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HISTORY OF BAYE HOUSE

 "perhaps the most attractive street in Colchester"

(Nikolas Pevsner, The Buildings of England 1954).

Baye House was originally built in the early 1600s in the Dutch Quarter. Later a Georgian facade was added and at the turn of the century the rear extended to create a wash room and kitchen.

The Dutch Quarter was so called because of Flemish refugee families who settled here during the reign of Elizabeth I to escape religious persecution at home. Many were expert clothmakers who on arrival angered the local clothmakers but over time, thanks to their expertise Colchester became one of the countries leading clothmakers. The house took it's name from one type of fine quality cloth made during this period, the bay.

Opposite the House is St Martins Church which dates back from the 12th century. The tower which is Norman was damaged in the civil war siege of 1648 and was never rebuilt. The massive vaults have been uncovered and can be viewed today. The aisle, transepts and chancel are 14th century. It is now used as a centre for exhibitions, music and theatre.

In the southeast corner of the churchyard is the grave of Jacob Ringer, a baymaker (clothmaker) who died 1680. He survived the siege in 1648 and had to pay a hefty fine imposed on the baymakers by Thomas Fairfax, the Parliamentary commander-in-chief during the English Civil War.

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