I almost didn’t make it to Lavenham. At some stage of the day, probably when I was having lunch, I realized that heading back into London in the afternoon would be a disaster as I’d catch all the peak hour traffic on my side of town. I made what I thought was a brilliant decision to delay heading back so that I’d reach the outskirts of London about 6.30 or 7pm and miss the worst of the traffic. This left me with time to visit Lavenham, a truly marvellous old town that lives up to its reputation as a must see destination.
It’s a beautiful and ancient town with houses that have to be seen to be believed – again, much photography of uneven walls, half-timbered houses at scary angles to the perpendicular and quaint tea-houses – all in a great variety of colours. I had afternoon tea in a gorgeous place that seemed to take you back in time. While I waited for my refreshments to come I scribbled off a few postcards to anyone whose address I could remember all the while extolling the virtues of the magnificent old place.
It’s easy to imagine yourself coming out of the local pub and starting to wonder just how many drinks you DID have that night!
Lavenham , a wool town, reached its peak in the 15th century and now has a reputation as England’s finest medieval village. At first I was averse to seeing so many houses painted pink, peach, yellow or orange ( am still a little, to be honest) till I learned about ’Suffolk Pink’ which is a traditional paint made by blending red ochre with whitewash. The latter is a mixture of water, lime and chalk and is a cost-effective way to dress up a wall.
The Pink House is particularly spectacular with its refusal to conform to the perpendicular and my photo of it is especially tilted by the wide angle I used for the photograph.
Click here to visit a site that has a wonderful photo of a crooked house in the centre of town and an interesting article describing how odd it feels to walk inside such a building. Here’s a quote from the article by Anna Busonera. ‘From the outside the building is crooked, but once inside the house, visitors realize the indoors are also crooked; the walls, the windows, as well as the floors. It is really difficult to walk from one room to the next, without holding on to something; some people have experienced nausea when inside the house.’
Lavenham Airfield played a significant role in World War Two with the men of the 487th Bomb Group (Heavy) of the US Air Force stationed there. Most of the area is being slowly reclaimed by nature and is now a farm so it must cheer those who were based there to see that the Control Tower is being restored and kept as a memorial.
This photo of the old Control Tower is taken from a page created by the Lavenham Community Council and can be accessed by clicking here or on the link in the final paragraph below.
I’ve had to lighten this photo of the church a lot because the sun wouldn’t be obliging and shine from behind me while the took the photo! Hence the colours are a bit artificial. Check out the link in the final paragraph for a great shot of the church – methinks it’s been cleaned since I was there!
The wealth of the town is demonstrated by the sheer size and decoration of the church of St Peter & St Paul as it is unusually large compared to the size of the village. It was completed in 1530. The church tower was a godsend to American airmen, its 141 ft (43 m) steeple guiding them unerringly back to home base after numerous sorties against Hitler’s Germany.
Use this link to see more photos of Lavenham in the site header. The shot of the church is far superior to mine and there’s a sweet photo of the tea shop I mentioned visiting earlier. For those interested in the airfield click on the web address beside the photo of the restored control tower to enter a labyrinth of articles, maps etc on the topic.
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