Putt, putt, putt, putt...
The sound of an air-cooled, twin cylinder 650cc engine drew me away from the house in the 1980s and sent me on the way to work. We passed the Dominoes, rounded the bend by the Bull's Head and then continued straight on towards Repton, leaving the Admiral Rodney and the site of the now lost New Inn on our left. Were this sound to have been emanating from a Triumph TR65 Thunderbird then it would've been a cool commute, but I was heading to the site of my employment in either a Citroën Visa or a Fiat 126. Yes, I have to admit it. I drove examples of both of these powerhouses back then. The former had a dodgy thread in one of its two cylinder heads and would cough its spark plug out on random, usually very inconvenient, occasions and the latter didn't have an accelerator, just a noise pedal. Press it to the floor and the engine just made more noise and the car didn't seem to go any faster.
For three years, one or other of these forgettable pieces of motor engineering took me to work through the south Derbyshire lanes and as I was leaving Hartshorne I'd pass the Chesterfield Arms. Not every transit along Repton Road would see me pass it though, for Mrs Bygone Boozer and I did have a drink or two in the place with our then next door neighbours, Pam and Jim. Mine was always a pint of draught Bass.
Named after the lord of the manor who owned the Bretby Estate, the Earl of Chesterfield, the first time that the pub appears in the directories is in Pigot's 1831 edition. The 1829 edition doesn't mention it and neither does Glover's competing version, although the other hostelries which existed at the time do appear. This suggests that Chesterfield Arms could very well have been a product of the 1830 Beerhouse Act and, if so, its first landlord was likely to have been one William Mansfield.
I don't know if Nathan at the Bull's Head was a relative, but William's son, also William, ran the ill-fated Mason's Arms in Midway, which will feature in a later post, for a while in the 1840s.
William snr. continued to run the pub until his death in 1842 whereupon his widow Elizabeth took over the reins.
Elizabeth follows her husband off this mortal coil in 1853 and by 1857 another William Mansfield is running the place. That's right! Her son, having moved on from the Masons Arms to the Black Lion in Blackfordby, was now back in Hartshorne.
The place stayed under the control of the Mansfield family into the 1890s with William jnr's wife Mary taking it on when her husband joined his mum and dad. The pub was put up for sale in 1910 by the Bretby Estate, seemingly along with much of the rest of Hartshorne. It presumably entered Bass's possession at that point and I'm pretty certain that it passed out of their hands as a result of the Beer Orders of 1989. Closing around twenty years later, it was demolished in 2009.
I took the picture below from about the same spot that Russ used when he captured the one above. The whole site is now home to fourteen houses.
The Chesterfield has gone, but this virtual commute will continue. I also once had a pint of Bass in the next bygone boozer that I passed, but you'll have to wait a bit to find out where that one was.
Russ Hamer's image is copyright and is reused under this licence.
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