Risbygate Street | Hazells’ Histories
We are pleased to bring you the third instalment of our collaboration with well-known local historian Martyn Taylor. We are reproducing sections from Martyn’s book A-Z of Bury St Edmunds in our monthly newsletter and we hope that as a result, subscribers will enjoy the historical reflections of so many parts of this wonderful town in which we live and work.
The Risbygate Ward in medieval Bury was the most populated and affluent area of the town as it included the Great Market (todays Cornhill). Risbygate Street was to become a suburb and has seen many changes over the years; a notable loss is that of several buildings including pubs and several re-inventions. The Wagon became The Market Tavern, then Bar 3 and is now The Gym (2016), phew! One business which has grown over the years is that of C J Bowers & Son. This motorcycle company has traded in Risbygate Street since 1928 and is still going strong as is its near neighbour, Lacy Scott & Knight estate agents and auctioneers. Henry Lacy Scott started his auctioneer and valuation business in 1869 progressing to running a livestock market from 1874. Bury’s cattle market had moved from The Beast market on Cornhill in 1828 to St Andrews Street South. A further access to the Cattle Market was made off Risbygate Street in August 1852 when the mayor J P Everard officially opened it. The cattle market site eventually became The Arc! The ancient Rising Sun converted to a ‘gastro-pub’ The St Edmunds Tavern for a short while, a tremendous loss to devotees of real pubs but is now the Casa Del Mar restaurant. A baker and flour dealer William Limmer was at no.91 near the Rising Sun, he had established his business in Bury in 1819 having come from Attleborough, son James was a miller in Mill Road. Opposite on the corner with Nelson Road was St James National School, this Gothic style building by Mr Barry from Liverpool and J Johnson of Bury was built in 1854.
The school was demolished in 1937, to become a car park when St Edmundsbury School in Grove Road was opened. Havebury Housing has recently built a fine development of flats on this site. Another change of use is where the 20thC Brahams Scrap yard offices at no.90 was, they had taken over the Clarkes Risbygate Brewery. The heavily timbered and jettied building, once two houses have 16th/17thC interiors but I am sure the frontage has made full use of existing timbers in a 20thC makeover as it’s condition is too symmetrical! Greene King purchased the Clarke family owned brewery along with a valuable portfolio of inns and pubs including the Cupola in 1917. Two demolished pubs were The Hare & Hounds and The Chequers Inn, this closed in 1974 to make way for Parkway. The Falcon from Victorian times closed in 2012 but subsequently had a fine residential conversion. Where the B&Q superstore is today corner of Chalk Road a medieval leper hospital once stood, Chalk Road being known as Spittle House lane at one time, Spittle a shortened version of hospital. Then priest Sir John Frenze endowed four houses here in 1494 and on this same corner George Cornish was to start his own engineering business, The Risbygate Foundry in 1865 after working for Bobys. He was mayor of Bury in 1891 and died in 1897 his firm evolving into Cornish & Lloyds two years later. Though never a big employer like Bobys it traded throughout the 20thC, moving up to Northern Way, until it closed there in 1972.
If you wish to continue the journey through the streets A to Z of Bury St Edmunds, or indeed read more about the history of Bury St Edmunds, you can purchase Martyn’s book from St Edmundsbury Cathedral shop, Waterstones and Moyses Hall.
Look out for another instalment next month, or subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when Hazells’ Histories returns!