Rendlesham is a small village five km North east of Sutton Hoo. Archaeologists and historians believe they have found the location for the royal Anglo-Saxon palace
Swithhelm, the son of Seaxbald, was successor to Sigebehrt. He was baptised by Cedd in East Anglia, in the royal Village called Rendlesham, that is the residence of Rendil. King Æthelwold of East Anglia, the brother of king Anna, a previous king of the East Angles, was his sponsor. (Bede: An Ecclesiastical History of the English People. III, 222, p. 147)
According to Bede, Swithelm became king of Essex from 660 – 664 after having conspired with his brother Swithfried to murder his predecessor Sigebehrt, who was a Christian king; prone to place kinship higher than his allegiance to Christianity the story goes he ended up paying the ultimate price.
Whether or not a myth, scholars and archaeologists have for a long time been king to dig further into Rendlesham, which – lo and behold – lies on the old Ipswich Road, a mere five km northeast of Sutton Hoo.
Originally targeted by night hawking (illegal metal-detectoring), skilled metal detectors have for the last five years been working on farmland at Naunton Hall not far from Sutton Hoo, where they have discovered a wide range of finds – fragments of exquisite gold jewellery, buckles, Saxon silver pennies and weights associated with trade etc. Other finds are a golden Merovingian tremissis coin from the late sixth century, akin to those found in the purse in Sutton Hoo, and a gilded bronze mount from a harness, similar to an example from another of the burials there. The quality of the finds have been characterised as extremely fine throwing significant new light on the context of the Sutton Hoo burials.
According to the archaeologists, the finds may be described as conclusive evidence that this was the location of the royal residence and trade-centre connected to Sutton Hoo. Although using aerial photographs, topographical surveys and magnetometry, the exact location of the Royal palace has not so far been pinpointed.
This year a small exhibition at Sutton Hoo will showcase these finds after which they will be permanently exhibited in Ipswich.
In a few weeks time (27.03.2014) a new gallery at The British Museum will also open, showcasing Sutton Hoo and Europe AD 300 -1100.
It is expected the finds from two sites will began to provide a more full understanding of the lives and times of the Anglo Saxons in the 7th century.
15.03.2014 – 31.10.2014
The National Trust Visitor Centre, Sutton Hoo
Nighthawks at Rendlesham
By Jude Plouviez
In: Saxon. Newsletter of the Sutton Hoo Society nr. 49, July 2009