adapted from a design by George Bain based on the Book of Kells home Programme Bookings Shop The Wuffings .
Wuffing Education

Dream-ships of the Wuffings: Sutton Hoo and Snape

Detail from a painting by Jim Fitzpatrick, The Book of Conquests (1978)

with Dr Sam Newton

at Tranmer House, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday 19th May 2007

An exploration of the East Anglian royal ship-burials and how our understanding of the rite of ship-funeral is amplified by Old English verse.

We embark with a look at the archaeology of the Wuffing ship- and boat-burial sites at Snape and Sutton Hoo and a consideration of what the use of a vessel in a funeral rite may imply.

We shall then appraise the literary evidence for this rite, focusing closely on the high culture perspective provided by the epic of Beowulf - the opening movement of which culminates with a splendid poetic account of a royal ship-funeral.

We shall also chart something of the ancient fertility myth on which this dynastic origin legend is based as well as the central symbolism of the vessel as the soul’s ferry in and out of middangeard, the mortal world.

Provisional Programme
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 Wuffing Country: Snape & Sutton Hoo  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.30 The Royal Rite of Ship-Funeral in Beowulf  
  12.30 Lunch break  
  14:00 The Soul’s Ferry: Old English Ship Symbolism  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 Guided Tour of the Royal Burial Mounds  
  16:15 Close  

About Dr Sam Newton

After early experiences in archaeology, Sam Newton graduated from the University of East Anglia with a first in English Literature in 1983. He was awarded his Ph.D. in 1991 and published his first book, The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia, in 1993. Since then he has worked as an independent scholar in Wuffing and Early Medieval Studies. His latest book, The Reckoning of King Rædwald, was published in 2003. He is also now a Director of Wuffing Education and Time Team historian.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Alexander, M. (tr.), The Earliest English Poems (Penguin 1966)
Alexander, M. (ed.), Beowulf (Penguin Classics 2003)
Bruce-Mitford, R., Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology (Gollancz 1974)
Filmer-Sankey, W., & T.Pestell, Snape Anglo-Saxon Cemetery: Excavations and Surveys 1824-1992, East Anglian Archaeology Report 95 (Ipswich 2001).
Garmonsway, G., & J.Simpson (ed. & tr.), Beowulf and Its Analogues (Dent Everyman 1968, 1980)
Heaney, S. (tr.), Beowulf: A New Translation (London 1999)
Lee, S.D., & E.Solopova, The Keys of Middle-earth: Discovering Medieval Literature through the Fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)
Newton, S., The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia (Brewer 1993, 1994, 1999, 2004)
Newton, S., The Reckoning of King Rædwald (Redbird 2003)
Shippey, T.A., The Road to Middle-earth (Allen and Unwin, 1982; rev. edn HarperCollins, 2003)
Tolkien, J.R.R., The Lost Road and Other Writings, ed. C.Tolkien (Unwin Hyman 1987)
Tolkien, J.R.R., The Lord of the Rings (Allen & Unwin 1954, 1955, 1966, 1968, etc.)


Please phone or email to check the availability of places and then send the application form and a cheque for £38, payable to Wuffing Education to:

Wuffing Education,
4 Hilly Fields,
Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4DX
(tel : 01394 386498)

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