This began at the usual time of 14:00 at St. Mary’s Church, most of which is medieval but the remains were clearly built in instalments. This Church is, as we discovered, a peculiar of the province of Canterbury, hence the roundels feature the Archbishops’ arms. A window, thought to be assembled in Victorian times, features the town’s rector, Rowland Tayler, executed just twenty days after Mary’s revival of the Lancastrian heresy laws in 1555. The three panels feature Tayler preaching, on trial and being burned. We learned more about him later in the day.
We then moved on to view the Deanery Tower, albeit from the outside, previously being a gatehouse to Archdeacon Pykenham’s rectory. Just like his residence in Ipswich, only the gatehouse remains. Following this, we walked through the town, over Toppesfield Bridge and through the High Street. Hadleigh was a very wealthy town in Richard’s time and still is in some ways, being very quiet on a Sunday afternoon. The highlights of this stage include the former coaching inn that is now The George and number 49 High Street (opposite).
At this stage, we retired to sample the cream teas in the walled garden. It turned out that the “manageress” was very knowledgeable about the town and, after eating and drinking, she took us for a detailed walk around the Guildhall building, which has had several uses over the centuries including a Market House and a grammar school. We were able to learn more about Tayler, who was Archbishop Cranmer’s chaplain – this explained his national importance – and that his curate, Richard Yeoman, hid in the building for a year before being burned in Norwich. Tayler and Yeoman have roads named after them in the east of the town.
The last stage was an alternative to visiting St. James’ Church in the nearby village of Lindsey. However, it made more sense because the Guildhall was right in front of us, with no motorised transport required, and because it completed the Rowland Tayler story in the same way that the whole visit connected with our Ipswich walks through Archdeacon Pykenham.