Explore Long Melford
A village rich in history that always enthralls with every visit
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