Friday, 20 November 2015


I completely forgot to post these pictures from our last Cornerstones trip. We visited the Anglo Saxon Village at West Stow [near Bury St Edmunds] It is a very interesting site, with lots to see. Because we went in half term, we met lots of re-enactors, who were happy to talk about life as an Angle Saxon, and show us the things they were doing. This group were living in the houses for the whole week, eating, sleeping, etc. [but one did tell me she had got a jar of instant coffee hidden away for when she needed 21st century sustenance! Personally I would have preferred teabags…]


There was a cheerful chappie in the reception area who told us what to look out for, then we walked across the field towards the houses. Many were built in the 1970’s others were newer.


We saw demonstrations of dyeing, weaving, spinning, stitching

a potter, a blacksmith, an apothecary, a cheesemaker

people were cooking, sewing, doing laundry..

west stow

The guy with the long strip of linen across his knees was explaining that some flax made softer linen than others- and if you didn’t get the right flax your underwear was very itchy! The two needlewomen [bottom right] said they were both in M&S undies, and leggings [it was cold!] but admitted that at some re-enactments, they actually check to make sure your undergarments are authentic.

The dyer told us all about the plants and lichens used for dyeing, and the different mordants. She said that French Woad is a much deeper/brighter blue than that which grows in England.

west stow-001

In the middle picture you can see the cheese straining through a cloth, and beside it, a picture of the rich yellow butter. Salt was expensive for the Saxons, so was used very sparingly. The lady gave me some helpful ideas about things to do with my soft yogurt cheese.



The carvings and stitcheries were quite intricate. The bowls of stew smelt good, but we went into the cafĂ© and had filter coffee and scones! If you are interested in history, it is worth visiting – but it would be wise to check if there are re-enactors present, I think it would be much less fun without them there. It is clearly set up for school visits, so I think KS2 kids would love it. [You could pay an extra £2 to try Saxon archery, but we didn’t bother]

A grand day out – especially if you buy the double ticket that also gets you into the Museum in B St E

1 comment:

  1. We used to go there often when we lived in Mid Suffolk but haven't been lately. The children used to spend ages on the playground before we even got into the actual centre


Always glad to hear from you - thanks for stopping by!
I am blocking anonymous comments now, due to excessive spam!