Tributes to feisty landlady

FIERY tempered and full of life.Judy Bryant was once the youngest landlady in the country and through her fighting spirit she carved herself the role of one of the most popular and well-known landladies in Suffolk.

By VICTORIA KNOWLES

Victoria.knowles@eveningstar.co.uk>

FIERY tempered and full of life.

Judy Bryant was once the youngest landlady in the country and through her fighting spirit she carved herself the role of one of the most popular and well-known landladies in Suffolk.

Judy died on October 5 at the age of 55 after suffering a brain haemorrhage and today her friends and family relive the memories of the stalwart campaigner who made sure everyone was welcome.

"She was just a great person. She lived life hard and to the full. She was fiery but there was always a place for anybody in her pub," said her husband Bob Bryant, also known as Fat Bob the tattooist.

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At the tender age of 18 she became the youngest landlady in the country when she took over at the Fox and Hounds in Ramsden Heath, Essex.

She was a biker girl at heart and loved the roar of the engines and the throb of the heavy weight duke box. Soon her pubs became a haven for bikers, although in her eyes everyone was welcome.

At the Cross Keys at Henley, the next pub of which she became landlady, she faced the battle of her life.

Her husband had left her and she was on her own with two children and no where to live. Without the license Tolly Cobold gave her three months to leave.

Her regulars rallied round her and more than 400 signed a petition asking the brewery to let her stay.

"People came from all over the country to the pub because it had such a good atmosphere. Residents didn't seem to like it because they said there was too much noise but she was always very considerate," added Bob.

"She loved the pub and there were real characters. Even her beloved horse Crumpet was involved and he used to come in to the pub and drink people's pints, "laughed her old friend Stephen Finch.

It was the start of a career which would see her challenging authority and making a lot of noise along the way.

On July 7, 1979, a huge protest was planned to clog the whole of the centre of Ipswich up – and of course Judy was behind this.

This turned to celebration when Tolly Cobbold relented and gave her widow status. Bands played in the paddocks at the back of the pub and finally things seemed to have worked out for Judy.

"They just didn't want a lot of bikers around and thought that they were causing a nuisance. This was just not true, everyone was welcome at her pub and yes she was a biker herself and loved rock music but the pub was a great place to be," added Bob.

But finally she was made to leave when they refused to grant her a tenancy and her and Bob moved on to a barge at Pinmill.

"They were happy years and eventually we moved in to another house in Suffolk. It is simple, Judy was just a lovely person and we want people to remember her, " added Bob.

N Judy's family would love to see some of her old biker friends at the funeral so if you would like to say goodbye to Judy her funeral will be held on October 24 at the Ipswich crematorium at 11.30am.

People are also welcome to meet at the chapel of rest at 11am to follow the horse drawn carriage.

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