Searching for a Fountain.


Having been wandering around a bit of late, what with virtual visits to Wales, Northern Ireland and good old Great Yarmouth, I did promise in my most recent post that, for those fellow Derbyshire dwellers, I'd be returning to a local lost local, and here it is.


Storm Arwen has seriously curtailed any outdoor pedalling. First there was all of that white stuff and then all that windy stuff and then all that wet stuff, so all biking activity has been limited to doing hamster in a wheel impressions whilst staring at a wall and listening to up-tempo, inspirational music in the hope that it would keep both my tempo and inspiration up. It did neither. Things weren't helped by the intrusion of a bout of tachycardia which at least had the good manners to eventually settle down of its own accord when I stopped pedalling, so there was no need to find a syringe to blow into or to stick my face into a bucket of iced water. I am seriously beginning to doubt the arrhythmia specialist's optimism that I should be able to race again. I am also seriously beginning to doubt my desire and commitment to do so as the years continue to tick by. Two years lost to my own personal virus which initiated all of this heart and lung stuff and another two to its relative that has stolen the lives of the population as a whole.


Anyway, with both Arwen and tachycardic events having passed it was time to venture outside once more to pick up the periodically prescribed pharmaceutical products from the surgery and having negotiated the mud and the network of trenches which make the road outside the house look like northern France in 1916 – that's right, the water main still hasn't been totally replaced yet – I decided that rather than simply go straight there I'd take a more circuitous route across Bonsall Moor and down through the village from which it acquired its name.


A former lead-mining village, Bonsall used to boast nine boozers to allow the miners to quench their thirst, but only two remain today – the King's Head and the Barley Mow. I descend High Street passing the locations of the lost Miners Standard and Queen's Head before entering Yeoman Street. At its southern end, at the point where The Dale turns off and the former becomes known as Clatterway, once stood a pub.


The New Inn first appeared on the scene in the early 1840s. Pigot's directory of 1842 shows one Daniel Bower in residence but the previous year's census makes no mention of either having existed in the village.


Extract from Pigot's 1842 directory.

By the early 1850s Josiah Oliver is in residence. He appears in the Post Office's directory of 1855 but the census taken four years earlier strongly suggests he's living in the correct location but doesn't mention the inn.


Extract from the 1855 Post Office directory entry for Bonsall

It does get named in the next head count though, with Josiah and family living there and also operating a grocers shop.


Extract from the1861 census.

Josiah likely served as landlord for over three decades until he died early in the new year in 1883 when the running of the pub was taken on by his widow, Ann. When she died in 1895 their son Colin took over and Kelly's were quick off the mark to get him listed in that year's directory. A change of proprietor and a change of name, for by now the place was known as the Fountain Inn, named after the structure that stood just outside.


Extract from Kelly's 1895 directory.

It can be seen that Colin's older brother, who was named after his father, was by now running the Via Gellia Inn, later to become the Pig of Lead, which was featured in this earlier post.


Here we have an early postcard showing the pub on the left, as it would've looked in Colin's days...

New Inn  Fountain Inn Bonsall
Pub to the left, fountain to the right. c1900.

...and a shot showing how it looked in my days as I took it earlier this week...


New Inn Fountain Inn Bonsall
Similar view in 2021.

...whilst this postcard captures a post-1934 view of the Fountain Inn, 1934 being the year in which Allsopp's and Ind Coope breweries merged.


New Inn Fountain Inn Bonsall
A post-1934 view of the Fountain Inn.

No longer a pub, the Fountain now earns its living as Tea Rooms offering Bed and Breakfast accommodation.


New Inn Fountain Inn Bonsall
A 2021 view of the Fountain Tea Rooms.

Quite when it closed I'm not certain, but am lead to believe it was in the 1980s. If so, it would probably have been possible to have a draught Burton Ale passed to you across the bar. Whilst it would be nice today to be able to down a pint of DBA from the Fountain of Bonsall I feel, despite the cardiologist's optimism, that what I really need if I'm to race again, especially after another tachy incident whilst training this morning, is to down a pint from the Fountain of Youth. I'm busily searching for it. Does anyone know where it's located? Sadly, I feel that it too is probably a long gone bygone boozer.



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