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A Pair of Plumes.

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

A negative lateral flow test then a PCR one with the same outcome a couple of days later followed by another string of negative lateral flows. Surely we must be OK.

Mrs. Bygone Boozer and I had been pondering whether it'd be safe to pop down the M5 to visit the Outlaws on the occasion of Ma Outlaw's big birthday, for the recent trip to Sweden and then Christmas spent with Jess, Josh and Woody would've given us sufficient opportunity to acquire the plague. Yes, that's the same Jess, Josh and Woody that we met in the post on the Sun Inn at Darlton. They seemed to enjoy their yuletide heap of hay with the two Js getting theirs in a blue tub...

and Woody taking his from his hay tree.

With the pair of us achieving a longer string of negative results than England's Test Cricket team we decided that it'd be safe to go, so off to the county of Cheddar and cider it was.

Upon arrival there was no light fitting to be replaced, no boiler to fix and, being midwinter, no lawn to mow. The only task we had was to make a delivery to Wincanton Racecourse and as we left town the following morning we passed this lovely looking building at 59 Chilkwell Street. Well, it was lovely looking once. It's pleasant symmetry, dwelt over for hours by a nineteenth century architect, has been lost. How did this travesty come about? Well, once upon a time it was a pub that went by the name of The Plume of Feathers.

Plume of Feathers Glastonbury
The former Plume of Feathers in Glastonbury in April 2019.

Exactly from when it dates I'm not totally certain. Kelly's directory of 1861 lists a Joseph Crocker as a beer retailer in Chilkwell Street and the census taken in the same year backs this up showing him to be a farmer and innkeeper but gives no name to the establishment.

Extract from 1861 census.

Joseph, whose father James had been running the now demolished Anchor – later to become known as Tor House – a little further along the road, was in Chilkwell Street in the census taken ten years earlier but there was no mention of a hostelry of any description.

The house has a name by 1871 and perhaps the enumerator had called in for a swift pint or four which might account for why he attached the name of the pub to the neighbours' residence.

Extract from the 1871 census.

The true landlord, William Bevan, was still there a decade later having acquired a letter 'a'.

Extract from the 1881 census.

If I'm not totally certain when the Plume of Feathers dates from, the same state also applies to its demise. The last record of it that I can find is in the 1901 headcount when shoe and boot maker William Davis is also listed as an innkeeper living there.

Extract from the 1901 census.

William is still living at number 59 ten years later, still making boots, but there's no mention of it being a boozer. The 1901 census entry is the last record that I have found of its life as a hostelry. Perhaps William took advantage of the1904 Licensing Act which resulted in the closure of many beer houses with the payment of compensation. Today the building has been split to give a pair of houses and in so doing so it said goodbye to its former balanced frontage.

So that's one plume, but the post's title seems to suggest another. Well, you can't light ninety candles on a cake without producing as much smoke as a medium-sized Chinese industrial city, can you? Now all that's left for me to do is to wish you a happy new year. Surely it's got to be better than the last couple.

If you've read this far, then thank you. Possibly, like me, you may have some sort of interest in bygone boozers. Clicking here will take you to a searchable/sortable index which you can use to see if I've already featured any lost locals from your locality. You can also subscribe to ensure that you don't miss any future posts. Simply click here to return to the home page (opens in a new tab), follow the 'Subscribe' link and complete the form to receive an email notification of any future post. Or you could simply follow the link at the top of this page.

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