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Facts

SUFFOLK

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FUN FACTS

Suffolk is the 8th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Suffolk has the 32nd highest population in England.
Suffolk is in 39th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. I've picked out two royal connections in Suffolk which are loosely connected. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was the chief advisor to Henry VIII for more than 12 years. Wolsey was born in Ipswich in 1498. Wolsey created Cardinal College at Oxford University. It is now known as Christ Church College. Wolsey's Gate, which can be found in Ipswich, was intended to be the gate that led to a feeder college to his Oxford one that would be built in his home town. Sadly Wolsey fell out of favour with Henry when he couldn't arrange a way out of the King's marriage to Catherine of Aragon and the college was never built.

    The reason Henry wanted to get out of his marriage to Catherine was because he wanted to marry his new lover, Anne Boleyn. A few miles south of Ipswich, in a village called Erwarton, is St Mary's Church. It is said that, after Anne Boleyn was beheaded, her heart was brought back to the church and buried in a casket in the church. Anne had spent time when she was young at the home of her uncle, Sir Philip Parker, who lived at Erwarton Hall. The story goes that before they married Anne and Henry would visit her uncle.

    In 1838, during renovations at the church, a heart-shaped casket was discovered. There was no inscription on the casket but there, on the church organ, you can see a drawing, done by the famous painter Holbein, of Anne Boleyn. Whether Anne Boleyn's organ was once in the casket, no one will ever know.

  3. Suffolk Eats
  4. When I was very young I'm sure my mother used to feed me rusks and my memory tells me they were sometimes soaked in milk. I also think there was something called a bickiepeg which I had when teething and I thought this was a type of rusk too. This may all be wrong and, sadly, mother is no longer around to ask. I have only wandered off in this direction because when looking up food in Suffolk I came across Suffolk Rusks.

    It would appear that they are a cross between a scone and a biscuit and are a traditional food in Suffolk. I searched around, found a recipe and, as they seem so easy to make, I thought I'd include it here and the adventurous ones amongst you could try them. It would seem that they used to be made for farm workers to take into the fields and have as a snack with a piece of cheese.

    This is the recipe I found.
    Ingredients
    225g self-raising flour
    1 egg, beaten
    85g butter
    25ml milk
    Pinch of salt
    The method
    Preheat oven to 230C / Gas 8. Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the beaten egg and the milk to make a smooth dough.
    Roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 2.5cm (1 inch) then cut into 6cm (2.5 inch) rounds. Line a greased baking sheet with baking paper and place the rounds on the paper.
    Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, split in half and place back on the baking sheet, cut side upwards. Reduce the oven temperature to 190C / Gas 5. Return the rusks to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes until they are crisp and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

    I then set out a first for these pages and decided to make some. That is what you can see in the picture and I have to say, with a bit of butter, they are very tasty. Not wishing to appear mean, I made a small one for Owlbut, who says they are not as tasty as voles. Matter of opinion there Owlbut. Apologies to any Suffolk people if my efforts are not a good example.

  5. Suffolk VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Suffolk in the last 100 years:-
    Ralph Fiennes - Actor (Lord Voldermort), Cherry Seaborn - Part Time Hockey Player and Wife of Ed Sheeran, the late Benjamin Britten - Composer, June Brown - Actor (Dot Cotton in EastEnders), Marcus Evans - Businessman and Owner of Ipswich Town Football Club, Leanne Mitchell - Singer (first winner of The Voice UK), the late Sir Peter Hall - Theatre, Opera and Film Director.

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. If you take a drive or a walk somewhere near the village of Thorpeness in Suffolk you may suddenly see a house, seemingly floating near the clouds. With incredible luck, the building is known as "The house in the clouds". It was built in 1923 and not, primarily, as a house. It was a water tower to receive water pumped from Thorpeness Windmill which would supply the village with fresh water. It could hold 230,000 litres. During WWII it was hit by gunfire from anti-aircraft guns based in Thorpeness and, after repairs, the capacity was reduced to 140,000 litres.

    In 1977 a mains water supply was connected to the village and the tower became redundant. In 1979 the actual tank was removed and the building fully converted into a house. It currently has 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, a drawing room, dining room and the incredible "room at the top" which gives amazing views of Suffolk. It is now available to rent as holiday accommodation and became a Grade II listed building in 1995. For your technical information it is 70 ft high and has 85 steps from top to bottom or, presumably, from bottom to top.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. Before the invention of cameras, the only way ordinary people could see other parts of their country was to visit them or to see a picture painted by one of the famous landscape artists who emerged at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Before that time, most artists either painted portraits, and as Henry VIII found out with the portrait of Anne of Cleves, these weren't always an accurate likeness, or the artists would paint their interpretations of historical scenes, quite often religious stories.

    One of the most famous of these new type of landscapes painters was a man called John Constable, who was born and lived the early part of his life in South Suffolk. One of his most famous paintings was called The Hay Wain and was painted at a place called Flatford on the River Stour in Suffolk. Last year I went there and tried to take a photograph, roughly from where Constable may have made his first sketches.

    Our website has more examples of Constable's paintings and those of other artists here.



  11. Richard Remembers
  12. This is a bit of a weird memory and, as of now, I have no picture to support it. However, when we are allowed out and hopefully this will be before August this year, I will try to get a photograph explaining what I saw. For now, I can just tell you how I felt.

    I moved to Essex in 1972 and this allowed me to go out at weekends and sometimes travel into Suffolk. I had been brought up in suburban London and only gone outside that area for holidays. My memory is of a time, and because the fields had been harvested and hay bales were around, I'm guessing it was in August/September of 1972, I visted Flatford and after walking along the river bank we headed along a footpath, at the side of a field. After a mile or so, we stopped and sat on one of the hay bales and unpacked the picnic we had brought with us.

    It was then that I had this sudden moment when I realised, from where I sat, I could see no evidence of the 20th century. There were no pylons, no telegraph poles, no roads, no sound of traffic and, at that moment, no planes flying across the sky. I am sure there are many other places in our country where this could happen but this was my first revelation. It felt very calming and quite special. Should you find any such place, feel free to email me the pictures. Tells you how on our contact page.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. The Hen Harrier is a bird of prey but has suffered a large decline in recent years. The problem is that the bird can feed on other game birds, such as grouse, and even chickens. Both farmers and gamekeepers have contributed to the decrease in numbers. There are now projects underway to try to reduce the conflict.

    Male birds are a pale grey colour while females and young birds are brown in colour. All birds have yellow legs and a short, hooked, chunky beak. When they are flying they hold their wings in a V shape. As I said they mainly eat small birds and also voles. They live in open areas in farmland, grassland and wetlands. There are only about 600 breeding pairs. They arrive in their upland breeding areas in late March and stay till the end of August. They can mainly be found in Northern England and those seen further south, usually during October and November, are probably visitors from Europe.

    Hen Harriers are between 44 and 52 cms in length, have a large wingspan between 100 and 120 cms and weigh about 350 grams for males and 500 grams for females.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into suffolk check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020