This attractive old Suffolk wool town still has some very fine timbered buildings. It's recorded in Domesday as "Bilestuna" and appears on John Speed's 1610 map as "Bilston Strete". Some Victorian directories call it "Bildestone".
Despite what TripAdvisor thinks, the Peacock isn't in Bildeston but is, of course, in nearby Chelsworth.
The old market place is dominated by a clock tower which was erected in 1864 (and completely refurbished in 1987). Edward Rotherham, captain of Royal Sovereign at Battle of Trafalgar is buried in church. There's said to be an old tunnel from the cellar of the Crown to the clock tower.
The village originally clustered around the church (whose west tower collapsed in 1975) but moved to its present location in the 13th century. Some say this move was connected with the Black Death, though is is more likely that it was to be nearer resources for the nascent cloth industry.
The Red Lion was originally in a detached part of Wattisham parish (and is often listed there). It was incorporated into Bildeston on August 18th, 1882. Interestingly, it was the only building in that detached part; there must be an interesting story behind that.…
The 1791 Universal British Directory lists Abraham Daking as a victualler.
The 1851 Census lists John Jennings (Beerhouse Keeper, Market Place, pub not named, Head/Married/30/born Kersey) [Next entry to Bull Inn].
The 1874 White's Directory lists John Corder Squirrell as a wine & spirit & ale & porter merchant.
The licence held by Mr E.F.LANKESTER, of Stowmarket, to sell at a house at Bildeston was discontinued.Bury & Norfolk Post & Suffolk Herald, 28 August 28th 1883**
The 1891-92 White's Directory lists William Thomas Melton as an agent for E…
(** historic newspaper information from Bob Mitchell)