Thursday February 27th 2020


October 28th, 2010 by
Categories: Suffolk Towns A-Z

Lavenham is probably the most beautiful town in Suffolk if not England. Time really has stood still here with the preserved timber framed buildings exactly as they were in the 14th & 15th centuries.
The Guildhall, Lavenham
Lavenham Guildhall
The town’s history goes back a very long way with Anglo-Saxon, Norman and Roman connections all being traced to the town.

Lavenham Lavenham

The town’s wealth and fame came from it’s wool connection, at the peak of it’s fame the town was richer than both York and Lincoln. In the 14th Century Lavenham and the surrounding villages were instrumental in England’s weaving industry. Lavenham was famous for its blue broadcloth which was made from dyed wool rather than weaving the cloth and then dyeing it.

LavenhamThe limewashed silver-grey building that is Lavenham’s Guildhall dates from around 1529 and dominates the small market square.

Built by the Guild of Corpus Christi, one of three guilds founded in Lavenham to regulate the wool trade, look for the rampant lions on the doorpost, they were the Guild’s emblem. The Guild was dissolved by Henry VIII, who disapproved of its religious associations.

Throughout the years the building was used as a town hall, a prison, a workhouse and wool store. In the Second World War was a “Welcome Club” for American servicemen. In 1951 the Guildhall was given to the National Trust, today a museum on Lavenham and the wool trade is housed within it.

Little Hall, Lavenham
Above the 14th Century Little Hall
Little Hall also stands on the market place, a 14th Century Hall House built originally as a family home and workplace. Throughout the years it was improved, enlarged and modernised so that by the 1700s it could house six families. during the Second World War, it housed evacuees, who painted their names on the chest of drawers.
Lavenham Church The church (pictured left) is strangely not in the village centre but on the outskirts and equally well-worth a look with some fascinating windows telling the history of local families and local artefacts.
How to get there
A1141 off the A134 from Bury St Edmunds or Sudbury, A1141 from Hadleigh.
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