14 June, 2014

Suffolk Villages Part 3 - Long Fenton, Cavendish and Clare

The same full day out, another post. Long Fenton is remarkable for having an unusually wide high street, a department store with the biggest collection of Portmeirion pottery my companions had ever seen and a church with tons of medieval glass. Not to mention an old almshouse, a detached lady chapel with a unique internal cloister and two halls, Kentwell Hall in private ownership and Melford hall the property of the National Trust.

Begining in the Street there is an unusual building - a Railway Passengers Insurance Office!
So if you need insurance as a railway passenger - and who doesn't these days - you know where to come.

Melford Hall stands beside the elongated village green - a Tudor bricky pile with a rather nice gatehouse. I didn't go in but enjoyed what I could see from the green. On the green was also a ruinous conduit house very overgrown.
The church has a great collection of medieval stained glass which includes a tiny piece with three hares. Each hare has two ears but there are only three ears between them. Thought to represent the trinity (similarly to the diagram of the Anasthasian Creed - Est-est-est) it may be an even more ancient symbol. The glass is the glory of the church but another feature separates the church even from the other wealthy wool churches of East Anglia.  This church has a detached lady chapel with an internal ambulatory.
The chapel was used as a schoolroom from the 17th century and a multiplication table on the wall date from this period. The stone carving and woodwork around the ambulatory are very fine. Cavendish had a lovely group of almshouses near the plain looking church (equipped for a concert when we called)
and one of the vintage cars appeared to have broken down.
Clare is a bigger village than Cavendish and had some fine houses, some with later facades.
There was also a very old house serving as the village museum. The Sundial on the Church admonishes us to go about our business in the daylight hours

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