Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet



The History of Bank House
Bridge Street
Bures St Mary

Bank House, located in Bures near the Road Bridge, had been left abandoned and derelict for several decades
before it was finally auctioned off in 2021.
The property's hazardous condition prevented potential buyers from viewing the interior due to health and safety concerns, as the building was on the verge of collapsing internally.
In 2021, Harry and Mandy Irwin acquired Bank House with a vision to transform it into a high-class tea shop. After nearly two years of unwavering dedication, they proudly celebrated the grand opening of Bank House Tea Shop on December 14th 2023.
Harry, a skilled builder, took charge of most of the renovation work himself, only seeking assistance from specialised tradespeople like roofers and gas engineers when necessary.
The remarkable renovation serves as a testament to the astonishing transformation that Bank House underwent from its previously dilapidated state.


No8 and 9 Bridge Street, Bures St Mary.

Bank House is listed at Grade II building in Historic England's records, dated 1978.
An 18th century timber-framed and plastered house, altered in the 20th century. 2 storeys and attics. 3 window range, 20th century casements. The ground storey has a 20th century shop front at the east end. Roof tiled (old tiles), mansard, with 3 gabled dormer

Timber frame appears to date from C14/15, with decorative carving to ground floor joists. Rear wall of timber frame has holes for mullions. Roof structure has been replaced, reusing timbers, some of which are carved, with a date '1656', and appears to match the detail to the bressumer on the front elevation.


Bank House occupies a position directly opposite St Mary's Church in Bures. In its present form the timber-framed and rendered structure dates from the late-18th or more probably the early-19th century and is likely to have been built as either two or three tenements by John Garrad who also owned a Tannery to the rear.

John Garrad (1796 -1874)
1851 lived at Secretaries, Malster, farmer, merchant and brickmaker employing 67 men. Of those, 8 were employed on two sailing vessels based at the Hythe, Colchester, with which he traded in bricks, malt, farm produce and coal.
1862 owned Bakers Hall, Butlers Farm, Ravensfield Farm, Pricketts Hall Farm and Pudneys Farm. Malting and Tan buildings.
Brick Kilns in Alphamstone, Lamarsh and Bures Hamlet.
1838 purchased the White House from the Guardians of Sudbury Union


Exposed Beams during the 2023 renovation.

The 1885 Ordnance Survey shows the building with much the same outline as today,
To the left of the building was the entrance to the Tannery.
Today, that has been replaced by Bridge House.



Left:- By 1910 Ernest or 'Ernie' Bays ran the newsagent and confectionery shop, while a smaller shop operated as Barclays Bank from 11 until 1 on Fridays.

The 1911 census has Ernest Bays as a 31-year-old shopkeeper selling Newspapers and
Confectionery' living with his wife and two young daughters: Muriel aged 5 and Violet, 3.
The 1921 census records an addition a son, Colin, who was born in 1913.

Extract from Kelly`s Trade Directory 1912

Circa 1920 the shop was transferred to Ronald Mansfield either during or shortly before the Second World War, and was rebuilt in roughly its present form after an American Jeep from the USAAF at nearby Wormingford who crashed through the window.
Ref "Book, Bures at War"

Third from Left, Ron Mansfield.

Barclays Bank was still operating for a few hours a week in the late 1930s (1937 Kelly`s Directory)
but Doctor Brown took over the building in the 1960`s.

However during this interim period (1937 - 1960`s), it may well have been used for some other retail purpose, possibly an Estate Agent because of the brass plaques by the entrance door.
Left Photo


Both No8 and No9 were owned by Ronald Mansfield, who served as Chairman of the Parish Council in the 1950s and 60s, and his newsagent's shop closed on his death in the mid-1980s
Ronald lived along the Sudbury Road, virtually the last house on the right before the parish boundary with Lt Cornard.

It then passed to Paul Wade, Ron`s Nephew sometime during the 1970`s
He was certainly trading in 1976 when I visited the shop to see Paul behind the counter,
The front awning still carried the "Mansfield" name.

The Doctors Surgery moved to Church Square on 1st April 1989, but unfortunately the empty property became a target for Squatters.
Babergh District Council made numerous efforts to trace Paul Wade to take responsibility of the property, but as far as I am aware he was never located.

Consequently, it laid derelict until the Auction Purchase in 2021.

Miscellaneous Photos

Ernest Bays circa 1930`s
Artificially coloured from the original Black and White.


Mansfields circa 1950
Friths Commercial Postcard

Access to the Tannery far left before the bridge
Circa 1900

Other Historical refreshment outlets in the village

3 Ways Cafe at the Essex Knoll 1940
Coffee Tavern in Church Square 1882


Historic England
Bures-online web site
"Bures at War" publication
Garrad family in Bures

Published 23/10/23
Alan Beales