4 Moot Histories - Zemni
Moot flint

The Moot Hall

The Moot Hall was built during the first half of the 16th Century; the experts agree. Beyond that, however, there is no certainty. No documentary evidence exists; the style of the building suggests to one expert that it was built about 1520  and to another about  1550. We must be content with that. What we do know is that the building of Aldeburgh’s Town Hall coincided with the beginning of a period of prosperity in the town which lasted approximately 150 years.

By 1790 there is nothing between the Moot Hall and the sea except a couple of capstans and a stretch of beach.

The Hall now houses the Aldeburgh Museum that chronicles the history of Aldeburgh. These include:

- fossils and paeleontology of the area

- Roman artefacts  from archaeological dig at Barber's Point on the marshes

- a historical overview from the oldest settlements to current day

- old photographs of how the town had changed and key events like the 1953 flood.

Most of the historical information can be found on the     Aldeburgh Museum website.

What attracted me most were the interesting markings in the flint. As I looked closer they suggested stories that echoed some of the historical events. The 'histories' were produced from photos of the flints manipulated in different ways on my iPad to both retain the original texture of the flints while suggesting some sort of narrative.

The Histories



  • Pleistocene imagined

    Crag Pit, Aldeburgh is the most northern site which exposes the Pliocene Coralline Crag Formation around five million years ago. It has rich and diverse fossils, including many bryozoans, and other fauna include serpulids and several boring forms.

  • Roman lady

    Excavations have uncovered both Romano-British pottery and evidence of a later Saxon settlement at Barber’s Point a promontory on the North Bank of the River Alde. It is now thought that during the second and third centuries there may have been a Roman port at the river mouth and another small Roman settlement at Barber’s Point.

  • Viking shipwreck

    Viking pirates attacked from 10th Century. In 993 the Viking Anlaf sailed up the river Orwell and sacked Ipswich. In 1010 the Danes landed in force. A pirate chief was found buried under the sepulchral chamber of a ship, a ring of gold on his finger set when with intaglio that had been treasure of a roman. At his side his trusty sword near his short blade of steel. By his head were locks of auburn hair and a fragment of comb. And large green vessel.

  • The Burgh

    'Alde burh' is a Saxon name meaning Old defended enclosure. It is likely that there was a a Saxon trading post from the beginning of the eighth century.

  • Fishing

    Slaughting (Slaughden) is a Saxon name. Slaughden was a small fishing village since Roman times.

  • Tithing

    Aldeburgh was in the hundred of Plomesgate which extended from Saxmundgam and Framlingham in north to Wickham Market in the south. Hundreds were the basis of geld assessment and rating. The business of the hundred was conducted in a hundred mote or moot as a court of justice. Tithings were composed of 10 families dwelling together and bound for each other's behaviour.

  • Mother Bennet

    Mother Bennet is recorded in 1572 as running a nursing home. Women doctors cured sore heads and legs for poor people.

  • Petition

    In 1591 a petition was sent to Queen Elizabeth's council following the sweeping away of the beach by a gale. The Report of commissioners recommended that ten jetties be built along the south end of the town at a cost of 1300 to 1400, which "as the inhabitants cannot bear, it is humbly suggested to procure the queen's authority to spend from the public purse so that the town may be preserved."

  • Plague

    Plague was endemic with an entire lack of hygiene. 1568 46 deaths were recorded. In 1569 there were 40.

  • Aldeburgh witches

    In the midst of the poverty and upheavals of the 17th Century Aldeburgh was caught up in a wave of hysteria against so-called ‘witches’ which swept through East Anglia. Matthew Hopkins, self-styled Witch Finder General, and widow Phillips, his search woman, were employed by the Burgesses to find out witches in Aldeburgh. Seven women were incarcerated in the Moot Hall’s prison in the middle of one of the coldest winters on record. They were prevented from sleeping and watched for proof of their guilt – that is for the coming of their familiar spirits. Eventually, cold, hungry and exhausted, they must have confessed. They were all hanged in February 1646.

  • Mr Loggye

    Mr Loggye is reorded as a new surgeon who came in 1574. He was qualified to cut off limbs and perform other operations. But there were still many deaths.

  • The guest

    In 17th Century it was reported that much of the town’s wealth was wasted through laxity in granting unsecured loans, festivals, repairs and costs of entertaining official guests at election time.

Original Flints

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