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Lost Pubs From a Lost Commute. #4

It's been a while since my last post. Various things have happened since Mrs Bygone Boozer have returned from soaking up the Spanish sunshine. I've been busy. I've been busy cancelling things. I've cancelled an evening with friends. I've cancelled a sortie to sample some of the wares offered by hostelries in Sheffield. I've cancelled a doctor's appointment. I've cancelled an appointment for a flu vaccination in addition to cancelling one that would give me protection against Covid. Why all this activity? Well, I don't know if I really need a Covid jab in the short term now, for the sodding severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 has laid me low again. Yes, that dreaded second red bar appeared in the window so there's been no roaming around Rutland, cycling around Suffolk or exploring the East Midlands. There have been no travels. Just headaches, sore throats, aching joints and a general malaise so, therefore, I'm falling back to one of the 'series' posts for this offering. Here is the fourth instalment in the sequence which started with the now-demolished Dominoes in Hartshorne.

After three years or so of living in Woodville, Mrs BB and I moved a couple of miles along the A50, as it was then, towards Burton. This meant a new start to the commute's route which saw me head south-east along the A511, as it is now, before turning left into Sandcliffe Road in Midway, the junction marked by the presence of the Masons Arms.

Masons Arms Midway
The Mason Arms in October 2008. © Google 2023

This Bass house did occasionally feature in my Monday evenings as one of the alternatives to Newhall's lost Horse and Jockey, during the years of spannering on the Austin Healey, when both a change of venue and a change of brew seemed attractive.

The earliest record of the pub that I've managed to dig up is from 1831 when Pigot's directory shows us that Charles Brunt is in residence at the Masons Arms.

Extract from Pigot's 1831 directory.

Being unable to find any reference to it earlier than this makes me think that the Masons probably arose in response to the Beerhouse Act of the previous year. By the time of the first national census ten years later William Mansfield is running the place.

Extract from the 1841 census.

We've met William before. Here, in fact. He went on to the Black Lion in Blackfordby before moving to the Chesterfield Arms in Hartshorne following the death of his parents, both of whom had had their turn at running the Hartshorne establishment.

After William the place was operated by a series of Staleys and Harveys. The two families could very well have been related/linked in someway but I really can't, in my current state of brain fog, be bothered to determine if they actually were.

Firstly we had Robert Staley who was in residence by 1851,...

Extract from the 1851 census.

...still there in 1861...

Extract from the 1861 census.

...but, by at least 1870, had been replaced by William Harvey. (Robert's wife Elizabeth was a Harvey.)

Extract from Harrod's 1870 directory.

William's still there in 1874...

Extract from Wright's 1874 directory.

... but had been replaced by another Staley by 1881.


Extract from the 1881 census.

As I said, I can't be bothered to chase through the genealogy of Midway's Harveys and Staleys, so let's just have a look at a picture. The photograph below shows us that a John Adey had the place around the end of the nineteenth century, but I've been unable to pin him down to a date.

Masons Arms Midway
The Mason's Arms, Midway, in the late nineteenth century, advertising Wooden Box Ales.

This shows that originally the Masons Arms was a Brunt, Bucknall & Co. pub and sold brews produced at their Hartshorne Brewery, just along the main road at Woodville, which used to known as Wooden Box after the wooden hut where the tolls for passing were collected. It was established early in the 1830s which might account for the presence of Charles Brunt in the place in Pigot's 1831 directory, as we saw above. I wouldn't mind betting that Thomas Brunt in the Nelson was a relative too. Brunt's was taken over by Salt & Co. in 1919, who were in turn swallowed up by Bass in 1927, which was how I came to be swallowing Bass in the Masons seventy years later.

But let's not jump forward too soon. I've another image dating from around the same time as the one above. It looks very similar. The people could even be the same, but at least in this one I can pin a date to the landlord.

Masons Arms Midway
The Masons Arms in Henry Stacey's time.

Henry Stacey was at the Masons in 1891...

Extract from the 1891 census.

...and still there a decade later.

Extract from the 1901 census.

Did John Adey briefly follow or precede him? I'm not sure, but I do know that by 1911 John Staley and his wife Hannah have moved in...

1911 census entry for the Masons Arms.

...and that between them they ran the place for fifty years. After John's death, in 1938, Hannah took over the reins.

Extract from Kelly's 1941 directory.

In fact Hannah was still in the pub when she died in 1960. Half a century later and the Masons itself was dead and boarded up. It was still in that state on 8th June 2014 when Ian Calderwood took this shot.

Paul Worthington's image shows it with a sign advising that it was for sale with planning permission for nine dwellings on the site...

Masons Arms Midway

...and by the 21st December, when Ian revisited, it was no more.

However, it wasn't nine dwellings which rose to replace the Masons Arms, but a Sainsbury's Local.

Masons Arms Site of the former Masons Arms MidwayMidway
Well, you can at least still buy a beer.

Better a Sainsbury's than dwellings? I mean, you can still get a beer there. But, then again, we are really short of housing in the country. All I know is that I'd rather still have the Masons.

And with that closes this stage of the lost commute. The effects of the virus are waning so hopefully I'll feel like getting out and about again shortly to snap another bygone boozer or two. I've still plenty to choose from.

Thanks to Paul Worthington for his image. Ian Calderwood's images are copyright and are reused under this licence.

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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Fascinating article from a pub which was quite near to me. You need to put this into book form.

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Thanks, but I'll leave that sort of thing to MHRG and similar. 😊

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