The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 16,916 with parishes ranging in size from Ickworth (population 43) to Rougham (1,113).The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1833-35 had been £13,675 or 16s.2d per head of the population.Most of the site is now occupied by housing, although part is still used by a sterile supplies unit. The urban development of Ipswich overspills the borough boundaries significantly, with 75% of the town's population living within the borough at the time of the 2011 Census, when it was the fourth-largest urban area in the United Kingdom's East of England region, and the 42nd-largest urban area in England and Wales.
During the Middle Ages the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Grace was a famous pilgrimage destination, and attracted many pilgrims including Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon.[Up to 1834] [After 1834] [Staff] [Inmates] [Records] [Bibliography] [Links] A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded a parish workhouse in operation at Barrow for up to 30 inmates. Hawstead, too, converted a former Guildhall for use as a workhouse.The old Guildhall, a building dating from the 16th century, on the Street in Horringer (formerly Horningsheath) once served as the parish workhouse. The 15th century house, formerly the Guildhall of St James, was located on Church Road. Thingoe Poor Law Union officially came into being on 21st January 1836.The workhouse layout was based on the unusual "St Andrew's cross" variation on the popular cruciform plan which can also be seen at Romford and Lexden and Winstree.The Master's quarters were located in the supervisory hub at the centre, with different classes of inmates accommodated in the radiating wings, Exercise yards were formed between the wings which were further divided by brick walls. The workhouse was enlarged in 1879 with the addition of a new committee room, board room, and casual wards, at a total cost of around £3,000. From around this date, the Mill Lane workhouse received indoor poor and vagrants from the adjacent Bury St Edmunds Union.