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Culture and landscape
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Hundred Boundary at Rumburgh ----
"The villages of England are spread over the countryside like cob-webs in a gorse bush on an autumn morning. The thread of their past history is spun round the projecting contours of their buildings —church, inn and manor-house. Where the arterial road with its petrol stations and tea gardens has torn away, as it were, the centre of the web, the heart of the village, some filaments of olden days still hang sheltered by an old cottage or a field name. We cannot mend the broken thread, we cannot trace the history of any village in its entirety, but we can examine what is left, and perhaps, by searching about a little in the dusty leaves of court rolls and other documents, discover something overlooked". (Janet Becker, 1933)
Blything is the name of an ancient division of the county of Suffolk. Some historians believe that it denotes 'the people of the Blyth', a tribal grouping of the Iceni, one of the first gatherings of pre-Roman families who colonised the valleys of the River Blyth.
In late Saxon times Blything was one of the Suffolk Hundreds. This means it was one of the administrative and taxation districts of the county. Its base, the moot hall, was at Blythburgh. In this sense the Blything Hundred is a pre-county regional division of land.
The Hundreds represent areas of land based on groups or clans of people, which are said to have been developed from the lands of one hundred founding families with a common identity. They certainly encapsulated patterns of tribal settlement of the Anglo Saxons. It is thought that in East Anglia these peoples did not have to carve out homesteads in virgin country but actually commandeered earlier field systems.
The boundaries of the hundreds were first mapped in the 18th century, when they were aligned with the shared parish boundaries of villages at their edges. These were marked by obvious watercourses and landmarks, such as hills and ancient trees that became part of collective folk memory as community boundary markers. The boundary of Blything Hundred, has a remarkable fidelity to the watershed of the River Blyth.
A map of the Blything communities is at
The aim of this project, is to encourage families living in Blything today to produce a living history of the people of the Blyth in terms of past and present land management and the patterns of work and settlement and their hopes for the future. Above all this wiki is a toolkit for people to attain a sense of place. The lasting power of discovering rural roots in a particular place was most clearly stated by in the autobiography of
Alfred Archer Attmere
, born in 1913 to poverty in Sibton.
A start has been made with 'the Hundred Line', that is to say with the communities strung out along the boundary of the hundred, from Benacre in the north to Cratfield in the west and Thorpeness in the south.
This wikispace is hyperlinked with an interactive tour of the Hundred boundary (
the Blything Tribal Trail
), which is being created at 'communitywalk.com.
This project has been launched and edited by the 'Going Green Directorate' as part of its programme to explore ways of creating citizen's environmental networks envisaged in the 'UK Strategy for Sustainable Development'.
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