An East Anglian Panorama


 13th October 2015


We set off from St Ives at 9.00 am on a cloudy but bright morning heading for Long Melford in Suffolk – a considerably shorter journey than our coach outings in recent years. Morning coffee and biscuits were taken at the historic Bull Hotel, built in 1450 and the centrepiece of the longest high street in East Anglia. Our coach panorama then took us through the beautiful rolling landscape of Suffolk to the mediaeval villages of Clare and Cavendish before returning via Sudbury to Long Melford and an excellent lunch at the Bull Hotel.

In the afternoon we drove to Lavenham where crooked and timbered weavers cottages line the main streets of this immaculately kept small town. The first settlement here dates back to Saxon times: "Lafa's Ham" near where the church now stands. Saxon lands were ceded to Normans in the 11th century and the village began to grow. The market place was built in the 13th century and Lavenham prospered on the growth of the wool trade, especially weaving and dyeing, being recorded as one of the richest places in England by 1525. This trade then went into sharp decline after a rebellion over pay and competition from other parts of the country and Europe and had virtually ceased by 1600. Over the following centuries Lavenham went through a number of revivals and slumps, with large changes in population until today it prospers through a combination of home-based companies and tourism: the hotel and restaurant industry and a colourful and exciting collection of retail outlets.

Our Probus Group enjoyed a gentle walking tour to see the best of the town before taking afternoon refreshments in the Guildhall Tea Room and heading for home.

(Click on [Enlarge] under an image to open it in a new window)


Our Coach arriving at the Bull Hotel, Long Melford.  [Enlarge]


The Bull Hotel was originally built in 1450.  [Enlarge]


Designing the official badge of Long Melford Parish Council.  [Enlarge]


Brook House opposite the Bull Inn built in 1610.  [Enlarge]


City & Village Tour Guide, Jan with our Probus Group before setting off to explore Lavenham.  [Enlarge]


A Lavenham House opposite Lady Street.  [Enlarge]


Little Hall Wool Merchant's House & Garden Museum.  [Enlarge]


Lavenham Guildhall (National Trust).  [Enlarge]


Munnings Tearooms at the Crooked House.  [Enlarge]


The Wool Room.  [Enlarge]  


Cordwainers House.  [Enlarge]