Ed singing in his hometown: The church and Castle can clearly be seen in this video!
The church and tombs:
Saint Michael’s church, in Framlingham, Suffolk, has the tombs of Henry Fitzroy Duke of Richmond (who was the illegitimate son of Henry VIII) Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk. (Anne Boleyn’s infamous uncle.) his 1st wife and his heir Henry Earl of Surrey. Surrey was executed on Tower Hill on 19th January 1547 and surprisingly, for a executed traitor, has a wonderful tomb.
If you look closely at his cornet on his tomb it is made of fibreglass as it was refurbished in the 1970’s when everything in Britain seemed to be fixed by fibreglass. The church warden informed me that he feels the colours were restored too brightly for a Tudor tomb.
Visitors are welcome to enter St. Michaels Church free of charge to see where Henry Fitzroy and the Howards are buried. Be aware that this is still a Christian place of worship and services do take place throughout the day. All are welcome to join in if they wish or to simply look around. (You do not have to be a practising Christian and people of other faiths and of none are encouraged to have a look too!)
Framlingham Castle and St. Michaels Church are very close to each other and you can visit them both easily in one day. There are other Tudor buildings to spot in the town too and a ducking pond for witches!
There are leaflets about the history of the church which are left out for visitors. These are very useful if there is not a church warden on duty who has historical knowledge to point out the interesting things to you. They are not obliged to do this but they often will if they spot an enthusiast. I was spotted gasping at the tombs just as the church was closing for the night and the warden I spoke to was really generous with his time.
The tomb of Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk. He was Anne Boleyn’s and Catherine Howard’s infamous uncle.
I would like to encourage all visitors to make a small donation to the church because this beautiful place is short of funds and needs to be taken care of for future generations of excited visitors and Christians. If you look carefully at the outside of the building you can see where the walls are tipping slowly over! If you are a UK tax payer you can donate tax free via gift aid which means that the church receives more money from the British Government without any extra cost to you whatsoever.
The friends of Saint Michaels church can be joined from all over the world for a minimum payment of £10 a year. The church which is over 600 years old and is always in need of surveys and repair. In return a quarterly newsletter is sent to members informing them of events and how the money is spent. http://www.stmichaelsframlingham.org.uk
Conducted tours of St. Michaels can be led by knowledgeable guides for a small fee . These hour long tours must be booked on the website via email. Parties of between 10-20 are also welcomed. Guides use microphones for larger groups and there is a loop system for those who need it. Visitors will hear all about the Howard Dukes of Norfolk throughout Tudor history and learn things that are not well known. The church organ is splendid and recordings of it are played during the tour.
The castle is taken care of by English Heritage which is a charity that preserves over 400 English historic buildings. These include palaces, world prehistoric sites, abbeys, Roman forts, a cold war bunker, castles and a village. The charity’s purpose is to bring English history to life which it does very well.
Details of opening times and costs are on the website. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/framlingham-castle/history/
There are many events which take place at the castle these include out door performances, jousting, meeting Normans, castle attacks, archaeology events for the family, knights tournaments and medieval mayhem to name a few. There is a shop, picnic area, a kiosk selling food and drink in the summer and kiosk staff will provide hot water warm baby food and bottles on request.
There are toilets, disabled toilets, baby changing facilities (all in the car park), a museum, an exhibition, audio tours for adults and children, gardens and parking. Buggies and strollers are allowed on the ground floor. Climbing up to the castle walkway can be tricky for the elderly and some small children. A hazard information sheet can be found on the website. There is also information for school visits and to You tube, Facebook and Twitter. It really is worth walking around the moat just because you get a feel for the whole scale and atmosphere of the castle.
Mary 1st was declared Queen in this castle and a grovelling Robert Dudley was brought to see the Queen here after supporting his sister in laws (Lady Jane Grey/Dudley’s) attempt to take the throne.
There is an on-line shop which is worth a visit especially if you live overseas as there is a whole selection of Tudor related gifts under the title collections .http://www.english-heritageshop.org.uk/
Framingham’s records go back to the year 1086 when it was mentioned in the Doomsday book. The castle still has a ducking pond although its said that witches have not been put on trial there for sometime. http://www.framlingham.com
The sausage fest
Framlingham is a very special and traditional English market town. Called Fram by the locals it is famous for the sausage fest which is held there in October of each year. For £20 for a family of four or £7.50 per person visitors get to taste varieties of freshly cooked sausages from local farms. The sausages come in three varieties: traditional pork, gluten free and pork free.
The market is usually in full swing during the sausage fest selling delightful local produce and local cider. This is a family centred event with street entertainers, activities and workshops. Visitors vote for their favourite sausages after tasting them all. After gorging themselves on local the local produce locals stagger to the butchers to buy the best sausages to take home. By the time the festival ends everyone feels like they are sausage tasting experts. http://www.framsausagefest.co.uk/
There are two unique Victorian pillar boxes which are considered the rarest in the country which visited by post box enthusiasts from around the globe. Seriously I saw it on the BBC! Who would have thought?
I highly recommend the family friendly Chinese restaurant ‘Mr Chan’s’ too. Its well priced and the staff are very friendly. The buffet is good value and it is right opposite the church as you go up market hill towards the castle: http://www.framlingham.com/directory_search_results_detail.php?ID=28
The local pubs are great too. I have been in all three and had lunch. Links to map and reviews: https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C1CHBF_en-GBGB689GB689&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=framlingham%20pubs
Another interesting (non Tudor) history website is the Framlingham historical photograph archive: http://framlinghamarchive.org.uk