Pictures of Dedham
in the county of Essex
There are two things that immediately strike you about this enchanting village, the first is the opulence of the beautiful 15th-century church, and the second is the fascinating view of the River Stour, which, like the church, has featured in Constable paintings.
A saunter through the main streets of the village reveals an attractive array of Georgian fronted buildings and old inns. Of particular note is the Marlborough Head Inn, an impressive medieval half timber frame building of the 15th-century that was the home of a clothier until it became an inn in the 17th-century. The old grammar school, dates 1732 was attended by Constable, he would have walked here from his home in nearby East Bergholt. Worthy of note too, is Shermans Hall which has connections with General Sherman of the American Civil War. The Sherman family were medieval wool merchants. Apart from these historic 'showpiece' properties, the road into the village is interspersed with lovely old houses and cottages, that are each fronted by attractive lawned and flower bedecked gardens. It is a very English picture were roses ramble at will around old front doors.
The church of St.Mary the Virgin, remains in testimoney to the huge generosity of the wool merchants of medieval times. The nave roof is richly decorated with the Insignia of the Guilds of Weavers and Millers and the ceiling of the passage through the tower shows glorious carvings embellished with designs of the Tudor Rose and Portcullis, together with the trademark of Thomas Webbe one of the leading wealthy wool merchants whose money helped to fund the church. Interestingly, a pew in the church commemorates the first moon landing. The church is overwhelming in it's magnificence, it has many ancient reminders of the village's historic past and is a constant source of fascination.
It is not surprising to learn that John Constable's father had a watermill here. This is now replaced by one of red brick but the original watermill was featured in one of Constable's paintings that hangs in the Victoria and Albert museum. This is a beautiful village that will give you many pleasant memories.
Places to visit - Flatford Mill and Lock, Misterly Towers and Beth Chatto Gardens. The nearby town of Colchester has a museum and there are enjoyable trips on the beautiful River Stour which leads to the open sea at Harwich.
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