Lavenham, Suffolk, England, UK

Lavenham7 is located in Suffolk County and today is one of the most attractive towns in England. Its dramatic Parish Church, small streets and half-timber medieval cottages make it a tourist destination. 

Lavenham Church

Lavenham prospered from the wool trade in the 15th and 16th century, with the town’s recognizable blue broadcloth being an export of note. By the late 15th century, the town was among the richest in the British Isles. The town’s prosperity at this time can be seen in the lavishly constructed St Peter and St Paul Parish Church which stands on a hill top at the end of the main high street. The church, completed in 1525, is excessively large for the size of the village and with a tower standing 141 ft (43 m) high it lays claim to being the highest village church tower in Britain. Other buildings also demonstrate the town’s medieval wealth; the Lavenham Wool Hall was completed in 1464 and the Guildhall of the catholic guild of Corpus Christi was built in 1529 and stands in the centre of the village overlooking the market square. 

Lavenham Church Nave

However, during the 16th century Lavenham’s industry was badly affected by Dutch refugees who settled in Colchester, Essex County (18 Miles from Lavenham) and who produced cloth that was cheaper and lighter than Lavenham’s, and also was more fashionable.   Cheaper imports from Europe also aided the settlement’s decline, and by 1600 it had lost its reputation as a major trading town. This sudden and dramatic change to the town’s fortune is the principal reason that so many medieval and Tudor buildings remained unmodified in Lavenham, as subsequent generations of citizens did not have the wealth required to rebuild in the latest styles.

Like many East Anglian settlements, Lavenham was home to RAF; “Station Lavenham” an American Air Force airfield during the Second World War. USAAF Station 137 was manned by the US Army Air Force 487th Bombardment Group between 1944 and 1945. The airfield, actually located a few miles away in Alpheton, has since been returned to arable farmland, though some evidence of its structures and buildings remains, including the control tower.


John Fuller of Newton is directly linked to the town of Lavenham, Suffolk, England, UK.

Lavenham, Suffolk, UK

First his wife Elizabeth Cole, was born in Lavenham and baptized in the Parish Church (1 Jan 1622/3). We know the Cole family lived in town as we have the baptism records for all the children as well as the burial records for her father Walter and mother Susanna (Northfield) indicating they were buried in the church yard of St Peter and St Paul Parish Church in Lavenham.  See more information in Family Documents and the Will of Walter Cole

Second, we do not have the same documentation for John Fuller linking him to Lavenham, however there is a strong indication that he knew Simon Onge, who was from Lavenham, when John gave Simon some 20 acres to live on during his life.    Who was Simon Onge. Read More

Third, we have evidence that John of Newton is named in his grandfather’s (James) Will and his parents were John Fuller born 4 Jan 1563 and Anne Gates born 5 April 1573, both in Lavenham.  Read More

Also there is a very interesting sketch of Frances Onge in the NEHGS’s Great Migration 1620-1633, page

Lavenham, Suffolk, UK

1360, which describes her family from Lavenham and their circumstances. Not only was the Onge family from Lavenham, but also the Hammond family, who settled in Watertown and Newton as well as Justinian Holden who likely married one of the Onge daughters, all from Lavenham. There is a Hammond Street in Newton, named after Thomas Hammond who was also from Lavenham.


In addition we find the following references in local history books.

1. Banks(1) “(Name of Emigrant) John Fuller; (English Parish Name) Lavenham, Suffolk; (New England Town) Cambridge, Massachusetts; (Various/Reference) New England Historic Genealogical Register 49/491.”.

(1) Charles Edward Banks, Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England 1620-1650; Emigrants From England to New England ….pp1-189, Edited and Indexed by Elijah Ellsworth Brownell, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1976; Originally published, Philadelphia 1937, p 157.

Book Publisher’s Note

Colonel Banks searched carefully the 41 counties and shires of England, including the City of London, and obtained from the 1,194 parishes in these respective counties, shires and the City of London, the record of 2,885 emigrants to New England for the time of the sailing of the “Mayflower” (1620) to the year 1650, inclusive.

Lavenham, Suffolk, England, UK

2. Coldham(2)“1653, September, Probate of will of Walter Cole of Lavenham, Suffolk, whose daughter Elizabeth married John Fuller of New England (EEAC).”

(2) Peter Wilson Coldham, The Complete Book of Emigrants 1607-1660, Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, sixth printing 2008, p 266.

3. Sumner(3)John Fuller was born in England about 1611, as his death record in Cambridge, Mass., 2-7-1698 (1699?), gives his age as eighty-seven. His wife was Elizabeth, ‘daughter of Walter Cole, a surgeon, of Lavenham, Suffolk, England, whose will, probated on 9-24-1653, mentioned his “daughter Elizabeth, now wife of John Fuller in New England.’ Elizabeth died in Cambridge on 4-13-1700.”

(3) Edith Bartlett Sumner, Ancestry of Edward Wales Blake and Clarissa Matilda Glidden with Ninety Allied Families; Compiled and typed by Edith Bartlett Sumner, 960 South Oxford Avenue, Loss Angeles 6, California; Lithoprinted from Author’s Typescript; Edwards Brothers, Inc., Lithoprinters, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1948, p 100.

Map showing location of Lavenham

4. Waters,(4) “WALTER COLE of Lavenham, Suffolk, barber chirurgion, 13 August 1652, proved 24 September 1653. My will is that Susan my well beloved wife shall have, hold, occupy and enjoy my ……………….and also twenty shillings more unto my daughter Elizabeth the now wife of John Fuller in New England ………..”

(4)Henry F. Waters A.M. Item XX ….Genealogical Gleanings in England, The New-England Historical and Genealogical Register, VOL. XLIX – January, 1895, Boston: Published By: The New-England Historical Genealogical Society. 1895, Page 490/91

5.  Parish Records, England, UK , Parish of Lavenham; Baptism records for: Elizabeth Cole: Bapt. 1 January 1622/3 “the daughter of Walter Cole“; Anne Gates: Bapt. 5 April 1573 “d. of Edward Gates”;  John Fuller and Anne Gates Married, 15 Sept 1594; Edward Fuller: Bapt. 19 Oct 1595 “sonne of John Fuller”. 

6.  Great Migration Begins-Immigrants to New England 1620-1633; NEHGS; page 1360

7.  Wikipedia; Lavenham;  January 15, 2018