Pictures of Woolpit
in the county of Suffolk
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Woolpit has a pleasant medieval village centre around which are spread a variety of pretty cottages and attractive houses. It is especially rich in timber frame properties, with Weaver House being of particular note. It is also well endowed with buildings whose walls are softly washed in the style typical of Suffolk, some in lovely "pinkie" hues.
The name of the village does not derive from the wool trade, but possibly from a Saxon wolf-pit, into which captured wolves were thrown and destroyed. There are some though, who would challenge this, and perhaps the most likely explanation for the name can be discovered in the small museum, in the Institute at the centre of the village. Here visitors can learn much about the history of the village and the surrounding region.
Apart from being historic, the village church, St. Mary's is a very spiritual place. Norman in origin, the church has a magnificent double hammer-beam roof adorned with carvings of angels. It has a large 14th century porch and its tower, and spire are additions from the 19th century which can be observed from all parts of Woolpit.
An interesting feature of the village is the spring known as Lady's Well, whose waters were believed in the 14th century to cure any ailment. This belief has extended down the ages, however, recent tests have revealed the waters to have a high sulphur content.
Important to the life of any village is its pubs and Woolpit is fortunate to have two excellent inns. One, the Swan Inn at the heart of the village dates back to the 14th century, with the earliest records dating from 1625. The history of the inn is quite fascinating, including a period when it was used to billet soldiers and their horses during the French wars! Despite periods of alteration, the inn has kept much of its original character, its attractive red brick front being an addition of 1826. The other inn is the warmly welcoming Bull Inn. As well as serving excellent ales, wine, spirits and delicious food, the Bull offers beautifully appointed overnight accommodation.
Woolpit is famous for the legendry, mysterious Green Children. A medieval 12th century tale said to have taken place around the same time as Sampson's journey to Rome. It concerns the discovery, by reapers, of a boy and a girl in a hole. Both children were green and spoke no recognisable language. The boy is believed to have died soon after discovery, but the girl grew up in the village and later married a man from King's Lynn. This enchanting story has been portrayed on children's television and is often re-enacted for local events.
With so much of interest and so much beauty it is not surprising to learn that the village has long attracted artists, painting of local places of interest are known from time to time to crop up in nearby auction houses and in local antique shops.
Woolpit lies between Bury St. Edmunds and Stowmarket. It makes a lovely peaceful place to stay for anyone wishing to discover the beauty of the Suffolk countryside with its quaint "off the beaten track" villages, tiny hamlets and beautiful old towns.
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