7 Real Ale pubs
Where pubs have been renamed, we usually list only the most recent known name here. Other names can be found in the Pub list tab. (For closed pubs which only traded for a short time under a newer name, we generally list them under the longer-established name) Ancient pubs are defined as those which are believed to have closed before the middle of the 19th century.
Population (2011) of Beccles: 10 123.
Local licensing authority for Beccles is East Suffolk.
Beccles is built on a river cliff, overlooking the Waveney valley. This attractive market town dates from Saxon times and unusually, is still known by the same name by which it was recorded in Domesday. At the time of Domesday, a fishing port thrived at the river mouth. Today the town is better known for printing and tourism. Admiral Horatio Nelson's father, Edmund, was once the curate at St Michael's church and was married here to Catherine Sucking (a local woman) in 1754. Unusually St Michael's has a detached tower (92 feet high) which contains 10 bells and was built in 1515. The tower has clock-faces on only three sides, because the builders "didn't want to give the time to Norfolk".
Perhaps the most significant former pupil of the John Leman Grammar School was Nobel laureate Dorothy Hodgkin, who was awarded the prize for Chemistry in 1964 for her work on the structure of vitamin B12. She also decyphered the structure of insulin and confirmed the structure of penicillin.
Douglas Adams and John Lloyd defined Beccles in their Meaning of Liff as "The small bone buttons placed in bacon sandwiches by unemployed guerrilla dentists".
The town signs depict Queen Elizabeth I handing over the charter of the Corporation of Beccles to John Baas, Port Reeve, in 1584.
The gate suffix on many street names has nothing to do with gates as such; it's the Norwegian word for street, showing the town's nordic roots.
Beccles Museum can be found at Leman House in Ballygate.
Beccles appears on John Speed's 1610 map as "Beckles". Interestingly, that map shows Ingate as a distinct settlement, rather than just a part of the town as it is now.
RAF Beccles, just south east of the town, was not just the most easterly but also one of the last World War Two airfields to be completed. It was sometimes called Ellough, a neighbouring village, and often used as an emergency landing strip. After construction it was mainly used by Air Sea Rescue (ASR) and Costal Command from August 1944. In total the various ASR units were responsible for saving the lives of about 13,269 persons from the North Sea (8,604 being Allied crewmen).
Some details from "Suffolk Airfields in WW2" by Graham Smith.