Dating back to the year 1700 The Ship Inn, it is said, was originally to be called ‘The Sheep Inn’; but the sign writer misunderstood the broad Suffolk dialect that was native to here. By the time the mistake was noticed it was too late.
Featuring in many local tales, a few songs and in George Ewart Evans famous book about rural life ‘Ask the fellows who cut the hay’; The Ship Inn is one of the oldest Folk Music pubs in East Anglia, possibly the whole country.
Simply ‘Googling’ Blaxhall Ship (or similar) will lead you into a mind boggling array of links. There are numerous Youtube clips of folk singing and traditional step dancing in the bar, along with black & white footage of pub life in the 1950s from the UEA and BBC Archives – all well worth a look. Several documentaries about folk music, poetry and the spoken word have been made in The Ship Inn.
At The Ship Inn we have a close Bond with Suffolk Folk and Aldeburgh Music, hosting two significant Folk Music competitions every year – The Chorus Cup and The Percy Webb Cup. In addition we hold our own Midsummer Festival Of Folk over the Summer Solstice annually and are an offsite stage for the ever popular Folkeast Festival at Glemham Hall.
Percy Webb was a well loved local who frequented this pub and many others in the area. A charismatic man who entertained generations with his voice and repertoire of folk songs, he cut his first record at the age of 83.
Every Monday we maintain a tradition that goes beyond the memory of our oldest regular – all ‘the locals’ get together for a sing song at about 2.30pm. It is not an organised event, but usually well attended and everyone is most welcome to join in or spectate. If you play an instrument, all the better, please bring it along.
There is traditional folk music with local group Shipshape on the 4th Wednesday monthly. On alternate Thursdays we have the Blaxhal Busk run by local singer Mat Bayfield, this is very relaxed affair and Mat is a great host. It is a wonderful opportunity to chill out and play great music with like minded souls. This rotates with a bi-weekly folk open session that works in a similar way. Most Sunday afternoons we have live music across the range of genres from Folk to Motown, Rock & Blues –we try to cater for everyone. Please visit the events page to see what’s a goin’ on a th’ Shep.
We are also proud to have our very own Morris side Pretty Grim…