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Full of Far Eastern promise

When my friend Cloudhigh suggested I might like to join him for a few days in Essex/Suffolk, I jumped at the chance - I had never been to the Far East before. A quick reccie on this very website revealed what I feared - this part of the country is not richly endowed with ancient monuments of the age that occupy our specific area of interest.

New stuff
We stayed in Dedham, home of the 19th century English landscape painter John Constable (and other more recent shartists*) so for me there was an additional interest in walking along the banks of the Stour, treading the paths that the painter himself trod in the 1820s and 30s. Finding the site of "The Haywain" at Flatford Mill was easy and it's still as cutesy and picturesque as it was in Constable's day:

Old stuff
Searching this website for places of a more ancient nature revealed a 'must-see' in Sutton Hoo which is actually well outside our sphere of obsession, being Anglo Saxon, but we went any way. It was crawling with bank holiday visitors... and I became very irritated....

Old and new stuff mysteriously entwined...
Next day we sallied forth in Cloudhigh's luxurious Jaguar to find Alphamstone a tiny hamlet in the heart of rolling Essex/Suffolk countryside on the banks the aforementioned river Stour. The curious thing about Alphamstone is the unaccountable large stones strewn about the churchyard....
see below for Alphamstone fieldnotes

*='Shartists' are amateur painters that believe themselves to be talented but actually produce, IMHO, shit art. Therefore, 'shart' and 'shartists'.

Alphamstone — Images

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Alphamstone — Fieldnotes

This pretty flint-built church with dark clapboard tower and pointy red clay-tiled roof hides a secret. Where have all these idley strewn about megaliths come from? I counted two at the entrance of the path, one in the church and seven lying about amongst the gravestones. There may be more, lurking just under the surface of the turf. I did a reccie to make sure there weren't others, naturally occurring on the edges of the field next to the church, but they were so different to be inexplicable. Undoubtedly, this was an ancient site, though precisely what it is impossible to say. The lie of the land seemed right, and I was reminded of the Churchill village stones which I had seen only the week before. In response to ocifant's musings on whether or not the indentations on the stones are cup-marks or weathering, I would join the weathering school-of thought, but I have no real experience on which to base this hunch. I'd need to know more about geology to tell.
Jane Posted by Jane
26th August 2003ce
Edited 25th November 2005ce

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