Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 9°C


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

11:49 03 February 2014



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


    Monday, February 3, 2014

Broomhill Swimming Pool in Ipswich has received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. L-R: Robyn Llewellyn (head of Heritage Lottery Fund - East of England), Cllr Bryony Rudkin, Tim Mills, Garath Jones and Mark Ling.

Broomhill pool in Ipswich could reopen to the public at Easter 2018 – its 80th anniversary – after its re-opening proposals got the backing of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Georgia and Jodie Mutch have lost 8.5 stone between them after joining Slimming World. The sisters are pictured in Ipswich. Georgis is on left on the latest photo

Jodie Mutch and sister Georgia are celebrating new slim-line figures after losing five stone and three stone respectively.

One of the CCTV images police have issued in their search for a teenager who stole a bicycle from Grimwade Street, Ipswich

Police have issued CCTV images of a teenager they are keen to trace after a bicycle was stolen from Grimwade Street in Ipswich.

Average speed camera.

Average speed cameras on the A12 on the Essex and Suffolk border have not yet been switched on – three months after they were installed.

Thomas Harvey's winning entry in the Landguard Photography Competition 2015.

Stunning photographs of Suffolk’s most southerly point attracted big interest on-line with around 800 people voting for their favourite.

Could Broomhill Pool be on the brink of restoration?

Hopes of restoring Ipswich’s Broomhill Pool have today received a huge boost with the news that the Heritage Lottery Fund has made an interim award to the project.

All of the alleged sexual assaults happened on buses in Suffolk.

More needs to be done to empower women in Suffolk to come forward about sexual assaults, a campaigner has said.

The Stars of Suffolk judges are pictured at Hintlesham Hall.

This year’s Stars of Suffolk winners and finalists have now been decided, after judges gathered at Hintlesham Hall to make their decisions.

Police attended to the incident

Police were called to a crash involving a motorcycle and car in a car park in Scrivener Drive, Ipswich, this morning.

Broomhill pool from the air

As hopes of restoring Ipswich’s lido to its former glory take a step forward today, we look back at the pool’s past.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages