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: Snape and Sutton Hoo

Sunset over the River Alde, May 2007 (Sam Newton)

with Dr Sam Newton

at Tranmer House, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday 28th September 2009

We begin with a look at the geography of the south-eastern corner of the old East Anglian kingdom, before embarking on a consideration of the archaeology of the Wuffing ship- and boat-burial sites at Snape and Sutton Hoo. We shall then appraise the literary evidence for the rite of ship-funeral, 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 The Snape Ship-Burial  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.45 The Dream-Ship of Sutton Hoo  
  12.45 Lunch break  
  14:00 The Soul’s Ferry: The Nautical Metaphor of Life  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 Guided Tour of the Burial Mounds of Sutton Hoo  
  16:15 Close  

About Dr Sam Newton

Sam Newton was awarded his Ph.D at the University of East Anglia in 1991 and published his first book, The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia, in 1993. He has lectured widely as a free-lance scholar and has also contributed to many television and radio programmes. His latest book, The Reckoning of King Rædwald, was published in 2003. He is currently a Director of Wuffing Education, NADFAS lecturer, and Time Team historian.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Alexander, M., The First Poems in English (Penguin Classics 2008)
Bruce-Mitford, R., Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology (Gollancz 1974)
Evans, A.C., The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial (British Museum 1986)
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)
Green, C., Sutton Hoo: The Excavation of a Royal Ship-Burial (Merlin 1963, 1968, 1988)
Heaney, Seamus (tr.) Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition, ed. J.Niles (Norton 2007)
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)
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.)
Webster, L., and J.Backhouse, The Making of England: Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture AD 600-900 (British Museum 1991)


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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We have learnt of the fame of the Wuffing folk-lords of long ago, of how those wolf-kings held the ancestral land of East Anglia....
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