The early history of Lavenham Priory is hard to trace, but the Doomsday Survey of 1086 shows that the Lord of the Manor was Alberic de Vere who allocated part of his lands in Lavenham – including the site of the Priory – to the Canons. It is not until the last half of the 16th Century, when the majority of the building work was completed, that names and dates can be acknowledged and connected to the Priory. The Priory has undergone a vast evolution in its time, with a great many extensions being added.
When staying at the Priory, there are a number of fascinating original features to look out for. Lavenham Priory’s existence as a building began as a 13th Century Hall House, which is presently the Main Hall. Still visible is a large mullioned window that extends to the roof. It is highly likely that the Priory was funded by the immense local fortunes of the wool trade. The cellar below what is now the Study was probably used for the dyeing of wool, using water from the mediaeval culvert that runs the length of Water Street.