|Lavenham is probably the most beautiful town in Suffolk if not England. Time really has stood still here with the preserved timber framed buildings exactly as they were in the 14th & 15th centuries.
The town’s history goes back a very long way with Anglo-Saxon, Norman and Roman connections all being traced to the town.
The town’s wealth and fame came from it’s wool connection, at the peak of it’s fame the town was richer than both York and Lincoln. In the 14th Century Lavenham and the surrounding villages were instrumental in England’s weaving industry. Lavenham was famous for its blue broadcloth which was made from dyed wool rather than weaving the cloth and then dyeing it.
The limewashed silver-grey building that is Lavenham’s Guildhall dates from around 1529 and dominates the small market square.
Built by the Guild of Corpus Christi, one of three guilds founded in Lavenham to regulate the wool trade, look for the rampant lions on the doorpost, they were the Guild’s emblem. The Guild was dissolved by Henry VIII, who disapproved of its religious associations.
Throughout the years the building was used as a town hall, a prison, a workhouse and wool store. In the Second World War was a “Welcome Club” for American servicemen. In 1951 the Guildhall was given to the National Trust, today a museum on Lavenham and the wool trade is housed within it.