As well as nurturing the artist John Constable, Flatford has also been home to an array of interesting characters. John Constable would have known some of them for example:
- Willy Lott, a tenant farmer whose house was a favourite subject in Constable’s paintings
- The Rev Durrand Rhudde who for seven years prevented him from marrying Rhudde’s grand daughter Maria Bicknell
- The John Dunthornes both father and son – the latter a local tradesman and amateur painter and the latter a painter who became John Constable’s assistant.
Interesting characters have continued to be part of Flatford Life including:
- Thomas Parkington who rescued the Mill and Willy Lotts House from decay and dereliction in the 1920s and who, when he died in 1945 left the properties to the National Trust
- Leonard Richardson, a local farmer who owned Valley Farm and in 1935 sold it to the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
- Leonard’s daughters Kathleen, Sylvia and Margaret who all lived and worked at Flatford. Sylvia and Margaret Richardson opened the first Flatford Tea Gardens in the 1920s while living in a converted trolley bus that turned out to be the oldest in the world and is now a museum piece!
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The John Dunthornes
Rev Durrand Rhudde