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Size Matters.

Size matters. Small is beautiful. Small will be sufficient. I don't want to spend hours producing a massive post simply to determine whether I've solved the mystery of the missing notifications. Hopefully this small post will be enough for me to check that the four email addresses I employ for very little, but have just used to subscribe to my own blog, are getting notifications. If that proves to be the case then hopefully other folks will be getting them again too.

Size matters. At least it does if you're after an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the nation's smallest boozer. That was the Smith's Arms' claim to fame at one point. This Dorset pub measured less than 15' x12' and held six tables enabling around a couple of dozen punters to be seated inside at any one time. Tables outside by the river increased capacity when the weather was favourable.

The listed building dates to the early part of the 15th century and was originally a blacksmith's workshop. The story goes that King Charles II stopped to have his horse reshod in Godmanstone and asked for refreshment. When he was told by the blacksmith that he had no license and so could not help him the king granted him one by Royal Charter.

Is that true? Does the pub really date back that far? I don't know, but it was certainly in operation in the middle of the 19th century when Joseph Biles is a baker, shopkeeper and innkeeper in the village according to a number of census and directory entries.

In 1931 Kelly records Lewin and Fanny Atkins running the place. The shop was located in the house next door.

By the time of the outbreak of WW2 the Atkins had moved on to the Coach and Horses in Dorchester and William and Mary Peto were operating the Smith's Arms and General Stores.

The Smith's Arms by the River Cerne in the late 1930s.

The Smith's Arms, Godmanstone – 1930s.

If the pub's beginnings had an equine connection its end did too. Former jockey John Foster ran the Smith's Arms into the early part of this century when his deteriorating health resulted in its closure. It still appeared to be open in 2005...

...but seems to have closed a couple of years later.

So that's it. A small pub and a small post. Now it's time to check those in-boxes.

Richard Slessor's and Vicky Mason's images are copyright and reused under this license:

If you've read this far, then thank you. Like me, you must have some sort of interest in bygone boozers. If you haven't done so already you can 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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