Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Medieval Town of Lavenham

Last weekend, we headed to the Suffolk region of England to see the "wool towns" of the area. We decided to stay in the small town of Lavenham, where we settled in at The Swan Hotel for a couple of nights. The Swan Hotel dates from the 15th century, and is comprised of 3 different houses from that era, all strung together to offer a charming experience on an overnight stay.

We kept pinching ourselves to remind us that we were sleeping in a building that has been around for centuries.  Our room was on the back side on the left corner,

and the interior was warm and cozy, especially after braving the elements of a chilly and damp early March day.

There were intimate and welcoming reception areas throughout with huge fireplaces to warm you after your explorations,

and the Great Hall dining room with fine cuisine known for miles around,

as well as the small gardens offering the guests the ultimate in lodging.

Lavenham is a quintessential English town,

commonly known as "England's Best Preserved Medieval Village,

with 300 listed buildings of architectural and historical significance scattered over several small, narrow streets.

Most homes date from the years 1460-1530, when the cloth making trade was at its height.

This house is currently for sale if you fancy life in a small and picturesque village. Just under £500,000 or $785, 000.

As you wander the streets, you see little has changed since medieval times

when the city was one of the wealthiest towns in England.

The Shilling Old Grange house was built in 1496, but 300 years later, it was the home of Jane Taylor, who wrote the sweet rhyme that I often sing to my grandchildren. Twinkle, twinkle little star....

I could have taken photo after photo of interesting details,

such as these doors

and the crooked houses

that just make you smile

and wonder what it would be like to live in them today.

The stunning Church of St. Peter and St. Paul is one of the many "wool churches" in the area, built from the proceeds of the lucrative cloth trade of the time.

Equally as important is the Guildhall on the Market Square, which was built in 1530 for religious meetings

and the Little Hall, once the home of a rich wool merchant, but which is now a private residence and can be viewed by the public.

Our getaway weekend didn't offer up the best of weather, so after an afternoon of exploring, we decided to have a "cup of tea" to chase off the chills. We chose Munnings on the High Street.

Such a charming place, the owner explained to us that the tea room with her lodgings upstairs, was originally a home built in the medieval era

and today hosts locals and tourists alike who come to sample her homemade treats.

We were the last guests of the day, picking a table by the window

and sitting down only after we scoped out the dessert buffet.

I opted for a slice of lemon-orange cake

and Mike had the traditional "cream tea" with scones, clotted cream and jam. A delicious ending to our first day of the weekend.

There's more to come--hope you'll grab a cup of tea and join me!


  1. What an amazing adventure! Thank you for sharing, Deb. That dessert looked mahhhvelous! Leslie M.

  2. That looks like quite the fabulous trip! I was wondering if it was my eye sight when looking at the crooked houses...haha...very charming! I can't wait to read more about it! xxoo

  3. Hi Deb, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  4. I AM TOTALLY ENCHANTED. I am a Francophile, you know, but dearest, since I picked up some British friends and your wonderful blog, I have come to LOVE England like never before. I have GOT to get over here to see these charming places that have only been a fairy tale for me. But you SEE IT ALL THE TIME!!! Such beauty, and the closest I ever got to crooked old homes from the 1600s was when I lived in Boston. Ahhhhh.....Marblehead Mass was a wealth of old crooked homes on the beach. What a wonderful life I have had.

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR VISIT and your kind words! MAKE LIFE A POEM! Anita

  5. A wonderful tour, Debi! Perfectly picturesque and nowhere else it could be but England. The tea shoppe is the sweetest! I'm sure I'd have been right along with Mike on the cream tea. But I'm still battling the after effects of all the cream, double cream, clotted cream and milk that we had on our last visit to England. Which, incidentally, would be a great post for you if you haven't done it – all the different types of cream for sale at Marks and Spencer. :) Wishing you a lovely weekend.

  6. Debi - did you drive? How long did it take from London?

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