Wingfield College in Suffolk represents a remarkable survival of a late medieval college built in a distinctly regional timber-framed style.
The foundation of a college in 1362 for a master, nine chaplains and three choral scholars was a statement of the wealth, power and piety of Sir John de Wingfield, a noted English captain of the Hundred Years War. Sir John's daughter and heiress later married into the de la Pole (Dukes of Suffolk) family and Wingfield became associated with one of England's greatest noble magnates.
The Virtual Past team were asked to produce a digital model of the college as it would have appeared in the late fourteenth century, with a series of fades tracing its development over time.
Behind the present Georgian front that greets the visitor today, lies one of the best preserved timber-framed colleges in England. As befits a medieval building, the centrepiece of the Virtual Past reconstruction is the great hall, which shows a feast scene with the patronal family visiting Wingfield in the late fifteenth century. Such an occasion would have seen the master of the college entertain John de La Pole, Duke of Suffolk, and his entourage.
The flythrough not only shows the interior of the great hall in all its splendour, but also features a soundtrack of recreated contemporary organ music; fragments of a medieval organ remain in Wingfield church today.
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The Virtual Past reconstruction is based upon a close examination and recording of the extant timber framing, geophysical survey of the college grounds, historical documents relating to the manor and analysis of other buildings associated with the de la Poles. The research undertaken during this project has added considerably to our knowledge of the college and its place in the social landscape of Suffolk after the Black Death (1348). In short, the reconstruction plays a significant part in the visitor interpretation at the site and will be on display during visits.