Cavendish is one of the prettiest villages in Suffolk situated in the lovely Stour valley between two other beautiful Suffolk villages of Clare and Long Melford both just 3 miles away. The Village is famous for its quintessential English scene of a picturesque village green bordered by pink thatched cottages with a backdrop of St Mary’s Church. The village pond (The Waver) is backed by a large timber framed house which is the former home of Sue Ryder.
The river Stour flows west to east through the village and forms the county boundary between Suffolk and Essex. The Stour Valley Path goes through the village and there are many other footpaths in the picturesque surrounding countryside which can be walked from the cottage. These are detailed on a local village map.
Cavendish has many period houses many dating back to the 15th century. There are 75 listed buildings, 21 of which are thatched.
The magnificent medieval village of Lavenham is nearby, with other historic places to visit such as Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Colchester and Cambridge all within a 45 minute drive. We are within the beautiful Stour Valley and the Dedham Vale is within easy reach.
Cavendish has a Community Shop, The Duck or Grouse, which is run by volunteers. This shop claims joint fame as being the oldest active shop in England, dating back to 1420– please give it your support, it would be a shame for it to close after all this time! It is located at the bottom of the Green and sells most essentials including newspapers, bread, bacon and eggs, with a fresh fish van calling in from Lowestoft on Tuesday’s.
There is also a really good farm shop about a mile east towards Long Melford. It sells almost all you could want – meat, delicatessen, bread, vegetables, gifts and logs for the fire etc. A fresh fish van also visits on Saturday mornings.
Nethergate Brewery in Pentlow has a brewery shop which is open to the public Mondays to Fridays.
In addition there is a wide variety of shops in nearby Clare and Long Melford
The Gainsborough Health Club & Spa, is just a mile from the cottage. It is possible to reach it walking (or jogging) along footpaths avoiding the road. A variety of treatments, spa days, swimming pool, sauna & gym are available.
Cavendish is so called because some pasture (called eddish) were owned by a man called Cafa, which led to the village being called Cavendish (Cafan Eddish).
From the air, there is evidence remaining of Bronze Age settlements in fields close to the village. Early records show the population in 1086 was 33, peaking at 1394 in 1851. To support a village of this size, numerous shops, blacksmiths, butchers and pubs existed and there is evidence of this early trade throughout the village with some old shop fronts still in place.
Cavendish was the home of Sir John Cavendish, the ancestor of the Duke of Devonshire who was involved in suppressing the Peasant’s Revolt in 1381. The Cavendish family coat of arms is illustrated on one side of the Cavendish village sign, and the killing of Wat Tyler, the leader of the Peasants Revolt is featured on the other.
Group Captain Sir Leonard Cheshire and his wife Baroness Ryder of Warsaw (Sue Ryder) used to live here and are now buried in the churchyard. After the Second World War, Sue Ryder founded a home in the village for concentration camp survivors and the charity holds records of the people who were rescued by Sue Ryder. Although the Sue Ryder charity shop remains in the old Cavendish cinema building, the Sue Ryder museum at Cavendish is now closed and the property extended as a nursing home, but history of the Sue Ryder Foundation and life at the Cavendish home may be obtained from the Sue Ryder legacy and history team.
Cavendish used to boast 6 schools, but now just 1 remains which is at the top of the village green. We have a book in the cottage, “The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe”. This was presented as a prize to William Ballard, a pupil at the Cavendish National School in 1904. Poignantly, there is a William Ballard listed as one of the fallen during the 1914 – 1918 war on the village War Memorial. His National School still remains active, and is now referred to as the Cavendish VCS.
There are 2 churches, St Mary’s, dating from before the 1300’s and the United Reformed Church which was built in 1858 a few doors down from ‘Romney’ cottage.
An illustrated book detailing Cavendish, it’s people and it’s heritage is available in the cottage.
A Short Walk to the Local Pub(s)/Restaurant and Village Green
There is a nice pub overlooking the pretty village green: The Five Bells, and there are many gastro pubs and good restaurants in Long Melford which is the next Village, like Scutchers , The Black Lion & The Swan stand out.
As an alternative to walking along the road, is a gentle five or ten minute walk along a footpath that leads across the water meadow just round the corner from the cottage. This delightful meadow runs beside the River Stour, where you might be lucky to catch sight of a Kingfisher, or an Egret, perhaps even an Otter. In the company of the Soay sheep grazing on the meadow, walk beneath the 100 foot high Lombary poplars that run the length of the meadow, past the white boarded Pentlow Mill on the opposite river bank nestling amongst the weeping willow trees. Follow the path up and across the old railway embankment, across the stile and follow the signs that take you interestingly enough through a couple of back gardens and onto the main road with the The Bull public house opposite.
- The Bull is a comfortable and welcoming free-house which has real ales and great home-cooked food. Their menu changes daily, including a comprehensive Sunday lunch menu. Food is homemade and sourced locally where possible.
- The Five Bells a charming village pub.
Details of the food and drink available at these local hostelries can be found in the cottage ‘Cavendish’ folder and on their own web sites.In addition there are so many wonderful restaurants and pubs in the surrounding villages and towns within easy reach of Cavendish – we are spoilt for choice! There is a list of these in the cottage.
Just down the raod is Long Melford where there are quite a number of interesting restaurants and pubs like Scutchers, The Black Lion Inn and Hotel, The Swan and The Melford Valley Tandoori – all of which need to be booked.
Over in Lavenham is the wonderful ‘Number 10 wine bar and restaurant, decent prices and great food in a history house – very popular so you have to book.