Located at the heart of the picturesque village of Lawshall is this wonderful two-bedroom 18th-century cottage. Fringed with fresh thatch, the semi-detached house is fronted by a wildflower meadow and young orchard, while the south-facing garden has open views across acres of arable fields. The house is filled with historic features and has been lovingly refurbished in a manner sympathetic to its fabric and early origins.
Setting the Scene
Set back far from the quiet village street, the 18th-century cottage has a traditional lime plaster façade. Understood to have origins dating back to earlier than the 16th-century, the house is Grade II-listed and forms a significant proportion of a historic medieval hall house. For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
The cottage is approached down a path flanked by a newly-planted meadow, filled with 20 species of native wildflower and surrounded by an orchard of quince, greengage, plum, apple and pear.
The front door opens onto a small hallway; the kitchen, dining room and a convenient downstairs WC and shower room lead off the hall. A lovely timber-framed dining room can also be accessed from the idyllic country kitchen, which has views into the garden. During the refurbishment, the original 18th-century tiles were discovered on the ground floor; the kitchen now has a traditional brick floor underfoot and a delightful larder tucked under the stairs.
The living room beyond is cosy and inviting, with a newly installed wood-burner and windows at two aspects. A small alcove office space is a good place to shut yourself away from the world.
The garden room is filled with light; underfloor heating lies beneath the quarry tiles making it an inviting space. The room opens onto a patio with a lean-to equipped with a butler’s sink and provides plenty of room for storing bikes, garden tools and firewood.
Charming painted stairs lead to the two bedrooms and bathroom on the first floor. The original wide elm floorboards, with lovely historic patina, run underfoot. Original 18th-century beams are exposed throughout the first floor, with a handsome timber-framed window filling the upstairs hall with south-facing light.
The largest bedroom is of exceptional size for a cottage with a high-pitched ceiling showing off the original beams; the protruding brick chimney breast rises through the floor from below. A beam bisects the bedroom allowing the room to extend to generous proportions. The airy bathroom has views onto the orchard and is the perfect place to unwind in a hot bath.
The Great Outdoors
The garden is south facing and planted with herbaceous borders and a lawn. It is architecturally framed by a silver birch tree, a mature elder tree bearing flowers perfect for elderflower ‘champagne’, and a blackthorn tree excellent for sloe gin. Beyond the garden, there are uninterrupted views across a wildflower meadow and rolling arable farmland and fields.
Countryside surrounds the cottage, and there are walks from the doorstep. St Edmunds Way, a long-distance footpath running from Manningtree to Brandon, crosses much of Suffolk and goes through the village of Lawshall.
Lawshall has three separate ‘community’ woodlands: Golden Wood, Crooked Wood and Frithy Wood. In 1979 two Lawshall residents inspired the community to plant a forest for generations to come. Each year in the spring, a new management committee is elected by Lawshall residents to manage the woodlands for the community.
Out and About
Lawshall is set in rich Suffolk countryside and has a delightful, thatched 18th-century village pub, The Swan, a few minutes walk from the cottage. All Saints’ Primary School is just across from the house and has an Outstanding Ofsted rating. There is a village produce and vegetable market every Wednesday at the Village Hall and a variety of local community initiatives, including the Lawshall Ladies Group and numerous book clubs.
Further afield is the very pretty village of Lavenham known as ‘England’s best-preserved medieval village.’ It is renowned for its abundance of spectacular vernacular architecture in the form of an abundance of half-timbered, medieval cottages. The Great House is a celebrated local restaurant with rooms, as well. Long Melford is a charming village just a 15-minute drive away with various shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs, including the Nethergate Brewery. Also located in the village is Melford Hall, a 16th-century stately home with extensive gardens run by the National Trust.
Just beyond lies the pretty market town of Sudbury, a 20-minute drive from Lawshall with hourly train connections to London Liverpool Street and a Waitrose. An 18-minute drive to the North, Bury St Edmunds provides frequent links to London and Cambridge and is equipped with a Waitrose.
The medieval village of Lawshall is mentioned in the Doomsday book, along with the 15th-century Grade I-listed flint church, which lies opposite the cottage. Its provenance has deep roots; research has shown evidence of earlier inhabitation in the area. The nearby Warbanks, just to the east of the cottage, are a series of ancient defensive ditches now broken into three parts, with the Lawshall portion being the most pronounced.
A late Bronze Age sword discovered on the Warbanks was dated around 800-600 BC and is now in the Moyse’s Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds. The village was also noted in Queen Elizabeth I’s procession in August 1578 when she dined at Lawshall Hall and later grew with the boom in farming in the 19th century.