SIAH meetings winter 2021-2022

Elmswell lectures are held at Blackbourne Hall, Blackbourne Rd, IP30 9UH.  Council will meet after the lectures on 13 November, 8 January, and 12 March. 

Wed 06 October 2021 at 1000 online.  Mark Bailey Suffolk and the medieval Gough map.

Sat 30 October 2021 at 1400 online.  Timothy Easton The significant timber-framed buildings of Debenham

Timothy Easton moved to Debenham 49 years ago. Over the next 7 years and with the help of Mike Finch, a building’s draftsman, they surveyed and drew up many of the central inns, houses and specialist buildings in this former market town. A ground-breaking exhibition was mounted in 1979 and this talk illustrates some of the collected material showing many surprising public buildings around the market place. Timothy Easton is an artist and architectural historian. 

Before Timothy Easton’s talk about the important timber-framed buildings in Debenham, a technical problem occurred that did not allow his prepared presentation to be given. Edward Martin kindly provided an earlier version, which had several older images that had been dropped but also left out several showing historic painted interiors. Although this strategy got the afternoon going, members might like to know they can access the correct talk with the additional slides at This was given to a national online conference about buildings in East Anglia. Through this link there are also excellent talks by Edward Martin, Philip Aitkens, and John Walker.

Sat 13 November 2021 at 1400 at Elmswell: Andrew Peachey, Memento mori - remembering the Roman dead and a new perspective on the early settlement at Great Whelnetham.

Recent excavations have revealed a major boundary and a cemetery adjacent to a former river channel that provides a new glimpse at the occupants of the village.  But history can be stranger than fiction, and the cemetery contained a very high proportion of decapitated and deviant burials that suggests activity may have been far from domestic and ‘normal’.

Wed 01 December 2021 at 1000 online: Dr Natasha Harlow, Archaeological evidence for the Boudican rebellion and the responses of the British peoples of East Anglia to the Roman conquest.

Sat 11 December 2021 1400 online: John Parker, Parson, polymath and correspondent: the life and letters of John Stevens Henslow.

John Henslow (1796-1861), a many-talented and much-esteemed Cambridge Professor, uprooted his family in 1839 to reside in the rural parish of Hitcham near Stowmarket. The course of his multifaceted life will be followed here through Henslow's own correspondence, now freely available on line as part of the Epsilon website of Cambridge University Library.

Sat 08 January 2022 1400 online: Edward Martin: Great Bricett Priory and Hall

Great Bricett may be one of the lesser-known places in Suffolk, but it has a fascinating history. Its medieval priory, founded in the early 12th century, was one of the earliest Augustinian priories to be established in England and is the only one to be a daughter-house of the collegiate church of Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat, near Limoges in France. This was the centre of the cult of St Leonard, the patron saint of prisoners, and the priory at Bricett was dedicated to him. The priory church became the parish church, and the other surviving remains of the priory are contained within Great Bricett Hall, which forms an unusual timber-framed wing on the north side of the church. This wing was thought, stylistically, to date from the 13th century, but has now been dendro-dated to the 1320s. This wing does not seem to have been a part of a standard claustral layout, instead, it more closely resembles a lay manor house. Near the church is an additional challenge to interpretation, an earthwork resembling a flattened motte-and-bailey castle, perhaps to be interpreted as a semi-fortified ‘forcelet’, which probably contained the residence of the priory’s founder, Ralph fitz Brien.

Sat 22 January 2022 at 1400 online. Harvey Osborne, Swing and the contentious tithe in Suffolk (1830)

This discussion will highlight the impact and direction of the Swing riots in Suffolk and south Norfolk during the latter months of 1830. It will highlight previous attempts to explain the spatial and temporal characteristics of ‘the last labourers revolt’ in East Anglia before drawing attention to the way in which the tithe system and tithing customs possibly had a particular influence on the character and timing of the riots in these areas.

Dr Harvey Osborne is currently History lead at the University of Suffolk. His primary research interests have been in nineteenth century rural society and he has published extensively on poaching and the game laws.

Wed 02 February 2022 at 1000 online. Dr John Greenacre, University of Suffolk The Second World War and Suffolk's Coastal Communities

From the end of May 1940 the coastal communities of Suffolk found themselves on the front line of the Second World War. The relatively short distance to occupied Europe turned the county's towns and villages into easy targets for the German Luftwaffe. The threat of invasion or enemy raids turned beaches, cliffs and seafronts into heavily fortified military zones. The physical and procedural restrictions placed on the local population limited day to day activity and impinged on economic activity which, for some coastal communities lasted almost the entire war.

Sat 12 February 2022 1400 online: Susan Kilby, Bending the rules: trespass in medieval Lakenheath.

Trespass cases in later medieval manorial court rolls cover a wide variety of misdemeanours - from trampled crops to slander, and more besides Analysis of trespassing committed in one medieval community reveals underlying social and economic drivers for these petty acts, allowing us a glimpse into the mentalities of a small group of Lakenheath's residents.

Sat 12 March 2022 1400 online: Leonie Seliger, Long Melford's lords and ladies in stained glass - a fight against mould and fungus.

All Saints Church in Long Melford is rightly famous not only for its architecture, but also for the important collection of spectacular 15th century stained glass, now in the north aisle.  The talk will give close access to some of the hidden treasures in the windows, reveal the production methods of the medieval glaziers, and illustrate how modern science is helping to combat the severe deterioration of the glass.

Sat 25 March at 1400 online. Dr Nicholas Amor, The putting out system of production in the medieval textile industry.