Flatford

Colour photo of Flatford Mill

Flatford Mill today

 Flatford is a hamlet on the southern edge of the parish of East Bergholt in Suffolk. The parish is just over 3000 acres and was established in Anglo Saxon times. It was divided into four manors with Old Hall Manor the principal manor containing part of Flatford hamlet. It is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1084 as the royal parish of ‘Bercolt’, it being held as the personal property of the king. East Suffolk is mainly an agricultural area and, until the mid 16th century, was very involved with cloth making.

Flatford is  an area of outstanding natural beauty, famous for its historical connections with John Constable RA. Constable was born in nearby East Bergholt. He spent his childhood in Suffolk where his father owned a number of mills including Flatford Mill and ran a string of commercial barges up and down the River Stour. On this website you can find out more about John Constable and his life at Flatford as a child and young man. You can learn about his parents, brothers and sisters, how he struggled as an artist, how he fell in love, his large family and tragic death of his young wife. In a letter to his close friend John Fisher, Constable said ‘I should paint my own places best’. John Constable knew Flatford in the Dedham Vale best.

Discover John Constable’s places through his paintings of his childhood home including:

  • Flatford Mill – Grade 1 listed watermill
    • Before the Constables
    • Under the Constables
    • After the Constables 
  • Willy Lott’s House – Grade 1 listed building
  • Valley Farm – Grade 1 listed building
  • Bridge Cottage – Grade 2 listed building

Constable’s most famous landscape is The Haywain which depicts horses and a vehicle crossing the mill pond at Flatford Mill with Willy Lott’s House in full view. The landscapes Constable painted are much the same today as they were then, unspoiled and beautifully maintained by a variety of organisations including the National Trust, River Stour Trust, the Field Studies Council, RSPB and the Environment Agency.

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If you wish to visit Flatford please click on the National Trust website below where you will find directions and full information as to what you can see and do there.

National Trust Flatford