The Pubs of Ludham, Norfolk

Ludham is a village in the Norfolk Broads, between Norwich and Great Yarmouth on the A1062 and reachable from the river Ant at Ludham Bridge, the Bure at St Benet’s Abbey and the Thurne via Womack Water. (Google Map)

There are two pubs in Ludham, about a mile apart – the Kings Arms in the centre of the village and the Dog Inn near Ludham Bridge. There have been at least 6 other pubs in the village centre and the buildings still exist as private dwellings, all visible within footsteps of the King’s Arms. Another closed pub, the Chequers, once stood at St Benet’s Abbey. From the Dog Inn beer garden you can see across the fields to where the Chequers once stood.

Ludham pubs map

Ludham pubs:
Kings Arms, Norwich Road
Dog Inn, Ludham Bridge (Johnson Street)

Closed pubs:
Bakers Arms, Yarmouth Road
Chequers, St Benet’s Abbey
Rose and Crown, Staithe Road
Royal Exchange, Staithe Rd, Sunnyside
Royal Oak, Norwich Rd
Ship Inn, Yarmouth Rd, opp. Baker’s Arms
Spread Eagle, Staithe Rd – Manor Gates/Croft

Ludham Pubs:

Kings Arms, Norwich Road
Kings Arms

The Kings Arms is in the centre of Ludham, less than 10 minutes walk from Womack Staithe off the river Thurne. It serves good pub grub and Woodfordes Wherry and Nelsons Revenge when visited. There was once a small lounge bar to the left which was primarily for food, but this has now been opened out to create a larger bar area. A 1973 pub guide describes it as a “real old village pub with all the things that one would expect to find in it” and this is still true, although there is no longer “a roaring fire for the winter months” (George Nobbs, Pubs to visit in East Anglia). There is no longer accommodation either; in 1922 when the bus service first came to Ludham, the driver slept at the King’s Arms before returning to Great Yarmouth the next day (Staithe Road, Ludham Archive). There is outdoor seating in the beer garden and at the front of the pub. Above the front entrance hangs a sign from the closed Norwich Brewery. Within a few footsteps of here you can see 6 closed pubs of Ludham.

Dog, Johnson Street, Ludham Bridge
The Dog Inn, Ludham

The Dog Inn is about 5 minutes walk from Ludham Bridge and the river Ant, on Johnson Street. There has been a pub here since at least 1689 when an entry in the church register records ‘the burial of Mary Thaxter from the Dog-house’ (Joan Snelling, Ludham, a Norfolk Village), although the present building is more recent. A free house with Wolf Straw Dog and Woodfordes Wherry when visited. The beer garden has views out towards St Benet’s Abbey where the closed Chequers pub used to stand.

Closed pubs:

Baker’s Arms
Baker's Arms Green

The Bakers Arms was an early 18th century beer house with a public bakehouse at the rear. It closed at the end of trade on Sunday 19th April 1959. It stood on the corner of Yarmouth Road and the High Street, on the right of the present shop. The building has since been demolished and the site is now Bakers Arms Green, where the village sign stands. An old photo on shows the pub with a ‘Bullards pure Ales and Stout’ sign. The pub is shown in the 1954 movie “Conflict of Wings”.

Chequers, St Benet’s Abbey
Chequers, St Benets Abbey

The Chequers once stood on the banks of the river Bure at St Benet’s Abbey. It is actually in the Parish of Horning but by land is only accessible from Ludham. The building is shown on Faden’s Map of 1797 but was much older. It burnt down in 1891 (Tim Pestell, St Benet’s Abbey) and nothing can now be seen, although some remains of the pub and other buildings exist under the soil amongst the ruins of St Benets Abbey. The images above show the curve of the river where buildings including the Chequers and the brewery to the left once stood – the model is on display in Horning Church. There are some wonderful paintings of the Chequers at Grove Farm Gallery. Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery has sketches of the interior of the Chequers in 1858, ‘whose cool recesses speak of ancient ways’ (G.C. Davies, Handbook to the Rivers and Broads of Norfolk and Suffolk)

Rose and Crown, Staithe Road

The Rose and Crown, also known as the Crown, was a pub from at least 1752, closed by 1907. Part of the bar may still exist inside the building which is now called Crown House. There was a Post Office in the pub for over 30 years in the 19th century. It had ‘a large public room for auctions and meetings and a cellar’ (Staithe Road, Ludham Community Archive Publications)

Royal Exchange, Staithe Road
Royal Exchange

A beerhouse in the 19th century, the Royal Exchange is now a private dwelling called ‘Sunnyside’. The building is believed to date from the 1600s.

Royal Oak, Norwich Rd
The Royal Oak

A pub in the 18th century, this thatched building opposite the churchyard is now a private dwelling.

Ship Inn, Yarmouth Rd, opp. Baker’s Arms
Ship, Ludham

Discover Ludham, produced by the Ludham Community Archive Group, records that in 1794 the larger house in the row opposite Baker’s Arms Green was the Ship Inn.

Spread Eagle, Staithe Rd – Manor Gates/Croft
Spread Eagle

The Spread Eagle, a pub for just over 40 years in the late 1800s, was in a building which had previously been the vicarage (it backs on to the churchyard) and later became a temperance hotel. It is now two dwellings, Manor Gates and Manor crofts with the small former communal bake-house to the right; a former licencee was also a baker.


3 responses to “The Pubs of Ludham, Norfolk

  1. Quite interesting reading this now haven’t walked through the village today ! a well pubbed village at one point. Today the Dog only had two couples, both in the garden, on a glorious Easter lunchtime.

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