This year the Queen celebrates her 90th birthday and the National Trust at Sutton Hoo will be joining the celebrations with the lighting of a beacon on Thursday 21 April at 8.30pm.
Sutton Hoo has a long royal history, and is the perfect place to appreciate the changing face of the monarchy in this country. In the early 7th century the site was a burial place for the Anglo-Saxon kings of East Anglia – a dynasty called the Wuffings.
Rebecca Herod, Visitor Experience Officer for the National Trust at Sutton Hoo has been organising the event. ‘In 1939, archaeologists discovered a royal ship burial at Sutton Hoo, full of extraordinary treasures, possibly belonging to King Raedwald of East Anglia. This royal regalia can be compared with the Crown Jewels today – the burial had a sceptre, a decorated sword, decorative items, and a lot of gold and silver. The kings of this period didn’t have crowns, but the spectacular Sutton Hoo helmet could be considered an equivalent treasure’.
People are invited to Sutton Hoo for free any time from 5.00pm on the evening of 21st April to explore the site and its royal story. The beacon will be lit at 8.30pm, and the celebrations will be overseen by Councillor John Sayles, the Mayor of Woodbridge, and by King Raedwald himself.
In the week from 18th to 24th April, which also includes St George’s Day, the site will be exploring the theme of English royalty across the centuries through a series of short talks and a display of royal genealogies dating back to the Dark Ages. You can even get a ‘Saxon Selfie’ with a replica of the Sutton Hoo helmet.
Many of the origins of our traditions can be found in Anglo-Saxon times, and the discovery at Sutton Hoo represents the first page of English history. The site is currently in the development phase of a Heritage Lottery funded project to develop the experience at Sutton Hoo – Releasing the Sutton Hoo Story. More details can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sutton-hoo
Image: Displays the Sutton Hoo replica treasures like the Crown Jewels and was taken by Robin Pattinson.