The town of Eye derives its name from the Old English word for 'island'
and it is believed that the first settlement on the site would have
been almost entirely surrounded by water and marshland formed by the
River Dove to the east and south east; its tributary to the north; and
by the low land, part of which now forms the Town Moor, to the south
and west. Through the years Eye has had a deer park, a leper hospital,
a gaol, a workhouse, a David Fisher theatre, a coaching inn with
posting establishment, a working men's hall and reading room, an
Esther, a guildhall, a grammar school, 20 pubs (including beer houses).
Photographs courtesy Andrew Smith
Looming over the small
market place is the extensive rendered
frontage of White Lion House, which until 1987 was the White Lion
Hotel. Now divided into houses and flats, the gateway into its yard has
a unique sign.
The pleasingly curving sign over the coach entrance off Broad Street
The building is listed
grade II and it dates from the 15th
century. It was formerly a Family & Commercial hotel &
house. In 1830 the inn was listed in Market Place and the "Monarch"
coach to London (via Ipswich) called here every evening at 7pm whilst
the "Monarch" coach to Norwich called every morning at 6am. Also the
"Star" to London (from Yarmouth) called every morning at half past ten
whilst the returning "Star" to Yarmouth (via Bungay & Beccles)
called every eve at half past five. In February 1986 it was reported
that the inn was closed for alterations including expansion plans to
create a series of 7 bar areas - but it never reopened. It was
subsequently converted to shops and a theatre (since closed). This
information from the Suffolk CAMRA site (see Links)