How many people have lived in Southwold and when?

At the time of William the Conqueror's Domesday Survey there were only 13 recorded inhabitants in Southwold and,surprisingly, no fishermen. Southwold’s population was 5 villeins (peasants) 4 bordars (smallholders) and 4 ploughmen.

Immediately before the Great Fire of 1659 the town had some 2,000 inhabitants – more than there are today.

In 1674 the King collected tax from every household according to the number of hearths, or fireplaces, it had. The records of that year showed only 153 habitations in Southwold, of which 25 were empty and 66 were too poor to pay tax.

76 Years later, by 1750, there were still only 140 houses and a population of 666.

By 2006 in excess of 40% of the houses were holiday lets or second homes with, consequentially many fewer permanent residents. Although the town thrives as a leisure destination, a reduced population means that there are fewer people to support voluntary organisations and to run the town’s many clubs and societies.