Today turned out to be bright and sunny and we left the Polstead Campsite at about midday after a leisurely breakfast.
We had promised ourselves that we would investigate the wonderful village of Nayland-with-Wissington that we had driven through the day before and so we headed back the way we had come. We managed to park down a side road and, in the little post office (formerly the Rose Inn) bought a guide to all the ancient properties that lined the streets in abundance.
I am indebted to the authors of “A Walk around Historic Nayland” for some of the written content. The photographs are all our own!
Nayland (before it was “with-Wissington”) was a prominent wool town in the late Middle Ages and, at its wealthiest, Nayland could boast more merchants valued at £50 or more (medieval equivalent of present-day millionaires) than its larger neighbour, Sudbury. It was ranked 42nd in the list of richest towns in the country. Its relative poverty in later years, when the woollen cloth industry collapsed, meant that there was little money to build new houses, hence the rich legacy of timber-framed buildings which remain.
The booklet is set out in the form of a walk, starting off from St. James’ Church and contains descriptions and line drawings of no fewer than 82 stunning 14th, 15th and 16th century houses.
Hollyhocks abound everywhere and I always think they look particularly stunning on a hot day against old stone walls.
We were pleased to find the church door open so in we went. Like most wool churches it was large and very well proportioned, dating mainly from c.1400. One notable feature was the painting of Christ by John Constable, apparently commissioned by his aunt who lived in Nayland.
The roof is finely carved and painted wooden panels c.1500 hang on the south wall. We liked the old coffin carrier, now serving as a table for a flower arrangment and the quantity of tapestry kneelers was amazing.
In Church Lane, The White House, with its transition from brick to plaster above the first and second storeys, is an early 15th C building with later additions and lies opposite the eastern gable of the church.
Nearby is Alston Court which ranks as one of the finest and most important medieval town houses in Britain. The front door is graced by a late 17th C hood while the early 15th C hall to the left of it boasts an exceptional oriel window with animals carved on the sill – a 16th C addition.
We passed by a wonderful village butchers and vowed to pop in on our way back for some provisions.
The Anchor public house was a welcome sight as we neared the river Stour. By this time the heat was almost unbearable and so we parked ourselves by the river and downed some expensive, but glorious, glasses of fresh fruit juice. The menu looked inviting and we decided to treat ourselves to chunky roast beef sandwiches, served with lovely chips and some homemade pickled veg. One serving between two suited us fine after our fantastic cooked breakfast. Readers of our previous blogs will know that food usually turns up in our photographs somewhere!
This is proving to be a lengthy blog so please continue with part two…
Wow!! What a fantastic day. Bessie is proving to be a wonderful provider of adventures.