Ex­plore Long Melford

A vil­lage rich in his­tory that al­ways en­thralls with ev­ery visit

EADT Suffolk - - Explore -

Long Melford is fa­mous for its long high street, Hall Street, which stretches from the green be­low the church for three miles south­wards next to the river Stour.

The vil­lage’s me­dieval and Tu­dor past is clearly ev­i­dent and it’s this that at­tracts vis­i­tors from far and wide. It is lined with a re­mark­able col­lec­tion of build­ings dat­ing from the 15th cen­tury on­wards. Black and white Tu­dor beams at the Bull Ho­tel rub shoul­ders with Ge­or­gian fa­cades and Vic­to­rian ter­races. Houses, shops and other busi­nesses com­fort­ably snug­gle up to each other, mak­ing a delightful place to wan­der.

There are some ter­rific in­de­pen­dent shops that in­clude a book­shop, a butcher, fash­ion shops, art gal­leries, beau­ti­cians, gift and home­ware shops, as well as food shops, a vets, es­tate agents, an un­der­taker, and an­tiques.

Eat­ing, drink­ing and stay­ing Tif­fin’s Tea Em­po­rium www.tiffins-teaem­po­rium.co.uk Gigis Trat­to­ria www.gigis­trat­to­ria.co.uk Long Melford Swan www.long­melfordswan. co.uk The Olive Tree Tea Room & Gar­den Scutch­ers www.scutch­ers.com The Black Lion www.the­black­lion­ho­tel.com The Crown Inn www.the­crown­hotelmelford. co.uk The Bull Ho­tel www.bull­ho­tel-long­melford.co.uk

HALLS AND CLOTH

Long Melford is one of Suf­folk’s Wool Towns, cen­tres of wool and cloth pro­duc­tion from as early as the late 12th cen­tury. Un­til the 14th cen­tury, dy­ers, weavers, fullers and fin­ish­ers were able to work for them­selves and built up sub­stan­tial busi­nesses. In 1522 there were seven men in Long Melford worth £50 or more (about £250,000 in to­day’s money) in mov­able goods alone. Three of them were cloth mer­chants. At that time al­most half the trades recorded in Long Melford were in some as­pect of the cloth trade.

You can see ev­i­dence of the in­creas­ing wealth of work­ers and mer­chants in the lovely tim­ber build­ings that sur­vive from that pe­riod. The big houses down both sides Hall Street had mas­sive oak tim­bers in the frame, and al­most all of them were built on the same gen­eral plan, known to­day as a Hall House. Rect­an­gu­lar and di­vided into three, they con­sisted of a mid­dle hall, with a ridged roof, orig­i­nally one storey high. This was where the house­hold ate to­gether, and where most of the ser­vants slept. The cross pas­sage ran through the house from front to back, and was usu­ally sep­a­rated from the hall by a screen up to two me­tres high.

At each end were cross wings. The one next to the cross pas­sage was the ‘ser­vice’ wing, usu­ally two rooms on the ground floor for stor­ing and pre­par­ing food. The other, at the ‘high’ end of the house was the ‘par­lour’ used by the mas­ter of the house and his fam­ily. They slept on the ground floor, of­ten the whole fam­ily in the same room. Both wings nor­mally had up­stairs cham­bers, used more for stor­age than for sleep­ing. About 1600 it be­came fash­ion­able to have a first floor put in right across the hall, which of­ten meant the roof had to be raised, and new win­dows put in to light the new up­stairs room. Many of the houses in Hall Street show signs of this. There are at least 12 hall houses in the cen­tre of Long Melford. They show clearly that by the end of the Mid­dle Ages Long Melford was an in­dus­trial and com­mer­cial vil­lage, rather than just an agri­cul­tural one.

Melford Hall Long Melford

Tu­dor times at Ken­twell Hall

Thou­sands flock to the an­nual Long Melford Street Fair on Sun­day.

In 1578 Queen El­iz­a­beth vis­ited Melford and stayed at Melford Hall as the guest of Sir Wil­liam Cordell who had been granted the Manor of Melford. She brought around 2,000 re­tain­ers who all had to be fed and housed in the vil­lage. Sir Wil­liam...

Tu­dor times at Ken­twell Hall

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