Woodbridge is known as the gem in Suffolk’s crown. However, there are many jewels around the town.
2020 sees exciting things happening there. A film called “The Dig” with Ralph Fiennes as Basil Brown and Carey Mulligan as Mrs Pretty, due to be released this year is based on the discovery of the royal ship burial. This film will highlight the building of the replica of the Ship by The Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company in The Longshed (beside the Tide Mill).
The Bull Inn on Market Hill, recently revitalised by its new owners, was an important place for the archaeologists to meet. One of them, Peggy Piggott, who found a golden pyramid encrusted with jewels at the site is described as arriving in Woodbridge: “after 5 o’clock to stay at The Bull Hotel. “
Come and see the amazing project which you can be a part of that is taking place in The Longshed. This year will see the ghost ship’s spirit raised.
The Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company consists of a group of volunteers with a variety of backgrounds that are far removed from building Saxon Longboats. To build this 90ft ship they will have to adopt the skills of the Anglo -Saxon boat builders. Using modern tools and techniques will not give the same results, so they will need to replicate the skills and the tools that the ancestral boat builders used.
You can be a part of the project. See www.saxonship.org
No one knows what the ship was used for. Was it a royal barge used to carry the king and his entourage up and down the Deben that was later converted to be his funeral ship to take him and all his treasures to his final resting place? Could it have been a warship that sailed the oceans and brought back treasures and jewels from around the world?
We shall never know. However, we do know that the spirit of the Sutton Hoo Ship is being raised in Woodbridge. It will take to the water again and may even come back with treasure.
One place in Woodbridge that already has treasure is Chenevix Jewellery (40 Market Hill. Susannah, the owner, is a specialist in bespoke and remodelling. Inspired by the natural world, her pieces combine the finest, precious metals with the vibrancy of nature’s own colour palette through exquisite gemstones. Maybe even garnets and rubies as in Beowulf’s treasure?
The Beowulf Festival 2020 (www.beowulffestival.co.uk) from 1st– 4th May celebrates the link between Woodbridge and Britain’s oldest poem, Beowulf. This describes artefacts the same as those found in the Sutton Hoo Royal Burial Ship such as the gem-encrusted weapons (the gold decorated hilt and scabbard of the royal sword was also ‘inlaid’ with cut garnets).
Visit Woodbridge and see an Anglo-Saxon Ship, buried in the 7th century being reborn in the 21st Century.
Written by Clare Perkins, as a Director of Choose Woodbridge.