Otley White Oak

Otley White Oak


Closed: before 1840

grid reference TM 212 561 (approximate location)

We are most grateful to Steve Podd who has sent us the following information:

John and Margaret Scarlet are listed in the 1715 Ecclesiastical Census, and the parish register records in 1734 the burial of John Scarlett, son of John and Margaret Scarlett. There is a probate inventory of John Scarlet, deceased, 'ale draper' (i.e. seller of ale), dated 1728 (SRO/I FEI/19/135). Of the goods in the house, the most valuable were ‘2 hogseds of milde ber’ valued at £3.12.0d; very few brewing utensils are listed however. 'Tenn Scots' (cattle) valued at £23.10.0d were kept on the pasture by the house. Fattening Scottish cattle was a common practice in East Anglia in the 18th century, albeit more prevalent in coastal marshlands than in the wood-pasture areas. (See Arthur Young, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Suffolk, 1813, p209). It is not certain where John Scarlett’s house was; possibly on the field still called Scarletts, but more likely on the adjacent land to the northwest (number 380 ‘cottage’ on the 1840 tithe map).

It seems reasonably certain that this building could have been the public house ('THE WHITE OAK') mentioned in the 'Ipswich Journal' of 15th May 1736, along with a Samuel Grey. The Grey family may have taken over John Scarlett’s house and land when he died (1728); they were certainly tenants of Shrubbery Farm soon after; Scarlett’s land appears to have become part of Shrubbery Farm around this time.

On the further side of tithe map #380 (in Villa Farm) was a field called MALTHOUSE PIECE, which confirms the existence of a small maltings here in the vicinity before 1821 (the date of the first extant map of Villa Farm) – and obviously there could have been a pub as part of the maltings. Villa Farm also had a GRAYS MEADOW here, reinforcing the Grey connection with the site.

Older residents recalled that this was a thatched house; first shown for sure on maps 1821, but certainly much older (it may be on Hodskinson’s map of 1738, but it is not distinct enough to be sure); it was apparently destroyed by fire before 1931. It was a residential house divided into four tenements in 1840. A bungalow (‘Overhall’) now stands on the site. The 1736 reference to the pub seems to be the only mention of it, maybe pointing to its demise on or soon after John Scarlett’s death, which was also very soon after the nearby White Horse seems to have been established.



(Most pub, location & historic details collated by Nigel, Tony or Keith - original sources are credited)

(*** historic newspaper information from Bob Mitchell)