Retired doctor pens his first book

A RETIRED doctor has written his first book – not on surgical procedures, but on the history of a small village in north Suffolk.Grandfather Basil Harrold, 73, lived in South Elmham as a schoolboy during the Second World War and after retiring from medicine returned to the area from Bedfordshire.

A RETIRED doctor has written his first book - not on surgical procedures, but on the history of a small village in north Suffolk.

Grandfather Basil Harrold, 73, lived in South Elmham as a schoolboy during the Second World War and after retiring from medicine returned to the area from Bedfordshire.

Over the past five years, he collected evidence for his 145-page book, An Enigma of Ancient Suffolk - South Elmham before 1066, focusing in particular on the St Cross's ruined old minister, which he argues is a dedication to the memory of the East Anglian saint, St Edmund, who was beheaded by the Danes in the 9th Century.

He said: "The ruin at St Cross is called the old minister and it is undated. It's an amazing ruin, unknown to most people. It could have been a cathedral or a memorial to St Edmund. It is not orientated East to West like most churches, but its orientation closely matches the sunrise of April 29 - the day St Edmund's body was buried in Bury St Edmunds on April 29 so the ruin could be a dedication to him. The cult of St Edmund was very strong not just in England but in Europe."


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He also believes South Elmham used to be the seat of the second bishopric in East Anglia before Christian organisation was disrupted by 9th Century Danish raids. The next bishopric was established at Hoxne before it moved to North Elmham in Norfolk and then onto Norwich via Thetford.

Dr Harrold said: "Every time I read something about the ancient history of Elmham it's always been North Elmham. A lot of money spent on digging by archaeologists, who have found a lot of stuff. But I have found evidence that South Elmham was the see of Elmham."

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Dr Harrold took many of the colour photographs in the book and he also includes figures from the Doomsday Book on Elmham and its surrounding areas.

The book, priced at £12.95, is available from the Halesworth Bookshop, Bookthrift in Southwold and Jarrolds in Norwich.

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