Sutton Hoo. Always wanted to see it but I’ve never managed to be in this part of the country before. It’s a fascinating day out if you can ever get there.
It centres on the contents of Anglo Saxon burial mounds that were discovered in the grounds of a house that used to be called Sutton Hoo (sometimes spelt Haugh) House. The house was owned by Mrs Edith Pretty. She bought it when she married her husband in 1926. He died in 1934 and after his death Mrs Pretty, who had been curious about the mounds/hills on her land, became interested in Spiritualism.
You can go into the house and look around the ground floor and the mounds can be seen from one of the windows. One of her spiritualist friends said she saw ghostly figures around the mounds, so Mrs Pretty decided to have them investigated. She contacted Basil Brown, an archaeologist and it was he who made the fascinating and totally unexpected discovery of the clear shape of an Anglo-Saxon ship, grave goods and bones. The burial mound and what went into it is indicative of a person of great wealth and standing and the belief today is that it is the grave of a king called Raedwald.
Other mounds have now also been excavated with further interesting discoveries and as a result we now know a lot more about this period. The soil in this area is very acid and so in some cases all that remained were embedded shapes and fragments. The main helmet, buried with the king was painstakingly pieced together from over 1,000 pieces. Like one of those jigsaws where it all looks the same!!
The house looked just like the one they used for the Land Girls tv series – and then it turned out that there were land girls stationed there during the war.
The work in some of the artifacts from the mounds is amazing. Here are some photos of the day.:
Looks like patchwork patterns have always been in vogue! I have lots of pictures of Roman mosaics that feature many of the designs we make today. These are millefiori patterns from jewellery and also from the hanging bowl that was found in one of the mounds:
A lovely Celtic Spiral pattern that was embossed on one of the artefacts:
This is a plaque from the hanging bowl. More classic patchwork designs:
The mounds are just a short walk from the visitor centre and the house. This is the main one – I hadn’t realised it was so big!
The GAR seat:
The Gar Seat was commissioned by Dick and Lisa Robinson in memory of Elizabeth Robinson known affectionately as Gar. Elizabeth was a volunteer at Sutton Hoo until her death in 1997. The carvings on the seat echo the Anglo-Saxon designs found in the ship burial site. (text taken from the website linked below).
There’s a better picture of the GAR seat here showing much better than mine how it reflects the prow of the boat http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2908457 . I didn’t know what this was while we were there (but I did have a sit in it!) – had to look it up when I got home
On the way there we passed through a village called Debenham, which was a cross between going back in time and driving through The Shire, so we stopped there on our way home to take some photographs:
It’s called Debenham because it’s situated on the River Deben.
Above, the parish church. Below: the inscription on the top of this building says ‘The Ancient Order of the Foresters’
It’s still cold – hat, gloves and scarf were still in play when we walked to the mounds. Freezing! Do you feel sorry for me? Lol!