Eye White Lion (White Lyon)
Eye White Lion (White Lyon)
North West, 52.3204,1.14609
17 Broad St
grid reference TM 145 738
It's shown here (though not named) on an old OS map from about the end of the 19th century. interactive map
One of only eight Suffolk pubs which appeared in the first (1972) edition of CAMRA's Good Beer Guide, when it sold Adnams' Bitter & Mild and was noted for its bar billiards table.
The building dates from the 15th century.
Formerly a Family & Commercial hotel & posting house.
Leonard Thompson describes this inn in his book** as follows:
the most interesting feature is the Ball room… The whole graceful elegance of this apartment, with its snug musicians galley, tall Georgian window, dignified Adams mantlepiece and its chaste, white enamel panelling… belongs to another age... The files of the Suffolk Chronicle also contain many 19th century advertisements for events at the Eye White Lion and all of these point to the fact that the inn was a pivot around which social life in this little Suffolk town revolved. Assemblies, soirées, routs, crushes and drums... there was also the Eye Harmonic society... where in 1810 chops, kidneys, rabbits and oysters may have been amongst the more popular supper dishes on offer. In 1830 a review of the Suffolk Yeomanry at Eye was followed by a retreat to the White Lion where dinner was provided at 2s and 6d a head including as much wine or porter as each man could swallow. A posting house but never a coaching inn, the White Lion held an annual ball and hosted meetings of the local Freemason Lodge. Built in 16th century the inn has been linked to the Honing family, who then had close connections with the town. In 1776 it was sold by auction and was listed with a garden, stables and convenient outhouses, plus a tenant paying £40 per annum, a brewer paying £6 4s per annum and a shopkeeper paying £1 per annum. By the end of the nineteenth century the town markets and races had gone, but the resilient inn was then hosting private parties and weddings.
[**Leonard Thompson, Old inns of Suffolk, 1946, pp. 51-56]
In 1830 the "Monarch" coach to London (via Ipswich) did call here every evening at 7pm whilst the "Monarch" coach to Norwich called every morning at 6am. Also the "Star" to London (from Yarmouth) called every morning at half past ten whilst the returning "Star" to Yarmouth (via Bungay & Beccles) called every eve at half past five.
In the February 1986 edition of Last Orders**** it was reported that the inn was closed for alterations including expansion plans to create a series of 7 bar areas - but it never reopened. It was subsequently converted to shops and a theatre (since closed).
John Marsh of Eye; is removed from the Sun-Inn to the White-Lyon in the same Town; where there is a Billiard Table and a Cock-Pit to be Sold, a good pennyworth.Ipswich Journal, August 21 & 28 1725***
John Knevett from Gasthorpe Gate, has taken the White Lion Inn, at the Burgh of Eye.Ipswich Journal, 14 Apr 1744***
Daniel Dickerson, from the Three Cranes in Yarmouth, has taken the White Lion at Eye.Ipswich Journal, 16 Oct 1773***
To be sold, the White Lyon in Eye, now in good and tenantable Repair at an old Rent of £40, in the Occupation of Daniel Dickerson, Tenant at Will.Ipswich Journal, 12 Mar 1774***
John Nicholas, late Butler to Rowland Holt Esq. has taken the White Lion Inn, Eye.Ipswich Journal, 30 Aug 1777***
OTE: The inn was offered for sale in the next week's paper!!!…
(Most pub, location & historic details collated by Nigel, Tony or Keith - original sources are credited)
(** historic newspaper information from Stuart Ansell)
(*** historic newspaper information from Bob Mitchell)
(**** Last Orders is a free local newsletter - published by Suffolk CAMRA members since 1978)
Old OS map reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.