Monday, 25 February 2013

Kersey and Lavenham

What's this?  Twice in one day?  Just feeling a little bored, and a bit under the weather - the sniffles and a sore throat.  So why not? The other thing is...everytime I go to the bf's I always find plenty cultural stuff to blog about, stuff that in the end just gets shunted to one side.  To give one, brief, example: on my previous visit we watched Michael Powell's last film, the infamous 'Peeping Tom'.  I've said nothing about it - yet.  Just not had the time.

Friday was bitterly cold.  Even so we broke our return journey at Kersey and Lavenham.  Hardly the weather to stand about and take photos, but I felt obliged....

Kersey is a small and definetly (and, I suspect, self-conciously) picturesque village nestling in a deep valley.  In the Late Middle Ages it grew rich on the wool trade.  Subsequent poverty was the preservative. What interested me on this visit was the increasingly bolder use of colour wash on the cottages.  One time the limewash would have been invariably white - at a push 'Suffolk pink'.  I don't know if these bolder colours are more authentic.  They are certainly attractive.  The pub exterior (not shown) still retains it's early-to-midcentury interpretation of 'Tudor' - that is 'black and white' and lanterns and scrolling ironwork.  I don't think it should be despised for that.
A view down the main street, (The Street), of Kersey from the north, pink washed cottage in the background, ochre and rust closer.  Blue rubbish bins make a temporary and piquant contrast in colour.  Other properties still in white.
The north end of the main street.  The colours on the house on the left are most effective.  I'm pleased that no attempt has been made to strip the plaster back to reveal the timber frame.  In most cases can it be justified?
  A view of 'Ancient Houses', Grade 1 listed.  Marvellous late Medieval bay windows.  Pehaps the the timbering on the nearest end of the house to the camera should have been left under its protective coat of plaster?

A view of the main street on the way back to the car
We also went to the church, but the interior was a real shocker, with a chaotic re-ordering.  The screen, which has some lovely medieval paintings on the dado was relegated to behind some chairs.  Shame.  From there we drove to Lavenham through remote back lanes.
Lavenham is a large village, almost a small town.  And like Kersey it is self-conciously picturesque.  It reminds me somewhat of 'Tilling' in E F Benson's 'Mapp and Lucia' books.  Far too cold a day for much sight-seeing I was determined however to photograph a couple of things.
This is my favourite building in Lavenham, the 'Little Hall Museum'.  It was originally built in the late 14c for the Caustons.  Between the two World Wars it was purchased and restored by twin brothers.  They filled it with their collection of Middle Eastern artifacts.  I should think that their restoration exagerated the medival/Gothic aspects of the building.  I find the 'repairs' to the leaded windows a bit suspect. The colour wash must be a more recent thing. Here is the website.  The museum is open from the end of March until the end of October.  On the left is the restaurant  - 'The Great House' - where our hosts treated us to a delicious lunch the day before.
Finally in Lavenham I took a photo of this florist's - 'The Gardener's Home' on Water St.  They have lovely displays.  Quite my favourite shop in the village.

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