A butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker…
Well Walsham may no longer have a baker or a candlestick maker, or many other commercial enterprises but what it does have is done very well. This includes the excellent Rolfes Butchers, a similarly long- established builders’ merchant, Clarkes of Walsham, two pubs, the Blue Boar and The Six Bells, and a much more recent addition to Walsham’s landscape, Moriarty’s Café.
Here’s a quick run down on them all with contact details at the end.
Rolfes of Walsham
Rolfes premises on The Street in Walsham le Willows has been the location of a butchers for over 130 years. Paul Hubbard, the current owner, has run Rolfes of Walsham since April 2001. Rolfes employs seven staff, and remain true to traditional butchering methods sourcing local produce wherever possible.
As well as what you would usually expect from a good butcher Rolfes also stocks newspapers and flowers, as well as offering a prescription pick up service.
Rolfes were awarded Suffolk’s Best Butcher 2007 by the East Anglian Daily Times’ Suffolk Food and Drink Awards.
At Christmas Rolfes draws custom from far and wide and on Christmas Eve the Salvation Army Band stops by to play a few tunes outside.
Clarkes of Walsham
Founded by Horace F. Clarke, pictured left, a drawing featured in the WEEKLY DISPATCH of 1898 on account of his ‘remarkable successes at swimming’.
Horace was the son of a well-known auctioneer and took over his father’s business in the early 1900’s. The auctioning of agricultural requisites led to his establishing a timber yard, which after the First World War had become the builders’ merchant, Horace F. Clarkes.
In 1954 this business became a limited company and today is still a family business of four generations. The premises occupy a discreet 10 acre
site in the unspoilt village of Walsham-le-Willows.
The last 30 years have seen steady expansion with Clarkes now employing 100 people and running a large fleet to deliver their goods throughout England from what is a very well organised and maintained site.
Clarkes are one of the largest independent suppliers of building, farming and garden materials in East Anglia, and fast becoming the number one outlet for Cartridge and Shooting Accessories in East Anglia and beyond.
The opening of Moriarty’s Café has breathed life back into the site known previously for H. Nunn and sons hardware store. Derelict and unused for many years the shop and yard have been present on the high street since the 1800’s when Harry Nunn first opened up.
The present owners have brought what had become a sad site back to life and have cleverly reused and made features of what they found. The old counter is in the same place, now being used again to serve food rather than hardware. An old wall mounted box shelving unit to hold screws of many different sizes still hangs on the wall as decoration, providing one of many links back to the building’s past.
There are two main seating areas, one with larger tables the other with comfy chairs and a sofa around a small wood burner.
There is a lovely garden seating area for when the weather is warmer and plants are sold from there by the local Bell Flower Nursery.
The cakes and food are delicious and the place has a lovely bustling atmosphere which is drawing in people from the village and beyond. It has also become a firm favourite with cyclists making their way through the village.
Opening hours are 09:00 – 16:30, Tuesday to Saturday.
Walsham-le-Willows is fortunate to have not one, but two pubs, both with their own distinct characters and clientèle as well as long histories. The Walsham History Group review number 29 has more on that history for the Six Bells and the Blue Boar from from 1398 and 1447 respectively.
The Blue Boar
This Public House was first recorded as brewing and selling ale until 1360 and the first mention of its medieval name of Bays was when John and Alice Bray surrendered 1/2 an acre of land to a John Redwood and his wife Joan.
In 1817 it was recorded as being a public house named the ‘Boat’. The Blue Boar website has details of what is on offer at this pub where there is good food and regular entertainment.
The Six Bells
The first record of this establishment selling ale was in 1423. This house was known as ‘Fullers’ from around 1476 when John and Margaret Fuller lived there. The present building was said to be ‘newly built’ in 1523, and it finally became known as a Public House in 1844. It is first recorded as being named the Six Bells in the 1861 census.
The Six Bells is a Greene King house and is a traditional country pub. Food can be provided to order, for example, soup and rolls for the Bank Holiday walks that are involve a large group of walkers from the village. There are also regular barbeques that are held throughout the summer.