Suffolk's village pubs are an endangered species, as are village pubs across the whole country. They face many challenges such as rural depopulation, supermarkets and other shops selling booze at pocket-money prices and greedy pub companies. The village pub is often the last facility left, once the Post Office and village shop have closed; when the pub closes as well, it can rip the heart out of the village community.
Pub closures are nothing new, but the 20th and 21st centuries have seen a massive contraction in the pub trade and with it a huge increase in the number of villages without a pub.
There are 73 parishes in Suffolk where we have so far failed to find records of even a single pub. In a Parliamentary answer of August 1907, Home Secretary Herbert Gladstone recorded that 100 Suffolk parishes (77 in East Suffolk, 33 in the West), with a total population of 17 436 had nowhere with an on-sales license. According to our latest information there are now 198 Suffolk parishes, with a total population of roughly 58 195, which lack a pub.
And many more villages are in danger of drying out; there are currently 200 parishes (approximate total population 160 770) where only a single pub remains. Even those that are thriving at present can't be guaranteed to keep trading; it only takes a greedy company to spot that they can make a quick killing by building a load of homes on the pub and its land, and another pub can be lost. And just because a parish currently has several pubs, that's no guarantee it won't dry out; Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford once had eight pubs, but today not a single one remains open.