Photo of Ship & Star

grid reference TL 870 410

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listed building grade II

CAMRA West Suffolk & Borders branch.

last updated 30/12/2019

Sudbury Ship & Star

also traded as as: Hole in the Wall

historical closure era: late 20th century

opened 15th Century

59 & 61 Friars St

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According to "Sudbury through the ages" (by Barry L. Wall, approximately 1984)*** this is traditionally supposed to have been an ale house run by the Friars. It was constructed against the Friary wall and parts may certainly date back to the fifteenth century so it could possibly have once claimed to be the towns oldest Inn. It once had a gable fronting the street but this was removed in the 17th century when the western extension was annexed to it.

The inn has some associations with Sudbury’s wicked electoral past and there are tales of human bones being found in the walls after a fire last century (1800’s). A more pleasant memory is that Julian Tennyson wrote much of “Suffolk Scene” while staying here.

Now residential, the current building is believed to mostly date from the 17th or 18th century.

It was an inn with an interesting history, as the obituary in the Suffolk Free Press** on February 11th. 1903 of a one-time landlord shows:

Our obituary notices this week contains the name of WILLIAM RAYNER SILLITOE, landlord of the OLD SHIP AND STAR beerhouse, Friars Street, who died on Tuesday at the age of 62.

Deceased was born in the house in which he died,as was his mother before him. The house appears to have been in the family for about 100 years,having been carried on by the late landlord's father. It was licensed in 1836, when the new Beerhouse Act was passed,but previous to that was carried on under the existing law.

It was always famous for its beer, which was for a great many years brewed on the premises.

The floor of the old house is below that of the pavement,and at the back of the premises is what is termed the "papping ground". This was a large meadow near where the wool used to be hung out previous to its being woven into bunting. In those days the Admiralty would only fly flags in the navy which were hand woven, and nearly all this bunting was produced in Sudbury, mostly by the old weavers. It was afterwards sent to London,where it was cut up, dyed,and made into different flags. The Ship and Star as stated, was famed for its brew. The late Samuel Higgs, who was seven years Mayor of the Borough, for many years supplied malt to the house.

It was in this house that Dr.Roland Taylor, Rector of Hadleigh, who suffered Martyrdom On Aldham Common in 1555, last slept, while on his way from London to Hadleigh for execution.

A portion of the house is built on the wall of the old monastery which stood there in the days of yore,hence the name "Friars Street". Mr Sillitoe leaves a widow,(who,we understand will carry on the business) and a family of six.

The late landlord had been for a long number of years a member of the Forester's Court meeting at the Four Swans Hotel.

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

(** report reproduced with kind permission from Foxearth & District Local History Society)

(*** information from Bob Mitchell)

(**** Last Orders is a free local newsletter - published by Suffolk CAMRA memers since 1978)