Hoxne Public Houses



The Swan Inn

Rear view of The Swan

The Swan Inn is a 15th Century listed building, formerly known as Bishops Lodge. Built in 1480 by the Bishop of Norwich, The Swan's interior reflects Hoxne's ecclesiastical past, with ornate ceiling beams and wide-planked floors.

The existence of a C16 side passage suggests that the building was already an inn. The parlour has moulded cross-beams and a dragon beam, evidence that the front and gable end of this section were once jettied. The Ceiling of parlour chamber has 2 chamfered bridging beams intersecting with moulded axial beams; moulded joists, possibly re-used. A First floor room in former stair wing has a stuccoed fireplace over which is an early C18 plaster cartouche, the central oval tablet shows a Resurrection scene and above is a coat of arms which contained the sacred monogram IHS. This room is likely to have been a private chapel for a Roman Catholic family.

The following is a list of known publicans:

Year Landlord Source Notes
1640 John Austin Parish Burial Records Tapster of The Swan, buried 10th July
1726 Henry Bilby Ipswich Journal 23rd April
1741 George Gooch Ipswich Journal 29th Jan 1742 Advert for the reletting of the Swan after the death of George Gooch - buried 14th Dec 1741 in Hockham, Norfolk
1757 John Capes 1757 Hoxne Hall estate map John Capes buried 31st May 1763
1758 Robert & Ann Sack Ipswich Journal 28th October Previously the cook for Thomas Maynard
1777 William Spurdens Norfolk Chronicle 25th January When William was buried 24 April 1783 his widow, Frances, took over as landlady
1794 Widow Frances Jackson Norfolk Chronicle 9th August
1807 James Chase Ipswich Journal 7th March James takes on the Swan at about this date
1825 William Huse Ipswich Journal 15th October
1841 William Huse Census
1844 William Huse White's Directory
1851 Simon Walker Census
1855 Simon Walker White's Directory
1855 Simon Walker Suffolk Chronicle Advert to be let by Messrs Cotton & Co, Brewers, Eye, Suffolk
1858 Robert Grant Post Office Directory
1861 Robert Grant Census
1869 John Calton Kelly's Directory
1871 John Calton Census
1874 Edward Mortimer White's Directory
1875 Edward Mortimer The Post Office Directory
1877 Edward Mortimer Framlingham Weekly News 10th November Advert in Ipswich Journal 17th November for reletting from next February
1879 Charles Huggins Kelly's Directory Innkeeper & carpenter
1881 Charles Huggins Census Innkeeper & carpenter
1891 Charles Huggins Census Licensed victualler & Builder
1892 Charles Huggins White's Directory Licensed victualler, builder,contractor & farmer
1894 Charles Huggins Ipswich Journal 26th May Death of Charles Huggins
1896 Arthur Barker Kelly's Directory The Swan was called the Swan Hotel
1900 Arthur Barker Kelly's Directory The Swan was called the Swan Hotel
1901 Arthur Barker Census Licensed victualler & Auctioneer's Clerk
1911 William Craven Taylor Census Licensed victualler & Army Pensioner
1916 William Craven Taylor Kelly's Directory The Swan was called the Swan Hotel
1925/6 Mrs Elizabeth Taylor Kelly's Directory The Swan was called the Swan Inn
1928/9 Mrs Elizabeth Taylor Kelly's Directory
1939 John A King 1939 Register
1950 H J Bullingham Britsh Phone Book
1963 A C Humphrey Britsh Phone Book

The following is an architectural appraisal of The Swan carried out by the Suffolk Historic Buildings Group in 1996.

The Swan is a fine early timber-framed building which has been studied in some detail by Stephen Heywood and Robert Smith.

Because of the way the upper floor was divided into three separate units, each with its own stair, an original use as a high class guests lodging house has been postulated. It was an Inn by 1619, a plan of that date also showing a carriage entrance which has since disappeared. The brick front was added in the 18th century and at the rear there have been various later additions.

Sketch of The Swan

The two principle ground floor rooms have good moulded ceilings. The diagonal dragon beam in the parlour ceiling shows that the front and south end walls were once jettied.

The narrow two-storied wing behind the main chimney stack is original. Its function is unclear but it may have been a porch. The first floor room in it was heated by a fireplace in the flank of the main stack.

The two-storied porch to the south is a slightly later addition of high quality, possibly an upgrading of the original porch. Note the jettied first floor and end gable, and yet another overhang at collar level! Also the open-sided arrangement on the ground floor.

Plan of The Swan

Oriel and clerestorey windows lit the fine first floor chamber with a moulded cambered ceiling, like a church porch.

The two-storey outshut behind the parlour seems to have contained an original stair as well as a small end room on each floor, the upper of these lit by a window with three arch-headed lights.

With thanks to Stephen Heywood and Robert Smith of the Suffolk Historic Buildings Group.


The Grapes

The Grapes is a listed building in Cross Street, now a private residence, formerly known as the Grapes Inn. It is timber framed with a thatched roof. It is a former open hall house of c.15th century, the upper end rebuilt and enlarged c.1700. The original roof is intact and is considerably smoke-blackened. A floor was inserted in the hall in the late 16th century.

The following is a list of known publicans:

Year Landlord Source Notes
1828 Noah Read Bury & Norwich Post
1829 Robert Rush Suffolk Chronicle 7th October Robert Rush to leave the Grapes at Michaelmas
1833 Miller Roddwell Ipswich Journal 6th July Sale of The Grapes by Mr Rodwell
1841 Miller Roddwell Census
1842 Miller Rodwell Suffolk Chronicle 22nd January Sale of the goods of Miller Rodwell on leaving The Grapes to move to The Crown Inn, Framlingham
1844 J. Pipe White's Directory Innkeeper & Veterinary Surgeon
1851 John Pipe Census
1855 Henry Mutimer White's Directory
1858 Henry Mutimer Post Office Directory Inn keeper & Butcher
1861 Henry Mutimer Census Dealer & Inn keeper
1865 Alfred Rush Kelly's Directory
1869 Charles Frost Post Office Directory
1871 Charles Frost Census
1874 Charles Frost White's Directory Charles was buried 22nd April 1875 - aged 60
1875 Mrs Honor Frost Post Office Directory
1876 Mrs Honor Frost Ipswich Journal
1876 Mrs Honor Frost Bury and Norwich Post 4th April Sale of the Lower Brewery and 36 pubs including The Grapes by Charles Farrow of Diss. All bought for £30,000 by Messers Young, Crawshay & Co., Norwich on 20th March
1879 Edward Steward Kelly's Directory
1881 Edward Steward Census
1883 Edward Steward Kelly's Directory
1884 Edward Steward Ipswich Journal 7th June Funeral of Edward Steward who died on the 4th June
1888 Mrs Steward Kelly's Directory
1891 Mrs Steward Census
1892 Mrs Steward White's Directory
1900 Mrs Emma Steward Kelly's Directory
1901 Emma Steward Census
1904 Albert T. Aldred Post Office Directory
1911 Patrick Daley Census Publican & Army Pensioner
1912 Patrick Daley Post Office Directory
1916 William T. Bailey Kelly's Directory
1922 William T. Bailey Kelly's Directory
1925 William T. Bailey Kelly's Directory William died on the 3rd April 1929
1939 Reginald Warner 1939 Register
1970 Mr and Mrs Tony Feavearyear Diss Express 23rd April 1971

The Ipswich sessions, reported in the Bury & Norwich Post on 23rd April 1828, stated that Robert Hunton had, under false pretences, obtained 7 quarts of beer from Mr Noah Read at the Grapes public-house at Hoxne. He received a sentence of one month's hard labour.

Reported in the Ipswich Journal of 13th July 1850, Josiah Harvey, aged 22, (incorrectly reported as Jonah) was convicted of stealing half-a-crown and other monies, the property of John Pipe, landlord of the Grapes public-house, Hoxne. As the prisoner had a previous conviction he was sentenced to be transported for ten years. A Josiah Harvey, who was convicted at the Ipswich Quarter Sessions on 5th July 1850 and sentenced to 10 years, was transported to Western Australia on the vessel 'Marion' on the 30th October 1851. The ship carried 280 male convicts according to the Australian Convict Transportation Registers.

There was an advert in the Ipswich Journal on the 18th March 1876 for the sale of The Grapes. This was part of the sale of the Lower Brewery in Diss and its associated public houses. The Grapes was described as a substantial full-licensed Inn , with ranges of Buildings, Front Garden and Orchard and 2a. 3r. 21p. of Arable and Pasture LAND, in the occupation of Mrs Honor Frost.

The club room at the Grapes was capable of holding about 100 people. Political meetings were held there in 1884.


The Red Lion (?- 1964)


The Red Lion

The Red Lion Inn was timber framed with a thatched roof and was located in Cross Street. It was badly damaged by fire in 1964 and subsequently demolished.

Alec Jolly took over The Red Lion on 11th October 1958 and left 9th May 1964 when it burnt down. The pub was owned by the Steward and Patersons brewery rented, by Alec Jolly, for £26 per year, which also included 10 acres of land. Alec installed a Juke box shortly after taking over which brought in trade from further afield. There were 100-200 regular customers. Mostly bottled beer was sold(1pt was 10d) Draught cider was the same price bought in at 5d sold for 10d then put up to 1 shilling. Games, played in the pub, were shove halfpenny and darts.

The following is a list of known publicans:

Year Landlord Source Notes
1757 Mary Abbott 1757 Hoxne Hall estate map
1777 John Stollery Ipswich Journal 20th December
1801 John Stollery Ipswich Journal 28th Nov 1801 Advert for auction of Cross Street properties at The Red Lion to be shown by John Stollery of the Lion Inn.
1802 John Stollery Ipswich Journal 25th Sept 1802 Auction of contents of The Red Lion Inn late in the occupation of John Stollery, deceased - buried 7th July 1802, aged 59.
1841 Alfred Kent Census
1844 Alfred Kent White's Directory
1851 Alfred Kent Census
1855 Alfred Kent White's Directory
1858 William HIgh Post Office Directory
1861 Honor High Census
1862 William High Suffolk Chronicle 13th September Sale of the goods of William High on leaving The Red Lion
1865 Charles Neaves Kelly's Directory
1866 Charles Neaves Suffolk Chronicle 17th March Advert for letting The Red Lion by Mr B C Etheridge, Brewer, Eye, Suffolk
1867 Charles Neaves Norfolk News 31st August Readvertised for letting The Red Lion by Mr B C Etheridge, Brewer, Eye, Suffolk
1868 Charles Neaves Suffolk Chronicle 29th August Advertised again for letting The Red Lion by Mr B C Etheridge, Brewer, Eye, Suffolk
1869 Charles Neaves Ipswich Journal 25th September Sale of the goods of Charles Neaves on leaving The Red Lion
1871 John Bart Blomfield Census
1875 George Bullingham Post Office Directory Innkeeper & Cattle dealer
1879 Edward Tye Kelly's Directory Innkeeper & Blacksmith
1881 Edward Tye Census Innkeeper & Blacksmith
1888 Edward Tye Kelly's Directory Innkeeper & Blacksmith
1891 Edward Tye Census Innkeeper & Blacksmith
1892 Edward Tye Kelly's Directory
1896 Walter Huggins jun. Kelly's Directory Innkeeper, horse trainer & dealer, & district councillor
1900 Walter Huggins jun. Kelly's Directory
1901 Walter Huggins Census
1904 Walter Huggins jun. Post Office Directory
1911 Charles Smith Census
1912 Chas. Smith Kelly's Directory
1913 Charles Smith Kelly's Directory
1922 Chas. Smith Kelly's Directory
1929 Charles Smith Kelly's Directory
1939 Archie Bird 1939 Register Archie died in 1964
1958 Alec Jolly Alec Jolly Publican from 11 Oct 1958 until the Red Lion burnt down 9 May 1964


The Red Lion

The Red Lion caught fire on Saturday afternoon, 9th May 1964. The licensee's wife, Mrs Ivy Jolly, was the first to see that the wooden barn next door was alight. The strong westerly wind fanned the blaze onto the thatched roof of the Red Lion. It took the firemen nearly 20 hours to put out the flames and pull down the wrecked thatched roof. Two fireman narrowly escaped injury as one of the three chimneys suddenly collapsed.


The Red Lion

Many local villagers turned out to save most of the furniture, beer and spirits despite the heat, smoke and the water from the firemen's hoses. Soon after the firemen had left, the customers turned up in scores bringing out the salvaged bottles and a juke box from the bar, setting up an open- air bar.


The Red Lion

Someone had chalked the words "Business as usual" on the green baize top of a card table and put it on a heap of burnt thatch.

The Red Lion

Alec Jolly, the licensee, tried to negotiate for a marquee and hoped to be able to carry on until the brewers, Steward & Patterson Ltd., decided the Red Lions future.
Sadly the pub was considered to be in too bad a condition and was subsequently demolished.

See also Alec Jolly's oral reminisences of Hoxne and The Red Lion →

With thanks to the Potter family for the pictures.


The Royal Oak

The Royal Oak is a timber framed building with a thatched roof. It is now a private residence called 'The Retreat'. It is in Chickering Road, Heckfield Green.


The Falcon (?- 1789)

The Ipswich Journal of 2nd May 1789 reports the Swan Inn was burnt down.

"Thursday se'nnight a dinner was given to all the poor in the town of Hoxne, by the principle inhabitants there,on account of his Majesty's recovery; after which some guns were fired, when the wadding (as it is supposed) lodging upon the thatch of the Swan Inn, it unfortunately caught fire, and the house was soon reduced to ashes, notwithstanding every effort of the inhabitants to extinguish the flames. One man had his arm broke, and six others were terribly bruised, by the breaking of a ladder, whereon they were ascending to get on the top of the house."

However this seems to be incorrect as the Swan Inn is still standing!

The following advert was printed in the Ipswich Journal of 13th June 1789.

To Be Sold by Auction

"On Wednesday, the 24th day of June instant, between Three and Five o'clock in the afternoon, at the Swan Inn, in the county of Hoxne.

The remaining Part of all that Messuage, being a Public House, called the Falcon, in Hoxne aforesaid, part whereof hath been lately destroyed by fire, and a six stalled stable entire, in good repair, together with the seite of the said house, and the yards and hemplands belonging thereto, containing about an acre, situate in the street of Hoxne aforesaid, all freehold.

Further particulars may be had by applying to Messrs. Browne and Taylor of Diss, Norfolk."

It seems that the original reporter confused the two pubs. The Falcon appears to have been a thatched building in the Street in Hoxne with stabling, yards and about an acre of land, unfortunately we do not know where it stood.

The church wardens accounts even mention the incident which was dated 23rd April 1789

"Upwards of 400 poor people dined in the Low Street at Hoxne by a voluntary subscription of £ s.d. in commemmoration of the Kings happy recovery from a fit of insanity.... The day concluded with melancholly circumstance of the burning of the Falcon publick House. (never any more suffer the firing of guns on rejoicing days)"

The following is a list of known publicans:

Year Landlord Source Notes
1782 Robert Talbot Ipswich Journal 16th November
1785 Robert Talbot Ipswich Journal 17th September

In September 1787 the Petty Sessions for the Hoxne Hundred for the hiring and retaining of servants was held at the Falcon.(The Ipswich Journal 22nd September 1787)


The Christopher

The Christopher