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Lavenham Black Lion

previously known as Lion


opened pre-1783

closed 1925 circa

10-12 High St

grid reference TL 915 492

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listed building grade II*

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last updated 24/09/2015

Several buildings of varying ages that were joined together when the inn opened. Some parts date as far back as the 15th century.

In 1830 a carrier to London called James Ablitt from Sudbury called at the pub every Tuesday & Thursday.

A Victorian brewery once operated here.

This was one of the last pubs in Britain to organise bull-baiting; William Matthiam and others being prosecuted for this in 1842. The Sudbury Post** reported:

November 23rd 1842
William Mattham landlord of Lavenham Black Lion, Noah Must a horse dealer of Sudbury, John Chinney, Martin Stearn and William Gurling all butchers of Lavenham, Isaac Scarfe, Fred Stock, William Snell and William Duce all of Lavenham were summoned to answer a charge by Henry Thomas, secretary of the Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, charging them with on November 5th at Washmere Green, Lavenham, that they did use a certain ground for bull baiting.
John Smith said he went to Washmere Green at 12 o'clock on November 5th where a great many people were assembled. At between 3 and 4 a bull was brought from the direction of Lavenham and several persons fixed a rope to its horns They then led it to a stake fixed in the ground where a collar was put round its neck and the rope taken from its horns, then by noise and other means the bull was irritated to make it wild, Carter being the most active in this, he also collected money from the spectators.
Stearn had a dog which he set on the bull which it bit and several times, the dog was tossed in the air and severely injured.
Gurling, Chinney and Ransom had dogs which they also set on the bull, Natham was on horse back and appeared to direct the proceedings. The bull was baited for about an hour and was torn about the face and nose, several of the dogs were much injured and bled a great deal.
There were about 200 people present during the baiting with great uproar and filthy language being used. Matham, Must, Ransom, Chinney and Carter were fined £5 each. Gurling 20s. Hughes, Snell, Stock, Scarfe and Duce were fined 10s. Matham, Must, Stearn, Gurling and Duce paid their fines, the rest were committed to prison for 2 months hard labour, the prosecution gave the fines to Lavenham National school.

Sometimes listed as a commercial hotel

A report in the Ipswich Journal*** on 08 Mar in 1808 states that :

Black Lion Inn, Lavenham, to be sold, enquire of James STEARN, the present proprietor

A report in the Suffolk Chronicle** on Apr-17 in 1813 states that Occupier John CLARKE given notice to quit at Michaelmas next. Copyhold of the Manor of Lavenham at a yearly quit-rent of 4s 6d - note this item is supplimental to an earlier notice for sale.

A report in the Ipswich Journal*** on 25 May in 1842 states that :

On 4th May 1842, died... aged 66, Mrs Eliz. MATTHAM of the Black Lion Inn, Lavenham, send accounts to Mr William MATTHAM of the same place

A report in the Ipswich Journal** on 26 Oct in 1869 states that :

The licensed Vctuallers Tea Association advertised the sale of tea via its Suffolk Agents. This was a response to the irregular sale of Wine by Grocers and included a reference to A. TURNER of the Black Lion, Lavenham.

A report in the Bury & Norfolk Post & Suffolk Herald*** on 22 May in 1883 states that an excellent dinner was provided by Mrs TURNER, of the Lion Inn, Lavenham.

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

(some old PO directory information courtesy of londonpublichouse.com)

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

(*** historic newspaper information from Bob Mitchell)