website last updated 3 May, 2011
Swords, shields, spears; wristclasps, girdle-hangers and beautifully coloured glass beads - just some of the artefacts found when more than 400 skeletons were unearthed from the Anglo-Saxon graves at Lakenheath between 1997 and 2001. Jo Caruth from the Archaeology Unit at Bury St Edmunds came to our February meeting to tell us about the excavation and it was absolutely fascinating.
Test pits were dug before new buildings were approved for the RAF and the evidence was strong that investigations should be carried out. There are three pagan cemeteries and one contains an even earlier Bronze Age burial, so this had been a sacred site before the Anglo- Saxons arrived.
The soil here is sandy Breckland with undulating chalk deposits and this is very good for preserving bones. The skeletons had excellent teeth, were of average height and faced east/west.
A warrior and his horse were found with a beautiful bridle and his face was reconstructed for the television programme'Meet the Ancestors'. The site closed in 2001 but work goes on in many locations to find out as much as possible about the lives of these people. The museum in Mildenhall has been given a Lottery grant to extend and it is hoped that the Lakenheath finds will be exhibited there. Jo will be working on the finds until 2014, and we wish her and her team every success.
On Tuesday March 16th our speaker will be Ashley Cooper on 'Local Historical Literary Links' and our AGM is on Tuesday 19th April at 7pm, to be followed by a talk on 'The Foundling Hospital' by Ruth Miller.
Meetings are held in the WI Hall at 7.30pm and all are welcome.
The Wickhambrook Parish Records are currently being digitised and updated. If you have any information you may be able to add or help fill in some of the gaps, please contact Paul Saunders.
We have had some fascinating photos and press cuttings sent to us which you can see by having a look at the pdf group images in the gallery
Dorothy Anderson is awarded a Diamond Champion - read more here
At the launch party at The Cherry Tree on 20th September, Jenny Bell told us how she had found diaries and notes written by her father-in- law Frances Bell and realised that this would make a wonderful book. It has taken her several years to produce but the finished volume makes fascinating reading for the people of Wickhambrook and Stradishall. Frances was the younger brother of Adrian Bell, the well-known writer of Corduroy, Silverley and The Cherry Tree among others. His books were very popular in the thirties and forties for their depiction of farming life in East Anglia. Frances went off to Argentina when a young man and learned much about land use and farming there before returning to this area where he worked for the charismatic fruit grower Justin Brooke, a major employer in the area. He ended up running the fruit growing side of the business, marrying and bringing up a family here, before differences between him and his employer caused him to leave and try his ideas elsewhere in the region. The book is much more than just a farming memoir. Frances was a real character, very popular with the men who worked for him,and enjoyed a glass of beer and played the accordion. It was lovely to see so many former employees of the Brooke empire at Clopton Hall chatting and reminiscing with members of the Bell family. Martin Bell ,the journalist, who is a cousin of the author's husband, has written an introduction to the book and he spoke at the book launch too. The Cherry Tree pub, former home of the Bells, laid on a lovely teatime spread. The book is available in local bookshops or from Larks Press, Ordnance Farmhouse,Guist Bottom, Dereham NR20 5PF for £10 and is an excellent read.
For information about the Society or events please contact either the Secretary or Events Secretary.
The main committee is as follows:
Membership costs £8 per year payable in April plus 50p for each meeting.
Guests are always very welcome - £2 per occasion.
Meetings held at 7.30pm in the W.I. Hall.
Library - The library is now all set up at the Primary School. Please let us know your views on this. (Little Bradley trip - we have bought Wendy Barnes' book for the library).
and now for some interesting Historical Facts from the 1500's ...
January | War Time Stories (in house)
February | Captain Oates in the Antarctic
March | Wheels of Ipswich
April | Royal Copenhagen China
May | Market Towns in Eastern England since 1750
May | Day meeting for Local Societies - SLHC
June | Visit to Mildenhall Museum
July | History Walk around Wickhambrook
September | Bad Neighbour to Brewer
October | History and Archaeology
November | On the Trail of St Edmund
January | War Time Stories (in house) - cancelled
February | Sherlock Holmes in Cambridge
March | Victorian Photographs and how to date them
April | AGM and Morocco Bound
May | Mid-Suffolk Light Railway
June | Visit to Little Hall, Lavenham
July | Visit to Clare
September | Four Aeronautical Family Members
October | A New Look at the Romans
November | History of the River Gipping
January | I Remember When...
February | Stories from old Newspapers
March | Historical of the Roadside
April | AGM and The History of Addenbrookes Hospital
May | Life in Medieval England
June | Who Lived Here?
June | Wickhambrook Discovers its Past
October | The Vikings
November | Henry VIII's Legacy
January | Oliver Cromwell
February | The Anglo-Saxon Burials at Lakenheath
March | Local Historical and Literary Links
April | AGM and The Foundling Hospital
May | 25th Celebration
June | Visit to Castle Hedingham September | Figleaves, Farthingales and Fichus
October | Maps and Landscapes
November | Tudor Christmas with Mistress Sheffield
January | Family History
February | Policing London
March | Courtship and Marriage
April | AGM and Local Rare and Second Hand Books
May | From The History Recorder
July | Visit to Hundon
September | The Roman Circus
October | The Changing Face of Liverpool Street Station
November | St Edmund and his Town
January | Show and Tell
February | Wickhambrook Fire Service
March | History of Lidgate
April | AGM and coins
May | History Course
August | Summer outings
September | The Rolling English Road
October | Anglican Clerical Characters
January | Dig for Victory and the Festival of Britain
February | The remains of conflict from earthworks to pillboxes
March | Victorian Way of Death
April | AGM and Lord Nelson
May | sanitation
September | Various visits
October | RAF Stradishall
November | Victorian Christmas
January | RAF Chedburgh
February | Prince Duleep Singh of the Punjab
March | the Suffolk/Essex Border in Roman Times
April | AGM followed by Floods in the Fens in 1947
May | The Huguenot Society
June | Gainsborough's House, Sudbury
July | Visit to Mildenhall and Ashfield Green Farm
August | Visit to Ashley cooper's farm at Gestingthorpe
September/October | Rags and Bones / Farm Buildings
January | Progresses to Suffolk made by Queen Elizabeth I
Febuary | Plants in History of Art and Design
March | St Edmundsbury Cathedral & the New Tower
April | AGM and Village Signs
May | Celebration Evening | Celebration Evening Full Report
June | Bulmer Brickyards
July | Hawstead Church with Clive Paine
September | Birth and Baptism in the 1800s
October | Myths and Superstition in Buldings
November | For the Rest of Their Natural Lives
January | Wickhambrook Past, Present and Future
February | Frolic, Fervour and Fornication
March | Growing Up in Isleham
April | The History of advertising
May | All Saints Church and Little Bradley Church
June | sisters in the Canadian Wilderness
July | Library and Culford
August | Roman Villa at Gesingthorpe
September | Pickwick's Cambridge Scrapbook
October | 'A Cup of Tea'
November | Shops in the Middle Ages
January | Antiques Roadshow
January and February News
February | Sutton Hoo
March | It's a Grave Business
April | Connections between Suffolk and India
May | Giffords Hall
June/July | Kentwell Hall
September | Pakenham Mill
November | Wall Paintings in Domestic Tudor Buildings
Suffolk Surnames - Information, help and advice for anyone researching their Suffolk Roots
I have had a letter from the East Anglian Film Archive with details of DVDs which may be of interest to you. You can look online at archivefilmshop.co.uk and type HISTSOC into the discount box. Their Phone no. is 01603 251744. Please tell them which Hist Soc you belong to when you call (Dorothy)
Many will know that The National Archives gives regular talks on various aspects of family history at the PRO in Kew. Less well known is that they're now available to replay online. Very easy to listen to, providing you've got broadband.
Doctors who practised in Wickhambrook up until 1900 - Suffolk Medical Biographies website - type in 'Wickhambrook' in the 'place of practice' box and then 'search'.