Lavenham Things to Do

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    Little Hall
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Most Recent Things to Do in Lavenham

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    The Wool Hall...

    by arturowan Written Feb 14, 2015

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    Lavenham Wool Hall is a remarkable example of a 16th Century, half-timbered building, & is Grade I Listed (see separate England tip...)
    It was formerly known as The Hall 0f The Guild 0f The Blessed Virgin, 1-of-4 such medieval guilds in Lavenham...
    In the 16th Century it was converted into a wool hall, as the trade took-off...
    Princess Louise, Duchess 0f Argyll, began a resoration of the building in 1911, then turned it over to become the Railway Women's Convalescent Home...
    It is now part of The Swan Hotel (see separate tip...)

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    Lavenham Church...

    by arturowan Updated Feb 14, 2015

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    Lavenham's church of Saint Peter & Saint Paul, is considered 1 of the finest examples of Late Perpendicular Gothic architecture in England, & not surprisingly has been Listed as Grade I (see separate England tip...)
    The site has held sacred-significance since Anglo-Saxon times, the original wooden church being rebuilt in stone in the 1300's, with an ambitious phase of reconstruction from 1485 - 1525
    The tower was the final stage of construction, having been built in 4 separate stages, it holds 8 bells which were cast in Colchester...
    A curious feature of the tower is that there is no external dial in order to display the time kept by the clock - the time can only be told by listening to the number of chimes...
    The completion of the tower in the 16th Century, means that the oldest part of the structure is the eastern vestry, which dates back to 1440
    Everything else was added to as a result of the riches generated by the local wool trade, which meant that successful merchants wished for their success to be reflected in their magnificent church...
    2 local merchants are thought to have paid for most of the project;
    Thomas Spring - 13th Earl of 0xford - the Spring coat-of-arms recurs more than 30 times around the church exterior, & his remains lie inside the Spring Chantry;
    The de Vere family - their family armorial device, the 5-pointed star, is repeated around the top of the 141' tower...
    The redevelopment work is thought to have been carried out under the architectural expertise of John Wastell, because of its overall similarity to his work at Cambridge (Church 0f Saint Mary The Great...), in such details as the fan vaulting in the porch...
    Extensive restoration work was carried out by Francis Penrose from 1861 - 67
    The interior conatins 5 15th Century misericords, each depicting different scenes of animals, people, or chimera;
    A Pelican feeding chicks in a nest;
    A pair of Spoonbills pecking at the head of a man;
    A pair of chimera - the male playing a violin with tongs - the female playing a hurdy-gurdy;
    A man appearing to try to play a pig as if it were bagpipes;
    A jester...
    The octagonal font is 14th Century, & the painted rood screen has been dated as 1330 - 40
    The churchyard is also worth exploring for some very old gravestones...

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    The Crooked House

    by allikat Updated Mar 16, 2008

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    The Crooked House is one of Lavenham's more famous landmarks, and often features in pictures of the town. Built in 1425, it is now an art gallery featuring a variety of local artists, jewellers and sculptors. The timbers have warped over time causing the upper floor to look distinctly crooked - hence the name!

    The Crooked House
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    The 16th Century Guildhall

    by allikat Updated Mar 16, 2008

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    The Guildhall of Corpus Christi, Lavenham, dates back to some time around 1530. Regarded as one of Britains' best examples of a timber framed building of around that time, the Guildhall is now in the care of the National Trust. You are able to go inside and take a look around the building and the enclosed garden area for an entry fee (from memory no more than about three or four pounds sterling). The rooms are quite bare, but really you are there to see the carvings in the timbers, the massive inglenook fireplaces and leaded windows with ancient wavy glass. Upstairs the rooms have been given over to a museum detailing the history of Lavenhams wool trade and explaining how the local people lived and worked. You can also go down into the cellar and there is (as ever) a tea room and a National Trust gift shop.

    What is a Guildhall exactly anyway? A guild was a sort of club or organisation to which members would pay a fee. Originally, it would have been concerned with the welfare of the members souls and social wellbeing, but over time they became more concerned with crafts and trade. Some guilds would have met in a local home. The Guildhall of Corpus Christ however seems to have been built for the purpose of accommodating the probably elite merchant members of the Guild and storage of their wool and cloth.

    In later years the Guildhall was used as the local workhouse (a workhouse housed the poor, sick and homeless). In the walled garden are 2 small brick buildings - these were once the lock-up and the mortuary.

    It is a massive building (oh for a decent wide angle lens!) which dominates the market area of the town. (note, the area in front of the Guildhall is a parking area - if you do have the opportunity to get a decent, wide-angle shot, try to arrive early in the day). The timbers are pale and old and the door posts, the corner posts and the huge beam supporting the jettied upper level are heavily carved.

    The Guildhall of Corpus Christi, Lavenham
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    The Parish Church

    by allikat Updated Mar 16, 2008

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    Lavenham's parish church of Saints Peter and Paul is a large building which can be seen from many miles around. It is a direct result of the wealth of Lavenham, as it was largely paid for by wealthy clothiers in the 15th Century - most notably Thomas Spryng - although a church has stood here from Saxon times.

    The church was built as an act of thanksgiving by John de Vere, the thirteenth Earl of Oxford and Lord of the Manor of Lavenham, who lead Henry VII's troops to victory in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. His emblems of a boar and a star can be seen carved both inside the church and outside on the stonework (check over the doorway, that isn't a headless sheep, it's an eroded boar!).

    There are many wonderful features to appreciate in this church - heavily carved parcloses which protect important tombs, monuments and brasses, the ancient stone font. For more information and pictures see my travelogue.

    The church at Lavenham
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    Guildhall and Little Hall

    by sue_stone Written Jul 8, 2007

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    Located on Market Place in Lavenham are a couple of interesting historic buildings - the Guildhall and the Little Hall.

    The cream timber-framed Corpus Christi Guildhall was built in the 16th century, and was once used as a prison and later a workhouse. The building is now managed by the National Trust, and you can visit the Guildhall and see an exhibition on the wool industry - Lavenham was formerly the heart of the regions wool trade.

    Nearby, you can visit the ancient looking Little Hall. This is a 14th century merchants house, which was restored in the early 20th century. The house and garden is open to visitors for a small fee, and there is an interesting collection of furniture and art on display.

    Corpus Christi Guildhall Corpus Christi Guildhall Little Hall Little Hall
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    St Peter and St Paul Church

    by sue_stone Written Jul 8, 2007

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    Lavenham is home to the impressive Church of St Peter and Paul. Dating back to the 15th century, the church is one of the famous Suffolk wool churches - so named as its building was funded by the rich clothiers of the time. It has a flint tower standing 140 feet tall, which is the highest structure for miles around.

    Today it is surrounded by gorgeous shaped hedges, amid the gravestones. Take the time to stroll around the garden and admire the grand structure from outside.

    I found the interior a little dark and sombreā€¦.but hey, it is a church! I was amused by the colourful pew cushions, and happy that the Lavenham locals could avoid having a 'numb-bum' during a long service ; )

    St Peter and St Paul Church Pew cushions St Peter and St Paul Church St Peter and St Paul Church St Peter and St Paul Church
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    Get some local info

    by allikat Written Sep 30, 2005

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    The local tourist information office is in Lady Street, which leads off from the Market Place. I think it looks a little out of place, a 1970's looking building snuggled next to a much older timber framed beauty! But they have heaps of good local information, not just about Lavenham, but some of the other surrounding villages in the area. A good place to start if you are trying to get a feel for the area or find a nice place to stay. They also carry a small range of gifts and postcards.

    Lavenhams tourist info office
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    The Market Cross

    by allikat Written Sep 19, 2005

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    Outside the front of the Guildhall an old cross identifies the Market Place. As I mentioned before, Lavenham was granted a charter by the crown back in the thirteenth century which allowed the townsfolk to hold a market. The cross that you see know is not quite that old - but is still pretty old! It was put there in 1501, paid for from the will of a local merchant, William Jacob. A plaque on the cross commemmorates William and his bequest.
    Lavenham no longer holds a market, but in times past they would have been held every week.

    Lavenhams market cross
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    The Guildhall of Corpus Christi

    by Vcela Written Apr 15, 2004

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    Impressive example of a guild building of Tudor/16th century period. Probably more interesting outside than in, although a fair size and with a small exhibition of local history and industry. Also with a shop and tea-room.

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