Access and Facilities

Access Statement for De Vere House, Water Street, Lavenham


De Vere House is a grade 1 listed private dwelling offering accommodation in the east wing of the house with two double bedrooms, both offering en suite facilities, internet access and access to a private sitting room and courtyard garden for the exclusive use of guests.

The house dates from the 15th century with many unique period features but was partially demolished and renovated in the 20th century.

The following statement summarises the facilities at the house.  For further information visit our website or telephone 01787248151.


The property is situated on Water Street in Lavenham.  There is an hourly bus service to neighbouring villages and the facility to hire cars in the village.

The nearest rail stations are Sudbury (15 minutes), Stowmarket (20 minutes) and Colchester (30 minutes).  All times are by car.

There are several local taxi services which we can book for you by arrangement.

The nearest airports are Stanstead (60 minutes) and Norwich (90 minutes).

We provide further details on how to find the village and the house in our Information Pack that we send to you at the time of booking.  Directions can also be found on this website.

Arrival and Car Parking facilities

Guests have access to parking at the front of De Vere House on Water Street and may park in our drive next to the house when loading and unloading.  De Vere House participates in the cyclist friendly scheme with cycle storage in our Summer House behind a locked gate onto the driveway.

The driveway is gravel and is lit automatically at night.

We ensure we are available when guests arrive to assist with luggage, and agree approximate arrival times with our guests to ensure this is the case.

Main Entrance and Reception

Guests enter through the front door on arrival but then have access through their own entrance and gateway for the remainder of their stay.

The front door is a cat and kitten door (similar to the Judas gate at a castle).  There is one step up to the front entrance 17cm high.  The kitten door is 124cm high and 36.5cm wide.  The cat door is 272cm high and 152cm wide.

The bell is to the right hand side and guests are asked to ring the bell on arrival.

The front door is locked, chained and bolted.

The door enters into the hall way.

The hall way is 188cm wide and 304cm high.  Immediately on entering the hall there is a small step down (5cm).

Guests are directed into their private sitting room to the left through a gothic arched oak doorway.  The door is 78cm wide and 226cm high, with a step 8cm high, dropping 17cm the other side.  This door is bolted except for during breakfast (0800-1100).

Guest’s private entrance

At all other times after their arrival, guests access their accommodation through a private gate and entrance, using their own keys to lock and unlock both the gate and the entrance door.

The side gate has one step (12cm) and access is through a gate which is 81cms wide and has a circular handle.

Two steps (11cms and 19cms high, 38cms wide) rise to the entrance door. 

The entrance door is oak panelled and 81cms wide, 207cms tall, with a small step up into the guest’s sitting room (1.5cms).   It has a carved lintel above which is the remains of the first example of borrowed light in English architectural history

Public Areas: Guest’s sitting room (the Reading Room)

Private sitting room for guests with one Knole sofa and two leather armchairs, a small desk and chair, two occasional tables, a bookcase, table lamps and a fridge.  The floor is oak boarding and sealed, then covered with a Persian rug.  The room has an open fire with protection grill.  The staircase to the bedrooms leads from this room and is oak with a linseed oil finish.

On the walls are the De Vere Monuments, the only copy outside of the British Library of these sketches of the De Vere tombs (since destroyed).  There is then a replica of the famous tapestry of the Marquis of Mdena and Baron of Paciano, an ancestor of the owners, some brass rubbings, a silk painting of the house and a collection of old model ships and nutcrackers. 

The staircase leads off to the left and then turns a half turn to a small top landing.  There are 12 stair treads, each 78cms wide and 21cms tall.  There is a handrail on the left hand side for the first flight.

Public Areas: Guest’s dining room (the Dining Hall)

Breakfast is taken in the Dining Hall, a large room with French windows into the gardens, a secret door into the kitchen, another into the Chinese Room or Sitting Room (which is private), with portraits of the De Vere family around its walls, an oak dresser and 8 foot long (Henry VIII) oak table.  It also has an open fire (and the family motto carved above the stone fireplace). 

Breakfast is taken normally between 0915 and 1100 but can be earlier by prior arrangement.  It is a full English breakfast plus Continental and includes  the following:

De Vere House

Breakfast Menu

A selection of cereals, muesli, freshly made porridge and yoghurts

followed by

Fruit salad, freshly made each morning (a mixture of seasonal fresh fruit from the garden and the village)

followed by

Toast, pastries and croissant (bread and croissant are fresh each morning from the bakers, pastries are whatever special breads are available each morning from the bakers) together with a selection of jams, preserves and marmalades (served with two of the day’s Times, Observer, Guardian, Mail or Independent as requested)

followed by a Full English Breakfast of

Pork sausages (two types from the local Butchers)

Rashers of bacon (Old Spot and Beer cured from the local Butchers)

Black pudding (from the local Butchers)

Fried, poached or scrambled (to your choice) freshly laid free range eggs

Grilled tomatoes

Fried chestnut or field mushrooms in herb butter

Caramelised red onions in herbs and red wine vinegar

Sauteed potatoes or a toasted potato waffle

French toast or Fried bread

served throughout with

A selection of bottled water, fruit juices and cordials

Tea (Earl Grey and Suffolk Breakfast), percolated coffee and/or Whittard’s hot chocolate.  Decaffeinated Tea and Coffee available on request

Vegan and Vegetarian alternatives, Soya and other Nut milks available by prior arrangement at time of booking

The following can also be preordered before arrival: Smoked salmon and scrambled egg or Eggs Benedict (instead of the full English and depending on season). 

Access to the Dining Hall Chamber is across two small steps (2cms then 14cms) along the Entrance Hall (passing deer antlers, various pieces of armour, flintlock pistols, and various pewter and brass ornaments with carved ceiling beams and the remains of the arched entrance to the former cross hall), passing the stone spiral staircase (with its unique carved brick hand rail) and up a further step (16cms up) through a gothic arch and double oak doors (hand carved to fit the arch) and above which is another early example of borrowed light.  The Dining Hall has oak floor boards, a Persian silk rug and wool/silk mix runner, the Hall is carpeted.

The dining table is rectangular and refectory style, 8 foot by 3 foot (seats 10-12 but a maximum of four sit for breakfast together) known as Henry VIII style consisting of three long 1 foot wide planks of oak; it is cracked and uneven with age.  There are four oak carvers (with cushions as required) for guests. 

The menu is available on each table and can be provided in large print.  Breakfast is served using stainless steel service, silver condiments, toast racks, candelabra, name holders and napkin rings, porcelain plates, cups, saucers and bowls, glass jugs and white linen napkins.  The table is candlelit with a log fire burning in the autumn and winter.  

The full English breakfast is served to the table on hot plates (with hot rivets and heated serving dishes for second helpings on the sideboards).  Oven gloves are provided for the guests.  Breakfast can also be taken in the Courtyard Garden during the summer.


There are two guest bedrooms (John de Vere and Lady Elizabeth Howard) on the first floor both with lockable doors, en suite bathrooms, TV and coffee-making facilities, wifi internet access, toiletries and hair dryers. 

The beds are turned over and aired each day, linen and towels are changed between guests and every three nights, professionally laundered in the village. There are no feathers in our pillows or duvets.  Additional bed linen, duvet and towels are available on request with spare bed linen and towels also stored in the base draws of both wardrobes.  Towelling dressing gowns for guests are found in each wardrobe and are laundered between guests and every three days (or as requested by a guest). 

Each guest is provided on arrival with a freshly laundered bath towel, towel, hand towel and flannel (wrapped in a ribbon).  Shoe cleaning kits and stitching kits for clothing and buttons can be found in the dressing table drawers of each room.  Toiletries including bath salts, soaps, shower gel, cotton wool and cotton wool buds are also to be found in each room.  Disposable toothbrushes and toothpaste are available on request.

Both rooms and the connecting landing and staircase are then full of paintings, pictures, and old oak carvings and corbels.

The John de Vere room is accessed through an oak Suffolk plank door that is 70cms wide and 198cms tall. 

The room has a four poster bed which is 208cms long, 153cms wide and 57cms from the ground.  The front window opens out onto Water Street.  It is secondary glazed for warmth and to reduce noise from the street.  The room is beamed and still shows two sets of marks on the front beams (one set from when the house was originally erected and a second set from when it was re-erected).  In the bathroom is then the remains of the shuttered medieval window, fitted when a tax was paid on glazed windows and which can be seen in pictures of the house from the 19th century.

There is a walnut antique wardrobe, two bedside tables (one incorporating a small set of drawers), a mahogany dressing table, bedroom chair and a chaise longue.

The room is lit by four wall lights and a large oak-framed window (north facing).

Immediately on the right, on entering, is the bathroom.  The bathroom door is 66cms wide and 191cms tall and opens inwards.  The bathroom has a ceramic-tiled floor, roll top bath (58cms high), toilet (46cms floor to rim and 16cms either side), and wash basin (85cms floor to rim).  Bathroom lights, shower and towel rail are all activated by pulleys which run from the ceiling to 100cms from the ground.

The bath has a shower unit and circular shower curtain.

There is a mirror and shaver point.

The bathroom has three windows all with roman blinds and secondary glazing, looking eastwards towards the White Horse and Water Street

John de Vere is a reference to both the 12th Earl of Oxford whom originally built the house and then the 13th Earl of Oxford whom extended it, building the front gable and about whom the symbols above the door refer (the Wool Jack and the Wild Boar)

The Lady Elizabeth Howard room is accessed through an oak Suffolk plank door that is 74cms wide and 197cms tall. 

The room has a mahogany double four poster bed which is 203cms long, 137cms wide and 57cms from the ground.

There is a mahogany antique wardrobe, two bedside tables, two sets of drawers and a two seater sofa.

The room is lit by four wall lights and two sash windows (south facing).  The room is also beamed.

On the right is the bathroom.  The bathroom door is 64cms wide and 189cms tall and opens inwards.  The bathroom has a ceramic-tiled floor, roll top bath (58cms high), toilet (46cms floor to rim and 24cms either side), and wash basin (85cms floor to rim).  Bathroom lights, shower and towel rail are all activated by pulleys which run from the ceiling to 100cms from the ground.

There is a mirror and shaver point.

The bath has a shower unit and circular shower curtain.

An oak timber runs across the bathroom, 209cms above the ground.

Lady Elizabeth refers to three ladies associated with the house: Lady Elizabeth de Vere nee Howard, mother of the 13th earl of Oxford, whose symbols of Plaitz and Scales are above our door, Lady Elizabeth de Vere nee Scrope, the wife of John de Vere 13th Earl of Oxford, a rebellious young lady (known as Elizabeth Howard  whilst under house arrest and held captive by John Howard, duke of Norfolk).  Elizabeth was captured after a year as a pirate in 1473 and on being found guilty of witchcraft .  She was released when John de Vere slew John Howard at Bosworth in 1485 and was granted the Baronies of Plaitz and Scales (the symbols above our front door)  in 1487.   Also refers to Lady Elizabeth Howard whom was a daughter of Edward de Vere and became the Countess of Essex (infamous for the poisoning of her husband in the time of James I)


Cash back facilities are available at both Cooperative Stores, Heeks and the Pharmacy.  There is a Post Office in the Tourist Information Centre and a Cash machine in the Cooperative Store at the top of the hill.  There is an excellent selection of shops all within a short walking distance ranging from bakers, grocers, butchers and hardware, to china, tapestries, clothing and textiles, antiques, reproduction furniture, picture galleries, toys and collectibles.

Treatment rooms 

There is a Spa and plunge pool at the Swan on the High Street and Water Street within a two minute walk.  Massage, Aveda and Beauty Treatment is also offered for female guests at Vinesse Hair and Beauty, Lavenham Beauty or Weavers Spa (all in the village within a five minute’s walk)

Further details can be provided to guests at time of booking. 

Leisure facilities

There is an active tennis club with all weather courts in the village.  Football and cricket grounds are also located by the village church with matches each weekend in season.  An international standard golf course and a municipal golf course are both available within a 15 minutes drive.  Atlantic Health Spa is located in a neighbouring village, 10 minutes drive from the house.  Clarice House Spa, Leisure, Gymnasium, Massage and Beauty Treatment Centre is just 18 minutes drive (outside Bury St Edmunds).

Further details can be provided to guests at time of booking.

Outdoor facilities

The village has many walks, including alongside the old railway tracks and housings to Long Melford and across Clay Hill to Preston.  Details are provided for guests in the Reading Room and guests can borrow any of the local guide books and maps kept there

The village also has a Tourist Information Centre which provides information on local sights, places of interest, leisure facilities and walks.  During the season, Blue Badge guided tours are available throughout the village.  Guest are given a free copy of the owners book on Ghosts and Ghost stories in the village and so may do their own ghost tour.


Lavenham is a 15th century wool town of great architectural and historical interest and both of the owners of De Vere House would be happy to provide guests with a history of the house and the village.  A print out of a brief history of the village and another on its ghosts can be found in the Guest Information in each room

The village has many annual festivals and events including a Literary weekend, Art festival, Jazz festival, Dickensian Christmas Fayre, monthly Farmers markets, and an August bank holiday carnival.

Grounds and Gardens

Guests have access to a small and private courtyard garden with four chairs, large table, parasol and lanterns for their use.  Because the owners have dogs and chickens, pets are not allowed and we cannot give guests access to the main gardens and orchard.

Additional Information

Lavenham has an excellent web site (Love Lavenham)

There is a designated Lavenham Walk of circa 3.5 miles
Lavenham has two museums: The Guild Hall and The Little Hall
Lavenham also has an active Woodland Project
Lavenham has a dentist, pharmacist and GP surgery in the village

Laveham has over 300 buildings listed for historical and architectural interest

Lavenham has over 40 clubs and societies (and we can provide any guest with the details)

Lavenham has over 100 businesses based in the village (and has an active Lavenham Forum, formerly its Merchants Guild)

Lavenham was formerly divided into five Guilds (and was once the 14th wealthiest place in the whole of England).  Its Guilds, its wealth and the rich merchant families whom lived here are all reflected in its street and house names and also in its heraldic symbols

De Vere House cannot accommodate pets (of any age) or children (under 14)

De Vere House is No Smoking throughout

Mobile phone reception is good at the front of the house and in the bedrooms but poor in the Hall and Dining Hall.  This may involve switching networks and routers when passing from the guest accommodation into the main house due to the thick walls within the house. 

Useful Links

For information concerning local attractions, restaurants and places of interest, the following web sites are full of additional information:

Contact information

Address: De Vere House, Water Street, Lavenham, Suffolk.  CO10 9RW
Telephone: 01787248383
Hours of opening: Open all year (22nd December to 2nd
January by prior arrangement)
Emergency numbers: 01787 378226 (GP and out of hours
doctors on call)
  0845 46 47 (NHS Direct) or 111
  999 (Emergency requiring an ambulance
or hospital attendance, Police, Fire)
Local taxi firms: 01787 247818 (Femme)
01787 310574 (Felix A Line)
  Femme do wheelchair taxis and offer a
female driver for female guests. 
Felix can do a vintage mini bus for hire,
great for a group excursion. 
Both are local firms, have been used by
the owners for years and provide
collection from Stanstead Airport or local
rail stations