This is the earliest image of this view, which includes the Norman Tower, St James’ Church and Samson’s Tower in the foreground. The nave of St James’ was given the gabled roof in 1864. Samson’s Tower was converted into the Will Office, with new ‘Norman’ windows, and the avenue of trees planted in 1863.
-- This picture is part of a remarkable collection of 4,000 photographs in the care of Bury St Edmunds Past and Present Society which offers a glimpse into the town’s history.
Taken by two families of professional photographers, the Spantons and the Jarmans, the images span a period from the 1860s through to the outbreak of World War Two. The fragile glass plate negatives were donated to the society in 1997 and in recent years many of these have been ‘digitised’ thanks to a Lottery grant and donations - a furtehr £2,000 is needed to complete the task. They can be viewed at www.burypastandpresent.org.uk where you can also find details about membership and the group’s programme of events and lectures. The Spanton-Jarman collection is held at the Bury St Edmunds branch of the Suffolk Record Office. For more details about the Record Office, including its programme of talks and courses, visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/sro.