The Crown

pub sign
photo of pub
1938 photo of The Crown


The Crown in the early 20th century. The  Crown cottages that were later demolished were on the right.

The Crown has as it’s core a building that probably goes back to the 14th century. Just when it started as a hostelry is difficult to pinpoint.

We do know it was a copyhold tenancy of the Manor of Thorney Hall, and that by 1752 William Aldrich was the tenant of the property  “lately in the occupation of Stephen Bacon“. Aldrich was a Stowmarket Brewer who at this time had been acquiring pubs in the area as outlets for his product. Whether the building was used as a pub when he bought it or if he was the first to sell beer here has not yet been discovered.

 The 1763 Rental for Thorney Hall manor updated to 1766, tells us that “Aldrich, Pelham for a Cottage late Turners in the Occupation of Christian Tricker called the Crown Inn.”

A newspaper advert of 1770 informs of the auction of a blacksmiths shop to be held at the pub. Another Aldrich, this time John was the owner in 1772, and it was he who sold to the brewer John Cobbold in 1805. Cobbold also happened to be Aldrich’s father-in-law to  whom he had become indebted forcing him to dispose of all his pubs to Cobbold in lieu of debts.

Benjamin Batley, landlord here died suddenly in 1825 and an inquest on his death is reported in the local press as follows “on Wednesday last an inquest was held, the deceased called on Monday evening last at the house of William Baker carrier of Stowupland for two parcels, and after having put them in his cart he went into the house to pay for the carriage for them, apparently in good health. In the space of 2 minutes after sitting in the chair he was suddenly seized with a fit of apoplexy, and instantly died”. (Is this the same Benjamin Batley who did repair work at Bramford farm in 1825?)

1828/30 from Thorney Hall Rental John Aldrich owned Crown Inn, occupier Balls. Although around this time Robert Burch becomes landlord and by the 1840 Tithe apportionments John Cobbold is named as owner

In 1842/3 Robert Burch was fined 50 shillings and costs of 15/6d, for keeping his house open on Sunday 27th November 1842 during Divine Service. He did appeal the conviction but it was dismissed.

Kellys 1912 &16: Publican Arthur J Forsdyke.

Kellys 1896 & 1904: Publican (Mrs) Mary Ann Barnard.

 1920s ntoes from the deeds relating to John Dupuis Cobbold and Cobbold & Co Ltd

pub photo

In 1937 John Robert Flack becomes landlord.

During the 1950’s John and Lily Flack were publicans. Mr Flack thought that the Crown ‘used to be a private house when they had shilling licenses for selling home made beer.’

On June 16th 1966 Alan Smethurst the “Singing Postman” visited the Crown and a video was made of his song “They’re Orl Playin Dommys In The Bar”.

photo of man
Jack Flack in 1958
funeral press cutting
Jack Flack Funeral

In 1966 the roof of The Crown needed rethatching

1966 crown inn
Re-thatching the roof of the Crown in 1966
The Crown Roof
Working on the thatched roof

Following Jack’s death the tenacy was taken over in 1971 by his son-in-law Hugh Ray Jarvis. Mr Jarvis was related to Ben Mathias who had the shop-on the Green.

In 1978 an application was made to erect a flat roofed private living room extension by Tollemarche and Cobbold Breweries Ltd.

In 2014 The Crown was bought by local businessman Robert Shelley and his wife Emily. The building was totally renovated and extended to include a restaurant. {NL}. A new kitchen and drinking area were built following the demolition of the earlier kitchen and outbuildings.

A list of Names associated with the Crown Inn

1752               Stephen Bacon occupier, but unkown if it was a hostelry.

1758               Robert Herne, Stowupland inn-holder, indemnity bond

17–                Turner before 1763

1763-1766     Christian Tricker, rent 7 pence

1768-1772     John Tricker, a John Tricker was buried in 1783


19th Century publicans

1806               T J B Balls – cricket match

1811               William Battley, occupier

1820-1825     Benjamin Batley, buried Nov 1825 age 54

1827-1874     Robert Burch, buried 1874 age 80

1874-1894     Charles Barnard, nephew of Robert Burch. Accidental death of Barnard Dec 12th 1894, from suffocation, through falling on his face on a pillow when in a faint, age 49.

1894-1904     Mrs Mary Ann Barnard widow age 52 in 1891

20th Century Publicans

1904-1929     Arthur Edward Forsdyke

1929-1964     John Robert Flack, he married Lily Makings, daughter of Thomas of the Barge (Stowmarket)

1964-1971     Hugh R Jarvis & Brenda, she was daughter of John R Flack

1971-1973     Raymond Wood

1974               Graham L & John M Wood

1975-1976     Raymond Wood

1977-1989     John C Hunting

1990               Peter R Craven

1991-1994     Steven Cooper

1995-2000     John S Collis