In southern England near the Suffolk coast lies a stretch of sandy heathland dotted by mysterious mounds of earth. Inspiring strange tales and superstitions among local people, these barrows charmed newlyweds Frank and Edith Pretty, who purchased the property, known as Sutton Hoo, in 1926. The couple made their home at Sutton Hoo for nearly nine years until Frank’s untimely death in late 1934. Edith continued to live there, and she grew increasingly curious about the barrows on her property. A lifelong fascination with the occult had led her, like many wealthy women of her time, to consult spiritualists in London. Some say that after her husband’s death, her interest in spiritualism grew and even expanded to include the barrows on her property. Disputed accounts even describe Edith as having a vision of a ghostly procession passing through the mounds near her house. Whatever the true cause, she decided in 1937 to have the land excavated and approached a museum in nearby Ipswich to discuss it.
Source: The Ghostly Treasure Ship of Sutton Hoo
The National Trust shares its responsibilities with the Sutton Hoo Society; the latter does site tours while Trust volunteers man the exhibition that occupies a grey timber building 10 minutes’ walk away. Wainwright helped set up the exhibition: to their horror, the researchers found that most visitors knew nothing at all about the Anglo-Saxons. The originators of so much English culture – place names, kingship, legal system – had somehow been squeezed out by the sexier Romans and Vikings. Their delicate interlaced designs were assumed to be Celtic. Even now, some people still leave thinking that Sutton Hoo contained a Viking ship. “If we called it ‘The Sutton Hoo Viking Burial’ we’d probably double our visitor numbers,” says Wainwright, laughing. “So in the end we decided to focus on the site, while doing a major PR job for the Anglo-Saxons.”
Source: Sutton Hoo, Suffolk: On the trail of the Anglo-Saxons – Telegraph
One to watch.
Directed by Sarah Jobling. With Alice Roberts, Dana Goodburn-Brown, Sarah Groves, Helena Hamerow.
Source: “Digging for Britain” The Anglo-Saxons (TV Episode 2010) – IMDb
Excellent series of blogs about Sutton Hoo by archaeologist Professor Howard Williams.
What is Sutton Hoo? It’s been 6 years since I last visited Sutton Hoo, the ‘burial ground of kings’. Located on marginal land on a prominent ridge above the River Deben opposite Woodbridge…
Source: Sutton Hoo Revisited – Archaeodeath