Walk around Lavenham for the first time and you will amazed by the number of large merchant houses, some dating back to the 13th and 14 century. So who lived and worked here and why?
The artist, John Constable, more often associated with Flatford Mill and Dedham, went to school in Lavenham. Constable was a student at the Old Grammar School in Barn Street. One of his good friends was Jane Taylor, Daughter of Isaac Taylor, the well known engraver. She wrote the nursery rhyme we all learnt as children – Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star – in 1806 whilst she was living at nearby Shilling Grange.
But perhaps the most important name in Lavenham’s long and illustrious history is de Vere. Aubrey de Vere was granted the manor by his brother-in-law, William the Conqueror. Some four centuries later, John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, led Henry VII’s army in the Battle of Bosworth (1485), the final and decisive battle of The War of the Roses.
To mark his safe return to Lavenham, the wealthy wool merchants of Lavenham started work on the parish church of St Peter and St Paul.
Lavenham’s parish church is one of the largest in England; its 141 foot (43 metres) flint tower dominates the Suffolk skyline. Rich Gothic tracery, coffered roof, graceful arches, columns and aisles, St Peter and St Paul is a magnificent example of Perpendicular style architecture.
And you can Stay in Lavenham, the very place these fascinating people frequented.