Details of our previous walks 2019

We started with a visit to St Peter’s Church to see the Wenhaston Doom, a last judgement painting thought to have been created in the 15C. Valerie explained the details of the painting depicting heaven and hell and the weighing of souls with figures representing good deeds and evil deeds - well worth seeing and in remarkably good condition. After looking around the Church Ivan took us for a walk around the village stopping to look at some of the older properties and finishing where the old Halesworth to Southwold Railway crossed the road. The Star Inn in Wenhaston was our lunch stop today.

The village is well known for the Hoxne hoard - the largest collection of late Roman silver and gold discovered in Britain and the largest collection of gold and silver coins found anywhere in the Roman Empire. Also of note on this visit is the story of Saint Edmund King of East Anglia whose statue is on the roof of the village hall. He was found hiding under a nearby bridge, given away by the glint of his gold spurs, captured and killed by the Danes. Further along the road is St Edmunds Cross reputedly marking the place of the oak tree where he was shot. The picturesque village features an array of older properties many of which would have originally been shops. The15C and Grade 2 listed Swan Inn was formerly known as Bishops Lodge and was our final stop for lunch.

We started at the village hall where we were met by Olwen Offord, Chair of the Blundeston District History Society, who was our guide for the morning. Olwen had many old photos of the village which highlighted the changes over the years. Several old buildings have been replaced or modernised and extended and most of the shops have disappeared. Our walk also included a visit to the church of St Mary the Virgin, the school, a smoke house and the old mill. Around the village we spotted several links to Charles Dickens and his book Great Expectations although there is no evidence that he ever visited the village. Our last stop was The Plough Inn for lunch. Many thanks to Olwen for her in depth knowledge of Blundeston.

Our first stop was the museum in the beautiful old Guildhall where Lynne Ward gave a short introductory talk about the village, after which there was time to explore the museum. We then headed along the High Street pausing to look at the numerous Grade II listed buildings that line the road. After the war memorial we took the footpath which led us back to All Saints Church with its unusual box pews. Our refreshment stop was The Kings Head (Low Bar), renowned for having no bar, they serve beer straight from the barrel in the tap room.

Our guided walk around this delightful village was led by Janey Blanchflower from the Aldringham and Thorpeness Heritage Group. We started by the Meare where Janey gave an overview of the village’s unusual history. Passing by the Golf club we took the footpath alongside the House in the Clouds (now a holiday let) and the Windmill. Our walk also took in the Country club as well as a number of original village houses. We finished in the car park where Janey showed us the site for the new Heritage Centre. Thanks to Janey for taking the time to show us around her village.

Starting at the Forum the Group walked through Chapelfield Gardens, a Victorian Park, to the Plantation Garden for a guided tour. From here it was on to the Roman Catholic cathedral for refreshments..

Group 2 member Linda Last was our guide for the tour of her local village. We walked along Kings Dam, past the Village Farm House to Manor Farm House where the owners kindly allowed the group to view the ground floor and told us a bit about the house and their refurbishment of the property. From here we walked along the field edge to The Street and down to Loddon Road. Crossing over the footbridge we came to the first of three churches - Our Lady of Perpetual Succour - which was opened to allow us to view the interior. From here there is a good view of Gillingham Hall. The next church - St Mary’s - is the oldest of the three, dating back to Norman times, and is now used by the Rumanian church as their place of worship. All that remains of the third church - All Saints - is the crumbling tower and some of the graves. We then made our way back to The Swan for refreshments. Many thanks Linda for your in depth research and clear presentation.

This month we explored the connections of the Hooker family and malting industry with Halesworth. We started by looking around the museum based at the railway station. From here we walked towards the town centre, pausing at Hooker House, where the Hooker family lived in the 19th Century. We continued along Thoroughfare and past the Angel, an old coaching inn, to St Mary’s Church where a small garden was established in1903 and features plants associated with the Hookers. Our tour ended at The Cut, a former Malthouse and now an Arts Centre, where we viewed a short film about the malting process. Luckily The Cut also has a cafe as we were ready for our drinks and snacks. Many thanks to Alva for showing us around Halesworth.

We started in Rouen Road passing by the Crystal House, it’s glass and iron facade mimicking the original Crystal Palace in 1851. Along King Street we passed the entrances to many of the old Yards with their unusual names, walking along to Dragon Hall a beautiful building dating back to the 15th Century. Further along is The Music House, now part of the Wensum Lodge Education Centre. As it was half term we were lucky enough to have an unscheduled guided tour of the building, which dates back to the 12th century, this included a visit to the undercroft.

Our next stop was the Julian Centre and Church. Here we learnt about Julian of Norwich, an Anchoress and writer. She lived in a small room attached to the church, leading a solitary life and offering counselling to her visitors. She was the first woman to write a book in English. We finished with a hot drink in the Centre. Thank you Alva for guiding us along King Street and to the volunteers at the Centre for their time.

It was a chilly day for our first walk of 2019. We met at the Kings Head Hotel on Sheepgate where Barry Darch handed around some photos of the area in bygone days. There were pubs where Boots and Smiths stand now and the market place housed many butcher stalls.

We made our way along Ballygate pausing at the town museum in Leman House. Built in the 16th century it became a school and was given to the town by Sir John Leman on his death. We continued along to London Road, past the Town sign and the Roman Catholic Church to Hungate Lane and the car park, site of the Cockpit, where cock fighting took place once upon a time. After a diversion along Blyburgate, past the site of the Red Lion pub, we returned to the Kings Head for a hot drink.

Many thanks to Barry for showing us around on such a cold day.