Bressingham Gardens must be one of the finest gardens in the East of England. What started off as a piece of agricultural land, when it was bought by Alan Bloom in 1953, has evolved under the management of three generations of the Bloom family into today's floral wonderland of 8,000 species and varieties of plants. Lets waste no more time and just immerse ourselves in the Dell Garden.
Wednesday, 28 July 2021
Sunday, 25 July 2021
A slightly cooler day with temperatures just perfect for a walk, so we made the short journey to the RSPB's headquarters at Sandy Warren, a fairly frequent destination for my brother and me.
Thursday, 22 July 2021
Recently it's been what English people call "hot", but I've managed a few short walks and found some of nature's smaller wonders, none that are rare or unusual at this time of year, but all of which pleased me greatly.
Tuesday, 20 July 2021
A row of pink cottages with a church tower appearing above the thatched roofs: if you haven't seen the view before then you can now...
Search for "images of Cavendish, Suffolk" on the computer and you'll see countless variations on the above photo, taken from every conceivable position on the village green. Now that we've got that out of the way, lets see what else there is to see in this quintessentially English village.
Just behind the church stands Nether Hall, a timber-framed sixteenth century farmhouse.
The Five Bells pub stands just a short distance from the church, as pubs with "bells" in the name often do; they were the establishments frequented by the bell-ringing teams - and I have it on good authority that pulling those bell-ropes is thirsty work.
The George, just down the road, seems to be more of a hotel and restaurant these days.
The Bull promises Live Music from "Cockney Pete" on Friday - which, I'm afraid, has now passed if you were hoping to go.
Lets go for a wander and check out some of the buildings and gardens. As we go I'll tell you what I've been able to find out about the village's past.
The name is thought to come from a man called Cafa who had an eddish here, which then became Cavendish. An eddish, in case you were wondering, is pasture land from which a cut of hay has already been taken, so perhaps this Cafa had the rights to put his cows out on the land to eat the second growth, after the hay had been carted away.
Back in the twelfth century one Roger de Guernon married into a wealthy family from the village and, as often happened, the family took the name of the estate and became the Cavendishes. In 1372 a certain Sir John Cavendish was appointed as the King's Chief Justice.
It was a time of great unrest in the country. There was a shortage of labour following the Black Death and workers found themselves in a strong bargaining position when it came to wages. There were laws passed to limit the bargaining power of the peasantry, which was of course widely resented. Furthermore there were poll taxes levied to pay for the ongoing war with France.
In 1381 an attempt by the King's officials to collect unpaid taxes led to a violent confrontation. The unrest rapidly spread across East Anglia and other parts of England and became known as the Peasants' Revolt. Their leader was Wat Tyler and a rather shadowy figure known as Jack Straw, and the mob was whipped into a frenzy by the radical preacher John Ball.
Sir John Cavendish's son, another John, was part of the young King Richard II's party when they met with Wat Tyler and other rebels. Exactly what happened is not known but a scuffle broke out and Wat Tyler was killed, allegedly by John Cavendish.
Word got back to Suffolk and a mob set out to capture Sir John (the father), who was already unpopular as he was responsible for collecting taxes in that part of the country. Sir John tried to claim sanctuary by clinging on to the door of Cavendish church, but to no avail as the mob dragged him off to Bury St Edmunds, where they beheaded him. After the rebellion was quashed the King pardoned many of the rebels, but not the men of Bury St Edmunds.
All of which is a gruesome tale to digest while walking around flowery streets on a summer's day. Who would have thought that such things could occur in such an idyllic backwater?
For some reason this little sign telling you to use the other door, when this door is so thoroughly barricaded with fuchsias and petunias, amused me.
Cavendish was also home to Leonard Cheshire and his wife, Sue Ryder. Their humanitarian and charitable work is too varied to mention in detail here. Their Wikipedia pages are here and here for anyone who wants to find out about two remarkable lives.
An old mill building reminds us that all these now quiet villages once had their own industries and workshops. They must have been bustling, active places at one time. And with that we'll leave Cavendish and be on our way.
OK, just one more picture of those pretty pink cottages standing by the green.