Cat no. 3273

Dunwich

Running time6:17 Colour Sound 1970 Dunwich, Suffolk

Loading the player ...

The village of Dunwich telling of the old city beneath the sea.

Genre:

AmateurDocumentary

A view of the sea from the cliffs. Over shots of the sea shore, the commentary recalls that Dunwich was once the largest city in East Anglia. There are shots of the village. There is a shot of the village school where previously there were seven. The film shows the shop and post office and the Town Hall, now closed, In place of palace, court and prison. St. James' Church (built in 1830) is filmed whereas there were ten churches in Dunwich. The remains of the Greyfriars Priory and of St. James' Hospital, the Leper hospital, feature.

There is a shot of a country footpath, which once led to the main road to Colchester. There are shots of the sea pounding against the shore. Superimposed over these shots are scenes of the ruined buildings that remain in Dunwich. The commentary offers a list of disasters that befell the town. Tombstones in the grass at the top of the cliffs are filmed, a reminder that they were once Churchyards. The film ends with further sea shots.

Background Information:

Dunwich may have been a Roman settlement. Allowing for a rate of coastal erosion of 1m per year for the past four hundred years over a period of fifteen hundred years, the settlement would have been some distance out to sea. In 1884 a Southwold trawler trawled up Roman masonry 3 1/2 out to sea. Bede, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicler, refers to 'Dunmoc' as a 'Civitas', suggesting a Roman town. A map from c. 1300 shows a Roman tumulus near the town.Dunwich, City Under The Sea.An early indication that Dunwich was a thriving Anglo-Saxon town is that in AD 630, Sigebert returned to East Anglia with the missionary Felix. Felix was created a Bishop in AD 636 and Dunwich became a City. It was an important port standing as it did then at the mouth of the River Blyth, navigable as far inland as Halesworth. A Royal Palace was built at Dunwich sometime after AD 870. There is little evidence suggesting the fate of Dunwich during the period until 1042 and the reign of Edward the confessor. In 1042, Dunwich was a Burgh with 120 Burgesses and one Church. By 1086, it was reported in the Domesday Book that there were three Churches in Dunwich and the valuation to the crown was 50 pounds and 60,000 herring. Ominously, the Domesday Book gives the first evidence of Dunwich's battle against the sea. In 1154 the city became a Royal Demesne. It was described as a Towne of good note abounding with much riches and sundry kind of merchandise. The town was a prosperous fishing and trading port, with trade links extending as far as Iceland. Shipbuilding was a profitable industry. It had nineteen churches, chapels, two monasteries, Greyfriars and Blackfriars, and tow hospitals, St. James and the Maison Dieu. King John granted the City a Charter in 1209, making it a Free Burgh and creating a Guild of Merchants.The fortunes of Dunwich fluctuated during the 13th century. Its position was insecure owing to ongoing hostilities with the French; there were frequent localised altercations with fishermen and merchants from Southwold. In 1328, the harbour entrance was blocked by a spit of shingle and sand, rendering the port useless. This is the beginning of Dunwich's eventually unsuccessful fight with the sea. The river made its own course two miles to the north. This became the new port, granted to Dunwich by the King. In 1347, a quarter of the City was destroyed in a storm. By the end of the 14th century, three of the City's Churches had been lost. St. Bartholomew's was lost in 1331, along with St. Michael's and St. Patrick's. St. Martin's was last used in 1335 and St. Leonard's was lost before 1385. The River Blyth was blocked again.Political turmoil added to the misfortunes of Dunwich. The town backed the House of York during the Wars of the Roses and was heavily penalised by Henry VII. It was further impoverished by the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In 1540, St. John's Church, near the Great Market, was dismantled and by 1550 the site had disappeared into the sea. There were further losses from the incursion of the sea in 1560 and 1570. by 1602 the city was 1/4 of its 12th century size. In 1608, the High Road to the Quay was washed away. Between 1625 and 1649 the Church of the Knight's Templar, last used before the Dissolution, was washed into the sea. In 1677 the sea reached the Market Place and the Market cross was dismantled. In 1688, St. Peter's Church, last used in 1654, lost the east end of the chancel to the sea; the Churchyard followed in 1729. In 1740 another storm brought devastation to the town, including the loss of St. Nicholas's Churchyard. Many foundations, ruins and cemeteries were lad bare as the sea water washed away several layers of soil. Further storm damage was suffered in 1746 and 1749. Very little of the ancient capital remained. By 1754 the final remains of Blackfriars monastery fell into the sea. In 1755, the last service was held at All Saints, the last of the Churches of ancient Dunwich. The Church became a ruin in a few years. In February, 1904 the east end of the Chancel fell into the sea. The tower fell over the cliff on 12th November, 1919. In 1830 work began on a new Church of St. James.Dunwich's last claim to historical fame was as one of the notorious 'rotten boroughs' that prompted the 1832 Reform Act. By 1929, when the Bill was first laid before Parliament, the town had 42 houses, 200 inhabitants and 18 voters.

Featured Buildings:

Greyfriars' Priory (remains of); St. James (Leper) Hospital (remains of); St. James' Church, Dunwich; The former Town Hall,

Institute of Amateur Cinematographers

E. Tulley; Sidney Manasseh

Terms and conditions

The Terms and Conditions apply to the website www.eafa.org.uk (the Website) and by accessing the website you are agreeing to abide by them.

 We may modify the terms and conditions or withdraw or deny access to the Website at any time at our sole discretion.

In your use of the Website you agree not to, at any time:

  1. Conduct or promote any illegal activities
  2. Attempt to reverse engineer or jeopardize in any way the correct functioning of the Website and its services or otherwise attempt to derive the source code or other code or software that enables the operation of this website.
  3. Use any automatic, electronic or manual process not provided by this website to access search or harvest any information from the website or to interfere in any way with its proper functioning.
  4. Mirror or frame the website or any portion thereof, place pop-up windows over its pages or otherwise affect the display of its pages.

Every effort has been made to exclude or flag content that may be upsetting or cause offence and not to include films that are unsuitable, however the East Anglian Film Archive bears no responsibility for people under the age of 18 viewing the Website or for any offence that may be caused by people viewing the Website. If you feel that some items could cause offence please contact us in the first instance. If you would like to have access to any of the films available for purposes not permitted by these Terms and Conditions, including any commercial venture, then please contact us.

Copyright

The content of the Website including but not limited to the text are Copyright © 2011 The East Anglian Film Archive of the University of East Anglia.

The copyright in the original film materials and the digital reproductions of all still and moving images herein and their arrangements in many cases may be owned by a number of parties. Any requests for copyright clearance for use of the material should be directed to the East Anglian Film Archive in the first instance. It is the requester’s responsibility to obtain such necessary clearance and the East Anglian Film Archive will not be held responsible for any failure on the requester’s part to do so.

The contents on the Website may be accessed as view only and purely for non commercial personal, educational and cultural interest. Under no circumstances shall any content be downloaded, transferred, copied or re-produced in whole or in part in any manner or in or on any media without the prior written consent of The East Anglian Film Archive.

The East Anglian Film Archive would like to thank those who allowed copyright permission for the use and display of works that appear on this site.

Disclaimer

The East Anglian Film Archive has made every reasonable effort to locate, contact and acknowledge copyright owners. There are a small number of cases where, despite our efforts, the copyright owner has not been identified. In these cases, we welcome contact from copyright owners and will take immediate action to gain any appropriate clearances or remove the items if requested.

We do not guarantee that the Website will be compatible with any and all hardware or software which you may use nor that the Website will be available all of the time or at any specific times.

The East Anglian Film Archive makes no warranty that the Website is free from computer viruses or any other malicious or impairing computer program.

The Website contains links to other websites with their own terms and conditions. The East Anglian Film Archive is not responsible for the terms and conditions of these websites.

Accuracy

The East Anglian Film Archive is committed to a high standard of quality in all its work and with this in mind every attempt has been made to present up to date and accurate information on this website. However, visitors need to bear in mind that it is possible that information contained on this website may be out of date, incomplete, the opinion of the author or the opinion  “of the time” and may contain technical inaccuracies and typographical errors. We accept no responsibility for keeping the information in these pages up to date or liability for not doing so. If you notice information that needs to be updated or corrected, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Personal data

The Website may contain some personal data such as names of film-makers, some film participants etc. We have taken all reasonable care to ensure that we operate within the provisions of data protection legislation. If you believe that any of the data on the Website causes or is likely to cause damage or distress to you or any other living person, please contact us with details.

Liability and indemnification

Any unauthorised use you make of the University of East Anglia or East Anglian Film Archive copyright and/or trademarks will constitute an infringement of the University of East Anglia’s Intellectual Property and may lead to legal action and other such remedies in accordance with the governing law.

You agree to indemnify and hold harmless the University of East Anglia and its employees, affiliates and students

Except to the extent prohibited by the governing law the University of East Anglia accepts no responsibility for any use you may make of the Website.

The University of East Anglia is only liable to you for direct losses which you may reasonably be expected to suffer where you can show that such losses were as a result of our breach of these terms and conditions. Any implied warranties and conditions are fully excluded.

Our Liability to you shall in no circumstances include any loss of profit or revenue or any other indirect losses you may incur whether foreseen or not.

Governing Law

The Laws of England and Wales shall govern and the Courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction over

  1. The formation, existence, construction, performance, validity and all other aspects of these terms and conditions whatsoever
  2. Any and all claims made by you or us for any and all breaches acts omissions, misuses, liability and copyright claims as set out in these terms and conditions.

The East Anglian Film Archive is owned and operated by the University of East Anglia

© 2011 The East Anglian Film Archive of the University of East Anglia.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED