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Chronicles of a Cat-Sitter.

Whilst I'll admit that I may not be the most fervent feline fancier, friends, needing four days of feline feeding and tomato watering, offered the opportunity to ride some different lanes and so we loaded the bikes into the car and headed off for north-east Lincolnshire. Whilst my last visit to the area threw up a single bygone boozer, the Cross Keys in Salmonby, this trip threw up a few more lost pubs. So here they are, in the order in which we pedalled by.


DAY 1

Having received instructions on feeding, operation of the kitchen appliances and the whereabouts of the vet we set out on a quick 15 miler to get our bearings. It wasn't long until we were passing the busy Crown and Anchor at Tetney Lock and a few seconds later found ourselves outside Sloop House.


Former Sloop Inn, Tetney Lock.

The Sloop Inn, on North Cotes Road, had Stephen Hartley as innkeeper and grocer living there in the 1871 census. He's listed as a grocer in Tetney Lock a decade earlier, but was this at the Sloop? There doesn't seem to be any indication that it was operating at then. Henry Hundleby ran it for around half a century. He was there at the time of the 1881 census and the 1930 edition of Kelly still has him there. As for when it closed, I don't know. It's now a private residence.

Continuing along North Cotes Road and, what a surprise, we end up in North Cotes where there's a much more recent closure. The Fleece Inn stands, at least for the moment, on Lock Road. The earliest reference to it that I can find to it is in the 1861 census when farmer Edward Burgess is recorded as the innkeeper and he's still there twenty years later.


The Fleece in the 1930s.

The Fleece closed in 2015 and now looks very sorry for itself. For how much longer it will remain standing I'm not sure. Seems like a prime case for demolition and then new housing being built on the site. Sad.


The Fleece in 2019.

Nice detail.

Heading back to our charge we pass through the village of Fulstow, passing the site of the former Ship Inn on the way. Out in the middle of nowhere, well OK at Fire Beacon (which actually IS in the middle of nowhere), at the side of the Louth Canal, once stood the Ship Inn.


1888 OS mapping.

It's marked on the 1888 Ordnance Survey map but not on the 1907 edition. The 1881 and 1891 censuses show a George Kirk as innkeeper. He'd been at the aforementioned Crown & Anchor in 1861 and died in 1884. Perhaps the Ship Inn died with him for I can't find any reference to it after this. A modern bungalow now stands on the site.


Site of the former Ship Inn.

From Fire Beacon we enter the comparative metropolis of Fulstow where we come across another lost hostelry. As we approach, the gable end suggests a former pub with the possible remains of painted advertising sign.


Possibly a bygone boozer?

The gable on the other end of the building leaves us in no doubt.


I wonder what this one was called.

White's Directory of 1842 has Henry Grantham as a victualler here and this former Hewitt's Brewery continued to serve until 1969 when it closed and became a private residence. DAY 2

Day 2 broke warm and sunny, so after fulfilling our morning responsibilities we launched out into the Lincolnshire landscape. If yesterday's ride was fifteen miles, today's would be fifty.

The first bygone boozer of the day was at South Thoresby. On Church Lane, the Vine Inn is recorded in White's 1842 directory with John Bilton as a victualler there. It continued in operation until 2009 and is now a Bed & Breakfast establishment.


The former Vine Inn, South Thoresby.

More pedalling sees us entering Manby where, after a brief pause for an ice cream, a couple of hundred yards of detour towards Saltfleetby finds the Plough Inn.


The former Plough Inn, Manby.

In existence at the time of the 1841 census it seems to disappear from records somewhere between 1919, when John Windley was proprietor, and 1930 as it doesn't feature in Kelly's Directory of that year.

And so to the final offering of Day 2 – another Plough. Sometimes it seems to be referred to as the New Plough, but it certainly used to be simply, the Plough.



The Plough at Covenham St. Bartholomew was built in 1898 if the moulding on the gable end is to be believed. Or was it? White's 1842 edition of their directory has Jonathan Grantham, a wheelwright, as a victualler at the Plough and all censuses through to 1901 show the hostelry, as do later directories. The building certainly doesn't look like a mid-19th century structure so it was probably rebuilt at some time, and hence the reference to the New Plough. Probably in 1898! Certainly before this shot from the 1930s even though the sign still simply calls it The Plough.


The Plough in the 1930s.

Rebuilt or not, it closed around 2014 and a developer applied to convert it into three dwellings, with another to be built on the car park. It seems that this application has been turned down and that. Locals hope to turn it into a community pub. Here's wishing them every success.


The Plough in 2019.

DAY 3

A leisurely rise, domestic duties done, time to set off. Just a short one today and only one closed pub. The village of Binbrook now has just a single hostelry, yet another Plough (Plough & Horses in 1826), although this too was closed for about eighteen months a few years ago. It used to have a second, the Marquis of Granby, which shut in the 1990s, shortly after the closure of nearby RAF Binbrook.


Marquis of Granby in the 1920s...

...and almost a century later.

It's not too hard to spot as it has a large label attached to the front elevation of what now makes up three residences. Built in 1696, one John Topliss was the innkeeper in 1826 according to White.


Feeding time. Yet again! Time to return to our charge who doesn't seem to be missing us.


Meet Leo.

DAY 4

No pedalling. No bygone boozers.


Minor injuries clinic and X-ray. Don't ask!