Tour Locations | Lavenham: A Walk on the Medieval Side
LOCATION 11 | Lavenham: A Walk on the Medieval Side
Lady Street Junction
Stop here on the corner of Lady Street and Water Lane.
Turn to your left and look at the fine old timbered building at the rear of the Swan hotel, on the junction of Lady St and Water Lane.
This is the Wool Hall and is now part of the Swan. It was built around the 1400s and was originally “Our Lady’s Hall”. It was one of the religious Guild Halls in the town and then became an important centre of the town’s wool trade when it became a wool hall in the 1600s. The wool hall was where the quality of the product was verified and sales of wool and cloth were agreed. Since then the building had a variety of functions, even serving as a “Railway Women's Convalescent Home”!
It has a central section in between two jettied wings, so typical of a Tudor timbered house. Jettied buildings are where the upper floor overhangs the lower floor. This indicates that an upper floor was added and the overhang increases the area of the first floor. The central section would probably be the oldest part. When built it was open all the way up to the roof. This was a high prestige building.
In 1911 the whole building was dismantled and taken to Ascot. There was an outcry and it was returned. It marks an early victory for what became a preservation movement. It was a sign that Lavenham had woken up to the unique character of its timbered buildings.
Our next stop is best seen from the left hand side of Water street so lets cross over and stroll down to look at the imposing range of buildings called the Priory.