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No 6 Market Place - (The Swan Hotel)


Johanna de Corby - Ale Wife. brewed on the site of the adjacent Swan Hotel. This is the earliest recorded reference to a brewery on this site.

Early 1600s
Goodman Wiggins owns an inn with integral brewhouse on this site before Southwold's great fire of 1659.

Late 1600s
John Rous rebuilds the Inn after the fire. He also owns the brewhouse which by now has been moved further back from the inn to roughly its modern location.

John Thompson and his descendants own the Inn with its brewhouse for the best part of a century (until 1806), Their residence is across the street in what is now Buckenham House. The Thompsons are one of Southwold's leading merchant families and John is a Town Bailiff.

Robert Jacques - Inn Keeper. (M)

Robert Jacques - inn keeper, commits suicide this year. (M).

Joseph Berry - Inn Keeper (M)

Henry Meadows becomes landlord in August this year.

Henry Meadows, the incumbent landlord, and Robert May, the co-owner of the Southwold Saltworks, acquire the Old Swan and the brewery from the Thompson family.

Robert May becomes bankrupt.

Thomas Bokenham buys the Old Swan and brewery from Henry Meadows largely financed by two sisters residing in Norwich. Thomas runs the hotel himself as inn keeper.

Thomas Bokenham - Inn Keeper, 'The Old Swan' and brewery owner.Thomas sells the adjacent brewery to William Crisp in 1825. (M)

Thomas Bokenham has died and the management of the hotel is taken over by his widow, Elizabeth Bokenham

The Inn is put to auction, because of the ill health of Elizabeth Bokenham, but fails to sell (M)

Mrs Jane Catton - Victualler. Family and Commercial Posting House (W, M)

Jane Catton purchases the Old Swan for £1550. (M) Presumably, until then she had been a tenant.

E Smith - Manageress (K1906). Adnams become the proprietors.

1906, 1918
E Smith - Manageress (K 1906, 1918) Note: a 1905 advertisement gives her initial as 'C'.

E Smith - Manageress (K 1906, 1918)

Mrs F Raby - Manageress (SCTG1922, K 1924)

Note: In the Roman Catholic Church Magazine, September 1924, there is a reference to 'Madame Madelaine' (sic) who supplied 'artistic gowns and knitted frocks' from 'Swan Yarde (sic), High Street, Southwold'. (See visitor comment below)


Miss E Baker (K 1933)

Mrs F Sharp (K 1937). At this time the hotel acquires the next-door property, No 8, which today comprises the dining room with accommodation above. This appears to be an expansive time for the Swan: it has already acquired a Georgian House across the Market Place at No 1 Queen Street as an annexe.



1951, 1954
Mrs Driver (SRB)

Mr Bath-Jones (SRB)







Do you have any memories or records about this address? Can you correct any of our information or fill in any of our blanks? If so, please email Barry Tolfree
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BSD - Bernard Segrave-Daly
BCS = Bygones & Characters of Southwold by Barrett Jenkins
C = Census
CP = Cinema Programme 1958
CSP = Coronation Souvenir Programme 1953
G = Gales Trade Directory
GRO = General Register Office
K = Kelly's Directory
LM = Local memory
M = James Maggs' Southwold Diary 1818-1876
MCG = Methodist Church Guide 1930
NA = National Archives
PP = Pantomime Programme 1933
PLR = Petrol Licence Records

POD = Post Office Directory
PPP = Pier Pavilion Programme 1924, 1926
RCE = Rotary Club Exhibition 1969
SCM = Southwold Catholic Magazine 1923
SCTG = Southwold Corporation Tourist Guide
SER = Southwold Electoral Register
SFP = Southwold Scouts Fete Programme 1947
SG = Southwold Guide
SGCH = Southwold Golf Club Handbook
SLHR = Southwold Local History Recorder 1980s 1990s (Mrs R. McDermot)
SMHS = Southwold Museum & Historical Society

SN = Southwold & Neighbourhood 1903
SPM = Southwold Parish Magazine 1895 -1954
SR = Southwold Recorder 1927, 1932, 1934, 1935
SRB = Southwold Rate Book
SRT = Southwold Railway Timetable 1915
SSAS = Southwold Sea Angling Society Handbook 1909
SST = Southwold Summer Theatre Programmes
SSW = Southwold Shopping Week Programme, June/July 1922
STG = Southwold Town Guide 1930
SVL = Southwold Visitors List 1907, 1930
SVCP = Southwold Victory Celebration Programme 1946
SWCG = Southwold Wesleyan Church Guide

TTR = 'The Town Revisited' - Portraits of Southwold by Stephen Wolfenden 2000
TTT = ''To The Town' - Portraits of Southwold by Stephen Wolfenden 1988
W = White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Suffolk 1874

Note on dates
Unless otherwise stated, dates given do not indicate the years in which the business started or finished but those for which there is firm evidence that it was trading at this address. Sources in brackets; key at bottom of page.

The Swan today.

The Old Swan Inn on the Market Place as it appeared towards the end of the 18th century.

Notice of the auction of 1855 at which the Old Swan fails to sell.

The Swan Hotel in the 1890s
Courtesy of Southwold Museum and Historical Society (P1438)

The Swan in 1900 (Southwold Museum P209) Click the picture to enlarge

Advertisement dated 1900

Advertisement in a 1905 Tourist Guide. The hotel now boasts electric light and a motor garage. Its claim to an 18 hole golf course would be considered misleading by today's advertising standards.
With thanks for Prof J Hadgraft for providing this image

Click image to enlarge

In this 1907 advertisement, the Swan is boasting Electric Light and accommodation for motor cars.

By 1915, the Hotel has abandoned its outdated strap line "FOR FAMILIES & GENTLEMEN"!

An advertisement in the 1922 issue of the Southwold Corporation Tourist Guide

1960 advertisement for Swan Hotel

1960 advert reproduced from Southwold Magazine courtesy of David Wright