Lavenham is one of several wool towns in South Suffolk and is well known as one of the best preserved medieval towns in the country.

The town has a rich past and from the 14th to the 16th century flourished as one of the foremost wool and cloth making centres in England, famed in particular for its blue broadcloth. The buildings and church are testament to this wealth and the town´s appearance remains relatively untouched by time.

Perhaps the most famous of the wool towns, Lavenham once enjoyed such a high standing that in the reign of Henry VIII it was ranked as the fourteenth wealthiest town in England. For at least 500 years, the manufacture of various kinds of cloth and the preparation of wool and yarn were the main source of this wealth.

The appearance of the two has changed little over the years: half-timbered houses lean crazily over the narrow streets while the Guildhall, built in 1529, is perhaps the town´s most prominent feature. The building is owned by the National Trust and open to the public. It stands on one side of the market place, a triangular space surrounded almost entirely by timber-framed buildings.

Lavenham has been described as: ‘the finest medieval town in England´ and it has no fewer than 300 of its buildings listed as being of architectural or historic interest. One of these is the Church of St Peter and St Paul, which is among the finest in East Anglia – a magnificent church with a spire of 141 feet.

Much recommended is a walk along the disused railway line, followed by a wander through the gift and antiques shops and a cream tea, lunch or dinner in one of the many fabulous tea rooms, pubs and restaurants.

Visit for more information on Lavenham.

Leave a Comment