Beer Houses and Pubs

1885 Ordnance Survey Map Pump Cottage The One Bell The ‘One Bell’ (Jane Bell) Pub The cigarette machine at Pump Cottage by the junction of the Bures Road and Spout lane

Alehouses became an English institution from the late Middle Ages. The early alehouses were drinking roomsin the cottages of the brewers, advertised by the branch of an evergreen tree fastened over the door.  Every community had at least one alehouse, and by 1577 a government survey revealed that there were 24,000 in England, enough for one to every 140 people.

Photo taken in 1953 outside the One Bell Inn public bar when Ron

Jordan was Landlord.  Ron left the pub in 1956.

Albert Gaskin

'Midnight Baker'


William'Bill' Jorden

Johnny Baldwin lived in Chapel Lane and worked for Basil  Francis


Pubs, earlier known as Ale & Beer Houses or Inns, became an English institution from the late Middle Ages. The early alehouses were drinking roomsin the cottages of the brewers, advertised by the branch of an evergreen tree fastened over the door. Every community had at least one alehouse, and by 1577 a government survey revealed that there were 24,000 in England, enough for each to serve 140 people.

It is not known when the first alehouse was established in Little Cornard but the 1885 Ordinance Survey map and the 1842 Tithe Map shows that in field No.243 there was a Beer House (BH) and another drinking house the bottom of Spout Lane called The Black Boy InnIt was owned by Henry T. Jones and occupied by William Rayner. This is now private dwelling called Pump Cottage.


Pump Cottage was also a ‘Drinking House called theBlack Boy Inn

This  picture has been reproduced from ‘The Cottages of England’ by Basil Oliver He describes this Suffolk cottage as being within a few miles of Sudbury with certain merits, for instance: ‘The well-judged shape and pitch of the roofs of the Little Cornard cottage is very satisfying, but they are now in a sad state of disrepair through sheer neglect.’

By 1937 Pump cottage sold cigarettes and as we understand in later years it had a fuel pump for motor vehicles.

1842 Tithe map field No.243

This map shows a second Inn at the bottom of Spout Lane called The Black Boy Inn’, now called Pump Cottage

It was owned by Henry T. Jones and occupied by William Rayner.


There is another better known pub called the One Bell though when it was first established as a pub is not known. However, it is known that there was a John Bell, married to Susannah Town living in Little Cornard in 1756.

 The ‘One Bell’ (Jane Bell) Pub Lt. Cornard.

JOHN BELL, single, male of Little Cornard, Farmer

Married Susannah Town, single, woman, of same, 1756

The death of farmer John Bell 1854

Extract from ' The Norwich Post' Dated 21st June 1854.

Suicide; On Tuesday morning Mr John Bell farmer of Little Cornard, aged 64 left home about 6 in the morning, avowedly to water some cattle, but his daughter seeing him go in a different direction, proceeded in search of him, and in about half an hour after found him in a pond of water,  her attention having been attracted thither by his hat laying upon the bank. Her screams brought assistance, and the deceased was got out, but he was quite dead.

An inquest was held last Thursday, by G.A. Partridge esq. when it appeared that he had been in a low state of health and spirits for some time, arising from disease of the brain, and in the opinion of Mr Bestoe Smith Surgeon of Sudbury, who attended him, was at times insane.

The Jury returned a verdict of temporary insanity '.




A fire, involving the destruction of the licensed premises known as the Bell Inn, together with an adjoining cottage, occurred here in the early hours of Sunday morning, and so rapidly did the flames spread that the whole premises were in a very short time razed to the ground. The outbreak was first discovered by the landlady (Miss Jane Bell), who heard a crackling sound and she immediately gave the alarm to Mr Frank Isom, and Mr Harry Rowe, who occupied the house adjoining. Mr Rowe, who carried on a bakery business on the premises and it is stated that the outbreak was due to the ignition of an old beam which lay over the top of the baking oven. It was fortunate that the conflagration was discovered at such an opportune moment, as within a very few minutes after Miss Bell had given the alarm the flames burst through into the room occupied by Messers Isom and Rowe and they had to make a hurried exit, being only able to save a few articles of their wearing apparel. Miss Bell, who has been in delicate health, was wrapped in blankets and taken out of the burning building with all possible speed, and this had been safely accomplished but a few minutes when the entire roof fell in. The premises being timber built and roofed with thatch, burnt like matchwood and within half an hour it was like a raging furnace. Meanwhile the police had been informed of the outbreak and in a comparatively short time, P.C’s Pearson (Great Cornard), Marjoram (Newton) and Gooch (Bures) arrived on the scene and with the help of many willing helpers from the cottages in the vicinity, endeavoured to combat the flames by means of buckets of water obtained from pumps nearby, but their efforts failed to arrest the progress of the flames and it was recognised that the building was doomed to destruction. It was therefore, felt that it would be useless to summon the Sudbury fire brigade and accordingly, no call was made. Owing to the fierce rate at which the fire spread, the occupants lost the greater portion of their personal belongings and Miss Bell was also the loser of a sum of money, amounting to about £20, which she was unable to recover in her hurried escape from the flames. Several barrels of beer, which were stored in the cellar, were got up safely, but a large quantity of bottled beer and other liquors were destroyed. The ruins continued to smoulder throughout Sunday and Monday, and large numbers of people have visited the scene of the fire, especially on Sunday. The premises are completely gutted and only the tall chimneys remain standing. The whole of the furniture was destroyed. The property is fully insured in the Liverpool, London and Globe Fire Office. The owners are Messers, Mauldon and son, Ballingdon Brewery, Sudbury.

The Suffolk and Essex Free Press November 23, 1910

[Transcribed from the original held at the Free Press Office in Sudbury]

What may have been the Bell, on an OS map of approximately 1900. (Camra)

The One Bell Burns Down

At a meeting of the Petty Sessions, Mr Mauldon said that the Bell Inn at Lt Cornard which had been destroyed by fire has been completely rebuilt. The tenant, Miss Jane Bell was so affected by the fire she could not continue and she asked the bench if the licence could be transferred to her nephew Ernest Reeve. This was granted.

Suffolk Free Press 30th August 1911

1933 - 1934

The One Bell was kept by Mr.Mitson from Boundary Cottages. His son had tuberculosis and used to sleep in a hut behind the One Bell.

The landlords that followed were Mr Charlie Warner, Mr Fred Adams, and Mr Fred Simpson who drove buses during the day. Next came Mr.Green  who only stayed for six months.

1952 - 1956

In 1952 Mr Ron and Mrs Joan Jordan (now living at Beeswing) took over the Beer House and stayed until 1956. Ron's reminiscences have been published in the Little Cornard magazine. The final Landlord and Landlady were Mr George and Mrs Ivy Stopps who stayed until the beer-house was closed around 1960.

In 1955  Ron Dudley William Jordan applied for a wine and sweets licence – formerly the pub had been only been licence for beer and mineral drinks. He said that he already ran a Christmas club but with a wine licence he could have a darts team.  The ladies liked wine. At that time the pub had 2 rooms, a tap room L. front and a Parlour R. front and mains water was laid on.

Grantors – Ernest Edgar Warner and Walter John Spooner gave references on Oath.

1961 – George William Stopps became landlord and another licence had to be requested.  This time a full licence for spirits and wine was granted

What was the ‘One Bell’ is now a private house lived in by Lynn Davies who is a breeder and judge of dogs.