1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Eye (Municipality)
EYE, a market-town and municipal borough in the Eye parliamentary division of Suffolk; England; 941 m. N.E. from London by the Great Eastern railway, the terminus of a branch from the Ipswich-Norwich line. Pop. (1901) 2004. The church of St Peter and St Paul is mainly of Perpendicular flint work, with Early English portions and a fine Perpendicular rood screen. It was formerly attached to a Benedictine priory. Slight fragments of a Norman castle crown a mound of probably earlier construction. There are a town hall, corn exchange, and grammar school founded in 1566. Brewing is the chief industry. The town is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 4410 acres.
Eye (Heya, Aye) was once surrounded by a stream, from which it is said to have derived its name. Leland says it was situated in a marsh and had formerly been accessible by river vessels from Cromer, though the river was then only navigable to Burston, 12 m. from Eye. From the discovery of numerous bones and Roman urns and coins it has been thought that the place was once the cemetery of a Roman camp. William I. gave the lordship of Eye to Robert Malet, a Norman, who built a castle and a Benedictine monastery which was at first subordinate to the abbey of Bernay in Normandy. Eye is a borough by prescription. In 1205 King John granted to the townsmen a charter freeing them from various tolls and customs and from the jurisdiction of the shire and hundred courts. Later charters were granted by Elizabeth in 1558 and 1574, by James I. in 1604, and by William III. in 1697. In 1574 the borough was newly incorporated under two bailiffs, ten chief and twenty-four inferior burgesses, and an annual fair on Whit-Monday and a market on Saturday were granted. Two members were returned to each parliament from 1571 till 1832, when the Reform Act reduced the membership to one. By the Redistribution Act of 1885 the representation was merged in the Eye division of the county. The making of pillow-lace was formerly carried on extensively, but practically ceased with the introduction of machinery.