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Clare Six Bells

historical era: ancient

opened 16th cent

closed 1800 circa

northend of churchyard?

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CAMRA West Suffolk & Borders branch.

last updated 07/01/2017

The Six Bells occupied half of the northern part of what's now the churchyard. The name and position suggest it was favoured by the bell ringers in the days when bell ringing was an occupation which only the poorest would undertake and for a fee which they hurried to spend in the nearest pub.

It was apparently built in the late 16th century since the sixth bell, which provided the inn's name, was added to the church peal in 1579. The inn came into the hands of the Rev Matthew Bell in the early 1700s. Inside the church a ringers' gotch (beer jug) dated 1729 can be seen. This bears the inscription "campana sonant canore" ("the bells ring in harmony"). This seems to link together nicely the vicar's name, the bell ringers, and the Six Bells Inn.

In 1802 the building was divided into three for professional people. It was sold to the church in 1851 for £380 and demolished to extend the graveyard.


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

Historical detail found in Clare Book I