Paycockes in Coggeshall


Moving on from the  Paycocke brasses at St Peters through Coggeshall itself is the house most closely associated with the Paycocke family. I couldn't get in because the National Trust don't open it on a Monday, so instead I contented myself photographing the absolutely exquisite carvings that cover the outside.

The Paycocke family came from Clare (over the border in Suffolk) in the 14th century. Thomas Paycocke died in 1461, and was believed to have been a butcher in Coggeshall
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  Some people say it was a John Paycocke, who built this beautiful house. Although he was also described as being a butcher he was doing very well for himself and owned a large field in Church Street. Meat and wool go together and two of his three sons became clothiers.
    Others reckon that it was John's son Thomas who commissioned the West Street house to live in with his wife. Whatever the facts of the matter the  youngest son Thomas got this house, another son Robert also got a house left to him and yet a third house was willed to John's widow, the boys' mother. Times must have been good! I don't know what happened to his namesake son John though. Did he get a house too?

You know, I look at the carvings and wonder "why is that Dragon upside down?" "Does it mean anything?"
 
 
An angelic design, reminds me of some misericords I've seen before
 
 
Foliage and flowers...
 
This design in the shield is the Paycocke merchant mark. It was this that I was hoping might be  graffiti'd in the church

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I imagine that this twisted creature is a sheep (which incidentally were smaller in stature then). I've done a lot of reading around sheep and it seems the poor feeding conditions in the middle ages were actually conducive in producing very, very fine wool; as fine as the contemporary merino sheep. 
Sadly as time marches on English wool becomes coarser and the Spanish wool overtakes as a superior product.
 
Can you see the man disappearing down the trumpet flower?

Oh hang on - there's the rest of him reappearing!
It's obviously quite a good game.
 
 


I hope these figures are supposed to represent Thomas and his wife Margaret (nee Harrold)  They certainly had a beautiful home.