Brewer reopens former Jazz pub

BOXFORD’S former jazz pub The Fleece has now opened after a six-month refurbishment by new owner John Norton.

Now called The Fleece Hotel, the pub has opened one of it two bars and is serving beer mainly from Mr Norton’s award-winning Mill Green Brewery two miles away.

He said the kitchen will open in February when new landlords Jarred and Clare Harris are able to move in. Jarred is currently head chef at Mr Norton’s White Horse pub in Edwardstone.

“Now we have the bar open, the intention is that the kitchen will be open in February,” said Mr Norton. “We will open a dining room at the back of the pub.

“Jarred is originally from Orlando, Florida, and Clare was brought up in Sudbury. They are both very experienced in the hospitality industry,

“Jarred is also a top chef having worked extensively in Florida and more recently in Suffolk. Until they take up their positions at The Fleece, the bar will be managed by Jamie Watt.”

Mr Norton said he had approached Stoke-by-Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa to see if the famous jazz sessions could return to the pub in future.

He said: “Fleece Jazz is considering that, and I am waiting to hear back. It’s my hope that they will want to return.”

He said that he planned to stage other live music, apart from jazz at the pub, as well as offer the rooms for weddings and special occasions.

One of the newly-decorated bars will be called the Corder Room, named after William Corder from the notorious Red Barn Murder in Polstead in 1827.

He said there was no evidence as such but it was a well-known story that Corder, who murdered a young woman called Maria Marten, was held across the road from The Fleece.

He added: “This is a historic Grade II listed building with a very traditional atmosphere. It now looks fantastic both inside and out.”