Photo from Eye

1 Real Ale pub

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.


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Population (2011) of Eye: 2154.

Local licensing authority for Eye is Mid Suffolk.

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About Eye

Eye is a quiet market town with a village atmosphere, which is built around the remains of a Norman castle built by William Malet (who was later killed by English rebel, Hereward the Wake). The town was recorded in Domesday as "Eiam" and John Speed's 1610 map shows the town as "Ays".

The Town Constitutions from 1566 imposed a fine on publicans who didn't buy beer from the two breweries in the town. The bailiffs called buying beer elsewhere:

Unneighbourly and to the manifest prejudice of pore people [...] who are sett awork [...] in buting the small wort and small beer. [1]

Several examples of "crinkle crankle" walls can be found around the town. A market has been held since medieval times and the guildhall dates from 1470. Unfortunately despite over 20 pubs once existing locally (one source says 28 early in the 20th century), today only one survives despite over 2000 inhabitants.

A hoard of 600 Roman gold coins in a lead box was found in a sandpit to the south of Eye in roughly 1781. It's said that human bones were also found nearby.

Mary Magdalene's Hospital was founded in the 12th century as a leper hospital, near the present-day Magdalen Street. It closed about 1547.

The Victoria Windmill, near the present Millfield Drive, was a post mill erected in 1779. It worked until 1929 and was blown down in 1955; the wreckage is said to still be visible.

Eye Station was at the end of a branch line which ran from the mainline station at Mellis. It closed to passenger traffic in February 1931 and finally to goods traffic in July 1964. We're not sure when it opened, but it may have been about 1922.

The church tower of St Peter & St Paul was very close to one flight path of RAF Eye and almost constituted a hazard to flying but fortunately was not involved in any incidents during a year of World War Two operations. From February 1944 the USAF 490th Bomb Group was stationed here initially with B24s. From late August they then flew B17s until mid-April 1945. In May 1945 food flights were undertaken to Holland before the airfield closed. Eventually totalling 158 missions and losing 22 aircraft, today a lych gate can be found at nearby Brome to their lasting memory.


Some details from "Suffolk Airfields in WW2" by Graham Smith.

[1] Clive Paine, The History of Eye.