Monday, August 25, 2014

Constable Country

On Saturday Ceri and Dad went to the Temple with the Stake Primary, and Gwen was ill, so Hari and Mum and Tag went to Ipswich again to visit Grandma and Grandpa. On the way back we stopped at Dedham.

Dedham is a hamlet on the River Stour in North Essex. The area is known as "Constable Country" because the famous artist, John Constable, lived in nearby Flatford, and walked to school in Dedham each day. When he grew up he painted scenes from his local area. His most famous painting are "The Haywain" and "Flatford Mill".

We decided to take a boat trip along the river. Here's Hari on the boat...
 ...and here's Tag.

It took about twenty minutes to cruise to Flatford. Here is the boat being tied up in Flatford by the River Stour Trust volunteers who operate it.

Bridge Cottage is now a museum with lots of copies of Constable's work. The door was tiny - Hari is 5'4" tall and she couldn't get through it without bending over.

The ceiling beams were very low, too.

Tag enjoyed looking at the displays of Constable's paintbrushes and sketch books.  

After we had looked at the museum we went to the gift shop, and then to the tea room for afternoon tea.

Then it was time to get back onto the boat and cruise gently back to Dedham.

I photographed this fence because I thought the sign was interesting. It says "Please keep to the right when passing other craft", but on the roads we keep to the left. There were lots of rowing boats and canoes on the river, and we did collide with a couple on the way, but boats travel so slowly that no damage was done. On of the volunteers who operated the boat told us that this fence was also worth photographing because Constable painted a picture of his horse jumping over it.

After the boat trip we walked into Dedham. It was a very beautiful little village, with lots of thatched cottages and very old houses. This pub was built in 1462.

This is the Parish church. It was extremely big, but unfortunately it was locked up so we couldn't go in. The pink house (we're on the border with Suffolk here, so lots of homes were "Suffolk pink") is the Old Vicarage.

Hari loved Dedham and said that she would like to live there. We found an estate agent and looked at the prices of some of the homes that were for sale. A two-bedroomed detached thatched cottage was £425,000 ($705,000) so I told her that she might have to wait a while.

Coming off the High Street were lots of little lanes like this, with tiny higgledy-piggledy cottages in them.

Here's Tag on the edge of the village, looking down towards the High Street.

There are lots of really pretty villages in Essex, and throughout England. There wasn't time to visit any others, but Tag was pleased he had the chance to see Flatford and Dedham.

Trivia questions:

  1. Centuries ago, some Dedham villagers and their controversial preacher left Essex and sailed to the New World where they set up a community, also called Dedham. Which US state is it in?
  2. John Constable also painted a famous landmark which Tag visited a couple of weeks ago. What was it?
(You can give your answers in the comments if you like, and I'll give the answers in the next post.)


  1. Admittedly, we had to do some googling, but thanks for the trivia! It’s Dedham, Massachusetts and Constable painted your very own Hadleigh Castle! Woohoo!

    What a lovely, delightful village. I don’t blame Hari for wanting to live in Dedham. I will definitely put it on my list of places to visit when I come there for real (rather than vicariously through a teddy bear). But I agree- those prices are a tad steep!

    Just FYI, we live in a 4-bedroom home that’s just under 2000 square feet and we paid $149,000 for it about 10 years ago. We could probably sell it for around $210,000 now. I’m always curious about real estate in different places (one of my favorite shows is House Hunters International). :-)

    SO excited to see those beautiful blue skies! We’re making sure Charmin soaks up as much sun as he can before he heads home!

  2. Well done! It did rain while we were on the boat, but we had a canopy and it had stopped by the time we disembarked, so all-in-all it was a lovely day.

    House prices here are pretty ridiculous. I don't know how many square feet our house is (UK estate agents don't tell you) but I suspect under 2,000. We paid £198,000 for it ten years ago, and it's now worth £250,000. Check out It's very addictive!

    We have an exchange student coming from Utah next year, and I'm definitely putting Dedham on the list of places to take her. It was beautiful. Would love you to visit too, though!