West Stow
Anglo-Saxon Village
Bury St Edmunds
The Visitor Centre
Icklingham Road
West Stow
Bury St Edmunds
Suffolk IP28 6HG

 

 

The Anglo-Saxons invaded and colonised East England during the 5th, 6th and 7th centuries before moving west and north into the rest of Britain. They initially came from Denmark and northern Germany. Initially they were different peoples with different traditions who gradually amalgamated into the tribe known as Anglo-Saxon.

When the Romans abandoned Britain in the 5th century the Anglo-Saxons took over with their tribal chiefs and pagan customs. In some ways civilisation seemed to take a backwards step and this period has often been referred to as the Dark Ages. Certainly, little was known about how these new tribes lived until some significant archaeological discoveries were made such as the ‘ship burial’ at Sutton Hoo and the Cemetery and Village in the Lark River Valley at West Stow.

Luckily the area had been covered with a sand dune since the 13th century, giving the archaeologists a unique opportunity to study an entire Anglo-Saxon village. Most of the timber had rotted away, but there was enough evidence to plot the changes in the c. 420-650 AD village.

Amazing finds were uncovered proving that the Angles from Denmark and Saxons from north Germany had lived together in tight-knit farming communities, practising animal husbandry and cultivating cereal crops. They were not uncivilised at all and passed on their history orally with feasting and story-telling conducted in a hall specially built for the purpose.

Groups of houses were clustered around a community hall. Sixty-nine houses, 7 halls and 7 other structures were discovered at West Stow.

The archaeologists were divided on interpreting how the original houses were built so at the end of the excavation it was decided to test their theories by reconstructing the village using the tools and techniques available to the Anglo-Saxons.

The Reconstructed Village
Each reconstruction tests different ideas. The buildings are rectangular in shape with have timber frames and are thatched. They are simply furnished with benches, bed boxes and other fittings. It is believed that each building housed an extended family of up to 10 persons!
 
The Museum
Don’t neglect to visit the museum in the Anglo-Saxon Centre which contains objects from the excavation site and adjacent cemetery, and information panels which help to interpret the objects and the lives of the people that lived there.
 
Even if it is not a ‘living history’ day, it is still quite an experience to enter these reconstructed primitive houses and smell the wood smoke trapped in the thick thatched roofs.
 
Plan your Visit
Accommodation - Search & Book through Tripadvisor here: 
 
 
West Stow Anglo Saxon Village 
Further Information
 
The Country Park
Further Information
The Anglo-Saxon Village is set in a 125 acre (52 hectare) country park which has a heathland nature reserve of woods, a river and a lake. The Visitor Centre (which has disabled access) has a display chronicling the history and development of the park and its natural history.
 
Open
Daily 10:00 – 17:00 hours
Last admission: Summer 16:00 Winter 15:00
 
Admission
Cost includes entry to both the Village and Country Park. For details Web:  West Stow Anglo Saxon Village
 
Facilities
Visitor Centre; Toilets; Shop; Café, Children's play area; Nature trail and Picnic area
 
Parking
Hourly parking charges apply. Web: West Stow Country Car Park
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)1284 728718
Mail   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Getting There
The Anglo-Saxon village is in West Stow Country Park, 6 miles (10 km) north-west of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk on the A1101. Follow the 'Anglo-Saxon Village' signs from the A14, A11 & A1101.