10 Real Ale pubs
Where pubs have been renamed, we usually list only the most recent known name here. Other names can be found in the Pub list tab. (For closed pubs which only traded for a short time under a newer name, we generally list them under the longer-established name) Ancient pubs are defined as those which are believed to have closed before the middle of the 19th century.
Closed brewery (post-1970)
Population (2011) of Stowmarket: 19 280.
Local licensing authority for Stowmarket is Mid Suffolk.
Centrally located in the county, "Stow" was traditionally a principal meeting place. Modernisation of the town in recent times has seen many new buildings and major changes to the street-plan. A significant part of central and eastern Stowmarket was historically in Stowupland until a boundary change in 1934. This means that a number of Stowmarket listed pubs have previously been listed in Stowupland. Also to the south of the town is the large, mainly residential area of Combs Ford.
The town retains a Saturday market and a main-line railway station, which was designed by Frederick Barnes in an Elizabethan style. Mathew Hopkins was a less welcome visitor to the town in 1646 when, in his guise as "Witchfinder General", he levied £23-0s-6d to rid the town of witches. The river Gipping was made navigable to Ipswich in 1793 (15 locks in 15 miles) and locally the town thrived as a centre for malting. In August 1871 the town rocked to an explosion at the New Explosives Co when 28 employees were killed and the resultant smoke could be seen for miles. The Museum of East Anglian Life (open from April to Oct) has many fine exhibits from the local rural and industrial past and holds various themed weekends including an annual beer festival. According to local records, commercial hop growing started in England in the nearby hamlet of Dagworth. Hop fields were recorded (and taxed) in the 17th cent. but by the early 19th cent. the industry had generally moved elsewhere - principally to Kent and Herefordshire. Wild hops can still be found in several local hedgerows.
A new book by Neil Langridge and Brian Southgate called "Stowmarket, Combs and Stowupland Pubs" was published by Polstead Press in late 2009. Please see www.stowmarket-history.co.uk for details on how to purchase.