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Royal Oak (The Dicky)

Opening hours

Sunday-Thursday 1200-2200

Friday-Saturday 1200-2300

  • 11
  • Pub/Restaurant
  • Dog friendly Beer House
  • 51.975453, 1.055658


Dating back to the early 1800’s and originally known as The Kicking Donkey Beer House, The Dickie | Royal Oak is well known for its real ale, and given its location has a good following for the local community, tourists, walkers and cyclists wanting a comfortable pub to enjoy a relaxing drink with friends.”
for more information click here:  
Royal Oak
East End
East Bergholt
Dickie – An informal name for a Donkey (Suffolk Dialect).
The 1881 census records this building as ‘A Kicking Donkey Beer House’ better known locally as ‘The Dickie’
HISTORY by Nicki Reed

The beginning.

Firstly the correct name of the pub is ‘Royal Oak Inn’, better known as ‘The Dicky’

There has been different variants of the spelling of ‘Dicky’ over the years (Dicky/Dickey) but if the story is true that the inn is referred to as The Dicky  because of the buildings historical past link with a donkey, then we believe we have the correct spelling with an ‘y’.

The most well known story of how our Inn became referred to as ‘The Dicky’ relates back to a number of years prior to 1881 when the Inn was actually called ‘A kicking Donkey Beer house’ (clearly stated in the 1881 census) and given that Dickie is Suffolk dialect of donkey apparently this is how the name stuck. 

That said, gossip goes that there has been some controversy with this Donkey/Dickie story over the years as apparently the property next door to the inn was build, and prior to the Inns extension that currently houses the toilets and games area, there was a timber yard next door and the name of the machine that cut the timber was referred to as ‘Dickie’.  (so was it the machine named after the donkey perhaps and/or the pub? – we will never know)

Although the Inn has always been known as The Dickie by locals, people outside the village as far as Ipswich always referred to it as The Kicking Dickie even up to the 1960’s

Another donkey connection is that the Inn kept a donkey in the field that is now where the extension had been built, and anyone who could actually ride the donkey got a free pint. Again we don’t know any dates but we love a good story and have a few more throughout this historical account.

In our search, we came across other old public houses in the parish, so have separated this historical account into two sections, the first relating directly to The Dickie, and the second dedicated to the Lost Pubs of East Bergholt.


So working in date order, and with reference to past census, maps and other official documents, this is what we have found so far:


No Inn or beer house mentioned here

1733-1841 Unknown

1841 approx – 1869 approx |Clark Chaplin

Beer house keeper | beer retailer

Born East Bergholt 1798 – died aged 75 | Married Anne Saveall 8th October 1822 at East Bergholt, one daughter Mary Ana who Married John Garrod in 1867.

As detailed on censes and other documents from 1841|1855|1861|1865 (copy of 1861 document below) and the 1855 Trade directory

 1869 approx – 1900 approx | John Barker

Beer retailer|beer house keeper (pub not named until the 1881 census where named as Kicking Donkey Beer House)

Born Capel St Mary 1842 | Farmer | Married Emma Fulker in 1867 and by 1911 was living at Burnt Oak, E.Bergholt, a widower and his new occupation was Gardener.

As detailed on census and other documents from 1871|1874|1879|1881|1888|1891|1892 (copy of the 1871 census below)

In 1869 the East End Beer house was used to hold an inquest into the death of George Holmes who burnt to death in his shed in East Bergholt parish. – as published in the Suffolk Chronicle 30th October 1869 below.

EAST BERGHOLT. Burnt to Death. —On Thursday W. B. Ross, Esq., deputy coroner, held inquest at the East End beerhouse, in this parish, the body WM Manning’s. George Holmes, sack mender, East Bergholt, said he was the owner of a shed in that parish. The deceased was a hurdle maker, and about two months ago asked to be allowed to sleep in the shed in the night. Witness gave him leave. The shed in question was leanto built against the stable to keep straw in. It was about 6ft. by 3 ft.  On Tuesday night witness’s donkey and cart were locked up about six o’clock. There was largo bundle straw in the stable and in the shed and was some more straw and some wicks and bags. Witness did not see deceased go to the shed that night, but about half-past ten that evening when witness was in bed his wife woke him and found the stable in flames. Being cripple he did not out. The stable and shed and everything in them were destroyed. About half past 6 that evening deceased came to witness house and asked him if he would have some tobacco as the deceased was in the habit of smoking great deal. He was not sober that time, but not as drunk as witness had often seen him before. John Barker, landlord the East End, said the last time he saw deceased was about half-past seven on Tuesday night was then in witness’s house. He was not exactly sober when left but could walk straight. He said was going home to bed. was smoking.—Mary Ann Garrod, wife of labourer living next door to the shed in question. She went bed about 9 o’clock, and had got to sleep when she heard a voice from the direction the shed call out, Won’t no one come.” Her husband looked out of the window but could see nothing. Some time after some one woke them by rapping at the door. She got up and found the shed on fire. This was about half-past ten.—David Jennings, labourer, East Bergholt, said about quarter-past ten Tuesday night, was awoke by hearing his next door neighbour rapping. got up and found the shed in flames. He called Isaac Woollard and another, and got some water and threw on the pales to save them. He went to where the shed was; it was burnt down. He saw Munnings on the ground where the lean-to used to be. He was black and charred—quite dead. He had seen him at the beerhouse previously. He (deceased) was not sober.- P.dice Sergeant Gobbett, ‘said about mid-night on Tuesday, he went to the scene of the fire. The stable and lean-to were burnt to the ground. caused the body of deceased to taken to the beerhouse. Deceased’s clothes were nearly all burnt off him. The next morning he made a search among the ruins. He found part of a waistcoat, and a pipe and part a lucifer box were picked up in his presence. Deceased’s earnings would have kept him comfortable but the deceased was an habitual drunkard. —Elizabeth Holden identified the waistcoat picked up as one she given deceased. —The Jury returned verdict of “Natural death.”—Considerable regret was expressed at the deplorable state of things brought to light by this enquiry. It may remembered that inquest was held that this parish in the early part of last year, in which the deceased, whose name was Thos. Ranson, presented as lamentable, if not worse, instance of misery and intemperance as the above. There are in the parish no fewer nine beerhouses in the parish.


In 1885 the ‘Kicking Dickey Beer’ house was used to hold an inquest into the sudden death of a child in East Bergholt, Henry Charles David Goddard, aged nine months – as issued in the Ipswich Journal 20th January 1865




On the 10th January, an inquiry was opened at The Kicking Dickey, East Bergholt, touching the death of Henry Charles David Goddard, aged nine months, who died under circumstances which have excited some attention on the part of the residents in East Bergholt and locality.  One of the witnesses at the inquiry was Hannah, wife of Charles Goddard, labourer, who said that on Wednesday afternoon, the 7th January the deceased, her child, was taken ill with vomiting. He was sick again between five and six o’clock, again between eight and nine, and twice more during the night, but was too weak to get rid of anything off his stomach. The sickness continued at intervals during Thursday till his death at half-past four in the afternoon.  He was taken ill in the harvest time, but he was attended by Mr. Binns, surgeon, and got better. The same gentleman had also attended him two or three months ago.  The child’s mouth had been sore lately, and witness obtained some medicine from Mr. Binns for him.  When ill in the autumn he was sick, and witness thought that when the child was similarly attached on Wednesday last he would bet better. She endeavoured to send for the doctor on Thursday but could get no one to go.  Mr. Binns was at Stutton on Thursdays.  The child was at her mother’s on Wednesday, as witness was washing.  He had some sop there but nothing else as far as she knew. His appetite had been during the last three or four days.  The child was in a state of stupid sleepiness.  When she went to fetch the child from her mother’s, witness’s sister had charge of it.

Mrs Smith, the mother of the last witness, said all the child had had was a little sop and spoonful of tea, and there was nothing the matter with him before he was taken away by her daughter. Some of her grand children had died in a similar way.

Mr.Wm. Binns, surgeon, said he was not able to account for the cause of the death of the child.

The inquiry was accordingly adjourned for a post-mortem examination.

Mr Binns, had been assisted in the post-mortem by Mr. Cotton of Manningtree, and at the adjourned inquest, which was held yesterday, the coroner stated that the medical gentlemen were not able to account, as the result of the post-mortem examination, for the cause of death, and they had suggested that an analysis of the stomach should be made. He had accordingly communicated with the Home Office, who had directed that Dr Stephenson, of Guys hospital, should make the analysis. As the report of the analysis had not yet been received, it would be necessary to further adjourn the inquiry.

The inquest was accordingly adjourned until the 5th February.

On Tuesday 10th November 1898 the following article appeared in the Evening star and Daily Herald:

It reads:


Fracas at East Bergholt

At Samford petty sessions today (Tuesday) before Capt. A.H. Mores (chairman). Capt. Milesom Edgar, Rev J.H. Hooking, and A.O. Greaves, Esq.

James Bloyce, factory hand East Bergholt was charged with assaulting xxunknownxxxx November 5th at East Bergholt – Mr W Marshall appeared for the prosecution, and Mr J Francis on behalf of the defendant.

Mr Marshall said that on the night in question defendant and some other men were served with drinks at Mr. Barker’s Inn. They were rather lively, and had been letting off some crackers etc. When Mr Barker went into the room to remonstrate with them, one of the men put his arm round his neck and blacked his face with some soot.  Mr Barker, however did not create a disturbance but retired to the sitting room.  Shortly afterwards defendant came with some mugs and addressing Mrs Barker, said he did not think there were more than nine broken. Subsequently complainant was going to get some beer for a customer, and while proceeding towards the cellar was knocked down, without the slightest warning by the defendant. She fell through the shop door which was ajar and over the step. Defendant followed her, and commenced kicking her on the arm, addressing abusive remarks to her at the same time. Mr Barker went to the rescue, but was treated in the same way.  Asked to give a reason for the unwarranted assault, defendant said that Mrs Barker had thrown a bottle at him. Complainant was 67 years of age and they had conducted the house in a respectable manner for a long period.

Emma Barber, landlady of Kicking Donkey, bors out Mr. Marshalls statement in so far as she was concerned. The kicks she received from defendant broke her right arm –by Mr Francis, she had known defendant to knock his wife about, but no one else. There was a lot of customers in the house that evening, and they were rather noisy: but not especially so until after the occurrence. They then all went into the private room, and there a fight started between two men. She had on one occasion gone into the Crown Inn, Cattawade, to search for her husband, and attached a customer there with her umbrella, thinking it was her husband.

John Barker, the husband of the complainant, and landlord of the inn, deposed that he was in his sitting room about 8.30, when defendant came in with the mugs. A man named Mills then asked witness’s wife to get him some beer in a ginger beer bottle.  Directly she went to execute this order, defendant committed the assault. His wife had not spoken to defendant during the whole evening. And they had always been good neighbours.  His wife did not strike defendant with ginger beer bottle, or threaten him in say way. By Mr Francis, he could not xxxxunknownxx.

Emily, he said that she went into Mrs Barkers sitting room and was there when seemed came in. She did not see defendant kick Mrs Barker. However as she was attending to his wife, who was there at the time.

Mr Goodchild, farmer, also corroborated as to the conversation, but did not see the blow struck, although he heard complainant fall.  By Mr Francis, they had been letting off fire works in the taproom and were altogether rather a lively party.

Defendant was sworn, and said that when he brought the mugs into the room there were two men fighting in one corner on the floor, and two women in the other.  On his saying that there were some of the mugs broken, complaints took up the ginger beer bottle, and replied that if there were any smashed he had done it, and therefore struck him on the mouth. She then fell over the raised doorstep into the shop.  There was a very noisy lot there that evening, and Mrs Barker was very disagreeable. 

Both Mr and Mrs Barker were the worse for drink.

The Chairman said that they had been informed that the complainant did not wish to press the case and also taking into consideration the good character he would not xxunknownxx him, but would inflict a fine of £5, including costs or one month’s hard labour.

Seems that James Bloyce was trouble, as he was also involved in another fracas at the pub just 6 months later:

On the 6th June 1899 the above article was published, it reads:

Eliza Bloyce, wife of James Bloyce, factory hand, East Bergholt, pleaded guilty to drunken and disorderly conduct at East Bergholt. Sergt-Barber who was in the East End of the parish on the evening of May 22nd heard a disturbance outside the Kicking Donkey Beer House.  Defendant, who was under the influence of drink, went to the officer asking him to take her husband into custody as he was going to assault her. The witness said that ‘while talking to the husband, the defendant fell down at their feet, John Barker the landlord of the Kicking Donkey who was ??????(Cant read the word) by Mr W Marshall was then charged with permitting drunkenness on his licensed premises.

Sargeant Barber stated that, in consequence of the disturbance outside the defendants house and the conduct of the defendant in a previous case, be visited the defendant on Whit-Tuesday. The landlord said everything went wonderfully well accepting that Jim (the defendant’s husband, Mr Bloyce) was angry.  Witness who replied that was excited owing to his wife’s drunken condition.  The landlord remarked that she had been to another part of the parish, where she had been drinking whisky, and added that she had only been in his house five minutes.

The day after defendant called at witness’s and asked his advise as to whether he should summon Mrs Bloyce for refusing to quit.Mr Barker repudiated the suggestion during further conversation, that defendant was in his house for a greater part of the evening. When witness told defendant that he had reported him, he said he should obtain a summons against Mrs Bloyce for refusing to quit – replying to Mr Marshall, witness said there had been a double wedding in that end of the parish on Whit-Monday, and according to what he had heard, there had been great rejoicing (laughter) – Christopher Scott, also a factory hand in East Bergholt said when he saw the defendant in the afternoon she was under the influence of drink, and the landlord asked her to leave having previously refused to serve her.

Though defendant called at the house several times during the day while he was there, she was refused drink – William Barber, hurdle-maker, also deposed to seeing the defendant ejected in the early part of the evening. At nine o’clock the defendant entered again and commenced dancing without her shoes which she was then unable to put on.


Although the pub wasn’t named The Kicking Donkey Beer House until the 1881 census, we have tracked down a ‘Situations wanted’ advert from October 3rd 1900 where The ‘Royal Oak’ advertised for an experienced book keeper! (This is the first reference we have found to Royal Oak)

If we read the advert correctly is that someone by the name of Hare who is looking for work to contact him care of Newman c/o Royal Oak, but who Newman is we do not know however should we assume they were living at the Inn at the time, no one with that name appears on the 1901 census in the East Bergholt area!


1901 approx – 1903 approx John Washington Abbott

Royal Oak Beer House | beer house keeper

Born 1859 Lancashire – died 1907 | Married Alice Street (nee Sparrow) in 1885 and had 11 children.  In 1891 was living with family at Washington House, Brantham, a Xylonite worker and by1901 was licensee of The Crown Inn, Cattawade.  By 1911 widow and children moved to 4 Holly Collage, E. Bergholt.

December 23rd 1903

1903 approx – 1911 approx |Charles Chipperfield

Pub not named |Publican & Butcher

Born 1877 Halesworth – died 1958 Married Ellen Drone in 1900, had 4 children and by 1911 was living in Silvertown East London and was a dock labourer.



This is a photograph of the house next door to the pub called XXXXXXXX, the same design as the original Kicking Donkey.

We believe the two people on the left in the background are Bill Pearl and his wife. The man leaving on the gate post is Charlie Southgate and next to him Hilda Southgate.  One of the babies is their daughter Hilda Junior. We believe the young boy may be one of the Southgate boys but not certain.

1911 census

1911 approx – 1912 approx |Charles T Clarke

Publican & Gardener | beer retailer (pub not named)

Born East Bergholt 1855 | Married Sarah Oram in 1880 (Sarah Oram born Wiltshire 1820-1924)

Their son, Sydney Herbert Clarke was killed in WW1 and is remembered on the East Bergholt war memorial.

1912 approx – 1937 approx |John Parmenter

Beer retailer |pub not named (census)                                     

Also found in the Kelly’s directory in 1916 & 1925

On the 30th October 1918 it was recorded that 10 pubs were sold to Colchester Brewing Co Limited, East Hill, one of which was Royal Oak, East End, East Bergholt. 

According to an article of 15th November 1918, The Royal Oak was advertised by Colchester Brewing Company for £400 which was extremely high if you look at other pubs in this article above that were advertised for rent for figures anywhere between £30-£190!

The Colchester Brewing Company was closed down in 1925 when acquired by Ind Coope.

So, a bit of a mystery, as the pub would appear to have been owned by the Nayland brewery which ceased business in 1918 hence the auction of the brewery and 13 listed pubs.

According to the article giving the results of the auction it was sold to the Colchester Brewery Company for £400 (no rent is shown unlike the other pubs for some reason) the wording of the article does not make it 100% clear but it gives the impression everything ended up with the Colchester Brewery! – that said, the history of the Colchester Brewery Company and all the pubs it owned does not list the Royal Oak, so either the list of pubs owned by the Colchester Brewery is incorrect, or the published results of the auction is incorrect.


1921  (drawn following revamp of the Inn)

According to local Walter Nixon, in the 1920’s the pub had a pencil sketch behind the bar of a donkey kicking a man’s back side.  It was there for a number of years but unsure of the date it disappeared.

As Walter lived in the area from that time, he has no recollection of a donkey on the site or next door to the pub.

During this time the local watch maker who lived at Edward Lodge was a local as well as Mr Steel who lived in Manor Farm.

The whole Inn was lit by oil lamps until the late 1920’s/early 1930/s

The fire place and the 4 long tables in the main bar today have been there since the revamp in 1920

Closing times in the summer was 2230 and winter 2200

1937 approx – XXXXX | Arthur Harold Parmenter

We do not know if there was a connection between John Parmentar and Alfred Parmenter (last 2 landlords).

Alfred’s father was William who died in 1894, he did not have a brother called John so no obvious connection there, so was this just a coincidence that both landlords had the same surname?

In the early 40’s the Inn was locally known as a ‘Poachers’ pub where men with lurchers waited till last orders before going poaching on the Eley Estate.  The local bobby used to frequent the pub near closing time to try and catch the poachers out.  The dogs would lie under the benches and PC Slater would come into the pub around 21.30, stay for an hour or so and have a few pints, apparently he and the poachers would have a laugh as they all knew why they were all there.  PC Slate would always sit by the door on the right as you walk in.

The pub was always busy but with the same faces and they all sat in the same seats time after time so there was uproar if strangers came in and took their seats, even up to the 1980’s.

In the mid 40’s, Donkeys were tied up out the front of the pub, possibly by travellers and they were said to kick people who went in and out of the pub.

Although the bar was always where it is today, it was just a small section in the corner as up until the 50’s the beer was kept in the cellar.  The landlord would go down with tankards and fill them straight from the barrels, it cost

4d a pint

5d for a half bitter|half beer (which was a regular drink back then)

The Royal Oak was always a Greene King pub except during the war when Greene King had to cut down their travelling expenses so a Colchester Brewer called ‘Daniels’ (Daniels no longer exist). Greene King then took the pub back after the war.

1953 approx – XXXXX | Burt & Caroline Calver

By the 1950’s travellers from The Grange tied up both donkeys and horses out the front whilst frequenting the pub.

There was also a pet pig called Mary kept in the field to the right hand side of the pub.

The Bury Free Press issued this story on Friday

December 4th 1953 relating to this.

“Customers walking into the bar of the Royal Oak East Bergholt make a great fuss of Mary the pig, for Mary spends much of her time curled up in front of the fire with the cat and dog.

Mary was ‘adopted’ by Mrs Caroline Calver the Licensees wife as a tiny piglet. Now she is big and fat and is becoming domesticated because they are much too fond of her to send her to market”


In September 1954 the pub had the side extension added.

Interestingly Suffolk Sheds found the paperwork between Green King and Standard Flat roofing company who undertook the work on the roof at the time.

XXXX – XXXX Morris | Violet  Key

Royal Oak


Interestingly the Keys kept a parrot in the bar area during the 60’s and 70’s but we haven’t been able to establish its name!

 ?? – 1982 approx: Frank | Nancy McCouaig

Retired from the Royal Oak – we are waiting on more information from the family that still live locally.

Memorial bench donated to the Inn by the family

 1982  – 1995: Colin | Pat Ruffle

We haven’t been able to find out too much about life at the pub in the 1980/90s, however later in this document you will find about a chance meeting of a lady called Betty French who actually worked as a bar maid for Pat and Colin for 10 years and who now in her 90’s still lives locally and has some very significant ties with the village.

(see lost pubs of East Bergholt)

During Colin and Pats time as landlord they had 2 dominos teams on a Wednesday and a darts team that met each Tuesday.  (more stories about pub teams further in this document)

Not sure of the exact date of this but guessing 1994 or 1995 pram race day (May bank holiday)

The fancy dress fun is: Colin Jerrett, Dominick Rouse, Mark Horrocks, Ian Jerrett, Neil Jerrett and Elizabeth Robertson.



1995  –  2017 Tony | Jenny Raymond

During their time at the pub, Tony and Jenny raised over £80,000 for charity including Help for Heroes, Child line and East Anglian Air Ambulance.

When they took over the pub in 1995, the cellar wasn’t at its best.

The original cellar walls had alcoves that used to house candles. Sadly these had to be covered up apart from one that still remains just above the sink. (more information about the cellar later in this publication)

Tony and Jenny still live locally and often pop in for a pint.

2017 – 2020: Duane | Cindy Collins

July 2020 – March 2022:  Andrew Meyer | Matthew Bailey

March 2022 – Present Holly Robinson


Name change.

Tracking back on available paperwork we have found that from 1841 the Inn was knows as the Beer House.

In 1869 it was reported as The East End Beer house by the Suffolk Chronicle 30th October 1869

We found it referred to as The Kicking Donkey in 1865 when an inquest was held at the pub to the death of a child, and then the Kicking Dickey on both the 1881 census and 1885 article, meaning that in theory there was another name change somewhere between 1865 and 1881.(from Donkey to Dickey)

We are still unsure of the exact year it changed to the Royal Oak but somewhere between 1898 and 1900 when it was named as Royal Oak on a situations vacant advertisement, and the sale of the pub to Nayland Brewery around 1899/1900 – so the thought is that perhaps when they acquired the Inn, they changed its name to Royal Oak to make it sound more upmarket perhaps?

So if the pub changed its name from The Kicking Donkey Beer House to Royal Oak between around 1899/1900

Why Royal Oak, and why use Charles II on the signage when his reign was from 1660-1685, years before the Inn was built, and more bazaar there is no significant Oak tree anywhere around the pub grounds.



  • The snug was never really used as a bar, people would come in to get their cigarettes at the window so it’s rather bazaar that in the 1970’s When the government suggested all public houses to offer a ‘no smoking’ area. The Royal Oak chose to deem ‘The Snug’ as the no smoking area, which was the beginning of the end for this quaint room at the Inn. Because a majority of customers smoked, the snug was used less and less and was finally closed down in the 1980’s and used as a store room until the summer of 2020 when under the current landlords it has been given a new lease of life.


The tables in the bar are the original tables from the early 1900’s they managed to keep in fantastic condition as they were covered in red vinyl during the 80’s and 90’s



  • The bar area was referred to as The Taproom in the 1800;s (as noted in an article in 1898)
  • Jade Jagger was said to drink at the pub when she dated a chap from East Bergholt in the 80’s


Ferret racing winner Ralf.


Ralf owned The Anglo Swedish Riding School in the 1980’s now known as Bentley Riding Center.

  • In the 1980’s Pat and Colin Ruffle (Landlords) started the Christmas Club which still runs today, however back then it was strictly cash. Colin recalls having to go to Lloyds bank in Ipswich one year and withdraw £30,000 in cash for the Christmas club payouts.
  • The pram race has been held in East Bergholt since The first time it was run on Boxing Day but sub sequentially changed to its now annual tradition held May bank holiday Monday. The ‘race’ involves fancy dress prams racing between each pub with a drink at each stop, with each of the village pubs taking it in turn to host each year.  Given the location of the Dickie, the competitors are not expected to run the mile straight, so each year the landlord will offer drinks at the top of straight road, however hosting year (so every 4 or 5 years) when hosting the race will either start or finish at the pub             
  • The Dickie Golf Society has been at the Dickie since xxxx(year?) -Peter Green chair of the society even modelled the Dickie pub to include in his extensive model railway at his home.


We are not sure of the exact date the cellar was dug but was certainly after the pub was originally built.

The cellar is referred to in the 1899 article about a fracas at the Inn, but probably dates back earlier than that.

The walls of the cellar originally had 6 alcoves to house candles. 

This is the only one remaining on view in the cellar today. Tony & Jenny Raymond covered up the other 5 when upgrading the cellar after they took over the pub in 1995.


A pint of bitter was 65p in the 1980’s

  • Greene King paid for a coach for The Dickie customers to visit their brewery in Stowmarket in the 1990’s

The Dickie PUB teams | DOMINOS & DARTS

Dominos has been a long established game in the Inn.

In the late 1800’s the women were banned from the main bar by the men so frequented the snug to play Dominos.

Sally Cook played for the team in the 60’s and 70’s.  Her garden backed onto the pub garden so she would go through the fence to the pub each Wednesday.  She would come over to the pub and get a jug of beer for her husband John at home with her boys then she would come over and play dominos at the pub.

Sally passed away in August 2020 but spoke a lot about life at the pub whilst it was undergoing its renovations just before reopening in July 2020.

It would seem that the dominos team was most prevalent during the 80’s and 90’s, under both Frank & Nancy Mcougaig and Colin and Pat Ruffle (landlords). They had 2 teams and played on a Wednesday the .

A’s and B’s (Alcoholics and Boozers).  Pat would make trays of sandwiches, roast potatoes and nibbles and sometimes a chap called Alan would dust off the piano and play Chas and Dave Songs.

John and Jacqui Willis remembered playing for the team in the 90,s and what a great atmosphere it was.

Les and Frankie Beal recall many stories of cheating, finals night and outrageous coach trips in that time.

Kerry Swan and Eric Pizzey who played in the late 80’s recalls going to Birmingham for a live final TV. They got knocked out in the first round but recalls what a great day it was and a great night out on the town.

The darts team was established was established in the 70’s and won the Constable Darts league once in the 80’s


Nikita Bones (Granddaughter of Frank MnCouaig remembers her granddad winning many trophies over the years and still has a few of them from the early nineties.

It seems that in the 80’s and 90’s darts and dominos were very popular in the Dickie as you can see from the array of trophies collected in that time!

PART TWO – Lost pubs of East Bergholt.

Interestingly whilst doing this research we found a number of different references to ‘Lost pubs of east Bergholt, a number of names we recognise, and some we don’t, but rumour has it that there were as many as 14 at one point but probably some of these were just people’s front rooms, like the Pig and Whistle that was supposedly in xxxxxx road, (however we can’t find any official record of this)

So again in date order, this is what we have stumbled across other beer houses in the parish so far.


The Ipswich Journal published this really interesting archive article 1st December 1874 as below:

In 1651. The townsfolk met at the house of John Neave, and made the following regulations about their public-houses.

It is agreed that there shall be but foure houses licensed for drawings of beere, two in the Streete, one at Gaston’s end, and the other being the fourth at Baker’s end*, and for the present Edmunds Newton & Stephen Skynner to drawe drinks within doors and to entertain strangers.  Edmund Newton’s inn to be at Gaston’s End and Anthony Bunn to remove to Baker’s end and to sell beere without doors.

*Bakers End being the area of the original White Horse Pub, on the old heath.



The Beehive mentioned in 1843 as held an auction for the sale of 6 properties.

Welcome Soldier | Manningtree Road |                Gemma Clark | InnKeeper

Mrs Clark (Innkeeper) died 1872 and her brother in law had the licence transferred to him, at the time the name was confirmed as The Welcome Soldier.

The Pub was auctioned off in 1880 under the same name and was sold for £260 however the article giving the result lists the pubs name as The Welcome Sailor!, here are the articles:

1872 Welcome Soldier Licence application   | 1880 Welcome Soldier announcement | Welcome Sailor auction result


Lot 3,

The FREEHOLD PROPERTY known as THE WELCOME SOLDIER (Query Sailor) Beerhouse, with Stables and sheds, two cottages adjoining, and as enclosure of arable LAND –sold to Mr F Lunniss £260


If we collate all this information from official records and newspaper articles, this is what we can deduce:

Year         pub                                                          location                                                   Landlord 

1651       not named                                          The Street                                           Stephen Skynner

1651       not named                                          The Street

1651       not named                                          Gaston’s End                                     Edward Newton

1651       White Horse                                       Bakers End                                          Anthony Bunn

1670       The Fountain (which later became the Lion)   The Street

1732       Kings Arms Ale House (opporsit The Gables) The Street                 Sparrow (late Hewitt)

1732       The Pelican (near what is now Stour)                                                      Henry May

1732       Fountain Tavern (now the Lion)                The Street                                           Thomas Knapp

1732       Shears Ale House                             Eleys Corner                                       John Sparrow

1732       Kings Head                                          Burnt Oak                                            Mr William Trotman

1732       Bell Ale House (now the Hare & Hounds)                                              Mr William Trotman

1840       The Ship                                               (rumor says this was in Dazelys Lane)

1840       The Bear

1840       The Eagle

1840       White Horse                                       Bakers End

1840       The Three Cups

1843       The Beehive (see Ipswich Journal article below)                                                                               

1869       Kings Head                                                                                                          Thomas Pyett

1869       The Carriers                                                                                                        Henry Folkard | carpenter & beer retailer

1869       ?                                                                                                                              Thomas Folkard | beer retailer

1869       White Horse                                       Bakers End                                          Charles Mann

1869       Kings Head                                                                                                          George Nichols | beer retailer

1869       Red Lion                                                                                                               William Mayes

1869       Hare & Hounds                                                                                                 John Aldous (beer retailer & carpenter)

1869       not named but presume Welcome Soldier                                           Gemma Clark | beer retailer

1871       Welcome Soldier (or Sailor)         Manningtree Road                          Gemma Clark | InnKeeper

1872       The Carriers                                                                                                        Mr Folkard

1872       Kings Head                                                                                                          George Nichols

1881       The Carriers                                                                                                        James Ramsey

1891       The Carriers                                                                                                        James Ramsey

1901       The Hare and Hounds                                                                                    James Ramsey

1901       The Carriers                                                                                                        Thomas Folkard



Throwers House Gaston Street (was Gaston End) – Pig & Whistle? – year – talk to owner

 And Finally –

 Seeing reference to *Bakers End a number of times, made me door knock on a house of the same name and meeting a lovely lady, Betty in her 90’s who has significant ties with pubs in the village.

Betty moved to East Bergholt from Surrey with her parents John and Ruby Smith just after the war in 1946, when Betty was just 16.

Seems Betty’s mother’s sister was the landlord at Gardeners Arms in Stutton, and for some years prior to the war, and as they had visited often and loved the area, decided to move here themselves and take over a pub.

In those days you didn’t have the option to buy a pub, they were rented from the Brewery, and so In 1946 John and Ruby Smith rented the Red Lion here in East Bergholt from Tolly Cobbold, which they ran successfully for almost 10 years until the death of Betty’s father in 1956. 

Ruby continued with the pub for another 3 years but things became too much so came out of the pub business but remained in the village until her death.  Betty’s daughter now lives in her grandmother’s single story house in the centre of the village.

Betty remembers how the Red Lion was untouched when they moved here. The car park at the rear of the pub was a large field and Eastern Counties Bus Company would pay her father ½ crown a week for them to park their bus overnight, they also rented out the cottage next to the pub for ½ crown a week. The car park field was used for many events in the village including a circus one year.

Betty worked as a barmaid at the Red Lion which as a young shy girl was intimidating at times, however as she became older and wiser loved bar work and became a regular barmaid at The Dickie for 10 years in the 80/90’s for Colin and Pat Ruffle (Greene King Brewery at the time). She still remembers which pubs were connected to which brewery, and recalls The White Horse Greene King, the Beehive Tolly Cobbold and the Hare and Hounds a free house.

Betty met her husband John French, and introduced him to her father John Smith who was a keen but amateur painter. John French had always wanted to attend art school however was encouraged to work in the local factories so didn’t really take up painting until John Smith gave him an easel and paints and he never looked back.

The name John French is well known in the village, he was a prominent artist and his work (especially his maps of East Bergholt and Dedham) are rare and popular.

John French died in 2015 and has a memorial bench in the grounds of the Church in the village.  Early in 2020 and following COVID outbreak the bench appeared in the Times Newspaper in a brief article about 2 miniature schnauzer dogs who became internet stars with their social distancing photographs including one on his bench.







  • 11
  • Pub/Restaurant
  • Dog friendly Beer House
  • 51.975453, 1.055658

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