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Everything you need to know about Sudbury in the USA and Canada

PUBLISHED: 19:30 18 November 2020 | UPDATED: 15:32 19 November 2020

Martha-Mary Chapel in Sudbury, MA. It was built by Henry Ford in 1929 Picture: Getty Images

Martha-Mary Chapel in Sudbury, MA. It was built by Henry Ford in 1929 Picture: Getty Images

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Did you know there are towns called Sudbury across the Atlantic? What are they like?

Sudbury, ON is home to 330 lakes, including Ramsey Lake, pictured here. Picture: Getty ImagesSudbury, ON is home to 330 lakes, including Ramsey Lake, pictured here. Picture: Getty Images

With Suffolk’s fascinating and ancient history, it’s no surprise that some of the county’s towns and villages have gone on to inspire placenames all over the world. Here’s a few fast facts about Sudbury, Ontario and Sudbury, Massachusetts - including how they both got their name and how the two settlements compare to England’s Sudbury.

Like many of the towns and villages here in East Anglia, our Sudbury goes all the way back to the Middle Ages, when it was settled in the latter half of the 8th century during Anglo-Saxon times. Numerous variations of its name have been recorded throughout history, including Suthberie and Suthbyrig. It was later established as a market town at the start of the 11th century, and has long been thriving ever since.

Fly 5,644km miles west over the Atlantic and you’ll find yourself in Sudbury, Ontario – Sudbury, Suffolk’s Canadian cousin. Officially founded in 1883, Sudbury (now formally known as Greater Sudbury) is the largest city in Northern Ontario.

Prior to being settled in the 19th century, the area of what is now Sudbury was previously inhabited by the Ojibwe people of the Algonquin group for thousands of years. It was during the construction of the transcontinental railway that Sudbury was officially founded, following the discovery of nickel ore in the area. The town’s name came from James Worthington, a railway construction superintendent, who named it after his wife Caroline’s birthplace – Sudbury, Suffolk.

A steam train in Sudbury, ON, during the construction of the transcontinental railway. This Sudbury was named after James Worthington's wife's birthplace - Sudbury, Suffolk Picture: Getty ImagesA steam train in Sudbury, ON, during the construction of the transcontinental railway. This Sudbury was named after James Worthington's wife's birthplace - Sudbury, Suffolk Picture: Getty Images

A quick trip across the Canadian-American border and over in the state of Massachusetts you will find another Sudbury. Like many American settlements named after places in Britain, Sudbury, MA was founded during the colonial era of the 17th century, after being settled in 1638 and incorporated a year later. This Sudbury got its name from the settlers who had arrived in the area. According to ‘The History of Sudbury, Massachusetts, 1639-1889’ by Alfred Sereno Hudson, town records show that some of the town’s first settlers were Edmond Rice and John Stone who both hailed from Suffolk - hence the name.

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But besides a name, Sudbury, ON and Sudbury, MA both share a few more similarities with their English counterpart. For starters, Suffolk’s Sudbury is home to a number of historic churches, including All Saints Church, St Gregory’s Church and St Peter’s Church - the former of which dates back to around the 15th century.

Similarly, Sudbury, MA, is home to churches that could arguably be deemed as architectural wonders. Some of these include the First Parish of Sudbury, which was built in 1797, and the Martha-Mary Chapel. Constructed in 1929, the colonial era-inspired Martha-Mary Chapel was named after car manufacturer Henry Ford’s mother and mother-in-law. Ford lived in Sudbury, MA during the 1920s and 1930s, as he had planned to build a car manufacturing plant in the town, as well as a historic village and museum that aimed to preserve colonial America.

EADT reader Amanda Miller used to lived in Sudbury, MA between 2010 and 2011. The house she lived in, pictured here, had a zip code of 01776, which is the year the Declaration of Independence was signed Picture: Amanda MillerEADT reader Amanda Miller used to lived in Sudbury, MA between 2010 and 2011. The house she lived in, pictured here, had a zip code of 01776, which is the year the Declaration of Independence was signed Picture: Amanda Miller

Sudbury, Suffolk and Sudbury, ON are both places of natural beauty, so it’s only fitting the two places share a name. Our Sudbury is situated next to the River Stour, and is surrounded by miles of vast, beautiful East Anglian countryside. So beautiful in fact that the town and its surrounding area went on to become the inspiration for much of the work produced by painter Thomas Gainsborough, who was born in Sudbury.

Over in Sudbury, ON, the Canadian settlement is home to 330 lakes, and thousands of hectares of forest and wetlands, creating an incredibly rich and diverse ecosystem. Some of the wildlife that can be found in Sudbury, ON includes raccoons, beavers, bears and of course, the great Canadian moose.

If folklore and witchery are what you look for in a town, then both Sudbury, MA and Sudbury, Suffolk have you covered. The former was once home to Sarah Cloyce - a woman once accused of witchcraft but never indicted during the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Following her escape, Sarah moved 40 miles to Sudbury where she spent the later years of her life. Sudbury, MA was also the place of death of Samuel Parris – a London-born Puritan minister who served as one of the judges during the Salem Witch Trials.

In Sudbury, Suffolk, the town’s Mill Hotel is home to a mummified cat – a superstition long associated with witches and spirits. It is thought cats were placed inside of buildings to help ward off evil spirits. To this day, that exact cat is displayed in the hotel’s main reception area and is a definite talking point for anyone who visits.

Finally, in terms of population, the three settlements vary greatly. The most populated out of the three is Sudbury, ON – which has a population of 164,926 according to census data from 2017. Next is Sudbury, MA, which has around 18,940 inhabitants as of 2019, and finally Suffolk’s Sudbury is the smallest, with a population of 13,063 according to the 2011 census.

Have you been to Sudbury in Massachusetts or Ontario? Or have you been to another city that’s named after somewhere in Suffolk? Get in touch with danielle.lett@archant.co.uk to share your stories and photos.


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