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No Back Lanes To Bruton.

I'll start by wishing a Happy New Year to all my readers and hope that it's a good one for the pair of you.

My first post of this year is really a bit of a continuation of my last post of last year. For our trip to Wincanton Racecourse Mrs. Bygone Boozer and I decided that we'd let Malcolm, our satnav, guide the way. This wasn't really necessary for I knew that we'd have to pass though Bruton and I've made many a trip to the home of Sexey's, one of the country's few state boarding schools, to take part in races which started there. The route is ingrained in my brain. Out of Glastonbury, head along the A361 towards Shepton Mallet for a mile or so before turning right into the lanes just before the Lion in West Pennard. From there it's on through the villages of West Bradley, Hembridge, Wraxhall and Ditcheat. As I say, Malcolm's contribution wasn't really necessary but it's always interesting to see what mysterious meanderings he'll come up with.

It turned out that Malcolm was very unadventurous. He just followed the A361 with the A371 before diving off onto a B road heading towards Evercreech and, eventually, Bruton. This was a new road to me and as we wound our way through the village of Milton Clevedon this sight caught my eye.

© Google 2021

With little chance that it could be anything other than a bygone boozer it was time for a bit of directory delving and mulling over maps. An old Ordnance Survey 25 inch, produced around the turn of the twentieth century, confirmed that it used to be a beer house but failed to give me a name.

A. P. Baggs and M. C. Siraut, in A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 7, Bruton, Horethorne and Norton Ferris Hundreds (1999), comment that there was one licensed victualler in Milton Clevedon between 1731 and 1787 but none in 1788. Whether that was to be found in the same location is open to question but they go on to say that "A beerhouse in 1841 had become the Ilchester Arms by 1861." It seems that I now have a name.

That beerhouse was occupied in 1841 by Mary Alford and the Ilchester Arms in 1861 by William Ross. Selling the wares of Yeovil brewers Joseph Brutton, the inn made its way into the hands of Charrington's in 1960 and the image below comes from an architectural survey that they took of their pubs. Although still announcing the place to be a source of Brutton's Beers there is also a smaller sign for Charrington's own Toby Ales which suggests that the photograph was probably taken shortly after its acquisition.

Ilchester Arms Milton Clevedon

The pub was eventually purchased by retired policeman John Bridges who ran it until he sold up in 1993 and moved back to the town of his birth, Calne in Wiltshire, where he became Town Crier. John died in the first part of 2008 but quite when the Ilchester Arms followed suit I can't be sure. Baggs and Siraut declare that it was still in operation in 1995 but it appears that it was dead when Mr. Google drove by in 2009, capturing the image at the top of this page. It certainly was when Iain Macaulay took this picture in 2018. Presumably the coat of arms which now occupies the place where once Brutton's Beers were advertised is that of the Earl of Ilchester, historically the local Lord of the Manor.

Thanks to Iain Macaulay for the use of his 2018 image. The map extract is reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under this licence. The black and white image is copyright and is reused under this one.

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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Thanks Stewart, Happy New Year to you and Mrs Bygone Boozer from one of the two! Regards, Phil.

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The same to you and yours, Phil.

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