Where old pubs have been re-named, we list only the most recent known name here. Other names can be found in the Pub list tab. Ancient pubs are defined as those which are believed to have closed before the middle of the 19th century.
This historic settlement may originally have been just called Villa Faustina in Roman times (as mentioned in the itinerary of Antoninus, and that it owed its name to Faustinus, or to Faustina, wife of Emperor Antoninus Pius; others say it derived from faustus (i.e. prosperous or happy), and so signified a 'happy place') Later in Saxon times, it belonged to Beodric, and was hence called Beodric's-worthe or Beoderici-cortis, the villa or estate of Beodric. Beadoriceworth was centred around a Benedictine monastery. By the Domesday it was recorded as "Villa Sancti Eadmundi". Today it is a sizable market town which took its current name from the last Saxon king of East Anglia, who was buried within the priory after dying (at Hoxne) as a Christian martyr in 869AD after being defeated in battle (at Thetford) by invading Danes. (More details about King Edmund in Wikipedia)
The great Benedictine Abbey dominated the town and the surrounding area until the dissolution of 1530s. It had evidently not been a benevolent domination; such was the resentment it had generated locally that it was quickly destroyed for building material after dissolution. Extensive ruins still remain in the attractive riverside gardens. Nearby, St James church became St Edmund cathedral in 1914 and recently had a stone tower added. Today the town centre is mainly Georgian in appearance although much of this is re-fronting of older buildings. Moyses Hall is a late Norman building open as a museum (all week). The Theatre Royal is a delightful early Regency theatre restored in recent times. The town is also the administrative centre of West Suffolk.
Westley airfield was located close to an Army camp just west of the town centre, has since disappeared under a modern housing estate. In 1938 the West Suffolk Aero Club enjoyed pleasure flying here. From Sept 1940 Lysanders of the 268th Army Co-operation Command were based here. When upgrading to Curtiss Tomahawks the squadron moved to Snailwell (Cambs). From Aug 1942 the Air Observation Post (AOP) arrived with the RAF 652th Squadron and de Havilland Tiger Moths. By the end of the year the Moths were replaced by Taylorcraft Austers. A second squadron, the 656th was also formed here with Austers before heading to India. The Army Co-operation Command was disbanded in June 1943.
See Rougham for more information on RAF Bury St Edmunds.
Greene King were formed in the town in 1887 through the merger of two successful local brewers. Greene & Son were established in 1806 whilst F.W. King & Son were established in 1868. Brewing still takes place in Westgate Brewery with an attractive "art-deco" style brewhouse built in 1939 - with offices and their modern "packaging" plant located nearby (close to a SSSI). The visitor centre for the brewery is open all week.
Some details from “Suffolk Airfields in WW2” by Graham Smith.