Saturday 23rd February 1974
Three teenagers were sitting around a corner table in a clubhouse in Bury St. Edmunds. In front of them were three mugs of beer. It was no surprise that the conversation that occurred, in between mouthfuls of sausage, jacket potato and beans, was about that afternoon's match and rugby in general. Ian's first ever game at hooker. Quite a positional change for him from his previous scrum-half duties. The try. I'd raced across from the opposite side of the pitch only to over-run the pass from our full back who was already on an overlap. Somehow I'd managed the grab the ball from behind me and pull it round to my chest just as I fell over the line in the corner. And then there was the Five Nations (as it was in those days) Championship to consider. With England having lost their first two matches, how would they do next week in Paris? Our tablemate lowered his pint to inform us that he was going to France with a number of others from the club to play a local side and to watch the match.
The conversation continued. Was Alan Old or Martin Cooper the better choice at fly half? Despite his try the previous week, surely there must be someone better than Peter Squires on the wing. Ian felt that he was almost as woeful a winger as he was bad a batsman when playing for Yorkshire. Would David Duckham be better employed in the centre? But then who would you put on the other wing, assuming that you kept Squires in the side? Well, there were two possibilities sitting at the table. We laughed.
Our jollity was disturbed by the arrival of Charlie.
"Come on, you two. Drink up. We're off. We'll call in somewhere for another on the way."
Ian and I drained our glasses, bid my opposite number of that afternoon farewell, followed Charlie out to his Rover and we were soon purring our way along the A143. After about an hour we entered Haddiscoe and the car glided into the car park of the Crown Inn.
"I'll get you youngsters these."
We were somewhat taken aback as Charlie, who was in the twilight of his rugby-playing days and a dour Yorkshireman, wasn't renowned for his generosity. We thanked him, informed him of our requirements and seated ourselves at a table until he returned from the bar. Over our pints of Norwich Bitter the try seemed to evolve into a forty yard sprint down the touchline, with a couple of side-steps and a powerful hand-off thrown in for good measure. Soon we were on our way once more with Charlie eventually dropping us off outside the Highlands where the quaffing and exaggeration were to continue.
Saturday 2nd June 1838
The Crown Inn had been serving for around two hundred years before our post-match visit and at least half a century before landlord Michael Albrow's death had led to its disposal.
'For Sale by Auction by order of the Executors of the late Michael Albrow of Haddiscoe, deceased.
An Extremely Eligible Investment with three pieces of excellent old pasture land measuring 3A. 2R. 27P.
House includes a spacious dining room, 2 parlours, bar, kitchen, store room, dairy, wash-house, 3 sleeping rooms and 5 attics, wine, beer and spirit cellars and replete in every convenience for a good road house. Also a small but very compact brewing plant with store and tun room; extensive stabling with hay lofts, straw house, corn granary, coach and gig house, cart lodge, meat? house, fowl's house, coal house and other convenient out-buildings.
An excellent Garden at the back well planted with choice fruit trees and bushes and a small garden at the front, which together with the yards and site of buildings, &c. contain 3 roods 13 perches, or thereabouts.
In occupation of the proprietor for upwards of Thirty Years, during which time a very extensive and lucrative trade has been carried on.'
Sunday 6th June 1841
On the occasion of the UK's first modern census, the result of the 1840 Population Act, Robert Clarke was found to be at home.
Sunday 30th March 1851
Ten years later it was the Agus family living there.
Sunday 7th April 1861
William Read in 1861...
Sunday 2nd April 1871
...had been replaced by another William when census day came around again, but the enumerator couldn't manage to spell his wife Ellen's name correctly thereby suggesting that same-sex marriage had arrived in England over a century earlier than it did.
Sunday 3rd April 1881
Ellen had taken over the running of the pub when her William died in 1879 but by the time of the 1881 census – don't these head counts come around quickly? – Thomas Wilson had taken the place on and was living there with his family.
Sunday 5th April 1891
Another ten years have passed and another family, the Balls, are in residence...
Sunday 31st March 1901
...followed a decade later by the Easters.
Sunday 2nd April 1911
Henry and Fanny Easter are still in residence...
...and here they are.
Wednesday 7th July 1920
Henry Easter breathes his last and Fanny takes over the reins of the pub.
Friday 12th February 1988
The Crown Inn is considered to be a sufficiently important building that it received Grade II listed status.
Thursday 12th November 2009
Evelyn Simak had a walk around Haddiscoe on a sunny autumn day and took this photograph of the Crown Inn.
Thursday 21st December 2017
An application was put in for conversion of the pub into three dwellings, with a further two to be built behind it.
Sunday 4th February 2018
Evelyn Simak was once again in the village and took this photograph of the boarded-up boozer.
Thursday 15th February 2018
The planning application of December the previous year was refused.
Tuesday 8th January 2019
A revised planning application for just the conversion of the pub into three residences was approved.
Tuesday 17th August 2021
Mr. Google drove by three Grade II listed cottages.
Monday 4th March 1974
Three teenagers were sitting around a corner table in a sixth form common room in Gorleston. In front of them were three mugs of coffee. There was no conversation, no jollity. Just a silence which was eventually, briefly, broken by the inamorata of the time.
"I've never seen Dad cry before."
The silence returned. Ian and I just continued to stare into our mugs and said nothing.
Her father had been a player with our club for many years and when his playing days were over had taken up refereeing. As a result he knew an inordinate number of folk from most of the clubs around East Anglia and in a quirk of fate was down to officiate one of Bury's teams the coming weekend.
Sunday 3rd March 1974
At 1232 local time TC-JAV, a McDonnell Douglas DC10 operated by Turkish Airlines, took off from Paris's Orly Airport bound for Heathrow. A short while later Flight 981 planted itself among the trees in Ermenonville Forest at a speed in excess of 480mph. Amongst the three hundred and forty-six people on board were eighteen members of a certain rugby club returning from having watched the 12-12 draw at the Parc des Princes the previous afternoon.
What would the future have held for our tablemate of eight days earlier? Married? Probably. Kids? Highly likely. Played for England? No chance! I was far better than he was and I never got the call.
Some dates just stick in the memory and whilst Sunday 3rd February 1991 is one (the date of Ian's own tragic demise which greatly reduced the probability of me visiting the later lost Pewter Pot again), even almost half a century on, the 3rd March 1974 is certainly another. Whilst some of us may very well be saddened by the loss of a loved local, on this day, the anniversary of what was at the time the world's worst air crash, we should remember that there are often much greater losses to mourn.
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