top of page

Once Upon a Time.

Once upon a time, whenever we went to visit the Outlaws, I used to take a bike with me. It was usually just a road bike, but on occasions I'd take my time trial machine if our visit coincided with an event in the area which interested me. Whatever the bike, it gave me the excuse to get out of the house for a bit of training. I had a couple of favourite circuits, each a little over thirty miles which, with warm-up and cool-down, gave me about an hour and three-quarters of riding. One, which I called the WWW loop, took me through Wells, Wedmore and Westhay and the other took me across the Somerset Levels, passing through Mark and Watchfield, before climbing up through Woolavington and returning to Glastonbury through the villages on the Poldern Ridge. Climbing up to access the ridge I'd pass the Prince of Wales at 42 Woolavington Hill.

Here's an older shot of the pub and if you look closely you can just about see me taking a rest, not having made it all the way up the hill!

Spot the cyclist!

The pub probably started out as an unnamed beerhouse run by farmer Francis Crossman and his wife Jane in the 1860s or early in the following decade. They were living in the same location ten years earlier but I've been unable to find any reference to the place being a pub until the 1871 census.

Francis still seems to be running a nameless beerhouse in 1873 when he was fined ten bob for being a naughty boy...

June 1873.

...but it's acquired a name by 1877. As we'll see later, Francis wasn't the only resident of the Prince of Wales to fall foul of the law.

October 1877.

For the first four decades of the twentieth century the Prince of Wales was in the hands of the Phillips family. First came Wallace and his wife Charlotte. Wallace died in 1927 and Charlotte continued at the Prince of Wales until her own demise in 1945. On the death of his mother, son Alfred took it on for a while.

Prince of Wales Woolavington
The Prince of Wales in the 1930s.

After the Phillips's relinquished their hold on the pub it saw a series of landlords and landladies in the seventy years which followed, as would only be expected. Folks like Keith and Eileen Mason, Chris and Pat Rodgers, Doug and Trudy Lewington...

...and as I mentioned above, Francis Crossman wasn't the Prince's only resident to fall foul of the law. In 2001, Carl Coles was sentenced to a year's imprisonment for his part in a cigarette smuggling operation.

Yesterday the country lost both its monarch and its Prince of Wales, as whist the former is immediately replaced the same not true for the latter. Woolavington lost its Prince of Wales in 2015 when its last landlord, Dave Gladwell, called time at the Punch Taverns-owned pub for the final time. The bygone boozer now serves the community as a Co-op.

Prince of Wales Woolavington
The former Prince of Wales in 2018.

Once upon a time I used to take a bike with me when we visited Glastonbury, but now it seems cruel to wheel one past Pa Outlaw. Once upon a time I would go for rides with Pa Outlaw, but the passing of time has taken from him the ability to cycle. Once upon a time Woolavington had the Prince of Wales, but the passing of time has taken that too.

Nigel Mykura's image is copyright and 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.

76 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page