Historic Landscape Study of East Bergholt and the Cultural Legacy of John Constable.
By Claire Browne and Anne Johnson
HCUK Group has completed a historic landscape study of East Bergholt to inform the Neighbourhood Plan. The study considers the archaeological dimension of the village that stretches back into prehistory, the time depth of the landscape around the village (documented in the paintings of John Constable) and the modern heritage and landscape context of the village. A unique approach and methodology has been used in this study to determine landscape value. It considers the significance of East Bergholt to Constable’s legacy as well as the presence of archaeological and heritage assets.
East Bergholt is a very special English village as the birthplace of the internationally renowned painter John Constable (1776-1837). It was his inspiration throughout his life. Constable’s iconic landscape paintings were not just of Flatford Mill; the village and former common heath were important subjects in his work. Many views in Constable’s paintings remain unchanged today. The study charts the organic growth of East Bergholt since prehistoric times, through medieval changes to the 19th century, and to the present. The narrative describes the satellite hamlets, the field enclosures of the 19th century, and the survival of the open heath. Importantly, the study assesses the landscape sensitivity of key areas around East Bergholt, from a heritage and cultural point of view. Historic research by Dr Anne Johnson has been combined with fieldwork and narrative by Claire Browne to produce an important document that will be key to planning the future of East Bergholt.
The report documents the way in which the historic association of the medieval satellite hamlets and village greens has been weakened or lost due to encroachment, including Quinton’s Area and land south of Gandish Road. Landscape and development guidelines are proposed to protect the historic environment from inappropriate encroachment or from erosion of character. Greater recognition of the important association with Constable and close associations with the village and the former common warrants a higher level of protection so that historic landscape character can be strengthened and enhanced for future generations.
You can read the full report and see the associated appendices below: