During the summer the Dedham Vale Project and the National Trust organise many different tours of Constable Country looking at the beautiful scenery and buildings within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Today it was my turn as a Blue Badge Guide to take a group on a walk from Dedham Mill, painted by one of our greatest landscape artists John Constable, throught the village up to Castle House, home of the famous horse and landscape artist Sir Alfred Munnings.
The tour took in some in the architectual highlights of the village including the fifteenth century building that houses the Essex Rose Tearooms, Shermans House, the Sun Inn and the Grammar School. This latter is where Constable was educated before working in his Father’s mills and then going to London to persue his career as an artist. Dedham was where he was happiest though, and this can be seen in his magnificant landscape paintings.
On this tour we couldn’t go in to the parish church of St Marys as there was a wedding on, but this is most definitely worth a visit. It reflects the weallth that was in the village during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as a result of the wool trade.
After the church we walked past the cricket ground on the Dutchy Field towards the magnifiacant medieval Southfields, which was built by a very wealthy cloth merchant.
We then made our way past the original village workhouse, and some sixteenth century almshouses, built for the widows of clothworkers.
We finally arrived at Castle House with plenty of time to admire the work of Munnings and pop into the cafe for a very welcome cup of tea and slice of cake.
If you would like a tailor-made tour of Dedham for your group, party of friends or family please do get in touch with us.