Walk B: Langham to East Bergholt via Dedham
A quintessential cottage and a hunt for home.
Langham to East Bergholt via Dedham
The starting point for this walk is the quiet village of Langham, on the south side of Dedham Vale, four miles as the crow flies south-west of East Bergholt. We will try to find the spot near Church Farm (Glebe Farm), and the viewpoint over the hill for St Mary’s Church, which Constable combined in his composition ‘The Glebe Farm’.
Constable knew the cottage well: it had been the parish lodgings of his mentor and early patron, John Fisher (1748-1825), Rector of Langham, who later became Bishop of Salisbury. They met in 1798, and Constable became a regular visitor, painting many of his early views of Dedham from this location. In 1818 Fisher presided over Constable’s marriage to Maria Bicknell. Constable painted multiple versions of this view, adding the church behind the house to make it a memorial to his great friend and supporter.
From Langham we’ll make our way to Dedham, looking closely at one of Constable’s depictions of Dedham Mill, which developed over multiple stages.
We’ll walk the footpath up to East Bergholt, which Constable trod hundreds of times to make the journey to and from school. We’ll stop near East Bergholt cemetery and look back towards Langham using images of the print ‘Summer Evening’.
Finally, we’ll get as close as we can to the site of Constable’s childhood home, East Bergholt House, which Constable used as the frontispiece to ‘English Landscape’ and discuss the text Constable wrote for the plate.
With frequent foot pleased have I in my cheerful morn of life, when nursed by careless solitude I lived and sung of Nature with unceasing joy, pleased have I wandered o'er your fair domain.
The Four Seasons: Winter, James Thomson, 1726