#MySundayPhoto, history, love, Photos, The great outdoors

My Sunday Photo – Week 28.

A replica of the Sutton Hoo helmet on display in the treasury at the information centre.

He first asked her to marry him on her 18th birthday – and then, legend has it, every year for the next 20 odd years.

At the age of 42, following the death of her father, Edith Dempster finally felt able to accept Frank Pretty’s proposal (he was 47).

They married within a year and the couple moved to Sutton Hoo House, near Woodbridge, in Suffolk. When she was 47, Edith gave birth to a son, Robert, but just a few years later in 1934 Frank sadly died on his 56th birthday.

Four years on, with Britain on the brink of a second world war, Edith decided to do what they had often talked about and have the mysterious mounds on their land investigated – enlisting the help of local archaeologist Basil Brown.

Looking back over the mounds at what was Sutton Hoo House (now known as Tranmer House).
While Basil, a largely self-educated man who left school at 12, made some promising finds in 1938, it was the following year that he unearthed what at the time was described as “Britain’s Tutankhamun”.

Deep in the ground he and a couple of Mrs Pretty’s estate staff unearthed the remains of a huge wooden ship, measuring some 90ft – with a burial chamber, thankfully missed by earlier tomb raiders, at its heart.

Once news of the discovery spread, the country’s leading experts travelled to Sutton Hoo, including husband and wife Stuart and Peggy Piggott.

Treasure after treasure was uncovered at what is believed to be the burial site of Anglo-Saxon royalty (thought to be the warrior King Raedwald), including gold jewellery, coins, weapons, bowls, cups – and probably the most recognisable image for anyone familiar with Sutton Hoo, the great iron helmet.

After a hastily convened coroner’s inquest found that the treasure belonged to Edith she then presented the find to the nation. Most of it is now housed at the British Museum.

Although it is the ship burial that gets the greatest attention there is so much more to Sutton Hoo, now cared for by the National Trust, as we discovered during our visit on Friday.

However, while there are many fascinating tales to uncover, my romantic heart is especially drawn to the story of Edith and Frank.

* I’m reading a fabulous book about it entitled The Dig by John Preston, who was Peggy Piggott’s nephew.

View from the house.

30 thoughts on “My Sunday Photo – Week 28.”

  1. I love that story – I’d never heard it before, although I was familiar with the story of the find. So lovely to read more about it though and what an interesting place to visit 🙂


  2. What a great background story, especially as it’s a less well known perspective on the place. Looks like a fascinating area and well worth a visit!


      1. I’m sure it would! I tried to organise a school trip there a couple of years ago but it was just too far away and I was told not to have such extravagant ideas with the budget, haha!


  3. What an amazing story, I have often seen Sutton Hoo in the National Trust handbook but didn’t realise its significance. That is such a sad story that they waiting so long too, lovely photos Tara and it looks like a great day out xx


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