other licensed premises
1 ancient pub
1 putative ex pub
Population (2011) of Orford: 713.
Local licensing authority for Orford is East Suffolk.
A large village and former port, which is now a popular tourist venue and location for small boats. In the past Orford was a town of some importance and the keep and defence works of Henry II's castle (English Heritage - open daily) still dominate the local landscape. Legend has it that in the 12th cent. a merman was captured and kept in the castle for 6 weeks before escaping back into the sea.
Through the centuries there have been a fair number of drinking establishments in Orford. According to A Survey of Suffolk Parish History, in the 16th century there were four or five inn holders recorded. By 1622 there were eleven alehouses in the village.
St Bartholomew's church, which has also been used to stage performances of Benjamin Britain's works, was formerly much larger. The ruins of the old 12th century chancel can still be seen in the yard. The old market place situated between church and castle now serves as a car-park. The decline of the port is linked to the growth of Orfordness. A 10 mile long shingle spit which has developed since medieval times, diverting the river Alde southwards and silting up the ancient anchorage. Orfordness has a fascinating history in its own right, during WW1 it was used as an airbase and POW camp. Between the wars it was used for research in radar. After WW2 it was used for atomic weapons research. The RSPB reserve on Havergate Island supports the largest colony of Avocets in the country.
No sign now remains of the Hospital of St Leonard, which was founded before 1267 as a leper hospital, not surprisingly outside the main area of occupation, south of the Gedgrave Road.
Orford Museum can be found in the castle.
The town appears on John Speed's 1610 map as "Orforde".
Some historical information from English Heritage's National Monuments Record.