Local Area

 
Cockfield | Lavenham | Bury St Edmunds | Long Melford
 
   

Cockfield

Cockfield is a village and civil parish located approximately 3 miles (5.6 km) from Lavenham in Suffolk. The village consists of a central point and several outlying hamlets. Surrounded mostly by fields used for farming, and with few roads.

The present village has been inhabited for well over 2000 years. The finding of a sword (now in the Moyse Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds) is evidence of Bronze Age settlement, and a number of findings indicate a Roman encampment, known as the Warbanks.

The village's present name is derived from "Cochan-feld" probably indicating a site established by a person named Cochan. The village appeared in the Domesday Book of 1086 under the name of "Cothefelda" and is listed as a properous manor whose wealth had grown since the Norman Conquest. During the Middle Ages, the village became "Cokefield" and finally "Cockfield".

A landmark visible for a distance across the neighbouring countryside, is the church of St Peter's. It is one of the finest of Suffolk's many village churches, with the present building mostly dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. The church's size is unusual for such a rural location, but this becomes less surprising when one considers its location between the three great medieval merchant towns of Bury St Edmunds, Lavenham, and Sudbury.

Lavenham

Lavenham is a village and civil parish in Suffolk. 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. It is a popular day-trip destination for people from across the country and beyond.

Lavenham prospered from the wool trade in the 15th and 16th century, with the town's blue broadcloth being an export of note. The town's wealth can be seen in the lavishly constructed parish church of St Peter and St Paul which stands on a hill top at the end of the main high street. The church is excessively large for the size of the village and with a tower standing 141 ft (43 m) high it lays claim to being the highest village church tower in Britain. The church is renowned for its Late-Gothic chantries and screens.

Lavenham's Market Square was the main location of the 1968 Vincent Price film Witchfinder General. In 1986 a more contemporary film Playing Away, about a visiting cricket eleven from Brixton, was also filmed here. The Market Square is the setting of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's 1970 film Apotheosis. In 2010, under conditions of strict secrecy, scenes from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were filmed here.

Lavenham is also the setting for the last ever episode of popular mid-1990s BBC drama, Lovejoy. The episode, which aired in December 1994, was titled 'Last Tango in Lavenham'.

It was thought that the town was the inspiration for the poem, "A Crooked Little Man." The town was built using green wood for many of the houses and over the years as the wood aged, the buildings became distorted and out of alignment, hence, many crooked little houses.

Bury St. Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds is a historic market town in the county of Suffolk. It is the main town in the borough of St Edmundsbury and known for the ruined abbey near the town centre.

Bury St Edmunds (originally called Beodericsworth, St Edmund's Bury), supposed by some to have been the Villa Faustina of the Romans, was one of the royal towns of the Saxons. Sigebert, king of the East Angles, founded a monastery here about 633, which in 903 became the burial place of King Edmund, who was slain by the Danes in 869, and owed most of its early celebrity to the reputed miracles performed at the shrine of the martyr king. The town grew around Bury St Edmunds Abbey, a site of pilgrimage.

In the centre of Bury St Edmunds lie the remains of an abbey, surrounded by the Abbey Gardens, a park. The abbey is a shrine to Saint Edmund. The abbey was sacked by the townspeople in the 14th century, and then largely destroyed during the 16th century with the Dissolution of the Monasteries but Bury remained prosperous throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, falling into relative decline with the Industrial Revolution.

Bury St Edmunds Cathedral was created when the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich was formed in 1914. The cathedral was extended with an eastern end in the 1960s, commemorated by Benjamin Britten's Fanfare for St Edmundsbury. A new Gothic revival cathedral tower was built as part of a millennium project running from 2000 to 2005. The tower makes St Edmundsbury the only recently completed Anglican cathedral in the UK. Only a handful of Gothic revival cathedrals are being built worldwide. The tower was constructed using original fabrication techniques by six masons who placed the machine-pre-cut stone individually as they arrived.

The Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds was built by National Gallery architect William Wilkins in 1819. It is the sole surviving Regency Theatre in the country. The theatre, owned by the Greene King brewery, is leased to the National Trust for a nominal charge, and underwent restoration between 2005 and 2007. It presents a full programme of performances and is also open for public tours.

The UK's largest British-owned brewery, Greene King, is situated in Bury, as is the smaller Old Cannon Brewery. Another beer-related landmark is Britain's smallest public house, The Nutshell, which is on The Traverse, just off the marketplace. It is allegedly the smallest pub in Britain and also believed to be haunted.

Long Melford

Long Melford (or Melford, as it is known locally) is a large village and civil parish in the county of Suffolk. It is on Suffolk's border with Essex, which is marked by the River Stour, approximately 16 miles (26 km) from Colchester and 14 miles (23 km) from Bury St. Edmunds.

Long Melford is fairly unusual for a village in that it has a parish church of dimensions more suited to a cathedral. Originally completed in 1484, Holy Trinity Church is the one of the richest "wool churches" in East Anglia and is renowned for its flushwork, The Clopton chantry chapel and the Lady Chapel at the East end with some surviving medieval stained-glass. Another unusual feature of Long Melford is its large elongated village green, dominated until the 1980s by a group of great elms that included one of the largest in England. The elms were painted in 1940 by the watercolourist S. R. Badmin in his 'Long Melford Green on a Frosty Morning', now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The village contains two stately homes, Kentwell Hall and Melford Hall, all built from the proceeds of the wool trade in the Middle Ages.

Long Melford is notable for its large collection of antiques shops and dealers.

(Information supplied courtesy of Wikipedia)

 
 
Cockfield
 
Lavenham
 
Bury St. Edmunds
 
Long Melford
 
Ickworth House near Bury St Edmunds
 
 
 
 

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