We had a talk, online, on the history of the pubs of Thatcham which resulted in a few enquiries and memories. The history of the pubs, as was seen from the talk, a long and sometimes complicated one.
The speaker has more detail on his website and we have, with permission, a copy of some of the highlights below:
It is not clear when the making of alcoholic beverages first started although evidence would suggest that by 4,000BC the art of making beer had been firmly established. The Neolithic and Bronze Age people were known to have brewed a form of beer using water, cereal grain and wild yeast. By the Saxon period we had a number of alcoholic drinks including Ealu, Wyn, Medu and Beor. Note the latter is not beer, not as we know it today.
I currently have about 50 pubs, inns, taverns and breweries identified in Thatcham, Cold Ash, Ashmore Green and Crookham. To make life easier when I refer to Thatcham this will include the above. So just a few I have include:
- New Inn,
- Swan Inn,
- The Chequers,
- The White Hart,
- King’s Head,
- The Plough,
- The Cricketers,
- The Black Horse, and
- The Wheatsheaf.
But there are many more including some forgotten ones such as
- The King’s Arms,
- The Queen’s Head,
- Crown Inn,
- Halfway House, and
- Coopers’ Cottage.
I can so far only identify three as Inns (White Hart, King’s Head and Coopers Cottage) for stage coaches. The White Hart appears to date to the early 1600s whilst I have others that appear to go back further. I have names of innholders, William Rabbet from 1632 for example, but no associated establishment name.
What I have done, or am in the process of doing, for each is to research and identify:
- Building history. When was it put up, any works done, archaeology, etc.,
- Freeholder, where I can, such as breweries,
- The landlord and staff,
- Stories and news, and
This includes going through newspapers, archives, interviews and much more. I will post details about some individuals pubs in later posts. Please contact me if you can help (i.e. loan photos, give information, etc.).