Thursday, 6 October 2011


Lavenham is a village and civil parish in Suffolk, England. It is noted for its 15th century church, half-timbered medieval cottages and circular walk. In the medieval period it was among the 20 wealthiest settlements in England. Currently, it is a popular day-trip destination for British people from across the country.
Lavenham prospered from the wool trade in the 15th and 16th century, with the town's blue broadcloth being an export of note. During the 16th century Lavenham industry was badly affected by Dutch refugees settled in Colchester who produced cloth that was cheaper and lighter than Lavenham's, and also more fashionable.

The Church of St Peter and St Paul dominates Lavenham and is evidence of the vast wealth that was concentrated in this area of East Anglia during the Tudor period. The architect is thought to have been John Wastell, who built Great St Mary in Cambridge, which is very similar. The building is late perpendicular in its design and was probably not completed until 1530. The church contains five 15th century misericords featuring imagery such as composite creatures; one, half-woman, half beast playing a viol, and another, half-man with the hindquarters and tail of a beast, mimicking her by playing a pair of bellows with a crutch.

The church is closely connected with the merchant families of the town, who paid for its construction and upkeep for many years. The building is decorated with the coat-of-arms of the Spring and de Vere families, who were the principal donors for the church. A screen in the south aisle was possibly intended as a chantry chapel for the clothier Thomas Spourne, although his remains do not lie here.

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