Snape is a small village in the English county of Suffolk, on the River Alde close to Aldeburgh. It has about 600 inhabitants. Snape is now best known for Snape Maltings, no longer in commercial use, but converted into a tourist centre together with a concert hall that hosts the major part of the annual Aldeburgh Festival.
There has been human habitation at Snape for some 2,000 years though the original village stood on higher ground, around the present church (it is not known why the village moved nearer to the river). The Romans established a settlement here, centred on salt production. In Anglo-Saxon times the Wuffings (who ruled East Anglia from Rendlesham) used Snape largely as a burial site, and archaeological investigations have revealed boat burials and other graves.
In 1085 the Domesday Book recorded forty-nine men. The book also mentions a church, standing in eight acres, and valued at sixteen pence (a larger sum than it now sounds). The present church, however, originally thatched, was built in the 13th century, with the 15th-century additions of a porch and tower.
Snape priory was founded in 1155 downriver from the village, by William Martell, a local landowner, who was about to set off as part of the Third Crusade. It survived until 1525, when it was closed and stripped of its wealth by Cardinal Wolsey. One of its barns, built by the monks, is all that still stands, and has been dated to 1295
The monks also built a water mill, and probably also constructed the first bridge across the Alde. This was wooden at first, though in 1802 a brick bridge was built, and then itself replaced in 1960.