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Every Four Years.

As I start to type these words next door neighbour Jimmy, this very day, is celebrating his nineteenth birthday. A few weeks ago he, with the assistance of his forty-one-year-old son, was replacing some slates that Storm Henk had removed from our roof. Yes, that's right. His son is forty-one, for Jimmy is a leapling. Every four years he has a birthday. If my sums are correct, only around 1 in 1461 people can claim to be a leapling and they last had a birthday in 2020.

I'm currently down in Somerset spending the leap day at the Outlaws, so I can't buy him a birthday pint this time, and this morning I went out for a little stroll. It wasn't until I had returned and looked back at a previous post on the Globe Inn that I realised that the last time I'd wandered to the top of Magdalene Street was four years earlier, almost to the day, in order to get a shot of that bygone boozer. It has since been painted...

Globe Inn Glastonbury
The former Globe Inn in February 2024.

...and whilst its old pub sign has gone, at least its name lives on.

Globe Inn Glastonbury
The Globe's name lives on.

If you want to read the post about the Globe and its namesake in Blakeway, near Wedmore – for which I've since managed to acquire an old image – then click here.

It was after having captured the above pictures that I turned to retrace my steps and passed this building. It just has 'the look'. It is certainly different in appearance from the cottages next to it and, yes, it turns out that it too is a bygone boozer.

Bell inn Glastonbury
The former Bell Inn in Glastonbury on 29th February 2024.

Just a handful of doors away from the Globe, at 2 The Armoury, stood the Bell Inn. In all likelihood William Swanton was the occupier in 1839...

Extract from Robson's 1839 directory.

...and he was certainly there two years later...

Extract from the 1841 census.

...but by the time of the next census he's taken his family across the pond and is earning a living as a painter in New York State. Possibly he'd left by 1844 when it looks as if another Swanton could well have been at the Bell. He was probably some relation or other, but I haven't been able to work out what.

Extract from Pigot's 1844 directory.

Time certainly passes. It's not quite time for Jimmy to have another birthday but it's almost a week since I was at the Armoury. In the meantime I've returned to Derbyshire, done a bit of bike maintenance, gone out on a few training rides in the vain hope that I might race this season and have procrastinated over finishing this post. As I have a couple of others simmering away on the back burner I really ought to get this one out of the way.

As I said, time passes and, as it did so, very little of interest seemed to happen to the Bell or its keepers, other than them changing reasonably frequently. Here are some of them. In 1861 Catherine Lewis, widow of Glastonbury auctioneer Charles, was there with her son Tom. Charles and Catherine had taken on the inn in the 1850s. Charles died in 1859 with Catherine following him six years later.

Extract from the 1861 census.

In 1881, mine host was James Vile.

Extract from the 1881 census.

James may well appear again in a future post, for he went on to run the Mitre on Benedict Street, which looked like this last time that I passed it.

Mitre Glastonbury
I wonder what fate awaits the Mitre.

A decade further on and we find Henry Porter at the Bell. I wonder, did he dispense porter?

Extract from the 1891 census.

Whatever he dispensed, he was still pouring it out in 1895...

Extract from Kelly's 1895 directory.

...although I doubt very much that he'd moved the building to Northload Street. We've looked at the bygone boozers on that street in this earlier post and the Bell wasn't amongst them.

The census of 1901 informs us the Henry has retired and is living with his daughter, not a million miles away on Magdalene Street. It also tells us that the Bell is now in the care of John Haimes...

Extract from the 1901 census.

...and then it seems that the bell tolls for the Bell. In 1911 the building is occupied by shoemaker William Curtis, and whilst he has a number of lodgers there's no reference to it being a pub, either then or later.

That's that! Done it. Post complete and it'll probably be another four years before I walk up to the Armoury again, but I could just have another peek at the Mitre a little sooner than that, as I've no doubt that we'll be back to visit the Outlaws again before the next leap day. Watch this space!

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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