As you walk among the streets of Lavenham, a small village in Suffolk County, England, you can feel like you’re going back to the Middle Ages. The village is about 120 km northeast of London, has a population of less than 2,000 people and has 320 historic houses. Lavenham is one of the most beautiful ancient villages in England, famous for its distorted houses that seem to collapse at any moment.
Lavenham is a small town rich in history and culture, founded through a thriving wool trade. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Lavenham was known for clothing made from a wide variety of high quality wool. It became one of Suffolk’s best medieval wool towns.
At the end of the 15th century, Lavenham was one of the richest places in England. At that time, people here paid more taxes than in big towns like York or Lincoln. During the most prosperous and rich times, the town built the lavish church of St. Mary’s Peter and St. Paul lies proudly on the top of a hill at the end of the main road. The church is very large compared to Lavenham. The tower of this cathedral is 43 meters high, known as the tallest village church tower in England.
Other buildings also show off the town’s ostentatious wealth, such as Lavenham Wool Hall and Guildhall. People also tell each other about the story when King Henry VII visited Lavenham in 1487, he punished some families for displaying too many properties.
The town was growing so fast that a series of houses were hastily built using fresh wood. After a while, the wood dried and warped, causing houses to warp and distort. However, Lavenham’s period of brilliant growth did not last long. When the Dutch immigrants to Colchester began producing cheaper, lighter and more beautiful fabrics in Lavenham, the town’s garment industry fell into decline.
By the time the dry wood begins to curl, the houses become deformed. However, the families in Lavenham are already bankrupt, they have no money left to rebuild their homes. Since then, the houses around the town have remained in such a distorted state throughout the past several centuries.Now, the distorted buildings in Lavenham are being used as homes, shops, businesses, restaurants and hotels. The town is still an attractive sight for many tourists to visit every year.