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Lavenham Priory

Lavenham Priory

is a remarkable Grade 1 listed, half-timbered house dating from the 13th Century set in 3 acres of picturesque grounds in the heart of the beautiful village of Lavenham. Remarkably you can share in its history by staying at the Priory which is now a luxury B&B! See Lavenham Priory B&B

Lavenham Priory


The early history of Lavenham Priory is hard to trace, but the Doomsday Survey of 1086 shows that the Lord of the Manor was Alberic de Vere who allocated part of his lands in Lavenham - including the site of the Priory - to the Canons. It is not until the last half of the 16th Century, when the majority of the building work was completed, that names and dates can be acknowledged and connected to the Priory.

The Priory has undergone a vast evolution in its time, with a great many extensions being added. Now a luxury bed and breakfast, when staying at the Priory, there are a number of fascinating original features to look out for.

Lavenham Priory’s existence as a building began as a 13th Century Hall House, which is presently the Main Hall. Still visible is a large mullioned window that extends to the roof. It is highly likely that the Priory was funded by the fortunes of the wool trade. The cellar below what is now the Study was probably used for the dyeing of wool, using water from the mediaeval culvert that runs the length of Water Street.

Lavenham Priory


In the Great Hall visitors can admire the enormous inglenook fireplace which was constructed around 1530. During the 1540’s one of Lavenham’s clothier’s, Roger Ruggles, became owner-occupier. The initials “R R” are carved on the oak bressumar above the fireplace. Ruggles’ wife was named Margaret, and he commissioned the initials “R & M” to be placed in the centre of the Elizabethan Strapwork painting in the Great Chamber.

A five-bay extension was added at right angles to the east of the Great Hall in the late 15th Century. The Great Hall is connected to this extension via the Screen Passage, which runs from the courtyard to the Priory’s front door. The two front bays – presently the Dining Room and the Merchant’s Chamber – were built over the culvert. The Merchants Chamber features a strikingly sloping floor, which was caused by the subsidence of the building constructed over the “made ground” of the culvert.

With still more work to do, Lavenham Priory continues to evolve just as it has done since the 13th Century and remains essentially a comfortable family home.

Lavenham Priory


When staying in one of the Priory’s Bed Chambers, visitors will be treated to exposed roof chambers, wonderful braced crown posts, Elizabethan wall paintings, finest oak floors, and four-poster beds. A number of the beds are bespoke, made for the bedrooms by a local cabinet maker. The windows have been glazed inside the mullions in order to preserve their original appearance, and feature sliding frames that operate exactly as the early wooden shutters did.

Lavenham Priory


Outside, along with the stunning Suffolk countryside, there are some fine examples of carved barge boards on the gables. Private parking facilities are also provided.
The Priory also offers the modern features that one would expect from a top class bed and breakfast accommodation, such as en suites, colour TV in all rooms, Internet connection, tea and Coffee making facilities in all rooms, hairdryer in all rooms, Iron available, a Television Lounge, and an outside seating area.
Breakfast is made out of local produce, and special diets can be catered for. Guide dogs are permitted.

Lavenham Priory


Lavenham Priory has the highest quality grading available of 5 Stars with Gold Award given by the English Tourism Council and the Automobile Association for bed and breakfast accommodation. The house has won three important national prizes; the 'AA's Guest Accommodation of the Year award' and two awards from the 'Which Hotel's Guide'. It is also described as one of the "Very best places to stay in Great Britain & Ireland" in the Hardens Hotel Guide.

For more details and to contact the Priory to make a booking, please see Lavenham Priory

Lavenham is a wonderful place to visit. For more information please see:

Lavenham Guildhall
Little Hall in Lavenham
Accommodation in Lavenham
Eating out in Lavenham

For things to do in the area around Lavenham see
Long Melford and Melford Hall
Bury St Edmunds

For more sites of preserved heritage and graded buildings, please see:
English Heritage in Suffolk
The National Trust in Suffolk

Have you visited the Lavenham Priory? Please tell us all about it by emailing us at suffolkguides.admin@suffolktouristguide.com.
About the author - Sarah Quinlan is the owner of the Suffolk Guides. You can follow her on Twitter @SarahinSuffolk or Google+
Suffolk Tourist Guide