In 1738 “John Dent had encroached part of the Lord’s waste on Thorney Green by erecting here a blacksmith’s shop with a traverse adjoining thereto” It was agreed that this blacksmiths shop should remain, and that Dent pay 5 shillings a year. There remained a blacksmith’s here until at least 1839 when it appears on the tithe map. A successor to John Dent added a beerhouse, no doubt customers took refreshment here while waiting for their horse to be shod. The beerhouse became known as The Retreat. (NL). According to a note in the archives of Ena Carter in 1908 the ‘Retreat’ was still called the beerhouse.
Shown here is rethatching of the Retreat building
The first account in newspapers found of the beerhouse by this name is in 1854 when Stevens & Co trading as the Stowmarket Brewery from their brewery in Station Road owned The Retreat. Stevens sold out to Phillips Brothers (still trading as the Stowmarket Brewery) in 1865 for £240, this included two tenements. Furthermore in 1874 the pub including a cottage was sold to the then landlord Edward Palmer for £530 (from 1867 Stow Union Rate Book: owner John Phillips, occupier Edward Palmer). In 1882 Edward Greene of Bury St Edmunds purchased the property, eventually merging to become Greene King in 1887.
After a succession of landlords the old Retreat closed it’s doors in February 1969. The newly purpose built Retreat opened on February 14th 1969, and Rowland and Marjorie James moved from the old Retreat building in to the new pub.
In October 1970 Ron and Marg James with their helper Dan Denny were joined by the Rev G Whitefield and the Rt Rev David Maddock (Bishop of Dunwich) for a harvest festival service in the pub. (newspaper report 30/10/1970)