The Role of Suffolk’s Women in History: Empowering Stories

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’ve decided to turn the spotlight on influential women from Suffolk who have made a mark on history. From inspiring political advocates to trailblazing authors, we’re proud to belong to a county which has shaped the work of so many remarkable women.

Dorothy L Sayers:

As a writer, it would be remiss of me to not begin this list of inspiring women from Suffolk with anyone other than Dorothy L Sayers. Whilst she may be more commonly associated with Oxford – this is where she studied, after all – it was the Suffolk countryside which formed the backdrop of her formative years. Fusing the classic whodunit format with powerful feminist messaging, Sayers is largely credited with adding a bolder dimension to the beloved literary form. Often set in distinctly Suffolkian settings, her novels remain essential reading.

Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett

Born in Aldeburgh back in 1847, Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett went on to lead Britain’s largest women’s rights association, the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. Campaigning for the right to vote as well as access to educational opportunities for women, her work has led her to be recognised by the British public as the most influential woman of the past hundred years. In short, when it comes to the  women in history, it’s hard to think of many quite as significant as Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett.

Margaret Kemp

Raised in Sudbury in the 16th century, Margaret Kemp was another Suffolk woman who helpfully defied social norms to pave the way for future generations of women. One of the first Englishwomen to earn her living as an actress, Kemp leapt over any and all barriers which told her that this was not the done thing to reveal the enormity of talent on offer from female actors. As if this wasn’t enough, her challenging of stereotypes also did much to move the social conversation forward by a good few years. 

Mary Beale

Chiming with the theme of following your passions no matter what the obstacles look like, Mary Beale gained notoriety in the 17th century by pursuing a (very successful) career in the arts. Originally from the small village of Barrow, Beale belonged to a collective of artists in the nearby town of Bury St Edmunds who helped shape her talents into some of the best the country has ever seen. With many of her portraits now belonging to galleries, collections and esteemed exhibitions, Beale’s work and refusal to accept certain societal norms have produced a legacy that continues to inspire painters and women today.

Altogether, it would be hard to deny that Suffolk has produced some of the most remarkable women in British history. We suspect, too, that there’s also plenty more inspiring women to be found around the county today.

To find out more about the surroundings which shaped these figures, and to discover even more about the rich history of Suffolk, be sure to take a look at our Barns and Barges to rent.

Reasons to Stay at Woodfarm, Suffolk

We happen to think what we have on offer is pretty bloomin' good. However, we thought you might like a bunch of reasons to stay, other than we think you should!

beach huts illustration
all accommodation

Brilliant beaches! Suffolk has an incredible Heritage Coast, with great beaches, all in easy reach of us.

paw illustration
all accommodation

Dogs stay FREE, and we don't just tolerate them, we welcome them! We've built our reputation on this, and we're proud of it!

fence illustration
at the barns

Pawesome, fully-enclosed two acre Pooch Paddock for your Dogs to go bonkers and make new friends in.

dog treat bones illustration
all accommodation

Free Doggy treats, Dog bowls, and Dog towels. Our furry friends even get Woodfarm branded poop bag holders!

trophy illustration
all accommodation

Visit England Gold Awards coming out of our ears, as well as their coveted ROSE Award for Service Excellence.

thumbs up illustration
all accommodation

Well in excess of 1,000 Five Star Tripadvisor, Facebook & Google Reviews. Over 25% of our guests come back!

hot tubs illustration
all accommodation

Private Hot tubs with seven of our eight Barns and Cottages. The ultimate in relaxation, just because you're worth it.

boots drawing
all accommodation

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Yes, plural. Two AONB's on our doorstep! Suffolk Coast & Heaths, and Dedham Vale.

river walks illustration
on the barges

Stunning river walks directly from your gangplank on either Barge! Wildlife and breathtaking scenery in abundance.

Fetch the latest news!

New Royal Mail stamps and first day covers!

Exclusive news! New Royal Mail stamps and first day covers released today, April 1st 2024! Ever since we came to the attention of The Royals when we discovered an article about Woodfarm Barns & Barges …

Dog tags at Woodfarm Barns & Barges

Pooch-Perfect Perks: For Happy Dogs and Happier Stays

At Woodfarm, we know that happy Dogs means happy owners, which is why we endeavour to ensure that everything is Pooch-Perfect. We have spent years building our reputation for being ultra Dog-friendly, and over those …

A Journey Through Suffolk’s Musical Heritage

From classical composers to international chart toppers, it wouldn’t be a stretch to describe Suffolk as a county with a musical heritage which is every bit as impressive as it is diverse. Whilst current discussions …

Join our newsletter

Please provide a valid email address.
* indicates required