You probably know what it's like. You've been to a place a couple of times and you think you can find your way around, until you can't. I was out on my own, pedalling through the Lincolnshire flatlands on the recent sheep-sitting stay in Old Bolingbroke. I can't recall if I was simply out on my own or whether it was an enforced solo ride after Mrs Bygone Boozer's 'off'. This had resulted in my falling on top of her, meaning the necessary purchase of a replacement pair of wheels as well somebody sustaining a fractured radius. The former was more painful. At least it was for me.
Anyhow, I'd completed about three-quarters of my planned excursion when my GPS informed me that I was off route. It had thrown a wobbly earlier in the trip, assuring me I was off route when I wasn't, so I blissfully ignored it, convinced that I knew where I was going. I didn't. I eventually stopped at a crossroads, where one of the innumerable identical bridges crosses one of the innumerable identical drains, to ask Mr. Google to tell me where I was. Other than lost, that is.
It turned out that I wasn't too far off route and had simply to retrace my pedal strokes for abour a mile, and in doing so passed this house once more. Its name grabbed my attention.
Anchor House. Could it possibly have been? Well, the Ordnance Survey's 1904 mapping confirms that it had been.
It was suggested to me that, for many years, this remote place at Hob Hole was run as a family affair by Ian Bred, who lived there with his sister Hannah and their seven children, but I feel this is likely to be apocryphal, if not stereotypical, for I've found no records to substantiate this claim. What I have discovered is that it was run as a family affair by father and son George and Harry Alliss.
Operating as both a pub and a farm, as many rural drinking establishments did, at the time of the 1901 census the Anchor was in the possession of Geoge Alliss, who was living there with his wife Elizabeth and their sons. Prior to this he'd been at the nearby by Black Horse (also a bygone) which he'd taken over from his in-laws.
George died in 1919, but not before Kelly's recorded him as still being at the Anchor...
...and their edition published seven years later has son Harry at the reins.
The last record I can find of it being a pub is in Kelly's 1930 edition which still gives Harry there. In fact, he's still there, with wife Alice and son Albert at the time of the 1939 Register but he's only then listed as a farmer and there's no mention of the Anchor being a pub. Alice Alliss (I love a bit of alliteration, but...) is a widow and still in the property when she dies in 1976, but by then the place is simply known as Anchor Farm.
The Allisses weren't the only family affair that looked after the Anchor, and I'm not referring to the aforementioned Hannah and Ian Bred. If we go back to the first record of the pub mentioned by namethat I've been able to come across, it was being run by one Hildred Elvidge who'd earlier been at the Barge beer house – yet another bygone.
Hildred was still there in 1882...
...but had retired by the time of his death in 1889. Presumably his son Harry had taken the place on, as he was there at the time of the 1891 census and is in Kelly's directory which was published the following year.
Notice the listing of George Alliss. He is, of course we now know, at the Black Horse at the time and shortly the Anchor will be passing from the Elvidges to the Allisses.
Alas, there's little point in hankering for a pint in Toynton these days as sadly it's lost the Anchor, the Black Horse, the Barge, the Ship, the Coach and Horses – I could go on – and there's no longer a boozer in the place. It's hard enough to get a pint in Old Bolingbroke these days – and it's supposed to have a pub.
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