Work on The Hold, the new heritage centre for Suffolk, is making progress. This week the membrane went down for the archive.
I have been reviewing the summer and thinking about the key heritage sites in Suffolk. I have put the ten locations in a broadly chronological order.
Sutton Hoo. The Anglo-Saxon ship-burial site is one of the most important archaeological sites in the UK. The spectacular finds are displayed in the British Museum.
The Abbey of St Edmund. The abbey precinct contains the ruined abbey as well as two impressive gatehouses. The present cathedral stands alongside the former abbey church.
Blythburgh church. Suffolk has numerous medieval churches but Blythburgh is probably one of the most impressive. The setting with the marshes enhances the visit.
Lavenham, Guildhall. The Guildhall at Lavenham stood at the heart of the medieval community.
Clare Castle. It is hard to beat a castle that has a (disused) railway station in its outer bailey. The castle provides good views over Clare with its splendid church.
Orford Castle. The castle at Orford provides a wonderful platform to view part of the Suffolk coast including the twentieth century Cold War remains on Orford Ness.
Ickworth. The Rotunda at Ickworth dominates the landscape and can be viewed from the Italianate gardens.
Museum of East Anglian Life. This outdoor museum in Stowmarket brings together different elements of rural life in the region. The riverside walk provides a good opportunity to spot wildlife.
East Anglia Transport Museum. This gem of a museum provides train, tram and trolleybus rides, exhibits of signs, and displays from the now dismantled Southwold railway.
Newmarket, Palace House. Newmarket is synonymous with horseracing and the exhibitions have everything from Greek pottery to modern art, physiological displays, and memorabilia. Visitors can even take an automated ride.
This is very much a personal list, and it reflects some of the key locations.
Work is continuing to protect the lighthouse on Orford Ness, Suffolk from further encroachment by the sea (‘Orfordness Lighthouse: Volunteers’ battle against the sea‘, BBC News 12 August 2018).
The lighthouse is now managed by the Orfordness Lighthouse Trust. It was constructed in 1792.
Historic England has issued a list of the Top 10 Heritage Sites in England (Mark Brown, “New top 10 of heritage sites maps out the history of England”, The Guardian 12 June 2018).
The sites are:
- Sutton Hoo, Suffolk
- Angel of the North, Gateshead
- St Paul’s Cathedral
- Coventry Cathedral
- Tate Modern
- the Barbara Hepworth museum and sculpture park, St Ives, Cornwall
- the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield
- Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire
- Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
- the Minack theatre, Cornwall
What would be in your top 10 sites for England?
The Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership has received £9,900 from the HLF to develop its interpretation of the abbey precinct (“Abbey of St Edmund project gains National Lottery backing“, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Press Release, 8 June 2018).
The money from the Heritage Lottery Fund will help prepare for the work that will take place after those studies are completed, by enabling the Heritage Partnership to develop organisational capacity and establish an independent not-for-profit organisation. It will also be used to procure management consultancy, skills training and IT equipment and to enable lessons to be learned from the success of another project at a former Benedictine Abbey elsewhere in the country.
That in turn will mean that it will be better positioned to raise funds in the future while also developing the capacity required to deliver on major heritage and education projects.
The Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership is led by St Edmundsbury Cathedral in collaboration with St Edmundsbury Borough Council and representatives of Suffolk County Council, Historic England, English Heritage, the University of East Anglia, the University of Suffolk, the Bury Society and several local community groups as well as specialist architects, historians and archaeologists.
Some investigatory excavations were taking place at National Trust Sutton Hoo this last week in preparation for the construction of a viewing tower adjacent to the mound where the ship burial was excavation. This HLF funded project will enhance the public experience of what is one of the most important archaeological sites in Suffolk.
Archaeologists from MOLA have been investigating a Bronze Age ditch feature (with some contextualised pottery).
In 2015 a temporary scaffolding tower was erected to see how it changed the way that the public viewed the mounds.