domesday book of 1086 and is older than the now larger town of Newmarket. It is famous for its fifteenth century packhorse bridge which spans the River Kennett....

     (abolished 1935), Thedwastre
    Thedwastre Rural District
    Thedwastre was a rural district in West Suffolk, England from 1894 to 1974. It was formed under the Local Government Act 1894, from the part of the Stow Rural Sanitary District which was in West Suffolk...

    , Thingoe
    Thingoe Rural District
    Thingoe Rural District was a rural district in the county of West Suffolk, England. It was created in 1894. On 1 April 1935 the parish of Depden was transferred to the Clare Rural District...

The rural districts were further subdivided into civil parishes.
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