EDitorial ± 6-Feb-2016
Crinkle-Crankle Walls in Suffolk, 31-40
— (31) Boyton, The Clock House —
Some ten miles south-east of Rendlesham Hall in the back of beyond is Boyton, home of pal Andy, founder of the light lunch outings. Hearing of my crusade, he's piped up with the unlikely news that the chap living opposite has a crinkle-crankle wall. Really?
Richard, current occupant of The Clock House, kindly said we could come over to check it out. Said wall was built in the late 90s by the previous owner, one Kristen Busch-Hansen, with the help of an unnamed friend. They used proper lime mortar and included the odd decorative terracotta tile, a classy touch.
Around 20 bricks high, it weaves towards the distant fields among shrubs and flower beds. Cleverly, the wall also rises up the slope. Must have been quite a project. Thanks to Richard for coming out into the cold to show us!
— (32) Framlingham, Mount Pleasant —
Exchanging emails with Edward Martin, I saw that his list included an example in Framlingham. Been there loads of times for a walk around the castle walls and never yet seen a wavy one.
Knowing that a Twitter contact lived nearby, I asked John Brassey for assistance, directing him to a house called Greystones on Mount Pleasant. Sure enough, he found it, bless him. Not at all obvious, and not obvious from StreetView, it snakes behind a couple of private houses.
Things got a little complicated when another incarnation of the crinkle-crankle crew comprising me/Mum/TheBoy went to visit. As me and Mum wandered into Buttons Corner to see what we could see, The Boy called to say that the car alarm was going mad. At this point, however, I was knocking on the door of a nearby conservatory to ask for a better view, please. Again, chap was perfectly helpful and showed me into his back garden to view his chunk of the venerable wall. He owns this bit, next door owns another bit. Decent height with a modern gateway and trailing wisteria. Why's it here? Couldn't say.
Meanwhile The Boy was trying to tell his Nana not to try to break into the car and further provoke the alarm. All seemed much calmer once we were safely ensconced in the vinyl warmth of The Common Room.
— (33) Wickham Market, Hill House —
Significant moment on Saturday when an email popped in from Dr James Bettley. Who he? Only the chap who's spent years updating various Pevsner "Buildings of England" guides, including our very own Suffolk. I'd pestered him via Twitter for a list of crinkle-crankle mentions in his East and West volumes, and he duly obliged. Cheers!
Consequently, on to the list went a handful of new old 'uns including this one. Darling, I know we're en route to a lovely Valentine's lunch, but would you mind awfully if we briefly dropped anchor to gawp at a wall? That's terribly decent of you, honey-bun. You can imagine, can't you?
The good doctor's East tome directs us to the prominently placed Hill House on Wickham Market's triangular-shaped market square, specifically to the "garden behind with crinkle-crankle wall". Quite a formidable looking property. A dash down Dallinghoo Road does the job and there she blows behind a metal gate. Beautifully bulgy, slightly pear-shaped and boasting a back gate too. Bet that's a quality garden in there too.
— (34) Parham Hall —
Luncheon at the capital Common Room and partially walked off around the windswept walls of Framlingham castle, let's attempt to locate a second Sunday serpentine. Never before have we taken that turn off the B1116 to Parham. Here goes nothing.
Along the Hall Road and I'm searching for the small blue accommodation sign to Garden View, "a lovely first floor apartment situated within Parham Hall". There it is! Doesn't seem entirely right to simply drive in without prior invitation so we park nearby and I head back on foot. Plenty of CCTV warnings and guard chickens and even a sign saying Danger: Bees!
Over here to the left is the Adam Paul studio. Mr Paul apparently makes violins and grows fruit, and he's skilled at both. His grandparents owned Parham Hall, in the grounds of which sits a fantastic walled garden. I can see precious little from the farm forecourt, to be fair, so this is a token visit. Note to self to arrange to come back for a better look around.
— (35) Wangford, Church Street, Parsons Meadow —
Years and years and years ago, some three decades back, I had the pleasure of attending a gig by the mighty Hank Wangford. Actual doctor by day, actual country & western legend by night, and I believe still going strong into his mid '70s.
Up the A12, past the Latitude sight and it's a right to the place that lent Hank his name. Welcome to Wangford. Village stores, couple of pubs and a smattering of historic properties. Behind the doubly sainted church of Peter and Paul lies the lane leading to the old vicarage. Down here, according to a Geograph picture posted by Christine Matthews, is today's first target.
Recently on the market for a cool half-million is Parsons Meadow, "built in a traditional Georgian style." Rightmove helpfully adds that there are "lawned areas of garden to either side of the house, one partially enclosed by a crinkle crankle wall." Here it is, about my height, apparently recently built but ageing nicely although a tad regular for my discerning eye.
— (36) Wangford, Church Street, Ivy House —
Still on foot and along Church Street in pursuit of a lead from Adam Little who was good enough to email me:
It's in the garden of the house I was born in, Ivy House, Wangford. The wall runs from Church Street across the garden (used to divide the lawn from the kitchen garden) back to the old coach house. We had a minor collapse once, when a particularly heavy lorry went down Church Street and the vibration caused a minor collapse, but it was all reinstated.
Ivy House, ex-boarding school, sits symetrically behind a hedge. There's nobody at the door today, alas, but glimpsed through the side gate is the infamous wall, tantalisingly out of reach. Shame not to be able to get any closer and view the full length. Another day, maybe.
— (37) Reydon, Wangford Road, near Copperwheat Avenue —
Another hot tip has come in from both Juliet Blaxland, rural architect, and Celia, my Mum's Latin classmate. Check out the Wangford Road, they both said, in downtown Reydon, and steer your eyes southwards.
Return to the motor, past St Margaret of Antioch and there's Copperwheat Avenue to our right. Here be many modern crinkle-crankles with a small stretch on the corner and a much longer length on the other side of the avenue.
Lots of ins, lots of outs and a gate too, a little reminiscent of Eagle Way in Martlesham in its contemporary context. I wonder if these estate developers get some weird looks when they propose building these wavy walls?
— (38) Reydon, Lakeside Park Drive —
Three down already today and no nephew to keep score. Plus we're nowhere near the promised coffee 'n' cake. One more, I say, one more. SatNav warns of a "sharp right turn" approaching the A1095 Halesworth Road, nearly doubling back on ourselves. Left turn into Lakeside Park Drive and another new-ish estate.
Among these executive boxes, some bright spark has created his very own walled garden. An Englishman's home, and all that. I hesitated to include this particular example, truth be told, but it does perform the requisite crinkle and crankle and has a distinctive stitched effect. Bricks are pleasingly assorted colours, too.
Two final brief points. First, coffee in The Boardwalk on Southwold Pier was warm, frothy, underpowered and overpriced. Must try harder than that push-button machine, guys. Second, we did try to take in one more wall which merits a mention in the original Pevsner. He talks of a place in Blyford named Serpentine House. Regulars at the Queen's Head couldn't help, then we spotted said house at the western edge of the village. There's a big brick wall on the roadside, possibly made of older bricks, but no serpentine wall. Destroyed or collapsed, perhaps?
— (39) Palgrave, Park House —
To the east of the A140 sit the likes of Brome and Eye (see above for both). To the west sits Mellis, ex-home of the in-laws, a village with a large common, extant pub and a Multiyork outlet. That Mellis Road bends north to join the A143, off which springs Lion Road. If in doubt, head Diss way.
Before hitting Palgrave proper -- I think we're still in Wortham, technically -- gaze right and there, a few yards beyond that low fence, stands a mighty wall. Must get closer. We turned in and saw a sign for St John's, a "medium secure" mental health hospital with plenty of handy parking. I'm sure nobody will mind if I take a quick recce. This, crinkle-crankle fans, is an elderly brick-built beast, most likely at least 3m tall. Google Earth shows the wall to the west, north, and east.
After a close-up look and feel by the NW corner, we asked if we could have a quick shifty inside. No, said the man. This is private property. Oh. And off we drove to Diss for lunch at cute Katie's Kitchen.
— (40) Long Melford, The Water Meadow —
Surely Long Melford, crinkle-crankle central, is D&D? Long since ticked off are Melford Hall, Cock & Bell Lane, Westgate Street and the United Reformed Church. Then I stumbled across a Flickr photo by "Barry at LM" showing the view of a "crinkly crankly" wall across the meadows. Best check it out.
South-west of the high street is a field, a water meadown if you will, bounded by the Stour. Satellite view shows a path across it from Liston Lane. What that bird's eye doesn't reveal is the fence. Finding a gate, and treating as local humour the advice of a passing lady to "mind the bull", I traipsed over to the wall. Took out my phone, switched to camera mode, and watched the screen go black. No battery.
Solo trudge back to waiting G and Mum -- it is Mother's Day, after all -- with a plea to borrow her charged phone, then back over the grass. This apparently antique wall guards the rear of a large garden. There's a few signs of repair, to be sure, but it's an 8ft treat, and who on earth would know it was here? Cheers to Barry at LM. Oh, and to Mum for the loan of the camera. And to the smiling ladies of Tiffins for post-crankle refreshments. Cakes on wooden boards? We want plates!