Tour Locations | Lavenham: A Walk on the Medieval Side
LOCATION 3 | Lavenham: A Walk on the Medieval Side
Stop for a moment here on the right side of the Church. This is the South Chapel.
It's a chapel devoted to a local wealthy Tudor merchant called Thomas Spring. He became the wealthiest man in England and his wealth was all based on the wool trade. Hence the weaver at his loom on the sign.
You can make out the name Spring in the flint work on the wall of South Chapel. The other heraldic shield we saw on the Village sign was his. You can also see that in the stonework. The Spring Family were reported to be the wealthiest commoners in England at that time.
Now, with the Chapel on your left, continue along the path and through a gateway. Follow the path as it curves gently to the right.
We are walking across land where the earliest inhabitants lived. The church was smaller and we know that they had some pottery kilns nearby. So it is always worth checking any disturbed soil for signs of pottery from about two thousand years ago.
The De Vere family came to this area in 1066 with William the Conqueror. As the saying goes, to the victor came the spoils. The De Vere family had many manors given to them and they established a castle at nearby Castle Hedingham. They were a powerful Norman family and they had a vision for Lavenham. They established a market here and bargained with successive Kings of England to give the traders based here a definite edge over neighbouring towns. It rose to be the 14th most prosperous town in England.