From as early as the 12th Century, weaving was a major industry in the area, with the production of hempen cloth. As far back as Richard II, Weaving Guilds were set up to regulate all aspects of their trade.
So prosperous were these Guilds that they had their own chapels in the Parish church. During the reign of Henry VI (1422-1461) the Guild of St. Nicholas, disapproving of the affairs of the church, constructed their own chapel on this site. The Chapel of St. Nicholas was later dissolved by Edward VI (1547-1553), when many of the powerful Guilds were suppressed.
The building was left to decay and in 1584 was given by Queen Elizabeth I to one William Croft. Around this time the building was renovated and extended using many timbers from the old Guildhouse School, which had been demolished in St. Mary's Churchyard.
In 1595 it was recorded as being sold to a butcher as a retail shop and over the following 300 years changed many times to include a collar maker, grocer and silversmith.
W. J Garnham bought the property in 1900 and sold it to Herbert Siddall in 1946. Aldiss and Hastings (gents outfitters) acquired the property in 1952 and 22 years later applied for permission for a change of use to a restraurant in 1974 (Hunters)
Upon completion of his hospitality training at Norwich City College, William Bavin has spent over 30 years working in the catering industry all over the country. In 1987 William returned to his Norfolk roots, completely refurbishing the restaurant, exposing and treating all the timbers and opened as Weavers Wine Bar & Eating House on Wednesday 1st April 1987.
Within a few years of opening the restaurant, the upstairs was also converted, allowing 60 covers to be served. Today you will still find William behind the stove and he is assisted out front by his wife Katrina, for whom Diss is also a return home after periods working in London hotels.
Housed between the restaurants beams you'll find alcoved banquette seating, which looks out onto the narrow streets of the pretty market town of Diss. The walls are lined with an interesting selection of original artwork and the large windows looking out onto the street are perfect for watching the world go by. In the evening small oil lamps on the tables give the restaurant a cosy warmth.
William's cooking is based on traditional methods with a modern style, old favourites such as home baked Steak, Kidney and Mushroom Pie, will be found alongside original dishes with a more complex mix of ingredients. The wine list is simple and modern with over 120 bins, covering most of the world's major wine producing areas. There are a number of entry point wines offered by the bottle starting at £16.80 as well as 10, regularly changing wines offered by the glass.
We also have a small kitchen garden allowing us to use the freshest, home grown, seasonal ingredients on our menus.