Our Favourite Archaeology in Suffolk – Orford

Aerial View of Orford Castle

Featured Image: Aerial view of Orford Castle. Source: English Heritage

Julie is the Archaeological Officer (Archives) and has been a part of the SCCAS team since 2015. Day to day she curates Suffolk’s archaeological archives, which includes all the finds and documentation resulting from archaeological fieldwork in Suffolk.

My favourite place in Suffolk has probably got to be Orford, located on the Suffolk coast. It is a picturesque little village which makes a lovely day out in the sunshine. Not only is there the nature reserve on the ness, the quay to walk round, and a selection of places to get some lunch, it is also home to Orford Castle.

Black and white aerial photograph of Orford Castle
Orford Castle and surrounding earthworks. Source: Suffolk County Council

Orford Castle was built by Henry II during the 12th century, it was sold into private ownership by Edward III in 1336. All that remains of the castle today is its tall polygonal keep, which gives sweeping views across the River Ore and Orford Ness. The rest of the outer buildings and walls were slowly robbed of their building material as the castle slowly decayed after its sale; the keep was spared due to its importance as a shipping landmark. During the 18th century the keep was renovated and used as a summer home.

The castle is now owned by English Heritage and is open to visitors, a walk round the grounds is free but if you fancy exploring the interior then there is a small fee to visit the keep. The fee includes access to Orford museum which displays some of the collections from the local area in the upper hall. Things on display include regalia and archaeological finds found by local residents and recorded through the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Interior view of Orford Castle grounds
Inside Orford Castle. Source: English Heritage

Find Out More:

You can find out more about Orford and the castle on the following sites: Orford Castle, Orford Museum and Orford.

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