The history and name of The Eel's Foot Inn dates back as far as 1533. Recorded in the parish records as an Ale House situated somewhere near the present location. The current Eel’s Foot Inn building dates back to 1642, when it was originally two cottages. The third cottage was added on in approximately 1725 (which is now the darts room). You may notice the wonderful looking dressers in this room, and these are original (c1725) and were made by an Essex carpenter hence the fancy columns and arches, Suffolk dressers go straight across at the top.
As far as records show the middle cottage became the village pub in the late 17th century. This was formally the cobbler’s cottage.
We cannot be sure how the pub got its name. It may have come from Heel's Foot, a cobblers implement, or more likely named after the Eel's Boot, a type of woven reed basket used in Eel Fishing. A more fanciful explanation is that it is a derivation of Neale's Boot, named after a medieval priest who trapped the Devil in his boot and tossed him into the river. The Devil escaped disguised as an eel! The Eel’s Foot, because of its close proximity to the sea was a favourite stop off point for travellers, drovers and smugglers.
If you walk to the bridge over the new cut and look eastwards towards the coast, you will see an arched bridge. This was known as Tu' Penny bridge as you had to pay to cross it - an original toll bridge.
In the 18th century the pub played host to parties of Dragoons in need of rest and refreshment. It was also a favourite resting place for smugglers. In 1747 the two sides surprised one another at the Eels Foot and shots were fired. Two of the Smugglers were captured and sent to the Old Bailey for trial and sentenced to death.
The Eel’s Foot Inn has a long history of being associated with local folk music. According to records, music has been played here for over 200 years. To this day, folk gather every Thursday evening with various instruments. Musicians are always welcome and many happy evenings are spent when a passing musician pops in and entertains for an hour or two!