Thursday 23 November 2023

Archaeologists believe they have found the lost temple of King Rædwald.

Archaeologists working close to the village of Rendlesham, in Suffolk, England, believe they may have uncovered a lost temple built by King Rædwald, who ruled the Kingdom of East Anglia (which roughly covers the modern counties of Norfolk and Suffolk) between about 599 and 624 AD. The location is close to the site where the famous Suton Hoo Ship Burial, believed to be that of King Rædwald, was discovered in 1939, and is part of a local archaeology project which uncovered a large timber royal hall in 2022.

A probable Anglo Saxon temple complex uncovered by archaeologists near the village of Rendlesham, in Suffolk, England. Suffolk County Council.

King Rædwald is recorded as having built a large cult-house (temple), in which an alter to Christ was placed alongside alters to several pre-Christian gods, by the Venerable Bede, an English monk and historian who lived roughly a century after the king. The structure uncovered by archaeologists in Suffolk resembles Anglo Saxon cult-houses which have been excavated in other parts of England, leading to the conclusion that this is likely to have been King Rædwald's lost temple.

The Kingdom of East Anglia was founded in the sixth century by either (King?) Wehha or his son King Wuffa, and survived as independent kingdon until 918 AD, when it's then ruler, King Guthrum II, was killed in battle and East Anglia was incorporated into the larger Kingdom of England. Rædwald was the grandson of Wuffa, and is the first King of East Anglia about which anything more than a name is recorded. During his reign the kingdom appears to have gone through a period of stability and prosperity, which was lost in a series of civil wars after his death, with eight kings between 625 and 655, most of whom were killed in battle by rivals.

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