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Former Great Barton Primary School headteacher Sue Spiller reveals the secrets of Ixworth pub The Pykkerell in new book




A former headteacher turned village history recorder has uncovered the secrets of a 500-year-old pub in a new book.

Sue Spiller spent just over a year researching and writing The Pykkerell, Ixworth, Suffolk - the story of a 16th century coaching inn.

It documents details about the pub’s buildings, owners, landlords, patrons, events and even addresses claims that the building is haunted.

Former headteacher Sue Spiller has written a book about the history of The Pykkerell in Ixworth. Picture: Mecha Morton
Former headteacher Sue Spiller has written a book about the history of The Pykkerell in Ixworth. Picture: Mecha Morton

Sue, who was headteacher at Great Barton Primary School for 14 years, said she became fascinated with the history of The Pykkerell after visiting the pub’s Courtyard Café, which opened in 2019.

“People started talking about the history of the building itself which got me interested because I’m the history recorder for Ixworth.” she said.

Sue began researching last February and finished it just over a year later during lockdown.

The pub dates back to the 1530s and the book looks at the story of its buildings, owners, patrons and events. Picture: Mecha Morton
The pub dates back to the 1530s and the book looks at the story of its buildings, owners, patrons and events. Picture: Mecha Morton

“It isn’t just about the building, it’s about the people working there,” said Sue. “I found out about the pub's owners and publicans and if you look at the events that happened there, it’s a history of the events that have happened in Ixworth.”

The Pykkerell began as a hostelry and the original parts of the building date back to the 1530s.

In the book, Sue explored the commonly held belief that the Courtyard Café was a court room.

However, she notes that it wasn't built until 1891 and, although the Court of Petty Sessions for the Blackbourn Hundred was held at the pub from the middle of the 18th century until 1849, she said it 'cannot be certain in which room it was held'.

Sue said: "The other thing that attracts people to The Pykkerell is the rumours there are ghosts there and I've got a few paragraphs on that."

She details reported sightings of a spectral old lady in the pub and staff and others claimed to have heard 'unexplained' footsteps or dragging sounds.

Sue, of Ixworth, thanked Pat Murrell for the loan of her research about the pub and Ixworth Association for a grant towards the publishing costs.

She is the village history recorder on behalf of Suffolk Local History Council. Her first book, Bertuna's Children, the history of Great Barton School, was published in 2017.

The Pykkerell, Ixworth, Suffolk - the story of a 16th century coaching inn is on sale from tomorrow via ixworthrecorder@hotmail.com at £12 per copy (plus £2.70 postage) and at the pub, in High Street, Ixworth.

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