Mill Inn, Framlingham - History

This page is a work in progress, collecting memories and records of this Inn lying a about five hundred yards beyond the eastern edge of Fram in the late 19th century.

Ordnance Survey maps, courtesy of the National Library of Scotland (their originals can be accessed by clicking on each map):

Mill Inn, East Framlingham, 1883
Mill Inn, East Framlingham, 1903
Mill Inn, East Framlingham, 1925
Mill Inn, East Framlingham, 1948

Note that the buildings in 1948 Pageant Place are post-war pre-fab homes, which were replaced by council houses later.

As can be seen from the above maps, in the C19 Fram used to end where Haynings Farm stands opposite Jeaffreson's Well and the Saxmundham Road starts, as shown in the 1896 photo below. The Sax Rd can be seen receding into the distance and the Mill Inn was in a little group with the mill and bakehouse, all out on their own just round the bend at the furthest point that you can see below. Actually, the mill and associated buildings could be more directly accessed via the track beyond the gate visible to the left of Jeaffreson's Well, as can be seen on the 1883 and 1903 maps above.
Jeaffreson's Well with Sax Rd beyond
Photo courtesy of Framlingham Historical Photo Archive

From CAMRA page for Mill Inn, Framlingham (accessed 5 Sep 2020)
"In Liquidation, The Mill Inn, Framlingham, to sell by auction, as interacted by the Trustees of the Estate of M D R DEEKS; also a post wind-mill fitted with iron shaft patent sails, self winding gear & brick roundhouse."
Ipswich Journal, January 4th 1879**


The CAMRA page (wrongly) concludes that:

"The Mill is shown at this location on the 1883 OS map. By the 1888 sheet it's gone and appears to have been demolished, so must have closed between those dates."

This seems to imply that the author of the CAMRA page (wrongly) thought that the label 'Mill Inn' on the 1883 map pointed to its right, not its left.
On the right, there was a little rectangle in the orchard south of the road (OS no. 300) that disappeared on maps later than 1883. However, this is blue on the coloured print of the 1883 map, telling us that it is a pond. The Mill Inn was definitely to the left of the label.

Nonetheless, it does seem that it was no longer an inn after its demise in 1879, given the OS maps only label it as the "Mill Inn (B.H.)" in 1883 (BH stood for Beer House), and no label at all from 1903 onwards (but that's only weak evidence).

The site of the long-closed Inn is now (2020) the second from last house on the Sax Rd (no 45) out of Fram (postcode IP13 9BZ), on the very outskirts of Fram, as shown here.
Location of The Old Mill Inn, Framlingham


My Nan (Norah Briscoe) lived in no. 45 from about 1983 until she briefly went into a home in 1996. Incidentally, she had a rather ignominious past:
Before that I remember Ernie Smith living there, one of the farm workers. I have some photos in my Mum's albums of these people, probably with the cottage in the background - I'll try to dig them out.

After my grandad Jack Larter died in 1975, Vera Green, his live-in housekeeper, moved into Mill House (no.47 behind no.45), until she went to Mills Meadows care home in the mid 1990s, where she died in 2008(?). In the 1960s Horace (Horrie) Green (Vera's father) had lived in Mill House, but his daughter Vera had lived in as housekeeper at Home Farm Parham since 1943 and before that at Sandpit Farm, Bruisyard. In the late C19 and early C20, various of my relatives lived in Mill House, including relatives of my great-grandmother Harvey.

Gordon Fuller's family lived 2 doors up at no. 51. He continued there with his family of twelve, until the late 1980s / early 90s, when his family would have been there for about 100 years. I got this from my cousin, Lyndsay Gooch, who lived in no.51 briefly before it was demolished in 1998/9.

The Mill Inn has a reputation as a 'house of ill repute' according to local knowledge. Geoff Rogers tells me that he and other farmworkers were renovating no 45 after Ernie Smith died (Ernie was a retired farmworker) probably around 1983 before my Nan was moved in there. They found thin flexible bell wire in the ceiling, leading from one of the bedrooms down to the tap room. Geoff says they jumped to the conclusion that it could have been a brothel, but an elderly neighbour (who he thinks might have been Gordon Fuller, but he's not sure) told them that it had indeed been known as a knocking shop. That renovation would have been some 100 years after the Mill Inn's demise in 1879, so this memory of the place as a knocking shop must have survived three or four generations.

A brief survey of the history of Victorian prostitution tells me that the growth in the trade arose primarily due to the tremendous shift from rural to urban life, because the rapid population churn in the large cities afforded anonymity to those who wanted it. So social pressure could no longer be exerted like it was in rural towns and villages, where everyone knew everyone and their family and relatives. If the Mill Inn was indeed a house of ill-repute, I'm sure historians of the trade would be interested to know of this example on the outskirts of a sleepy rural Suffolk town.


I've uploaded old deeds and maps of the fields around the Inn here.
You can read on the deeds linked above that the mill was built in 1801 by William Titshall, and it goes on to give the buyings and sellings (I haven't fully transcribed it all - ran out of time).

The mill was further back from the road (beyond the top of the photo below), shown as the round building on the 1883 OS map above, exactly where the Mill Place bungalow stands today.
No 47 (Mill House) was the bakehouse, and No 45 was the Inn. It was common to have a bakehouse and inn together, the yeast from the brew being used for the bread, with the flour from the mill, of course.

There was an orchard over the road, which possibly went with the inn, as shown on the 1883 OS map at the top of this page. It's OS no. 300 on this map:
Fram Corner Transfer Map (1968)
The Mill Inn and Mill House are shown between the left-hand part of 302, where the mill stood, and the right-hand part of 302, where no's 49 & 51 stood.

On the northern side of the main road, opposite the orchard, there were allotments in the corner of the field nearest no 51 in my Grandfather's day. However, there is no record of them on the 1957 Ordnance Survey.

This aerial photo shows no.45 in 1990 (110 years after the inn was closed).
45 Saxmundham Road, Framlingham, Aerial Photo (1990)

It's the one behind the red tin roofs; not the two semi-detached cottages on the right (which are 49 & 51, now demolished and replaced with 49); and not the one behind (47), which is Mill House.

The floor plan until last year, when we started renovated it, was like this (North points roughly downwards):
45 Sax Rd Pre-2018 Renovation

The long thin 'Kitchen' as shown on the plan used to be the tap room, with a hatch from the 'living room'. Geoff Rogers used to work on our farm, and helped renovate this cottage in about 1983 after Ernie Smith lived here and before my Nan moved in. He tells me that the floor of this room sloped towards a gulley along its length. Here's a photo from a couple of years ago:
45 Sax Rd kitchen before removal, May 2019
I suspect the privvy was in the red brick 'store room', where we found a soil pipe cut-off at floor level feeding a sewerage drain.

Here's what it looks like after renovation in 2019:
Old Mill Inn: Renovation complete, Oct 2020

I'm afraid we didn't find anything interesting in the walls during the renovation (no bell pulls or anything reminiscent of its days as the knocking shop). We've left the flint walls that were along the back and side of the tap room, but covered them over with lining.
Here's the 2018-19 renovation in progress:

Bob Briscoe
11 Oct 2020
Rearranged and corrected: 21 Jan 2024