Wrapping up our weekend trip to the Suffolk area, I want to leave you with a few last impressions. Traveling in February always means that many things are not quite open for the season, and such was the case for two places I would really like to see. Don't you sometimes feel if you leave a few things unseen, it will be a good reason someday to take the road leading you back there again?
Kentwell Hall is one of those places I would love to go back and see when it's open. A red brick Elizabethan mansion surrounded by a moat, it is still a family residence which hosts Tudor re-enactments on occasion. Wouldn't that be fun--a travel back in time?
And when I go back to Kentwell Hall, I'll go just a little ways down the road to Melford Hall where Queen Elizabeth herself stayed in 1528.
Both homes are in the vicinity of Long Melford, another wool town
whose 15th century church is stunning sitting on top of a slight hill just above the high street with its own charm and timbered houses.
As Saturday drew to a close, we made our way to the village of Clare, that a shopkeeper had recommended.
The timbered houses were also there for sure, but so was this home with its lacy facade.
We were advised to follow the stream towards one of the jewels of the town, and so we set out upon that path.
As we rounded the bend I fell in love with this little thatched cottage,
and took time to marvel at the beautiful sunset
over the countryside.
Through a wooden gate, we made our way into the Clare Priory. This priory (monastery) was the first house of Augustinian friars in England, and in the peak of medieval times, there were 800
friars of this order living in England.
The priory was founded in 1248, then suppressed in 1538 during the English Reformation,
and serves today as a retreat center and home for the Augustinians since 1953. Seven friars currently make it their home, and we met them on our visit.
We wandered the peaceful grounds of the ancient priory and its ruins, amazed at the tranquility of its location alongside the river, and we understood why for years this has been a place of solitude and holiness.
All too soon, it was time to start our trip home as the weekend closed on Sunday. A rainy cold day set us on our pathway home a bit earlier than we had expected, but not before detouring to the village of Kersey.
Just a small village, but it is packed with charm, and even through the lens of a rainy day, we were captivated by the one main street through town which even served as a ford across a stream. Here we definitely left plenty to see and dream about until we make our way back someday.
And maybe the sun will be shining.