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At Least I Returned From My Expedition.

If you were one of those who read the last post on the lost Anchor Inn at Toynton Fen Side, or was it in Toynton All Saints, or even some other Toynton, you may have picked up on the fact that Mrs Bygone Boozer and I each had a little "off" whilst out riding our bikes during our sheep-sitting stay in Old Bolingbroke. This necessitated the acquisition of some pain-killers and a medical appliance from the pharmacist in Spilsby.

I was somewhat reluctant to use the car on account of its refusal to pull, along with its coughing and spluttering at low revs. These characteristics, along with the presence of a bright orange warning light on the dashboard which was accompanied by the odd message of doom in marquee text walking across the display panel, were the result of the activity of what must've been an extremely hungry rodent. An extremely hungry rodent with no sense of taste. The car had been booked in with the local main dealer for repair (Ninety-odd quid for a short hose and another sixty to fit it and reset the computer, but that's a tale for another day and another bygone boozer.) and I didn't want to drive it unnecessarily, so a bike expedition it would have to be.

Rodent damage to turbo/intercooler pipe.
The result of the attentions of a gustatory-challenged rodent.

Affixing the seatpost-mounted bag and flashing lights, but dispensing with the rather temperamental GPS, I set off taking a slightly less than direct route through Mavis Enderby and Hundleby to the Co-op pharmacy in Spilsby's High Street.

Tong Spilsby

The pharmacy is a couple of doors away from Tong's hardware shop, and next door to this emporium of domestic necessities is the White Hart Inn which, although closed at the time of writing, is due to reopen shortly. We came across a Tong in this earlier post featuring the Old Hare and Hounds in Breightmet. It seems that some of the UK's Tongs, and there are only around three thousand of them, reside in the vicinity of this small Lincolnshire town.

In order to occupy some of the minutes between making my request in the pharmacy and the time when said items were likely to be handed over I had a little wander around and spotted this cross. I thought it a sufficiently interesting structure to do a bit of internet digging after I'd returned to the injured one with my expedition's spoils.

Spilsby's Market Buttercross and Methodist Chapel.

It seems that Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, in his The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire, suggests that the Buttercross dates to the fourteenth century but Historic England's official listing of this Grade II structure puts as a century younger.

It was whilst digging into the history of the Buttercross I came upon this image which has resulted in me doing a bit more digging of my usual kind, for the thatched building on the right looks as if it could've been a pub with a sign over the door depicting a white animal of some kind. Maybe a white hart or a white horse.

The Buttercross. And could that possibly be a pub?

Now, as stated further up the page, Tong's hardware shop stands next to the White Hart, so it's hardly likely to be another one of those. White's directory of 1826 offers a couple of other possibilities: a White Bull and a White Horse.

Extract from White's 1826 directory.

Further digging and the 1851 census shows us that one Abraham Milner is at the White Horse in the Market Place...

Extract from the 1851 census.

...and Pigot's directory shows us that he'd been there at least ten years by that point.

Extract from Pigot's 1841 directory.

It appears that the White Bull, also now a bygone boozer, used to be on Halton Road so that seems to nail this place down as being the White Horse.

It looks like the White Horse remained in the Milner family for the remainder of its life. Whilst Abraham died in 1859 the census taken two years later informs us that his son James was running the place. Mother Mary was probably helping out, as was Maria Mackinder, the barmaid.

Extract from the 1861 census.

Ten years later the three of them are still in the White Horse, but by now Maria has become Mrs. Milner jr., having married James in 1868.

Extract from the 1871 census.

The last record of the pub that I've come across is in White's directory of the following year.

Extract from White's 1872 directory.

There's no mention of the White Horse in Kelly's 1876 edition and in 1881 James and Maria are living in Hundleby. It's no surprise that they're no longer in the White Horse as it had been flattened by then, with a Methodist chapel being built on the site in 1878.

Having returned to the pharmacy to collect my order I set off, retracing my earlier route, and arrived safely back in Old Bolingbroke in what was really a reasonable time considering the howling headwind I faced for most of the way and the unwanted stop to try to get a bout of tachycardia to settle down. It didn't, but I did arrive safely back from my expedition unlike this son of the town, Sir John Franklin, whose statue I passed on the way. My expedition may, however, have just been a little less hazardous.

Statue of Sir John Franklin.

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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Thanks for another super researched article.

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