EDitorial ± 9-Jan-2016
Crinkle-Crankle Walls in Suffolk, 1-10
— (1) Easton —
Bring up the subject of crinkle-crankle walls and, if you're not met with total bemusement, your conversational partner will inevitably cite "that long one on the corner near Framlingham". They mean the huge example at Easton, the daddy of them all. It's most likely the longest in the land and goes on and on and on right round to the church near the pub.
To add to its notoriety, a motorist destoyed part of it in November 2013 before driving off. Car drivers, eh? At considerable expense, it's now been repaired. Them's a bucketload of bricks.
— (2) Bramfield —
You might think it's all downhill after Easton. Yet the wall at Bramfield provides the image for the above mentioned Wikipedia page. Where's Bramfield? We weren't sure, either, and then, having taken a left turn off the A12, got lost in the village itself, quite a feat in itself.
Find St Andrew's Church with its detached round tower and opposite you'll find a superb example bordering Bramfield Hall. This is a beaut.
— (3) Eye, Chandos Lodge —
Crazy for crinkle-crankles, we headed up the A140 one late summer's evening to the ocular town of Eye. In fading light we idled out of town to find Chandos Lodge.
There, right there on the busy main road, stood our target. Passing headlights provided the necessary illumination for a quick snap.
— (4) Brome Grange —
Pevsner says there's another one nearby, I said, pointing the motor a tiny bit further northwards. Rejoining the A140, a quick shimmy brought us into the grounds of the Brome Grange hotel, now an upmarket Best Western establishment.
Unsure of where to go next, me and Eldest sidled into the reception to be greeted by a lovely helpful lady. She was great, and indulged us by leading us through the hotel to stick our heads out of a side door. Over there, she said, nodding into the gloom. Couples have their wedding photos taken against it. We didn't get the bestest view, truth be told, but there it was.
— (5) Long Melford Hall —
Later that week and blessed with summer sun, we motored to Melford. Parked in Long Melford Hall and ready to flash our National Trust cards, I asked the people about their wavy walls. They denied all knowledge. Very poor, NT, very poor.
Two minutes later we spotted the first example near the entrance. Ten minutes later we found the second example in the gardens, stretching from the house and including a built-in door. Double bubble. Thumbs down to the woeful car park folk. Thumbs up to the delightful lady providing tea and cake.
— (6) Long Melford, Cock and Bell Lane —
With the afternoon wearing on, Eldest directed us into the main drag of Long Melford. And that is a long drag.
Sure enough, very close to the interestingly named Cock & Bell pub sits the interestingly named Cock & Bell Lane. Who knows why, but there stands a fine structure alongside a walkway. Good one, and fun when they're hidden away.
— (7) Earl Soham, Brandeston Road —
Putting in the hard yards, we set the controls for the A1120 tourist route, the one that goes all the way from Stowmarket to Yoxford. Fighting a losing battle with the setting sun, we zipped through Stonham Aspal, Pettaugh and the like before slamming on the brakes in aristocratic Earl Soham.
Once more following Eldest's lead, we parked slightly off piste on the Brandeston Road. I've seen this on StreetView, she said, walking along a grassy verge. And waddya know, there's a stubby little example in the grounds of a grand house, probably/possibly The Rookery. Characterful, you'd have to say.
— (8) Saxmundham, High Street —
Not yet done that same September evening, we pressed on in search of another. Addicted, us? On through Dennington (hi, Ed!) and Peasenhall to Yoxford. Apparently there's a wobbly wall by Satis House, that nice looking hotel cum restaurant on the corner. I pulled the car in, we had a cursory look around and came away empty-handed. It was dark, to be fair.
Still keen, a few miles down the trusty A12 stands Saxmundham. We won't be defeated this time. For there on the high street, much like Eye, stands another crinkle-crankle with a go-faster stripe adorning its lower third.
While the crew messed around for the obligatory snaps, a lady popped her head out of a nearby window to ask what we were doing. And then she invited us in to survey her house, probably the oldest residence in Saxmundham. That wall forms her back garden, it so happens, and isn't really that ancient. All very hospitable of her though we were all wondering if we'd get out alive.
— (9) Halesworth, Rectory Lane —
That following weekend happened to coincide with Heritage Open Days when lots of old buildings, often inaccessible any other time, throw open their doors to the public. For the first time, Halesworth was doing lots of stuff. We had a fantastic guided tour of the magnificent property which now houses Tilly's cafe. Top coffee and cake, too, and huge thanks to the owner for showing us around.
Oh, not forgetting the rather fine wall along Rectory Lane, apparently better known to locals as Duck Lane. A bit like Cock & Bell Lane in Long Melford, this one's slightly off the beaten track and pleasingly not reachable by car. Follow the town trail and you can't miss it.
— (10) Ashbocking, Crockery Barn Cafe —
What with various children at various centres of further education, the crew disbanded for a couple of months to go their separate ways. Then, almost accidentally, I ticked off another example on a light lunch trip to the Crockery Barn Cafe in middle-of-nowhere Ashbocking.
According to their website, this serpentine slitherer was commissioned by the Sargent family in 1999 to replace an old ugly wall. It's 100 feet long and was constructed over six weeks by David Starlng, a local builder. Considering he'd not done one before, he did an excellent job!