with a Friday off work and some decent January weather at last we decided to go for a drive into Suffolk to the village of Lavenham. Its a long drive from South Northants but worth the visit. The village is noted for its 15th Century timbered medieval cottages and luckily on the day we visited it was not to busy. There are a large number of gift shops to take your cash and some nice pubs also dotted around the village. The villages wealth come mainly from the Wool trade and it was in the 20 most wealthiest settlements in england you will note the huge church of St Peter & St Paul thats stands in the village it is known as a wool church financed by wealthy wool merchants . The decline of the village come from immigrants coming from Holland producing cloth much cheaper than they could produce.

The Guild Hall.

This grand old house now belonging to the National Trust sits in the heart of the village. This late 15th century Guildhall has a checkered history , it was built in the late 15th Century. Four guilds were setup in the village by local merchants with the main one being the Wool Guild the building become the main and most important property in the village. After the decline of the wool trade it become a Bridewell where the prisoners were treated very poorly and forced into hard labour whilst there. They explained a story how a young girl of Eleven was finally transported to Australia for Petty crimes., After that it become the local Workhouse.

Quarry bank mill a national trust place

Without a doubt the best national trust property we have visited. I have wanted to visit this mill for a number of years, and with a nice drive up to Cumbria for a trail race it made a good idea to stop off. On the way to Quarry bank we drove through Jodrel Bank home to the famous radio telescope and I noticed it had a visitor centre so we will have to have a look there in the years to come. Quarry bank is an old mill that was famous for the cloth and textiles it made and played a big part in the industrial revolution.

From Wikipedia

Samuel Greg leased land at Quarrell Hole on Pownall Fee from Lord Stamford, who imposed a condition that ‘none of the surrounding trees should be pruned, felled or lopped´; maintaining the woodland character of the area. The factory was built in 1784 by Greg[4] to spin cotton. When Greg retired in 1832 it was the largest such business in the United Kingdom. The water-powered Georgian mill still produces cotton calico. The Gregs were careful and pragmatic, paternalistic millowners, and the mill was expanded and changed throughout its history. When Greg’s son, Robert Hyde Greg, took over the business, he introduced weaving. Samuel Greg died in 1834.

The Mill was attacked during the Plug Plot riots on 10 August 1842.[5]

The mill’s iron water wheel, the fourth to be installed, was designed by Thomas Hewes and built between 1816 and 1820. Overhead shafts above the machines were attached to the water wheel by a belt. When the wheel turned, the motion moved the belt and powered the machinery. A beam engine and a horizontal steam engine were subsequently installed to supplement the power. The Hewes wheel broke in 1904 but the River Bollin continued to power the mill through two water turbines. The mill owners bought a Boulton and Watt steam engine in 1810 and a few years later purchased another because the river’s water level was low in summer and could interrupt production of cloth during some years. Steam engines could produce power all year round. Today the mill houses the most powerful working waterwheel in Europe, an iron wheel moved from Glasshouses Mill at Pateley Bridge designed by Sir William Fairbairn who had been Hewes’ apprentice.