The Strange Story Of The Real ‘Godric’s Hollow’

“You think I don’t know what they’re capable of? You didn’t just lose a mother that night in Godric’s Hollow, you know. I lost a sister.” —Aunt Petunia, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” (2010)

In A Nutshell

Lavenham, England is a colorful, crooked little town that is believed to have sparked the idea for the poem, “A Crooked Little Man.” It was also the backdrop for scenes set in Godric’s Hollow in the Harry Potter movies. In the 1400s and 1500s, Lavenham was one of the richest towns in Britain from wealth generated by the wool trade. As the population skyrocketed, green timber was used to build new houses quickly. However, the timber warped as it dried, resulting in houses that bent at unusual angles to give the town its fascinating nursery rhyme look.

The Whole Bushel

Located 110 kilometers (70 mi) northeast of London, Lavenham is a colorful, crooked little town that is believed to have sparked the idea for the 1840s poem, “A Crooked Little Man.” Literally about half of the colorfully painted houses are distinctly crooked, almost as though they’re leaning on one another to prop them up. Lavenham was also the backdrop for scenes set in Godric’s Hollow in the Harry Potter movies. (If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you know that Godric’s Hollow is the place where both Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter were born. It’s also the spot where Harry’s parents were killed by evil Lord Voldemort and Harry received the notable scar on his forehead.)

On Water Street in Lavenham, 14th-century De Vere House was the particular cottage used to depict Godric’s Hollow in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. The moviemakers filmed a number of pictures of the house over a two-year period to create the fictional village. In the movie, the house can be seen opposite the graveyard in Godric’s Hollow. “They used parts of the house like pieces of a massive three-dimensional jigsaw, cutting and pasting them to form the streets of Godric’s Hollow,” said Tony Ranzetta, the owner of De Vere House at that time. “They even made the final result a snow scene in the winter, with a Christmas tree in our front window and carol singing coming from within the house.”

Actors Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson weren’t there during the filming. Their characters, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, were added digitally with a computer at a later time. De Vere House has become quite a tourist attraction since then, with people clamoring to have their photographs taken in the doorway of the house. (The only other UK doorway more popular for photographs is 10 Downing Street.)

The crooked houses in Lavenham weren’t constructed that way on purpose. In the 1400s and 1500s, Lavenham was one of the richest towns in Britain from wealth generated by the wool trade. As the population skyrocketed, green timber was used to build new houses quickly. However, the timber warped as it dried, resulting in houses that bent at unusual angles to give the town its fascinating nursery rhyme look. But the town hit hard times economically almost as fast as it grew. Without money to rebuild, the residents were forced to leave their houses crooked.

Show Me The Proof

Royal Air Force Mildenhall: Lavenham—Stepping back in time with crooked houses, cream teas
Visit Lavenham: Lavenham, a Harry Potter set!
The Telegraph: The cottage where Harry Potter was born goes on sale for nearly £1 million

  • Hillyard

    I don’t suppose that anyone will ever have the straight dope on why these houses are so crooked. There is some TFHB stuff going on here.

  • It was illuminati.

  • Sutanu Satpathy

    one of the houses could have been used to show the burrow which in actuality is crooked.

  • theteacup

    Dumbledore wasn’t born in Godric’s hollow, his family moved there after his father went to Azkaban. He was born in Mould-on-the-Wold.