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10 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 Woodbridge: 7749.
Local licensing authority for Woodbridge is East Suffolk.
The settlement origin dates back to the early-Saxon period when it was called Woden burh or brigg (meaning Woden's town). It was recorded in Domesday variously as "Wudebrige", "Udebryge", "Wudebryge", "Wdebride", "Udebriga", "Udebrige" and "Wiebrige". A 12th century priory of Augustinian Canons was granted a market by Henry II in 1227 (or 1234)
As all rights and tolls of the early market belonged to the Lord of the Manor, no inn could then be erected without his sanction and some of the earliest town inns (such as Kings Head) probably date from about this time.
The Cake Shop (19 Thoroughfare) bakes a sourdough bread using Adnams beer, which they developed in collaboration with the brewery.
Prosperity of the 15th cent. town is still reflected in St Mary's parish church with it's fine north porch tower over 100 feet high. Thomas Seckford was a local lawyer from Seckford Hall who was granted the manor of Woodbridge for £764-6s-4d and left endowments to the town which have manifested themselves as local almshouses for the poor and a hospital. In Tudor times the port was important and a Customs House was constructed in 1589. The market also prospered and Shire Hall was erected in the middle of this site in 1575, and housed the Sessions moved from Melton by Seckford. Despite an outbreak of plague in 1665, the town's prosperity continued into the 18th cent. with the arrival of the London to Yarmouth turn-pike and coaches.
Edward Fitzgerald lived on Market Hill in the late 19th cent. and was a poet and the translator of the Rub iy t of Omar Khayy m. Amongst his admirers was Alfred Tennyson. Together with Bernard Barton (the famous Quaker poet), George Crabbe (son of the poet) and Thomas Churchyard (painter) he helped to form the "Wits of Woodbridge", a local arts group. Fitzgerald also owned a schooner called "Scandal" (named after the staple product of the town, he said).
Norman Scarfe describes the town as " the most attractive small town in Suffolk, contains hardly an ugly building". The town still has two mills, Buttrums post mill was built in 1836 (open Sun from May-Sept) just north of the town centre whilst the historic Tide Mill is first documented in 1170 and the current structure did not cease working until 1957 when the main shaft broke. The stylish timber building is now a museum (open daily May - Sept) and is located close to the railway station.
Much assistance has also been given by reference to a town pub booklet written by David Hague and which also includes extracts from Booth's Almanac of 1899.