The scholars tell us that the foundations of our English language were laid during the so-called “dark ages” here in East Anglia, – principally in Norfolk and Suffolk. History is everywhere. Just a few miles to the west is Framlingham where the Bigod dynasty set up their massive Norman fortification as part of the boiling conflict involving Dunwich, Orford and the Crown. A little further South is the Sutton Hoo burial site near Woodbridge, where the richest find of treasure ever recorded in Europe was discovered in 1939, and which has become in 2002 the National Trust’s showpiece visitor centre of the whole country.
Just on the coast is Aldeburgh, until recently a quiet fishing town, but now immortalised, along with the concert hall at nearby Snape Maltings, by Benjamin Britten.
To the East is Leiston famous for the engineering achievements of the Richard Garrett Ironworks, possibly at its peak in the middle of the 19th century exporting iron and steel products, boilers, girder and traction engines etc all over the Empire.
Saxmundham doesn’t have a famous castle, foundry or composer but it is the region’s crossroads and communications centre. It has the railway station with direct trains to London, the telephone exchange and the only trunk road in the region. Now happily by-passed by the main A12 London-Yarmouth road, Saxmundham has been able to regain its wits without the thunder of heavy traffic. A population of approximately 4000, and the base of many local shops and industries who thrive on the comprehensive local services and the direct connection to the capital and the Midlands.