Le Cor Français et un Autre.

Sunshine again. Warmth again. So, shorts, short sleeves, sunscreen and SUMMER BIKE. Let's head south once more, back to the land of hedges.


Same start as last time. Down through Brassington, around Carsington Water but then it's through the lanes for a quick dart along the A517 and off again into Brunswood Lane, where the former Jinglers stands on the corner.


I'd been reminded of a bygone boozer in Rodsley by coming across this old post from Wee Beefy on unspoilt pubs. (Nice to see that the Duke of York gets a mention.) Knowing that it had closed I thought it would make a nice ride out to get a picture.


It was shortly after moving to Derbyshire that I was taken to the French Horn. It could've been my new-found climbing partner or maybe a new-found housemate. A new work colleague perhaps. The passing decades have dimmed the memory. All I can recall is that someone took me to this place shortly after my arrival in Derbyshire. And that it served Bass.


An hour and a half into the ride and it's time for a natural break – and a banana. A suitable support for the bikes comes into view as we round a left-hand bend. Too good an opportunity to pass up.


Will that barley end up in beer?

A friend(?) says that this pic reminds him of Howard and Marina of Last of the Summer Wine fame. So banana break over, with more factor 30 spread over pasty skin, Howard and Marina continue on their way to Rodsley, and to the French Horn.


The former French Horn in Rodsley.

A typical farmhouse inn, the French Horn was serving travellers to Rodsley from at least 1829 when both Pigot's and Glover's directories have John Fletcher as a victualler there. Though quite why anyone would've been travelling to Rodsley is anyone's guess. I've seen it listed as having been both a John Smith's (Tadcaster) and a Peter Walker's (Burton) house. It may have been both, but as Walker's eventually became part of the Bass empire via Atkinson's (1925), Mitchell's & Butler's (1959) and finally Bass, Mitchell's & Butler's (1961) the latter seems more realistic. It may well have become a John Smith's house later in life, after I had had my couple of pints of Bass there. I have a vague notion of the Horn's closure featuring on a local TV news programme with the presenter of the piece signing off with a cheesy “on that final note...” or something similar.


I knew of the French Horn's existence as I'd been in it but the Three Pots came as a bit of a surprise. I didn't think that there'd be another bygone boozer in a hamlet the size of Rodsley. Not shown on the earliest Ordnance Survey Maps I've access to it also was listed in the 1829 directories, as the residence of victualler William Mansfield. Now Rodsley's not the largest of settlements and it didn't take much pedalling around to find a clue as to where it used to be.


Could this be a clue?

End-on to a lane, it quite possibly pre-dates the French Horn but it likely stopped serving over a century earlier than its musical competition did.


The Three Pots, Rodsley.

Maybe named after the building's three chimneys, the Three Pots was run in the middle of the 19th century by the Ratcliffe family. When tailor William died in 1858 his son Ralph, also a tailor, took it on. Ralph joined his father in Longford churchyard just six years later and from that point on it disappears from the directories and gazetteers. No mention of it as a boozer in the 1871 or subsequent censuses either. Looks like it was laid to rest with the Ratcliffes.


The Three Pots, with its three chimneys, is now in residential use.

Mission accomplished. Pictures acquired. Time to head home. So, on through Hollington, to which I must return one day to track down the bygone Green Dragon, past the Saracen's Head in Shirley which was serving take away food, to the A52. A quick dash along the main road and then right into the appropriately named Rough Lane and we were heading back north. Back to the land without hedges.


Marina heading back north. Half the hedges have gone already.

On to Bradley where the church has no tower and the village no pub. Did there used to be one? I don't know. We're on Yew Tree Lane so perhaps it used to lead to a pub of that name. Or then again it could just have lead to a yew tree. More investigation is needed.


All Saints' Church, Bradley.

Back around Carsington Water, through Bradbourne – another boozerless settlement – and home via Longcliffe for a nice, cool, Punk IPA. After the first forty-miler of the year I felt that I'd earned it.


Just like that TV reporter I too will finish on a cheesy note. Note! Did you note what I did there? Au revoir French Horn. Au revoir.


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