SEPTEMBER 2004
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HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Visit to Lavenham on Saturday July 31st 2004




THIRTY-SEVEN members of the society enjoyed a guided tour of this pretty Suffolk town on a beautiful sunny, summer afternoon.

Starting outside the Guildhall of Corpus Christi, an early 16th century high status timbered beam building, now owned by the National Trust, we learnt that Lavenham was important for many years for its cloth trade.  It was most notable for its blue cloth, which was dyed with woad imported from Toulouse.  Records show that in 1525 Lavenham was the 14th richest town in England, its wealth coming mainly from the cloth trade.

Our guide pointed out numerous listed buildings on our tour, although we did not manage to see all 300 of Lavenham’s listed buildings.  We did pause outside another fine timbered 14th century building, which originally was the Benedictine Priory, which specialised in growing herbs.  This building is now a hotel. 

Another early timbered merchant’s house is now the popular Swan Hotel.  During the 18th century the coach to London left from The Swan for its 13 hour journey, the fare then was 11 shillings.

Wandering past a picturesque row of Flemish weavers houses we returned to the market square, past the War Memorial, and a plaque to the 487 Bomb Group H from America, stationed in Lavenham during the Second World War.  Our tour ended at the Guildhall where we had started, and we all enjoyed a delicious cream tea in the cafe there.
Before leaving Lavenham there was some free time left to wander and visit some of the art and antique shops. 

The church tower was also open (lucky for us as this is a once a year occurrence).  Those members who climbed to the top were rewarded with a magnificent view of Lavenham and the surrounding beautiful countryside.

Next meeting:
Thursday 9th September at 7pm in the Village Hall.
“Historic Vessels - the way forward” by Commander John Paton.  Guests welcome at £2 for the evening, new members welcome to join.

Jo Cole (821759)




Click here
for more pictures of the visit



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