Zenobia and the trade in cheese

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Zenobia figurehead © David Gill

One of the figureheads displayed at the Cutty Sark, Greenwich is from the Zenobia, wrecked off the Norfolk coast in 1882 (further details). The Zenobia was built to carry fruit, but was sold and then based in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk to carry cargoes of cheese to Holland.

The vessel was named after Zenobia of Palmyra (Syria).

Ipswich, Wet Dock

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Ipswich Marina © David Gill

The port of Ipswich can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon period. Traces of the medieval town peep through, notably the medieval churches such as St Clement that lies to the north of present marina. The Isaac Lord building (now a quayside pub) is a former 17th or 18th century brick maltings with kiln.

The Wet Dock, designed by H.R. Palmer, was opened in 1842. A number of warehouses associated with this phase can still be seen. Palmer also designed the dock facilities at Port Talbot and Neath in South Wales, and at Penzance in Cornwall.

The commercial Wet Dock is now largely used as a marina.

See also here.

Rendlesham Conference

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Rendlesham Conference © David Gill

Some 450 delegates attended a conference at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds to hear about the results of the survey and excavations (2008-14) at the vicus regius of Rendlesham in Suffolk. One of the themes explored was the relationship between this apparent elite site on the Deben with the ship-burial site at Sutton Hoo. A further discussion was on the place of the former Saxon Shore fort at Walton Castle (near Felixstowe).

Papers were:

  • Sir Michael Bunbury, The landowner’s perspective
  • Faye Minter, How Rendlesham has been investigated
  • Jude Plouviez, Results: the Roman period
  • Christopher Scull, Results: the Anglo-Saxon period
  • Andrew Woods, Interpreting the early medieval coins
  • Charlotte Scull, Beasts and feasts: the animal resources
  • Kelly Kilpatrick, The place-names of a royal Anglo-Saxon landscape: a toponymic survey of Rendlesham and the Deben valley
  • Tom Williamson, Rendlesham in context: the changing geographies of early medieval England
  • Andrew Rogerson, Not always a backwater, the northern half of the East Anglian Kingdom in the 5th-9th centuries
  • Christopher Scull, Suffolk, East Anglia and the North Sea: the importance of Rendelsham in the 5th to 8th centuries AD

Martin Carver chaired the final session and emphasised the international significance of the discoveries. Christopher Scull outlined plans for publication (including an article in Antiquity) and future grant applications.

The conference was organised by Suffolk County Council with support from the Sutton Hoo Society, Council for British Archaeology East, and University of Suffolk.

The conference was sponsored by Suffolk Archaeology, Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB, Suffolk County Council, British Sugar and the National Trust.

Hadrian’s Wall: the view across the Solway

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Bowness from across the Solway © David Gill

Hadrian’s Wall ‘ends’ at Bowness on Solway (Maia). The modern village clusters over the site of the Roman fort.

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Bowness on Solway © David Gill

Just to the east is the fort at Drumburgh (Coggabata / Congabata) guarding one of the fords over the Solway. At high tide this looks a ‘secure’ frontier, but at low tide the mud flats are a reminder why the frontier was pushed so far to the west.

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Drumburgh from across the Solway with the Lake district beyond © David Gill

Woodbridge Waterfront Developments

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Woodbridge © David Gill

The BBC has reported on the developments at the waterfront in Woodbridge (“Woodbridge Whisstocks £10m development project under way“, BBC News 18 March 2016). The project will include a replica Anglo-Saxon vessel (see here).

This is an exciting development opposite the National Trust Sutton Hoo estate.

Visiting the Saxon Shore

Visiting_the_Saxon_ShoreI will be exploring how heritage can be used to enhance the visitor experience in Suffolk at the Suffolk Inside Out conference at Trinity Park, Ipswich on 11 March 2016. (Further details are available here.) I will be using the cluster of Anglo-Saxon heritage sites that are found in the Ipswich and Woodbridge areas: Sutton Hoo, Woodbridge Waterfront, Rendlesham, the Ipswich Museum (with its Anglo-Saxon collections), and the Suffolk Record Office (with some of the Sutton Hoo records).

Heritage Winter Walks

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Custom House, Ipswich © David Gill

A group of us went on a heritage “winter walk” as part of a well-being initiative at work. We had a walk round the Wet Dock that now forms part of the marina at Ipswich. The dock was planned by H.R. Palmer in 1837 and opened to shipping in 1842. A new entrance  at the south end was created in 1881. This was crossed by a swing bridge to carry the railway (1903).

On the north side of the dock is the Old Custom House, designed by J.M. Clark and completed in 1845.

To the right of the Custom House is Waterfront House, originally a grain store. This was converted in 1986/7 as part of the initial regeneration of the Ipswich waterfront.