Alnesbourn Priory & the lost parish of Hallowtree
As recorded in Domesday 1066, beside the river Orwell between Nacton and Ipswich was Aluesbrunna, a tiny settlement consisting of only 4 households, 1 lord’s plough team, 6 acres of meadow and 60 sheep.Whilst Aluesbrunna no longer exists and is believed to lie under the site of Alnesbourn Priory some 1.2km to the southwest, the priory at Alnesbourn was to become one of the smallest Austin priories in Suffolk with just 12 clerics following canon law in liturgy, preaching and social activities in 1291.
Walton Castle - Roman Shore Fort
Walton Castle is one of many Saxon Shore Forts built by the late Roman Empire around 276-285 A.D. In the second half of the 3rd Century, East Anglia and the South-East became associated with defence, and housed the first in a series of Saxon Shore Forts, largely constructed in response to coastal raiding. These shore forts were connected by signal stations and beacons along the East and South-East coast at the time of the 4th Century and during the reconstructions under Theodosius 347-395 A.D.
Neolithic ritual site Woodbridge
In 2018, diggers laying groundwork for a windfarm discovered an unknown site which the world press reported was of international significance. On digging the clay sloping field that headed towards the riverbank clear spring water came bubbling up from the ground, along with massive timbers that were perfectly preserved. The timbers were dated to 4,300 years old, although the underlying timbers were much older as there was evidence that this Neolithic trackway had been repeatedly restored by successive generations.
Burrow Hill Butley
Burrow Hill overlooks the mouth of the Butley River and was formally an island site, cut off from dry land by a stretch of tidal mudflats due to the marsh here sitting lower than the sea level. This steep sloping hill was once connected to the mainland by a 450 metre long causeway known as the Thrift, and was occupied during the Iron Age and Roman times, long before the Augustinian priory was founded on the hilltop in the late 12th Century.
16th Century carvings Gazeley Church
In Gazeley’s All Saints Church, highly rare and unique wooden carvings survive in the chancel wagon-roof dated to around 1530 A.D. Hidden out of sight, too small and far too high to be seen from the ground, they escaped Henry VIII’s iconoclasts who rejected images or objects of veneration as forbidden in the Bible. It was only during the extensive refurbishments that many of the mythical beings, animals and objects were clearly photographed for the first time.
Long Grove Hawk’s Leys
An ancient woodland called Long Grove at Hawk’s Ley farm sits just outside the village of Rede. The name Rede itself may derive from ‘rode’, the old geomantic unit of measure discovered by Dr. Heinsch in 1975. Rede is the highest village in the whole of Suffolk, with Long Grove approximately a mile away from Great Wood Hill, the highest point in the county. This elevation may also have aided the creation and associated surveying activities required of a terrestrial zodiac.
Campsea Ashe ritual animal burials
As part of a housing development in Campsea Ashe, excavations led to the rare discovery of eight complete or near complete animal burials. Consisting of a horse, boar, and six cows, the animals were recovered from a line of individual pits amongst a series of Roman dated boundary ditches and features from the 1st – 2nd century A.D. These burials are believed to be sacrificial, serving no functional purpose as to why the animals were buried in the manner that they were.
Church of St Mary’s Troston Graffiti Inscriptions
Inside the Church of St Mary’s at Troston, there are an unusually high number of graffiti inscriptions, a combination of decorative patterns, figurative drawings and crosses with the tower arch depicting inscriptions of birds, fishes and animals, including two depictions of a deer. More curious are the ritual protection symbols, the compass-drawn designs, and ‘apotropaic’ markings. They may have also emulated older solar symbols and thus repel darkness.
The Devil’s Ring and Brightwell Heath
The Devil’s Ring is formed from six distinctive ancient barrows in an area where some 22 are known to exist in Brightwell and on neighbouring heaths at Foxhall, Waldringfield, and Martlesham. Grand finds included a late antique bronze cremation bowl alongside a bone comb and iron rivets. Inside the bronze bowl, a high status and rare cremation vessel along with the charred bones was a glass bead and an ornamental double sided bone disc.
Lost Shrine Chapel of Our Lady of Grace Ipswich
The shrine chapel of Our Lady of Grace once stood in Lady Lane, just outside the west gate of the town of Ipswich. The shrine is first recorded in 1152 A.D. and just over a century before Princess Elizabeth, the daughter of Edward I, married the Count of Holland in the shrine chapel in 1297 A.D. The shrine stood, or more specifically, used the same structures as the chapel of All Saints that was on the same site.
Snape Boat Burial
The Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Snape is home to only the second intact late Antique / Early Medieval boat burial in England. Excavated in 1862 it has been dated to 550-575+/- A.D. It was the first ancient dated vessel ever found in England and excavated in the whole of Europe. The local topography indicates that it would have been visible from the sea, from over 7 km away, with the boat itself needing to be dragged some 2.5 km from the river.
Undley Runes Lakenheath
On Undley Common near Lakenheath, a gold bracteate, a type of thin gold pendant was discovered in a grave. Its design was based on Roman coins struck for Constantine I between 324 and 330 A.D. with the bracteate itself dated to 475 A.D. On its surface a runic inscription reads from right to left ᚷᚫᚷᚩᚷᚫ ᛗᚫᚷᚫ ᛗᛖᛞᚢ g͡æg͡og͡æ mægæ medu that has been described as what may be the earliest writing in the English language.