The sturdy 141 ft tower is a glorious landmark across the rolling valleys of west Suffolk as you head towards this beautiful medieval weaving town. Enormous profits from the wool business spurred construction of grander churches, to reflect the growing prosperity of these communities.
St. Peter and St. Paul, Lavenham was one of the last of the great Suffolk ‘wool churches‘ to have been completed by 1530, just before the reformation.
‘A Dictionary of Suffolk Crests’, Suffolk Record Society, (p. 274) records the a crest as a leopard’s head. The Visitation of Essex (1634 and 1664) records that the crest of the Harringtons of Sible Hedingham and of Great Maplestead was a lion’s head (erased or, gorged gules, charged with two fleur de lys of the second).
The Harrington family were landowners in Essex, according to Morant’s ‘The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex’, which, among other entries, records (vol. II, p. 279-280) that at Great Maplestead (Hinckford Hundred), the ‘farm of some note here’ called Walasses or Waleis’s (which now appears to be deserted) was in the possession of Edmund Harrington* in 1578 and that ‘this person was descended from a younger branch of the noble family of Harrington, Barons of Exton, in the county of Rutland’. In addition, Burke’s ‘General Armory’ records that Harrington of Essex bore arms of sable a fret or, a differenced version of the arms of Harington, Barons of Exton (extinct 1614), namely sable a fret argent.
Great Maplestead, Essex, is about 11 miles from Lavenham, Suffolk.
*Two Edmund Harringtons, father and son, are shown in the Visitation of 1634, the elder being of the Sible Hedingham family and the third son of the elder Edmund, named William, being the progenitor of the Great Maplestead family.
via Charles Greenwood.