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Review: Long Melford

City/Town/Region/Island

Long Melford, United Kingdom

An attractive village, popular with the tourists

  • By SilverTraveller ESW

    2513 reviews

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  • Mar 2014
  • Husband

128 people found this review helpful

Long Melford developed around an important Roman crossroads. It was an important medieval wool town with a weekly market and annual fair. Prosperous merchants built large timber frame houses along Hall Street. The three main tycoons were the Cloptons of Kentwell, the Cordells of Melford Hall and the Martyns of Melford Place and all three provided money for building Holy Trinity Church.



The prosperity of wool lasted longer here than at near by Lavenham as at the end 17thC it became important in manufacturing a range of materials known as ‘Bays and Says’, which were lighter and cheaper than the traditional broadcloths of the 15th and 16thC.



In the 19thC the town became increasingly industrialised with horse hair weaving for crinolines and seating for railway carriages. A flax works produced fibres which were sent to Belfast for weaving. Coconuts brought by rail to Melford were woven into matting to be sold in London. An iron foundry produced domestic goods like boot scrappers, iron fenders and cast iron crosses for graves.



During the second World War, this was a base for American and Allied servicemen flying B24 and B17 aircraft from RAF Lavenham and Sudbury. Injured airmen and troops from D-Day landings and prisoners of war treated at nearby 136th Station Hospital and German POWs were interred near the hospital.



Today it is a long straggling settlement with some very pleasant houses and range of tourist style shops. It is definitely on the tourist map. Both Melford Hall, now owned by the National Trust, and the family owned Kentwell Hall are open for visitors.



Holy Trinity Church is set at the top of the village by the large triangular village green. In front of it is the brick built Hospital of the Holy and Blessed Trinity erected by Sir William Cordell in 1573 as an almshouse for a warden and twelve aged men. It is still in use today although it now provides accommodation for women and married couples.

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