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).

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Eye 1Photographs 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 reads:


Ipswich Historic Lettering: Eye 2
The building is listed grade II and it dates from the 15th century. It was formerly a Family & Commercial hotel & posting 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)

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