Local traditions and culture in Suffolk

  • Local Customs
    by arturowan
  • Local Customs
    by arturowan
  • Local Customs
    by arturowan

Most Viewed Local Customs in Suffolk

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    Suffolk Pink...

    by arturowan Updated Dec 31, 2014

    'Suffolk pink' is the particular hue of paintwork, popular for preserving the plasterwork of the county's thousands of half-timbered cottages...
    The base colour is ordinary whitewash, with an ingrediant that acts as the 'pinkener'...
    There is some argument & mystery as to just what this ingrediant was, but most likely candidates are;
    Berry juice - most likely elderberries or sloes, although blackcurrants, blackberries, damsons, or cherries might have been used/substituted;
    Pigs blood - the most often cited ingrediant, but blood dries brown, not red/pink, & would have compromised the strength of the lime binder, so this is probably a rural 'urban myth'...
    Pink is still a popular colour for rural dwellings in Suffolk, although white or ochre would appear to have become more popular, but nowadays all are coated with standard emulsions...

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    by arturowan Written Dec 30, 2014

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    Pargetting is a Middle English term for a form of bas-relief, derived from the French word 'pargeter' = to throw around...
    Despite the origins of the word, & the practise, pargetting is nowadays actually a skilled craft, which has been practised in Suffolk for centuries...
    The practise began in England in the late-Tudor period, & was continued through into the beginning of the 20th Century, but fell out of fashion thereafter...
    However, with the trend to restore & preserve country & town cottages, commencing towards the end of the century, pargetting has become a practised craft again...
    Pargetting is the decorative finishing touch to plasterwork on half-timbered buildings, in order to depict a usually rural theme...
    Popular figurative themes include;
    Vines & bunches of grapes;
    Corn-stalks & sheaves;
    0ak leaves & acorns (sometimes depicted with a Green Man - see separate tip...)
    0ther themes are more abstract, featuring repeating patterns of such devices as; chevrons, fantails, scallops, or dots...
    Despite the quality of the sculpting to be seen throughout Suffolk's pargetted buildings, it is believed that the practise was popular primarily to cover up flaws in the base coat of plasterwork, because of the shortage of quality timber at the time (Henry VIII had decimated the country's oak forests in order to build his navy!)
    The pargetter used specialist tools, crafted by his own hand, including templates & combs, in order to create the repititve patterns...
    The actual material of pargetting is plaster = slaked lime + sand + hair + water (+ secret ingredient - probably mythical...)
    Early pargetting is believed to have been quite a rougn'n'ready craft, but it was refined into an artform by the refugee craftsmen escaping religious persecution in the Low Countries...

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    Edmund, King of the Anglo-Saxons...

    by arturowan Written Sep 3, 2014

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    Saint Edmund is the Patron Saint of Suffolk, & was such for all England until his Catholic faith upset a Protestant monarchy...
    He gives his name to the Suffolk town of Bury Saint Edmunds, where in the grounds of the cathedral he is thought to be buried (see separate tip...)
    King Edmund was crowned on 25th December 855, & died the ruling monarch at the hands of the invading Danes' Great Heathen Army, remembered as a martyr because they tortured him in order to renounce his faith, which he refudsed to do, on 20th November 869
    His body was last recorded at Bury Saint Edmunds, in 1198, but strangely, his final resting place was not recorded...
    Not much else is really known about him, unfortunately, except that he was born in 841, & was a Catholic, which has much to do with him falling out of favour as England's Patron Saint, during succeeding centuries, resulting in his replacement as such with Saint George, (who if he existed as more than a figment of folklore, never even visited England, let alone died a martyr on the batttlefield, defending his country, because England was not his country!)
    Such is justice, or not, in life - the campaign to have Saint Edmund reinstated as the rightful Patron Saint of England, continues...

    Cross of Saint Edmund... Saint Mary's cathedral mosaic...
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    Lovejoy county...

    by arturowan Updated Jul 4, 2014

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    Lovejoy is the iconic, antique dealer character who never reveals his Christian name, from the novels by Jonathan Gash (real name; John Grant...)
    The BBC produced 6 series of Lovejoy, adapted by Ian la Frenais, based on the characters from the series of books, all of which were filmed in East Anglia...
    Essex, Norfolk, & Suffolk were all visited by the outside film crew & cast, but the area most associated with the series is that south of Bury-Saint-Edmunds, mosy especially Long Melford, Sudbury, & Lavenham, for obvious reasons!
    Suffolk is a county of antique shops & this area is especially full of them, not to mention full of stunningly scenic filming opportunities...
    In the first series, the regular cast members were defined by;
    Ian McShane played Lovejoy; Dudley Sutton acted the part of Tinker Dill, his 'barker' (tout); Chris Jury was Eric Catchpole, Lovejoy's understudy & 'runner'; while Phyllis Logan portrayed Lady Jane Felsham, Lovejoy's out-of-reach, aristocratic, romantic interest...
    Lovejoy is a type of character we call 'a lovable rogue', & the gaps between series are usually explained in the first episode of a new series, because the main character has been doing some time 'inside' (prison...)
    The antique trade is known for shady dealings & the passing on of belongings whose provenance might be described as 'hot' (stolen...)
    For popular entertainment purposes, the BBC felt compelled to sanitise the 2 main characters, almost literally in regard to 'Tinker', who in the books is portrayed as a seldom washed, grumpy old alcoholic!
    Lovejoy, himself in the novels, is not as charismatic as the character now so often associated with Ian McShane, being something of a lecher, with a violent streak...
    The amazing thing about East Anglia, is its population of real life 'Lovejoys' - somewhat 'dodgy' blokes who like to pass on their card, defining them as 'antique dealer', but in truth are a mix of many things to make a living, (not necessarily within the law...)
    Any visitor to the county may wish to practice spotting them at antique fares, of which there are many in Suffolk - some of them even try to resemble Ian McShane, with tousled hair, & a rather incongrous fashion mix of tailored jacket, with old jeans & trainers!
    71 episodes of Lovejoy were produced by the BBC - & it remains 1 of the most stylish, evocative dramas the company has ever made, & today all the locations might be visited, unspoilt from the filming period; 1986-1994
    Lady Jane is resident of Felsham Hall, a village that does exist in this area, but for filming purposes, the BBC used Belchamp Hall (near where the famous Borley rectory once stood - see separate tip...)
    This is a private residence, so visitors cannot enter the grounds without having obtained the owner's permission...

    Lovejoy & Eric... 0n location in Suffolk... 0n location in Suffolk... 0n location in Suffolk...
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    Suffolk village signs...

    by arturowan Updated Jun 9, 2014

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    Suffolk is full of unspoilt villages & so many of them celebrate their identity with a sign depicting those qualities which make the place just that bit different from the next hamlet...
    Surprisingly maybe, it's quite a recent tradition, only really escalating after a competition for village signs held in 1920
    The real impetus behind the elsaborate & often colourful signs to be found all over the county today, was the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977
    Because they are village signs & Suffolk is a rural county, many featuire farming activities, as well as the church...
    Now it would seem, Suffolk has more of these rural border works of art, than any other English county, & some artisans have carved out a niche market in supplying them...
    Harry Carter (a distant relative of Howard, the Egyptologist) an art teacher from Swaffham, has made so many of them, his work has been featured in magazines devoted to the county; & Harry Stebbing is another talented carver of wooden signs, specialising in English oak, who has also turned his skill to metal...
    Styles of sign vary from artisan, but there are 2 basic types;
    1 - wrought metalwork, which is usualy enamelled black, providing a stunning silhouette of the locality;
    2 - carved woodwork, which is increasingly painted in bright enamels, with detailed depictions of aspects of the village.
    The increasingly colourful wooden signs are reminiscent of the old hand-painted pub signs, & in some ways are replacing these in the passing public eye, now that village pubs are in decline...
    Stone & fibreglass have also been utilised as materials upon which to carve or paint a design, or mixed materials may be used to stunning effect, such as at Buxhall...
    The Buxhall sign, atop the steep hill, where the T-junction leads towards the church, is constructed from wrought metalwork on a wooden post, itself decorated with the metalworker's art - the top design being a 3-D tryptych, depicting church; horse & cart; & windmill - the metal enamelled in bright colours...
    As a qualified artist myself, it always interests me to view anothers interpretation of their environment & how they've chosen to abstract elements of a village, in order to compose the visual information that is a sign...
    1 of my favourites is Barnham, which uses a silhouette effect of a windmill, steam train carrying 2 sheep to market, & a F15 fighter jet(!) composed on a graduated blue background - creating an effective image, by simplicity...
    Complication demonstrates the carvers &/or painters skills on many ornate signs, & their craft really is something to be marvelled at - so do just that, & next time you visit Suffolk, don't rush past these works of art, but take the time to view them for the treasures that they are...

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    The taste of Suffolk...

    by arturowan Written May 13, 2014

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    As the cost of fossil fuels rise, & food prices rise accordingly, there is growing enthusiasm to keep food production local...
    The Taste 0f Suffolk is 1 of many such promoters of locally produced foods, providing foods that have been farmed in the county of origin, which reflect something of the nature of that place...
    Something that becomes apparent as soon as you cross the border from Essex, is that you immediately stop seeing the small supermarkets, & the villages only have small shops instead, although many no longer even have these...
    In Essex, there is a small Co-op, or Tesco Express in almost every larger village, but there is no sign of them in Suffolk, so it you are going on a long cycle ride or hike, you need to think ahead & go supplied with refreshments, because I know from experience how unpleasant it is to be caught in the middle of nowhere, with a raging thirst or growing hunger!
    Although Suffolk is 1 of the few places in Britain not to have been overwhelmed with supermarkets, it does have many farm shops & regular farmers markets in the squares of larger towns...
    When Si King & Dave Myers, better known as tv cooks, The Hairy Bikers, visited the county for their Food Tour of Britain, they made a point of asking locals they met to name the foods they felt defined where they lived...
    The response in Suffolk was overwhelmingly specific to 2 ingredients; pork; & apples...
    The 2 tv cooks were so inspired to make their Suffolk dish, pork chops in apple sauce...
    Suffolk has many orchards, & as well as growing eating apples, some orchards specialise in producing those suitable for making cider, which are much too sharp to eat raw...
    As well as small scale cider-presses, Suffolk also has micro-breweries, producing limited runs of real ale, using barley grown in the county...
    Suffolk is full of unique foods you'll not find elsewhere, such as its own form of Stilton cheese - Suffolk Blue - but many of these are made in limited supply & require some tracking down!

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    "Aledburgh Carnival"

    by kevin36 Updated Jul 9, 2011

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    Aldeburgh carnival Is on Monday 15th August 2011,The theme for 2011 is 'Movie Time.
    The Fair weather rocket heralds a full day of carnival events starting at 8.30 with Swimming Races in the Sea, Children’s Land Sports at 9.30, and the Life-Boat Launch at 11am. The afternoon Carnival Procession which sets off at 3pm will be followed in the evening by the Carnival Queen’s will visit the Fun Fair then the High Street for entertainment starting at 6.45 with The Knots of May, Samba dancers, and The Parachute Regiment Band who, at 8.45, will lead the Chinese Lantern Procession to the beach where the day will be rounded off with a fantastic firework display.
    there's a carnival procession
    so why not visit on carnival day when the whole town works together to provide a variety of entertaining events, the highlight being an exciting procession of decorated floats and characters. The evening lantern procession, everyone joining in, makes its way slowly to the beach for the firework display - the finale of the day's entertainment.

    The Crowning of the of the carnival Queen takes place out side the Moot hall,followed by the military band leading the carnival floats south down the High Street as far as the fun fair then about turn and back up the high street North back to the Moot hall.

    Monday at 11am lifeboat Launches.
    The all weather and inshore life-boats launched and carried out training exercises in conjunction with the Air Sea rescue helicopter.
    It was a view that im sure everyone enjoyed.this normally takes place near to the lifeboat station.

    On Carnival day there is no point trying to park in the Town,you wont be able to.
    Monday 16th August
    08:30am The Swimming Races will be held opposite the south lookout tower.
    09:30 Children s land sports near the Moot Hall.
    11:00am The Lifeboat Launches which will include the RAF search and rescue Helicopter.
    15:00pm The crowning of the the carnival Queen followed by the Procession through the High Street.
    There is Entertainment in the high street from 18:30 - 20:35 which is followed by the The Chinese lantern Procession led by the band of the Welsh Guards,which in turn is followed by the Grand finale Firework display on the Beach.

    The High street and surrounding roads are cleared and a one way system is set up.Information sheet .
    Illegally parked cars are towed away by the Police.

    For parking arrangements see link: Parking This is the notice that was put out for this year.

    C.A.T.S are also in attendance for Disabled people with there specialized bus to get you to the sea front and can accommodate wheelchairs (and its free)they also control the disabled car parking spaces down near the Mobile Police Station, but these are normally by appointment only as there are limited spaces.
    so there is no need for anyone to be left out,have fun and enjoy.

    Also the following week-end is the Thorpeness Regatta held on a Friday,With the boats on the Lake normally decorated by the local children, with a big Firework display at the end.
    Best place to park is the sports field heading out of Thorpeness towards Leiston ,it will cost normally £5.

    Carnival Queen Be Warned Carnival Carnival Aldeburgh Carnival
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