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Woodbridge Case is Altered

previously known as Tankard


closed October 11th, 1905

50 New St

grid reference TM 272 491

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listed building grade II

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CAMRA Ipswich & East Suffolk branch.

last updated 06/08/2015

A report in the Bury & Norwich Post** on Dec-28 in 1838 states that the pub (and two cottages) was sold to Richard Cana as part of the Samuel Alexander's Brewery sale, the Tankard etc selling at £760.

A report in the Ipswich Journal** on Mar-22 in 1862 when Mary Ann Sawyer was the landlady states that:

Mary Sawyer, landlady of the Tankard, Woodbridge, drew a quart of porter for George Denton, 24, a tramp, who gave her a half crown. She gave him change of 1s, three four penny pieces, and two penny pieces. Denton along with another tramp, Mary Denton, 25, were found guilty of stealing three half crowns from a Charlotte Last. George received 12 months hard labour and Mary three years penal servitude, her longer sentence as a result of a previous conviction which saw her serve seven years transportation.

The 1904 Woodbridge licensing records show that the Case's license was issued in 1853. Whether this was when it was first licensed or when it got a full (ie not just beer) license isn't clear, though the latter seems more probable.

The license was surrendered on October 11th, 1905.

In 1861 census 11 lodgers are listed.

Name changed from the Tankard to the Case is Altered about 1870.

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

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

(** historic newspaper information from Stuart Ansell)

Closure date from Woodbridge licensing records.


The pub name may allude to a change in the way in which the pub was run or owned at sometime in its past or maybe a reference to the religious persecutions way back in Tudor times - when Mary Tudor became queen in 1553 she tried to re-establish Catholisism and also created many Protestant martyrs, including many in Suffolk, who refused to renounce their new faith and were burnt at the stake; but in 1559 she died, and was succeeded to the throne by her half-sister Elizabeth who re-established the protestant faith and subsequently persecuted Catholics.

According to Alfred Hedges' book, "Inns and Inn Signs of Norfolk and Suffolk, the inn [...]

stands on a site which was once occupied by a nunnery. The local priest, Father Casey, was in the habit of visiting it to hear confession, until the Reformation put an end to his activities. Soon afterwards an inn was built on the spot where Father Casey's altar had been. Then, almost inevitably , with the passing of years, the garbled version of Casey's Altar to the Case is Altered came into general use, and the inn has in consequence been called by that name ever since.

However the nunnery story is disputed and Mick Holland also reports that although its a nice story, it is a total myth, and there was never a nunnery on the site. Mick also notes that the pub only took the name from 1870, previously being called the Tankard. The name "case is altered" probably came from the Peninsular war (during Napoleonic wars) when the Middlesex regiment were stationed at Casa de Altoria in Spain and helping the Spanish and Portuguese forces defeat the French army between 1808 to 1814. At the end of the conflict the soldiers were given land and money for their part and several opened pubs named after the town where they were stationed. The name got changed over the years to the "case is altered" hence the fact that today they are all over the country.