Category Archives: Suffolk

Orfordness lighthouse closure proposed

The Orfordness lighthouse has been a landmark on the Suffolk coast for over 210 years, but has now been recommended for closure following the latest five-year review by Trinity House, who manage all lighthouses around the coastlines of England, Wales and the Channel Islands.

It plans to discontinue all navigational aids at Orfordness, and instead proposes increasing the range of the Southwold lighthouse to compensate. Trinity House asserts that as navigational technology continues to advance the reliance on the traditional system of lighthouses around the coast has diminished.

Keith Seaman, the current Orfordness lighthouse keeper, said it would be a sad loss.

“Obviously there will be some objection from people used to looking at the Orford skyline and seeing what has become an iconic tower standing there. It would be a tremendous blow if it disappeared.

“For me it would be a sad loss having worked there since 1994. It has become a part of me and I have enjoyed showing visitors round. If the lighthouse goes then I will no longer be required.

“It’s inevitable that at some stage the tower will cease to exist because of severe erosion but that may now be hastened.”

The recommended closure of the lighthouse has been made somewhat inevitable by the local coastal erosion, and the lighthouse may be lost to the sea anyway within five years, unless it was moved inland or coastal defences in the immediate area were strengthened.

Objection to the proposed closure is already being sounded by members of the The Alde and Ore Association, and the Public consultation pediod will continue until January 29th 2010. Responses should be sent to Navigation Directorate, Trinity House, Tower Hill, London, EC3N 4DH (email navigation.directorate@thls.org).

Source: EADT24.

Martello towers update

The East Coast Martello Towers post has now been updated with our latest research, which makes it the most complete and up to date general reference on the east coast towers that you will find on the internet! We also collaborated with professional photographer Ian Giles, and many thanks to him for negotiating the necessary permissions and travelling up to Essex and Suffolk to photograph all of the remaining towers.

We now have two Martello towers featured posts:

Both posts feature a google map showing the locations of the towers, and photography of all the towers (still have a few gaps on the South Coast article which will be filled soon…).

Martello Towers of the East Coast

The East Coast towers were built around the same time as the South Coast towers starting in 1809. The South Coast towers were built to prevent Napolean’s armies reaching London from the south, and similarly the East Coast towers were intended to prevent the French from reaching London from the East and North. The East Coast lacks the large chalk cliffs of the South Coast and so the flat lands would have made a good alternative landing place for Napolean’s planned invasion despite the longer sea journey, especially if the low countries could have been used for the launch of the invasion.

The East Coast towers were built larger and more heavily armed than the South Coast towers, as a defence against the larger ships that the French might have used if they had chosen the East Coast as the invasion point. In addition to the towers, there were the pre-existing gun batteries, and there were plans to block the entrances to the rivers Blackwater, Colne and Orwell with barges. Continue reading

Underwater church remains found in ‘lost city’

An underwater survey of the lost port of Dunwich off the Suffolk coast has revealed the remains of a medieval church. Marine archaeologist Stuart Bacon, director of the Suffolk Underwater Studies believes that it is the remains of St John’s Church, which was the main church in the town during the Middle Ages and it contained a chapel dedicated to St Nicholas.

Mr. Bacon is quoted by Norfolk Eastern Daily Press as saying: “We have found a new church. I knew there were three here but now we have another one. It is one I have been trying to find for years. This is new information and it means that the results of the survey are going to be quite spectacular”.

“At the moment we are deploying to try and find evidence of Roman occupation off the entrance to the river Blyth and from where I am sitting you can not image the coastline how it was 2,000 years ago. This is a very exciting time”.

Dunwich was once a thriving port, rivalling London in the 12th and 13th century, but the city was eventually swallowed by the waves, the port silting up after a great storm in 1328 and by the 16th century half of the city had been claimed by the sea.

The results of the marine survey will be put on display at Dunwich Museum (St. James’s Street, Dunwich, Saxmundham, Suffolk).