A walk around Lavenham

 A feature from the August 2016 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life magazine
Suffolk Norfolk Life August 2016Click to view this issue »
Nature, Places
By Susannah George, with doggies Harry and Lily

An outing to Lavenham is like a trip through the centuries. I just love the timber framed buildings, all intriguing in their stature. The beautiful church of St Peter and St Paul, the unique shops and cafés and wherever you turn a reminder that this wonderful Suffolk treasure was once one of the richest towns in Tudor England. Lavenham prospered from the wool trade in the 15th and 16th centuries, with the town’s blue broadcloth being an export of note.

We parked in the carpark opposite Lavenham’s impressive parish church of St Peter and St Paul. Described as being architecturally perfect, its construction was funded mainly by local clothiers who grew rich during the Middle Ages from the proceeds of the Suffolk wool trade. John de Vere, the 13th Earl of Oxford and Lord of the Manor, was one of the chief benefactors as were Lavenham’s richest family, the Springs. It was lovely to see that dogs and their well-behaved owners were allowed in the church. I must say I was a little nervous, given Harry and Lily’s history, but they were very good and it was really special to be able to take them inside.

The church was completed in 1525 with the tower standing at a mighty 141 feet high and it lays claim to being the highest village church tower in Britain. From the church we made our way down the high street, taking in the wealth of intriguing buildings along the way. The structure of some of the properties look so precarious and distorted, the street scene reminded me of the rhyme `There was a crooked man…’ So how funny when I learnt that the rhyme, which was first recorded by James Orchard Halliwell in the 1840s, is said by some to have been inspired by Lavenham, while others maintain the poem originates from the history of King Charles I of England. I didn’t find a crooked sixpence but I did find a shiny penny that I picked up.

Read the full article in the August 2016 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life Magazine
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