The Town of Lavenham in Suffolk

Lavenham Suffolk Holidays

A visitors guide to the Suffolk town of Lavenham, said to be one of the best preserved medieval wool towns in England.  Visitors will understand why Lavenham lays claim to this title when they visit this perfectly preserved place. From the fourteenth to the sixteenth century Lavenham was at the forefront of cloth making in England with its Flemish weavers. The wool from Lavenham was described as the 'golden fleece' and the towns people prospered.

Half a million square foot of cloth was produced by the town each year and beautiful timber framed buildings sprang up as the merchants were earning so much money they were able to use oak as the main fabric for their homes.

However, in the late 16th century the demand for wool fabric began to decline when Dutch refugees in Colchester began weaving a lighter and cheaper cloth. So it was that the town of Lavenham went into decline and never really found a replacement industry during the successive centuries. 
So whilst other towns were under going rebuilding Lavenham did not have enough money to make the same changes. Lucky for us as this means that we can all wander the streets and alleyways of this Suffolk town and believe that we have stepped back into a much earlier century.

The buildings you see today are very much as they would have looked during the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII. A few Georgian facades made it through hiding older timber framed building underneath. Weavers homes snuggle in between rich wool merchants houses interspersed with manor houses. You can obtain a guided walk from the Tourist Information Office in Lady Street which gives further details about the houses you will see around the town.

In Shilling Street stands Shilling Grange in which lived Isaac Taylor the engraver with his two daughters Ann and Jane. Jane Taylor wrote the famous poem 'Twinkle, twinkle little star' whilst sitting looking out of the small window in the garret of her house.

Another celebrity was the landscape painter John Constable who was educated at the towns school and is said to have known Jane Taylor.

In Market Place is the fantastic timber framed Guildhall built around 1529. It now houses a museum with exhibits of local history and industries, managed by the National Trust. The rampant lions on the doorpost of the hall are the emblem of the Guild of Corpus Christi who built the Guildhall all those years ago. It stands on high ground dominating the market place enclosed by venerable shops. In the past the Guildhall was used as the town hall, a jail, and also a workhouse for poor children. When the Guildhall was built, the town of Lavenham ranked fourteenth richest in the land. There are many good pubs and restaurants as well as shops and the lovely places to stay are endless.
For Norfolk or Suffolk B&B - Click the Bed and Breakfast Accommodations Link.s. Dr. Rowland Taylor the Rector of Haleigh was held in the Guildhall of Lavenham for 2 days before being returned home to be burnt at the stake.

To find out Whats New on this East Anglian Website - Click the Whats New Link. As you wander around the streets note the craft symbols displayed in the plasterwork of the weavers cottages.

For Norfolk or Suffolk B&B - Click the Bed and Breakfast Accommodations Link.s. The landscape painter John Constable was educated at Lavenham for a short while.

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