Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 6°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk/Fornham All Saints: County could have an ‘equivalent to Stonehenge’

11:49 03 February 2014

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

Source: English Heritage Photo Library - Picture Reference: K021103

A historian has said a prehistoric site in Suffolk “could be as significant as Stonehenge” and called for detailed research to be undertaken before the area could be spoiled by development.

Bury resident Alan Murdie at the site which could be 'East Anglia's Stonehenge'. Just outside Fornham All Saints.Bury resident Alan Murdie at the site which could be 'East Anglia's Stonehenge'. Just outside Fornham All Saints.

Dr Duncan McAndrew, who has worked at the British Museum in London, said just outside the village of Fornham All Saints was a scheduled monument called a cursus – which is made out of earth – and in the same area there was evidence of two causewayed enclosures, which could have been one or possibly two wooden henges.

Dr McAndrew has raised concerns about the proximity of this area to a site north-west of Bury St Edmunds where Countryside Properties is looking to build about 900 homes, and believes there could be significant archaeology within the development site itself.

He said the cursus – which he believes is 1.5km long and 26m wide – could be East Anglia’s equivalent of Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

He said: “It could be as significant as Stonehenge, but there’s never been a research project...I can say I cannot think of a larger cursus monument in Suffolk and I certainly cannot think of one in East Anglia. The likelihood is it’s very significant, but until the work is done we won’t know.”

He added: “Certainly I would have thought before you did a major development like that bang next to a site like that you would have to satisfy yourself you are not dealing with something as important as Stonehenge.

“You don’t want to get marked with the reputation you are the people that have built on East Anglia’s equivalent of Stonehenge.”

Dr McAndrew, who is an experienced archaeologist, said East Anglia had wooden henges rather than stone ones due to the lack of stone which could be cut into blocks.

He said the seahenge in Norfolk was so well preserved as it was covered by seawater, but evidence of wooden henges near Fornham would be post holes in the ground.

He said the area was also important archaeologically as the Battle of Fornham in 1173 was the only medieval battle known definitely to have happened in Suffolk – and there could be evidence connected to it in the development site.

He said there could also be evidence of a beacon site called a ‘tot’ or ‘tut’ in the area.

Dr McAndrew, who spoke at a public inquiry into St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s blueprint for future development called Vision 2031, said for archaeological reasons he would prefer the site earmarked for housing “to be left alone”.

Dr Jess Tipper, county archaeologist at Suffolk Archaeology Service, said there were was a “major prehistoric ritual landscape” along the Lark Valley.

He believed the cursus – which he said dated back to the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods – would have been “equally impressive” as Stonehenge.

“We have never had the opportunity to investigate it and the site is preserved as an ancient monument,” he said. Suffolk County Council said substantial archaeological assessment at the development site had established while there were archaeological remains, “there are no grounds to consider refusal of [planning] permission in order to achieve preservation in situ of any important below-ground heritage asset”.

A spokeswoman for the borough council said the authority had been working with the county council to oversee the protection of archaeological heritage from development in the borough.

“Our heritage is given further protection in the planning process.

“The developer of the north-west Bury St Edmunds site has worked with Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service to ensure that appropriate investigation was carried out. In considering the developer’s application for outline planning permission, national planning guidance on archaeology was taken into consideration and a planning condition concerning archaeology is included.”

1 comment

  • who needs another stonehenge.they have messed the road system up by closing one road just think of the . roads in fornham at weekends.

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Monday, February 3, 2014

Police at Ipswich Hospital after the double stabbing in Ipswich

Police have charged a 17-year-old boy who was arrested on Thursday afternoon on suspicion of murder after two men were stabbed at the West Meadows travellers’ site in Ipswich.

Ipswich Basketball

Ipswich Basketball head coach Nick Drane has criticised the decision to deny the sport any funding for the Tokyo Olympics, saying it feels like “no-one cares”.

The Old Mill House, Saxtead

A Suffolk heritage charity has called on developers to rethink plans for three new homes to be built behind a 17th village century pub.

Fundraisers in varying guises of Dr Who handover the £2,083.54 raised after they manned a stall at Bury’s Christmas Fayre to St Nicholas Hospice Care

A Tardis, a Dalek, Davros and a bunch of Time Lords helped a group of die-hard Doctor Who fans to collect more than £2,000 for charity.

The RSPCA centre in Martlesham is appealing to animal lovers to consider adopting a new pet

The RSPCA are appealing for animal lovers to come forward and adopt some of the cute creatures they are looking to rehome.

Staff at Allonsfield House care home dressed as Land Girls for the event

Care home residents were taken back to 1940s Suffolk complete with wartime rations, air raid sirens and dances to Vera Lynn.

A man is due to appear at court charged with rape and robbery.

A 21-year-old man charged with rape and robbery has been remanded in custody.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24