History

The Bildeston Crown was originally a merchant’s house which dates from 1495 and it has been an inn since at least the 17th century. The team feel very privileged to be continuing the tradition of over 400 years of providing hospitality and a warm welcome.

During the 15th and 16th centuries Bildeston became prosperous through the woollen cloth industry. In the late 1460s Suffolk’s leading clothier lived in Bildeston and over a 4 year period was responsible for approximately 10% of the county’s total output of cloth. Bildeston was part of the small cluster of towns and villages known as the Suffolk Wool Towns which became famous throughout Europe. The abundance of wonderful timber framed buildings in the area reflect the wealth of the merchants during this period and provide visitors with a fascinating glimpse of our mediaeval history.

The Bildeston Crown Today

The big break in Chris and Hayley’s professional lives came when Suffolk farmer and businessman, James Buckle, decided to buy The Bildeston Crown in November 2003. James’ initial thoughts were to restore this wonderful Grade 2* listed former coaching inn and re-establish its purpose as a place for good food, drink and local employment. However, at the back of his mind was the vision to do so much more. In The Bildeston Crown he had the opportunity to develop his own outlet from which to sell his very own produce. Although not self-sufficient by any means, James was very happy to see beef from his own Red Poll herd and his lambs, as a regular on the menu. Meeting James and being offered the opportunity to build The Bildeston Crown to become the place to eat in Suffolk, quite literally marked Chris Lee as a chef to watch.