By Sue Ryder Richardson
Beyond its tidal reaches, the Deben meanders through ancient villages, beside grazed water meadows, and land that has been farmed for centuries. This water has brought wealth, has succoured communities, has driven the wheels of watermills, and in its workaday practicality enabled the establishment of several ecclesiastical centres along its banks.
by Sally Westwood
I heard the Little Egret’s1 alarm call before I saw it. It flew along the River Deben, against the ebbing tide. It landed at the end of a wide gully, with drenched, smooth mudflats steeped up at the sides. An Avocet2 had been walking away from the gully, along the receding shoreline, sweeping its upturned, black bill from side to side in shallow water searching for food, such as crustaceans and worms. It turned when it heard the Little Egret’s alarm, watched it land and strode rapidly towards it, determinedly. The Little Egret tucked its beak down in its chest, oblivious, neck arched round, and down, cleaning feathers on its chest. Short damp feathers on its crown were upright and spiky.
By Julia Jones
At the time of writing (Jan 2021) many families are involved – willingly or not – with home schooling. The RDA editorial team decided to join in and set this quiz to check whether you’ve been reading your Deben magazines and RDA Journal articles carefully. All the answers will be found in magazine issues 60 & 61 and in RDA Journal articles between September and December 2020. The magazines and the Journal articles are all on this website and no different answers will be accepted. If it ain’t there, it ain’t right!
Anyone can do this quiz – answers will be posted on the RDA Journal site next Friday (Jan 29th)
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 Claudia Myatt
It’s 3,600 nautical miles from Easter Island to Falkland, and on this day last year I was a long way from the Deben, six days into a voyage that would take 21 days or more. Dutch sailing ship Tecla set sail from Easter Island on 6th December 2019 bound for Cape Horn, our next landfall the southern tip of South America. Our 13 day passage from Galapagos to Easter Island had been in tropical waters alive with flying fish and in calm weather we had a ‘swim stop’, jumping over the side to experience the thrill of swimming in clear sapphire water over 4km deep. Now, at 30 degrees south, we could feel the tropics slipping away. The nights were chilly and we started to unpack some of the warm clothes we would need in the colder waters of the Southern Ocean. Continue reading
Discovered in the EADT of March 15th AD 650 and translated by Moray McPhail
It was a foul day as Hrotgut made his way along the river to Aeverson’s workshop. He supposed that he couldn’t expect much better in mid October, but it was a hard easterly, known as a lazy wind because it couldn’t be bothered to go around you, but went instead straight through. It drove spiky raindrops into his face and every crevice of his clothing. All in all he couldn’t help thinking that it was pretty inconsiderate of King Raedwald to go and die in the early winter. Continue reading
by Sally Westwood
A walk along the bank of the River Deben can be interesting whatever the weather. The birds are there, going about their business, searching for food, and perhaps squabbling and arguing about temporary feeding territory. I had a walk along the riverbank towards Wilford Bridge from the direction of Woodbridge, to see what birds were about. The tide was coming in. The weather was bright and sunny. I immediately spotted two huge flocks of Lapwings (Vanellus vanillas) swirling around in the sky. Commonly, Lapwings flock together in the winter months on marshes (Svensson, 2009). They can be identified by their white and black rounded wing-tips showing dark above and white below, moving in a flapping motion. Close up views when stationary, reveal a long thin, wispy head-crest. The winter plumage shows a scaly pattern on their dark upper parts and coverts. This contrasts with their summer plumage, which has a beautiful purple and green iridescence. As they turned, I could see the flickering of the black and white of their wings.
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