Dunwich

Dunwich has long been accepted as the site of Dommoc, the first see of East Anglia founded by St Felix of Burgundy. Although today it is a small though evocative, village, historically it was a coastal site of considerable commercial importance. It would seem that in Roman times there was a fort or some settlement here which is indicated by the convergence of several Roman Roads close to the village. Exploration by Time Team in 2012 have also confirmed that Dunwich was a signficant coastal port in the Anglo-Saxon period which reached its height in the 14th Century before being catastrophically cut short by a terrible storm in 1328 which completely blocked the harbour and flooded the town. 

According to Bede's Ecclesiastical History, St Felix was allotted land here by St Sigburt whom he had met whilst in exile in France. St Felix founded a school after the model of schools that he saw in Kent and his own homeland in Gaul. It is thought likely that he had monastic formation at the great Columbanian monastery of Leuxill which lended to the positive and synergistic relationship between the Roman/ Canterbury missionaries and the Irish/Ionan missionaries in East Anglia. St Felix, working alongside St Fursey, was a dynamic and itinerent bishop, travelling from Dunwich throughout his see.  

Dunwich remained the diocesan centre of East Anglia up until St Theodore when a further see was established intitially, it is believed, at South Elmham before transferring to North Elmham. However following the Viking raids, the see of Dommoc was abandoned. A copy of the seal of the last Bishop of Dunwich can be seen in the Dunwich Museum which was one of the possessions of the Monks of Eye, who were given all the possessions and rents of Dunwich, which lends further weight to Dunwich's argument as the authentic site of St Felix's see. 

We would suggest that pilgrims start their pilgrimage at St James Church on the road into Dunwich. The church is open daily and it is also now possible to go inside the ruins of the 12th Century ruins of the Leper Chapel as well as seeing the remaining buttress of All Saints Church. It is then only a short walk down the road to the excellent museum and then on to the beach and cliffs towards the ruins of Greyfriars priory. 

Further Information & Resources

Dunwich - Suffolk Churches

Time Team - The Drowned Town