North Elmham Chapel


North Elmham Chapel © David Gill

In the late Anglo-Saxon period North Elmham was a focal point for the Bishops of East Anglia. The bishopric was moved to Thetford in 1071.

Bishop Herbert de Losinga [ODNB] founded a church, after 1091, on the site of the earlier Anglo-Saxon cathedral. At some point after 1388 Bishop Henry le Despencer turned the former chapel into a castle. Part of the walls within the inner moat can be seen to the right of the chapel’s apse.

The chapel is now in the care of English Heritage.

The MPBW published a short paper guide by S.E. Rigold (1960) using the site’s then title of ‘North Elmham Saxon Cathedral’.


1960 (repr. 1966)

Heritage Fortnight Lecture: The Saxon Shore

Othona / Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex © David Gill

Othona / Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex © David Gill

East Anglia is dominated by a series of Late Roman fortresses around its coast: from Brancaster on the north Norfolk coast, to Bradwell-on-Sea on the mudflats of Essex. These forts, known as ‘The Saxon Shore‘, continued round the coast of Kent, Sussex and Hampshire. Several of them became sites of Christian foundations during the 7th century: Burgh Castle, (possibly) Walton Castle (near Felixstowe), and Reculver. 

Saxon Shore lecture (2014)

Saxon Shore lecture (2014)

The lecture for the Ipswich Heritage Fortnight (2014) will explore some of the issues on this transformation from Late Roman Britannia to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia. It will also suggest the way that this important part of East Anglia’s history could form part of a visitor trail.