grid reference TL 915 492Something we've got wrong about this establishment? Something more you think we should know about it? Please email us
listed building grade II*
CAMRA West Suffolk & Borders branch.
last updated 30/01/2018
Lavenham Black Lion
also traded as as: Lionhistorical era: mid 20th century
closed about 1925
10-12 High St
Several buildings of varying ages 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.
The inn is shown on this old OS map from about the end of the 19th century. larger map
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.
It's sometimes listed as a commercial hotel.
(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)
Old OS map reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.