Stowmarket is a small market town situated in Suffolk, England, on the busy A14 trunk road between Bury St Edmunds to the west and Ipswich to the southeast. The town is on the main railway line between London and Norwich, and lies on the River Gipping, which is joined by its tributary, the River Rat, to the south of the town.
The town takes its name from the Old English word stōw meaning ‘principal place’, and was granted a market charter in 1347 by Edward III. A bi-weekly market is still held there today on Thursday and Saturday.
The population of the town has increased from around 6,000 in 1981 to its current level of around 16,000, with considerable further development planned for the town and surrounding villages as part of an area action plan. It is the largest town in the Mid Suffolk district and is represented in parliament by the MP for Bury St Edmunds, currently David Ruffley.