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Suffolk Coat of Arms

Sep 2016

ēg Anglian island, dry ground surrounded by marsh.

Population - 2,154.

Suffolk Coat of Arms

This is still in Suffolk but only just since the border with Norfolk is just up the road. Although the old name describes an island in the sense of dry ground surrounded by marsh, they're still a little bit cut off here.

A-roads to the west and north mean you're unlikely to be passing through but there's a stronger than usual sense of community here due to a pride in the place being quite Eye-catching, probably.

Watch your speed on your way in on the B1117 over Abbey Bridge, though, they've got their Eye on you!

Eye - Abbey Bridge Eye - B1117 Eye - Twinned with Pouzauges in France

There was a temptation to go down that route, 'Eye don't believe it!' or, because it's twinned with Pouzauges in France, 'Eye shall say zees urnly wance' but that would just be lazy, aye?

The town boasts more listed buildings than Lavenham but there's something more modern at the top of the car park off Cross Street.

Local artist Ben Platts-Mills' Michael's Gate is a nod to the ley line that's said to run right through this very spot.

Eye - Michael's Gate

Most people might claim that with a little bit of practice, they could bang out a passable painting but there's no way you could do that!

Ben died unexpectedly in 2014 and more of his chainsaw sculptures are dotted around Suffolk and beyond through his work with his friends at  Treesculpture.

Up on Lambseth Street, another sight is the ' crinkle crankle' wall. Built in a  serpentine style, it supposedly saves on the bricks but just looks like showing off from here.

Eye - Crinkle Crankle Wall

Whatever the whyfors, it's just one of the spectacles here.

 
Not the Queens Head (Lowgate Street)

Just the one pub here now, right next to the car park and advising trippers are generally positive. There's said to have been at least 18 pubs over the years and this is suspected to have been one.

Eye - Not the Queens Head

The plaque is thought to belong to the Lacons brewery of Great Yarmouth. No? Never heard of them, neither.

Opposite the wall and not too far from the old almshouses is the birthplace of the town's most infamous son, probably.

Eye - Bedingfield Almshouses

Notorious serial killer  Richard Hillman would move north and after bumping off his business partner, he murdered a hairdresser, hit an old lady on the head before driving into a canal and drowning with the  Wannadies on full blast, or did he?

A bit of an imp, Hillman, although it's more likely to have been a Ford Focus.

That's a joke, of course, one of Eye's real sons was the relatively well-known artist  William Hoare although he'd later decamp to Bath.

Frances Rix by William Hoare

This one is of Frances, one of the local, landed Rix family although, just like Hillman, you'll have to head north to see it. It's in the Manchester Art Gallery, you see, but because of its size, blink and you'll miss it.

The Town Hall was considered a bit of a blight by some when it was unveiled in 1856. Some thought the unconventional architect, Edward Buckton Lamb, a visionary while others labelled him a rogue.

Eye - Town Hall

It's no Town Hall no more but hosts a weekly market on Wednesdays between 10 and get this, 11 AM.

It's not thought that  Dale Winton is here to offer encouragement should you be leaving it late to fill your basket.

The monument on Broad Street is to some bloke called Kerrison but more on him in a minute.

Eye - Broad Street

Just next door you'll find 'The Handyman' store and I love these places and could easily spend an hour inside. It's thought to be the smell, which is of grandad's shed, although there's often an obligation to buy a small bag of screws or some shoelaces.

Today it was some electrical tape for a makeshift fix on a plastic belt buckle.

Chatting to the guy inside, it turns out he's not actually that handy but he does live just around the corner.

© the 1970s, come on, just trying to keep it jocular.

 
Bank Arts Centre (Castle Street)

So they struggled with a tuna melt and a cheese and pickle panini but there was a warning of a 'big' order just going in. That trios' cheese-on-toasts finally arrived with unforgivably charcoaled crusts soon followed by the red-cheeked 'chef' who headed outside only to return minutes later with... a tin of tuna!

Eye - Bank Arts Centre

Twenty minutes later, the presented paninis were satisfactory but to the table waiting behind... 'I'm sorry, we're all out of... tuna.' They did acknowledge they were struggling in today's 'rush' and the apology and the discount were accepted.

It's as much about the art, however, and at least there were plenty of interesting-enough paintings and books to browse.

The Old Guildhall on Church Street can be found next to the Church of St Peter and St Paul. Yes, they're both yea old but there's a better view behind you from up... why,  Eye Castle.

Eye - Guildhall and Church of St Peter and St Paul Eye Castle - Down to Guildhall and Church of St Peter and St Paul Eye Castle - Bailey

Classic  motte-and-bailey, it's thought you'll agree, although not that much remains of the 11th-century motte and the brickwork on the bailey is a bit more recent, Victorian recent.

Sir Edward Kerrison was a local, military man and being a Lieutenant-Colonel was assigned a faithful manservant. His  batman is said to have saved his life at Waterloo and as an act of gratitude, Kerrison built him a small abode in the bailey, the remains of which are mostly what can be seen today.

Kerrison continued to display his indebtedness by preparing his man's evening meal when he could be heard at around 7 PM, shouting out of the window... 'Dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner... batman!'

© the 1960s and just displaying a degree of vacuous humour.

 
River Dove & Big Head

If you've time, there's a short, circular walk to be done so head south past the Community Centre and turn left after the river to pass some ponds.

Eye - River Dove & Big Head

At the main road, you'll meet Big Head, part of the Hearts of Oak Sculpture Trail and that continues through some fields to return by the B1177.