Visiting Lavenham village, Suffolk, England, and its cathedral-sized parish church: Perpendicular splendour
43 metres of stone tower
This parish church is among the most impressive in England, in my humble view. Lavenham is a village in Suffolk, but in the late Middle Ages and 16th century it was a prosperous place because of the then-vibrant wool industry.
This prosperity is seen in the fact that there were clearly the means available for the village to acquired a magnificent, cathedral-sized parish church building. East Anglia is known for its many, stone churches and Lavenham's is on a scale which excels many of the already large, parish churches of the region.
Its style is Perpendicular, which is said to have reached its apogee in the early 16th century: Lavenham's parish church would classify as a particularly fine example. Internal features of the building include noted, carved screens.
Its architect is thought to have been John Wastell (1).
Another individual whose association with the parish church is more definite is William Gurnall (1617-1679), who served as minister from 1644. He was active in both the Commonwealth and Restoration periods, when many parish churches saw considerable upheavals. He is best remembered at the author of the widely read Christian in Complete Armour, issued in stages, mainly during his lifetime and thought to be written versions of his sermons based on Ephesians 6 (2).
You can't miss the church of St Peter and St Paul, with its 43 metre tower, in Lavenham, situated in Suffolk's Babergh district, England.
November 8, 2012
(1) At least, the Church of Great St Mary in Cambridge ('the University Church'), for which John Wastell was responsible, quite closely resembles Lavenham's parish church.
(2) This book was re-published many times, including in the late 20th century by Banner of Truth Trust in contemporary English. The work was highly regarded by such prominent Christian writers as John Newton, author of 'Amazing Grace', and C H Spurgeon.
Also worth seeing
Lavenham itself contains a number of well-preserved, timbered buildings, including the 16th century Guildhall, now a museum.
Cambridge (distance: 64 kilometres); among the huge number of visitor attractions are included the chapel of King's College, Senate House, St John's College's Bridge of Sighs over the Cam River, and many others.
How to get there
United Airlines flies from New York Newark Airport to London Heathrow Airport (distance to Lavenham: 163 kilometres), where car rental is available. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada
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