A Dot on the Landscape: Rymer Point

On the map of Suffolk Parish Boundaries you will see most parishes are rectangular. But north of Bury St. Edmunds, and south of Thetford in the Blackbourne Hundred the parish boundaries form a shape like the segments of an orange. The parishes of Barnham, Euston, Fakenham Magna, Honington, Troston, Great Livermere, Little Livermere (even though it is not part of the Hundred), Ampton, Ingham and Culford meet at Rymer Point.

Why these parishes converge here has been the subject of debate. Some clues can be found in HD1785/1/1, a collection of papers donated by Major Gilbert Kilner (1887-1960) of the Suffolk Regiment, which are held at our Bury St Edmunds branch. A keen historian and archaeologist, Major Kilner notes that in ‘A Suffolk Hundred in 1283’ by Powell the area of Rymer Point was 70 acres, large enough for a gathering of people and possibly the setting for a Hundred Court. King Edmund 1 (939-946) established areas, served by Hundred Courts where administration; formal and ceremonial functions were carried out. These Hundreds could be independent of parish and county boundaries, and the boundaries tended to move.

Ordnance Survey Map showing Rymer Point

Ordnance Survey Map showing Rymer Point

The Bradmere Hundred belonged to the Abbey at Bury St. Edmunds. Major Kilner recorded it as being absorbed into the Blackbourn Hundred in the Domesday Book. The Hundred was bordered by the Little Ouse to the North, Icknield Way and the Lackford Hundred on the West, the River Lark to the South, and the Blything to the East.
The seats of the Hundred Courts were held at prominent places such as meres, river crossings, mounds or high points. Rymer Point is about ¾ mile East of Gibbert Covert, one of the highest points and the site of a gallows.
However, Troston Mount has been considered the meeting place of the Hundred. It is possible that once both Rymer Point and Troston Mount were Hundred Courts for the Bradmere and Blackbourne Hundreds before they were combined in Medieval times.

Some clues can also be taken from the derivation of the name. ‘Rym’ or ‘Rim’ is Anglo-Saxon for ‘edge’. ‘Mer’ means ‘mark’. Alternatively the ending ‘mer’ may be a shortening for mere. Major Kilner suggests there was once a large mere at Rymer Point. This area was some distance from flowing water and sheep farmed on the Brecklands may have been brought to water there. Further South near Troston Mount there was a large stretch of water called Broadmere, also a useful watering hole.
Rymer Point is on the A134 from Bury St. Edmund to Thetford. Major Kilner believed there was a link road between the ancient trackways of Peddars Way and Icknield Way. Peddars Way comes from the N.W corner of Norfolk and can be traced to Brettenham and on to Woolpit. The Icknield Way comes from Great Chesterford and crosses the river Lark at Lackford.  So Rymer Point could also have been significant as a passing and therefore a meeting place.