Historical Society Visit


On Saturday 16th July the St Osyth Historical Society set out by coach to visit the market town of EYE in Suffolk. The visit organised by Joy Clinton, had picked a very nice sunny day for our outing. This visit was not just to look around a building Linden House, but also the opportunity to visit other parts of Eye, which has a large number of listed building within its boundaries.

Members arriving at the Village Hall awaiting the coach for transport to Eye

After a journey of only one hour

we have arrived at Linden House

Linden House is one of the most important buildings in this historic Suffolk town. The house originated as a Tudor period farmhouse, being converted to a Georgian townhouse in the 18th century. The brick skin over its timber frame has turned it into a smart classical building, retaining a homely atmosphere in its simple interior layout. Once occupied by eccentric sisters, two of whom were leading suffragettes. The house was also used in a Miss Marple thriller. The Ground floor and first floors contain many portraits, family effects and varied, interesting items of history and of foreign travel.
Eye is a small market town in the north of the County of Suffolk. The town is around 4 miles south of Diss, 17.5 miles north of Ipswich and 23 miles south-west of Norwich and 48 miles from St Osyth. Historically Eye (a name is derived from the Old English word for ‘island’), would have been surrounded by water or marsh, with the church of St Peter and St Paul (pictured below) and a castle mound of William I’s time on higher ground.

Relaxing in the sun in the garden of Linden House, where soon we will have tea and cakes etc. to fortify
us for the look around Eye.

This photo shows the facade of Linden House which is recognised by a row of five pollarded Lime trees

Mr Charles Michell the owner

Mr Michell as Eye’s Town Mayor

Mrs Michell also the Town Mayor

The Church of St Peter & St Paul seen as approached
from Eye Town centre. This magnificent 15th century
building in such a small Market Town, is much more
Cathedral like, than a usual English Parish Church.

A side view of the Church showing another entrance.

Views of the church are limited by buildings and trees.

The beautiful Rood Screen, now faded from earlier
glory, leads to the Altar (see description below)

The Christogram IHS on the roof comes from the first
three letters of the Greek IHSOYS -(Jesus)

The Church itself is hugely impressive and dates back to 1470. Inside there’s a 15C wooden rood screen with intricate carving, and paintings of kings, saints and bishops. The paintings have faded they have been partly restored and give an idea of the brilliant colours that would’ve been seen in the Middle Ages. The Church Tower (above) is also mighty impressive at over 101 feet/30 metres high – described as “One of the wonders of Suffolk”. The Church was probably rebuilt on the site of an older church, as was common in East Anglia during this period of prosperity. Hard to believe now but in the 15 and 16C East Anglia was, apart from London, the wealthiest and most densely populated area in England due, primarily, to the wool and cloth trade and the region’s strategic position facing the Low Countries across the sea.

Three members, Paul Harman and Martin Walsh and wife Joyce, waving to people,
less adventurous than themselves, in climbing the steps to the top of the castle.

The original castle was built on an artificial mound created as a defensive position, on which the fortification was built sometime after 1066. The castle came under attack in 1173 from the Earl of Norfolk, but was soon repaired but was later sacked in 1265 during ‘The Barons War’ and allowed to decay. Part of castle was used as a prison until the early 1600’s but by the 1700’s local people were taking away the stone from the ruin for their own domestic purposes, thus it remains a ruin today!

My Thanks for the Historical information on this page derived from Mr Michell’s talk to us and from Eye’s publicity information in print and on the Internet.

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