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.
Goodman Wiggins owns the Old Swan with its integral brewhouse before Southwold's great fire of 1659. The brewhouse at this time was part of the inn and did not move to its present site until after the fire.
John Rous rebuilds the Old Swan 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 both the Old Swan Inn and its brewhouse for the best part of a century (until 1806), John Thompson is a Town Bailiff and his family is one of the most influential merchant families in Southwold.
Henry Meadows, currently the landlord of the Old Swan, and Robert May, the co-owner of the Southwold Saltworks, acquire both inn and brewhouse from the Thompson family.
Thomas Bokenham buys the Old Swan from Henry Meadows together with its associated brewhouse and engages in an extensive upgrade programme.
Thomas Bokenham marries and, to pay off some of his debts, sells his brewhouse on
this site to William Crisp for £350 (M).
His brother, James Crisp, already owns
the near-by maltings. Thomas Bokenham with his wife, Elizabeth, take over as Inn Keeper of their their hotel, the Old Swan.
William Crisp dies, virtually bankrupt and the two maltings, the brewery, public houses, grain warehouses and the Crisp High Street home are sold at auction for a total of £2,802. See schedule here.
Note: The buyer is reported in the Norwich Mercury as being Mr Woodley of Cambridge. This may be a case of mistaken identity. The person who signs the auction documents is, indeed, John Woodley, a brother of the Cambridge Woodley. However, the man who emerges as the new owner is another member of the family, William Matthew Woodley.
William Matthew Woodley* is joined by Samuel Gayfer (a Walberswick Miller and son-in-law of the erstwhile owner, Thomas Bokenham.) The brewery now trades as 'Gayfer & Woodley'.
Samuel Gayfer buys out the Woodley share of the business but shortly afterwards has a stroke and effectively retires from active management.
Samuel Gayfer dies and the brewery ownership is left in the hands of his executors, whilst his son, George Eworthy Gayfer, takes over the day-to-day management.
The Brewery is put to auction by Samuel Gayfer's executors but fails to sell.
George Eworthy Gayfer dies by drowning. After a night drinking at the Crown Inn, he attempts to row himself home to Walberswick in a boat left for him by the off-duty ferryman, George Todd. He is said to have lost an oar and been swept out to the bar on the outgoing tide where the boat capsized. His body was found several days later. Samuel Gayfer's executors once again put the brewery up for auction, this time with more success. The purchaser is
Samuel Haiden Fitch.
Samuel Haiden Fitch put the brewery to auction but fails to sell it.
Haiden Fitch puts the brewery up for sale for the second time and it is bought by Mary Elizabeth Thomasin, the widow of George Thomasin, who had run a thriving brush factory in Witham, Essex. George had died four years earlier. Mary Elizabeth leases the brewery to her nephews, George Edward Underhill Adnams and his younger brother Ernest Michael Underhill Adnams. The Adnams brothers hail from a long-established
Berkshire-based brewing family.
In June, George Adnams pulls out of the partnership to go travelling and meets a premature death. Conventional history relates that he was eaten by a crocodile in the Zambezi but recent research suggests that he drowned in a South
African lake. Soon after George's departure, Ernest's father. George Adnams (Snr) joins the company temporarily to support his son.
Ernest Adnams enters into an equal partnership with Thomas Sergeant, a Bedfordshire brewer, which endures for the following decade
and includes the founding of a successful hotel chain. They trade as 'Adnams & Sergeant'
Thomas Sergeant offers to sell his share in the business to Ernest Adnams for £10,000. To raise this sum, Articles of Association of Adnams & Co Ltd were drawn up and a share issue raised.to buy Thomas Sergeant out. Frederick William Darby Robinson and Herbert Willoughby Youell join the board of the company this year.
Mary Elizabeth Thomasin who still owns the freehold on the brewery premises, this year transfers it to her son, James George Thomasin. Adnams and Co Ltd are effectively his lessees.
Adnams & Company Ltd acquires the freehold title
to the brewery from James George Thomasin.
The company embarks on a major rebuilding and expansion
programme.The brewery is rebuilt and the Adnams estate now includes two maltings,The Swan Hotel, Centre Cliff Hotel, 23 licensed public houses and seven leasehold public houses as well as offices, shops warehouses and residences.The company soon soon finds itself overstretched financially
and in need of fresh capitalisation.