Hadleigh Heritage Walk
Records kept by the Stewards of the manor identify that, by the early 1300's, around 37% of the population of Hadleigh was involved in the production of woollen cloth.
Hadleigh was run by the clothiers who, on making their fortunes, moved out either to landed estates, or to trade in the City of London. With the demise of the market for the heavy woollen cloth produced in Hadleigh, the town declined by the early 18th century into severe poverty.
This is a very gentle walk around Hadleigh. The Guildhall complex in the heart of the town is visually impressive, but do not miss the real hidden gem of this walk - the mural in Viscount Bayning's House of Joseph being thrown down a well! The walk includes a stroll alongside the peaceful and pretty River Brett - the more adventurous can walk up the hill behind the river for views of the town or seek out the Hadleigh Railway Walk, a 2-mile walk to Raydon and back.
Click here to explore Hadleigh.
The Row Chapel, George Street
William Pykenham left monies for the building of Almshouses in George Street, including a chapel already on the site, dedicated to the blessed Mary Magdalen and St Catherine. This chapel was refurbished in the late 19th century.
Built in the 14C and largely widened in 1812, said to be the oldest working bridge in the county.
The next three buildings all lie in the centre of the Town in the church yard:
St Mary's Church
One of the largest parish churches in Suffolk. The first stone church was built in around 1250, the tower being the last obvious part. The flint and stone church was enlarged in the 14th and 25th centuries. During the Commonwealth period the church was stripped of its ornamentation, and in the 19th century the exterior and interior of the church were ‘restored'. The church clock, with its exterior bell, has been in position since at least 1584.
The brick Deanery Tower was built by the Rector, William Pykenham, in the late 15th century as a gate house to the mediaeval rectory.
The Guildhall complex
This comprises the Market House, Guilds Halls and the Victorian New Town Hall. The building fronting the churchyard is the Market House, probably built in the 1430's and either incorporating or replacing the original Market House. In the 1450's, part of the market lands were purchased for the building of the Guilds Halls. Following the reformation, these Halls were purchased for the town and joined to the Market House. In 1851 part of the complex was pulled down to build the New Town Hall, incorporating the Grand Hall and a Police Station.
Viscount Bayning's House (now Abbott's Estate Agents, 46 - 48 High Street)
The core of this house is an early Hall house, the exterior being pargeted and also having a leather faced one-handed clock, probably from the building's time as a clockmakers in the 18th century. One of the rooms inside this house has a heavily moulded ceiling and a wall painting depicting Potifer's wife rescuing Joseph from the well (open to the public when the estate agents is open).
A record number of people came to Lavenham Village Hall to celebrate the local heritage and culture of this beautiful part of Suffolk.