Presentation of the prestigious Worshipful Company of Shipwrights plaque

Late last year, we at The Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company were delighted to hear from Richard Cole- Mackintosh, Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights. Richard informed us that the Shipwrights were generously contributing to the education aspects of our ship building project and were ‘proud to be associated with The Ship’s Company’. Their donation and association are much appreciated as we work towards building the replica Sutton Hoo ship here in Woodbridge. The Shipwrights hold a mountain of knowledge and experience which will be of huge benefit going forward.

To seal the relationship and mark the occasion, Karl Lumbers, a Worshipful Shipwright and Master Mariner, came to Woodbridge to present us with the prestigious ‘Shipwrights Plaque’.

From left to right: Karl Lumbers (Worshipful Company of Shipwrights), Bryan Knibbs (Chairman, Woodbridge Riverside Trust) and Philip Leech (Director, The Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company)

Here you can see Karl presenting the plaque to Philip Leech outside the newly built Longshed Building along the water front in Woodbridge, Suffolk. Philip is the Director of The Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company and Bryan Knibbs, in the centre of the photograph, is from the Woodbridge Riverside Trust (WRT) whose organisation also benefitted from the generosity of the Shipwrights a year ago when they kindly donated funding towards essential boat building tools and equipment. These tools are currently being used for various projects in the Longshed including the St Ayles Skiff building project which is getting close to completing its first boat (see below) and a handmade wooden canoe which is being built by local children under the supervision of boat building experts.

Worshipful Company of Shipwrights

What could be more appropriate to the reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo ship than support from the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights.

The original purpose of the Company 700 years ago was to safeguard the quality of shipbuilding in London.  This continues today with the presentation of annual awards of excellence. The Company maintains its strong links to the maritime and marine sectors, with which all Liverymen must have connections.  The Shipwrights’ Company has a strong philanthropic purpose and donates annually to maritime related causes, individuals, charities and companies. Liverymen vote in the annual elections of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs and all members of the Company enjoy a full programme of activities including dinners, visits, social events and informal gatherings.

The members of this ancient livery Company have been engaged in our Saxon Ship project from the very early days.  The Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company – and indeed Woodbridge Riverside Trust – are very grateful for the ongoing endorsement and financial support that they have been given.

On Friday 4th of January representatives from the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights will be visiting the Longshed in Woodbridge to present us with a plaque in recognition of our relationship. Anyone is welcome to attend the presentation which will be held at 11am. 

The Longshed, Tide Mill Lane, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 1FP

Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

An interesting article published by the Southhampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI)

Link to article (will open in a new tab)

Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) is a unique, internationally recognised centre of excellence for research, innovation and education. Their work spans both the natural ocean environment (marine) and human use of the sea (maritime). They are a community of academics from across the University of Southampton, whose interests and research are linked to the marine/maritime realm. By working across the traditional disciplinary divides, they can better address some of today’s global marine & maritime challenges.

Their ambition is to become the world’s leading institute for marine and maritime research, innovation and education. They are achieving this by creating interdisciplinary, cross-sector partnerships both inside and outside the university covering humanities, natural, physical and social sciences. Knowledge generated through our collaborative research is applied in our teaching to create the next generation of marine and maritime professionals.

Link to SMMI website


Dan Snow visits Woodbridge

Last night Dan Snow talked about his new book ‘On This Day in History’, to a packed house at The Riverside Theatre in Woodbridge. The book, which is yet to go on sale, has 366 historical events set out as a historical diary. Naturally everyone radiated towards the date of their birthday, mine being the sinking of the Titanic on April 14th 1912, but the book is loaded with bite sized interesting facts and a really good Christmas present idea if you are stuck.

Aside from this, the Sutton Hoo Ship, whilst not featured in the book was mentioned several times during the evening as a major historical find in this part of England. No doubt it would have been difficult to pin anything down to a specific date during the year but it would be good to think that the day that the replica hits the water would feature in a future edition of the same book.

The Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company are hoping to work with Dan next year to help promote the project and make the story more widely available.

A great evening, thanks Dan!



Rosalind Love on rowing songs..

In conversation Rosalind Love, Reader in Insular Latin and a Fellow of Robinson College Cambridge, shares some of her thoughts…

‘I like the idea of rowing songs – I have never thought of it in the context of Old English verse and am not certain what there is that would or could work that way: something to follow up. But your question connects up in my mind with a strongly rhythmical poem in Latin that was traditionally believed to have been written by St Columba on Iona (possibly not by him, but undoubtedly connected with Iona. I have always thought it would make a good rowing chant and it does include a prayer for the speaker ‘wretched little man, rowing through the infinite storms of this age’. It has a regular pulse, always with the stress on the last but one syllable of each short line – adiutor laborANTium, bonorum rector OMNium etc.) and is memorable because alphabetical. I am not sure anyone has ever suggested it could be used as rowing rhythm song but … Anyway, the Latin Life of Columba involves, naturally enough for Iona, plenty of tales of movement in boats.’

‘The other recollection that your question prompts is that the earliest Anglo-Saxon to write extensively in Latin (late 7th century), Aldhelm of Malmesbury, talks in one of his poems about the helmsman beating time for the rowers with his ‘portisculus’, a Classical Latin term for a mallet, which we find glossed with the Old English ‘hamure’ , ‘hamell’. It is – since this is literary imitation, obviously hard to know whether his reference to such a hammer reflects his knowledge that such things were used to keep time in the rowing-boats of his day, but I don’t see why not.’

ADIUTOR LABORANTIUM (attributed to St Columba, d. 597)
Adiutor laborantium,
Bonorum rector omnium,
Custos ad propugnaculum,
Defensorque credentium
Exaltator humilium,
Fractor superbientium
Gubernator fidelium,
Hostis inpoenitentium,
Iudex cunctorum iudicum
Castigator errantium,
Casta uita uiuentium,
Lumen et pater luminum,
Magna luce lucentium,
Nulli negans sperantium
Opem atque auxilium,
Precor ut me homunculum
Quantum ac miserrimum
Remigantem per tumultum
Saeculi istius infinitum
Trahat post se ad supernum
Vitae portum pulcherrimum
Ymnum sanctum in seculum
Zelo subtrahas hostium
Paradisi in gaudium.

English Translation
O helper of workers,
ruler of all the good,
guard on the ramparts
and defender of the faithful, who lift up the lowly
and crush the proud, ruler of the faithful, enemy of the impenitent., Judge of all judges,
who punish those who err, pure life of the living,
light and Father of lights, shining with great light, denying to none of the hopeful Your strength and help,
I beg that me, a little man trembling and most wretched, rowing through the infinite storm of this age,
Christ may draw after Him to the lofty most beautiful haven of life… …an unending
holy hymn forever.
From the envy of enemies
you lead me into the joy of paradise.

Text and translation from T.O. Clancy and G. Markus, “Iona. The Earliest Poetry of a Celtic Monastery” (Edinburgh, 1995).

The Size and Shape of the Ship’s Hull

One of the main topics of conversation at the recent Ship’s Co. International Symposium was the size and shape of the hull structure.

Prior to the event on the 6th October 2018, Dr Julian Whitewright and Pat Tanner presented three papers to the delegates which consolidated their research and understanding of the hull structure, hydrostatics and propulsion. An earlier paper written by Paul Handley for The Royal Institute of Naval Architects in 2016 provided an initial starting point for their research. The three authors along with Dr Martin Carver (Trustee) can be seen in the photograph below.

Over the next eight weeks the Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company will continue to formulate their final plan with the help of Julian, Pat, Paul and other delegates from the Symposium who have worked on similar projects elsewhere.

The symposium assembled experts from far and near to scrutinise the ships plans and ask for their advice about how to move forward with things such as choosing the oak, agreeing the composition of the fastenings and looking at how the ship may have rowed. The event generated vast amounts of information which is currently being collated and followed up by The Ship’s Co. team.

Photograph courtesy of Sue and Robin Garrod, Woodbridge Camera Club

From Left to Right – Dr Julian Whitewright, Dr Martin Carver, Pat Tanner and Paul Handley

The Ship’s Co. International Symposium

On Saturday 6th October, experts from all over the world met at The Longshed in Woodbridge, Suffolk to exchange views on the ‘Phase 1’ plans for building the 29m Anglo-Saxon Ship that was buried at Sutton Hoo in the seventh Century. Whilst many parts of the plan are already reliable hypotheses, a number of questions remain. Delegates focuses on these different aspects of the project including the size and shape of the hull, the materials that it was and will be built with, how it would have moved and been navigated and what was its original purpose prior to becoming King Raedwald’s resting place.

The day generated a great deal of discussion and debate which will now be documented as part of the projects academic rigour. The following eight weeks have been earmarked for additional consultation before finalising the way forward on December 1st 2018.

Photographs courtesy of Robin and Sue Garrod, Woodbridge Camera Club



New picture of the Anglo-Saxon Ship

Ahead of the International Symposium on the 6 October, Pat Tanner (3D Scanning Ireland Ltd) has released this stunning picture showing just how big the ship will be. The image is scaled by the addition of one person but imagine what it will be like with up to 40 people at the oars.


Woodbridge Regatta

From the point of view of the Ship’s Company, Woodbridge Regatta on June 17, 2018 was a great success.  What we have to display at the moment is a big banner explaining the timeline – but also the even bigger full size ship banner on the north wall of the Longshed.  It impresses every time.  Although we were tucked away at the back of the Longshed there was enough traffic and interested from people to make it all worthwhile.  The most frequent comment was ‘you’re not really going to build that, are you’, with several metaphorical question marks and incredulous glances at the banner of the Ship.  A lot of people learnt something more about the project and some made donations, as always very welcome.

The rest of the Longshed looked pretty impressive, with the skeleton of a St Ayle’s skiff being built and lots of tools and wood to see.  It is all flourishing.

However, some of us would have liked to see what else was going on at the Regatta….