First Anglo-Saxon house build in nearly a decade at West Stow

Posted 29th September 2014

The first Anglo-Saxon house in nearly a decade is to be built at West Stow, replacing one of the original buildings put up close to 40 years ago.

West Stow is a site of international archaeological importance as it is one of the first large-scale investigations of an early Anglo-Saxon (5th to 8th century) settlement.

Since its excavation nearly 50 years ago led by Dr Stanley West, five Anglo-Saxon buildings have been built.

The experimental reconstructions remain unique, built on the footings of the excavated buildings, and constructed using the same tools, techniques and materials that would have been used 1500 years ago.

On Friday (19) St Edmundsbury Borough councillors began work on digging a pit for what will be the floor of a new sunken house on the site.

Cllr Sarah Broughton, chairman of West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village Trust, said:

“This is the start of an exciting project at the Anglo-Saxon village and we really hope visitors will come along and watch as this historic building, which is part of our heritage, takes shape. The original building which is being replaced is now beyond repair but this is represents an opportunity for families and school children to come along and learn more about how these marvellous homes were made, some 1,500 years ago.”

Timber framework for the new building, prepared by Needham Market based Traditional Oak Carpentry, will be raised on Wednesday 24 September. The timbers have been hewn by hand using tools and techniques from the era. A thatched roof will be added later in the Autumn, again using traditional methods.

Cllr Sarah Stamp, Cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Heritage, said:

"The West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village is recognised internationally as an important part of our Borough’s heritage. We are incredibly proud of what has been achieved there over the last 40 years. It is an ever popular visitor attraction managed by staff and the Anglo-Saxon Village Trust on behalf of St Edmundsbury Borough Council. I am excited to be associated with the launch of this great project and would urge people to visit.”

Friday also saw the unveiling of a new donation box. The money donated here will support ongoing projects at the West Stow Anglo –Saxon Village.

For more information on West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village, click here