Having wimped out of riding to officiate at Matlock CC's open 10 mile time trial last night (still not racing - appointment with cardiologist this afternoon) I thought I'd go for a short spin this morning. It was just as cold, just as windy but at least the roads were dry as I found myself wending my way through Winster and then on to Wensley.
This village on the B5057 is now publess but this wasn't always the case. There are three bygone boozers in this little settlement.
The first that I pass is the most recent closure. The Red Lion Inn stood atop the hill at the west end of the village.
A former coaching inn, the first mention of it I can find of it is from the 1840s, but it must've been in existence prior to that. For the bulk of its time it operated alongside the attached farm and the last keepers did their best to sell the farm's wares. George Belfield took over the license form his father, Harold, in 1955 and ran the place with his sister, Barbara. Despite having Younger's and McKewan's signs hanging from the exterior walls they would try to sell you a nice pint of... milk. If it wasn't milk then it was their speciality, Milliguin. What's Milliguin? Half milk and half Guinness. Does it taste as horrible as it sounds? I don't know as I never tried it.
Sadly time has taken its toll. The elderly siblings found that they needed an increasing amount of care. Opening became rather sporadic, with it finally closing on 1st January 2010. I believe that Barbara died in 2013 but haven't any news on George. What fate awaits the Red Lion, I don't know. The lounge was still full of stuff a couple of years ago.
Further down the hill, in the square, used to stand the Crown Inn. It still stands, but it's no longer an inn.
In the middle of the 19th century it was run by the Clay family. First by Adam and then by his brother Benjamin. Quite what sort of house Benjamin kept I don't know, but this entry in the Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald of October 2nd 1869 does make one wonder. 'Beer Licence. “Crown Inn”. Wensley. Benjamin Clay applied for renewal of his licence, he having been suspended since 18th August last. - Granted with caution.'
In 1873 the same newspaper announces the Crown's sale:-
'December 13th. Auction to be held on December 16th at 5 o clock in the evening at the “Crown Inn.” Wensley. Darley Dale. - All that capital freehold licensed Inn known as the “Crown Inn” with stabling, yard, garden and premises containing 1,324 square yards occupied by Mr Benjamin Clay at Wensley also a Croft of capital freehold grassland called “Oker Croft”, containing 1 acre 1 rood 9 perches in Wensley.'
After the sale the Crown was run by the Shaw family up until at least 1901 and Florence Briggs also had it for a number of years. She moved there from the George in Youlgrave and had the place from at least 1925 into the war years.
The Crown closed sometime in the 1980s, I've been told. It was still listed in the phone book in 1984, so presumably after that.
Until a couple of days ago these were the only two pubs that I thought had existed in Wensley, but digging around in old directories threw up references to the Earl Grey. Presumably named after the former prime minister famous for his, ehm, activities, with the Duchess of Devonshire of the day. I can only find reference to it operating in the 1840s. It's not surprising to know that it's now a private residence.
From Wensley I made my way back home through Youlgrave and Middleton. Time for a shower and a drink before heading off to the hospital. A nice cup of Earl Grey. Don't think a pint of Milliguin would be appropriate.