By Sue Ryder-Richardson
Rivers. The lifeblood of communities for generations, the Deben, from source to mouth, is one such. The river and its tributaries nurtured villages, gave grist to many mills, and fed and watered the all-important abbeys. Explorations around Wickham Market have revealed Paleolithic, Bronze Age, Roman, Anglo Saxon, and medieval relics. Both the tidal flood of this river and its inland arteries have supported this lineage of settlements.
A ramble around Wickham Market and Campsea Ashe  offers an insight into the generations that have lived, and worked alongside the Deben, from the C18th Rackham’s Mill, through the ancient, coppiced woodland ‘The Oaks’, alongside medieval fishponds, beside ‘Ashe Abbey’ which stands on the ground of the C12th Augustinian Priory of St Mary’s, but mostly walking over water-meadows that have brimmed and supported life for centuries.
By Bertie Wheen
…by a river we all call home, there was born an association.
Page 5 of the River Deben Association Newsletter, Spring 1997.
By Robert Simper
Tidal River Deben was never a major fishing centre. The saltings along the edge of the river were, and still are, breeding grounds for some fish, but the estuary really relied on fish coming from the North Sea. However, the narrow river entrance and fast tide often swept them past. In the past there was enough fish to warrant some commercial fishing in the Deben.
Harry Simper drift netting for herring in the Our Boys
By Julia Jones & Archie White
We publish this RDA Journal post on the eve of a new River Deben Festival – a new style of weeklong festival where many of the river businesses, clubs and organisations come together to do something special. The Deben Summer Festival is the inspiration of Moray McPhail, Matt Lis, supported by the committee of the River Deben Association and many others. Until the festival begins, the best place to visit is the website which continues to grow as organisations add their events. https://www.debenfestival.org/events
By Gareth Thomas
[This article is about A Perennial Diary kept by the Reverend Thomas Henry Waller, Rector of Waldringfield for 43 years from 1862 to 1905. Please note that where entries are quoted verbatim the text is italicised.]
Readers who belong to The Arts Society will have had the opportunity recently to hear Irving Finkel, a curator at the British Museum, pronouncing on the immense value of diaries and describing a collection of 11,000 such pieces which he oversees at the Bishopsgate Institute, opposite Liverpool Street Station.
Finkel, a real enthusiast in the preservation of diaries, describes the simplest, most humble diaries as ‘magical’, because they are concerned with the life of real people who have written ‘the truth as they see it, without manipulation.’ He makes a particular point that none of the 11,000 diaries in question were kept by politicians. Continue reading
By Julia Jones
2020 was the year that saw the publication of two significant histories of two of the river Deben anchorages – and their associated settlements. Continue reading
Murder on the Deben by Peter Wain
The Deben is such a peaceful river but its tranquility masks deeds of theft and even murder on its banks.
On Thursday the 20th December 1352, in Bawdsey, Robert Fille, aged 32, and William Crey had an argument. It seems that this argument took place at one o’clock in the morning and it may be that both men had been drinking. It seems they were arguing over two ‘botewond’.
by Leigh Belcham from Newbourne in short trousers © Leigh Belcham 2014
Sheltered from the prevailing westerlies, the sandy beach at neighbouring Waldringfield was always an attraction for Newbourne children. On the banks of the River Deben, the village had been a popular sailing centre since the 1920s. The waterfront was was inaccessible to the public during the war, but once hostilities ceased, boats soon returned to the river and children to the shore. Most parents were tied to their smallholdings, but older children could roam free, with many heading to the water by bike or on foot.
by Robert Simper
Part 1: Bawdsey Ferry up to Hemley Dock
When I was young, in the early 1950s, there were still people who talked about the places where Thames barges loaded on the River Deben. Most of these were still clearly visible as loading wharves, but nearly seventy years later most of them have been reduced to just a few pieces of rotten wood sticking out of the mud. Continue reading
Where can I launch my surfboard!
Managing the 5th December 2013 tidal surge
The bi-annual River Deben Association talk was delivered by David Kemp, Coastal Team Leader, Environment Agency (EA) to an audience of over 100 members.
When a flood is forecast, the key time is the preparation within the 24 hours before the storm arrives. His fascinating account took us through the EA’s planning in the East Anglia Incident room whilst preparing for the surge of 5th December 2013.