WATCH: Lost pubs of Stowmarket – did you go to any of these in years gone by?
PUBLISHED: 19:00 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:40 05 December 2019
Most of Stowmarket’s residents will surely have a favourite pub – but what about the 70 forgotten inns, alehouses and taverns which used to line the town’s streets?
Don Egan, a history enthusiast living in the town, has created a video guide about the town's pubs, going as far back as the 16th century.
While many of them are now housing, shops or sadly demolished, there are interesting twists and turns in the stories of their closure.
Mr Egan, 62, spent several weeks researching the project and visited 28 different known sites of lost pubs.
"What struck me was how many pubs there were and how close together they were," he said.
"Many of them weren't just pubs - they were inns, bakeries, public houses."
"Lots of people brewed their own ale in previous centuries because the water quality was so poor. Even children drank ale because it was much weaker than our beer is.
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"They then ended up with a surplus and eventually many got a license to be a public house, which isn't as hard as being a proper inn, and then just sold their surplus from their 'alehouse'."
The buildings have gone through many changes - the Bull Inn, 1714-1809, was at different points in time a gun makers, a newsroom and then a flower shop.
The Pot of Flowers pub, 1707-1978, used to sit on 90-92 Bury Street and was shrouded in mystery after several deaths on the premises.
On July 29, 1850, there was an inquest into the death of William Barnard who had died near his own door by the pub and the verdict ruled that he had "died by the visitation of God".
Another death shook the town but this one more nefarious when in 1972 Mervyn Lawrence Chunbley was shot and died on the floor of the bar, where the police chalk mark surrounding the body apparently stayed for several weeks.
Rumours surround the circumstance, as some say he was shot in a nearby car park by the jealous husband of a woman he was having an affair with, before stumbling into the pub to die, while others claim he was shot in the pub itself.
Several upheavals happened in the 19th century, when most traders came off the boats on the River Gipping to alehouses nearby. This was until the Stowmarket railway was built - at which point many pubs sprung up across town, leaving the former river pubs to dry up by the beginning of the 20th century.
The guide takes viewers on a walk around the centre of Stowmarket to different locations, on what is described as "the driest pub crawl I've ever been on" by the narrator, Mr Egan.
The full video of the lost pubs can be watched here.
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