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The Second Saturday in March.

Some things were set in stone. My racing season would start with my club's open twenty-five miles hilly time trial passing through the likes of Youlgreave, Monyash and Newhaven. It was on the first Saturday of March. Always the first Saturday of March without fail. The following Friday evening Mrs. Bygone Boozer and I would head south to Glastonbury to stay with the Outlaws and I'd spend the next afternoon racing in Gillingham Wheelers' nineteen mile event. Whilst not at as long, or with as much total climbing as the previous weekend, it was still a good test of how my fitness was developing, or not as the case may have been. I wouldn't take it too seriously. I mean, I wouldn't bother taking my best bike or pointy hat, I'd just put some race wheels on a training bike and then give it my all. The second Saturday in March. Always the second Saturday in March.

Starting at the railway station in Bruton the course would climb up onto what is essentially the western fringe of Salisbury Plain, cross Kilmington Common, pass Stourhead, before plummeting down again to eventually finish back in Bruton. It was a course that I always enjoyed riding.

In 2011's event, having gone fast enough to leave all behind or slow enough that all had passed.

To get to Bruton from Glastonbury, rather than take the A361/A371 route I'd instead meander my way through the lanes and eventually the Queens Arms, sitting on the cross roads with the Fosse Way in Wraxall, would come into view.

Queens Arms Wraxall Somerset
The Queens Arms in the summer of 2011. © Google 2023

Although I've come across earlier references to various unnamed beerhouses in Wraxall, the earliest that I've found the inn named is in the 1881 census when butcher Fredrick Masters is recorded as being the innkeeper.

By 1901 the pub was in the hands of Lot Golledge and he was still there a decade later...

1911 census

...and four years after that...

Extract from Kelly's 1914 directory.

...which was about when this photograph was taken. Perhaps that's Lot in the doorway.

The Queens Arms in1914.

In total, Lot was the licensee of the Queens Arms for about twenty-six years as is recorded in this newspaper extract detailing his bankruptcy.

Extract from the Western Daily Press, 28th August 1924.

A century after Lot might have been captured on camera in the doorway of the Queens Arms this video was posted to YouTube "showcasing the space available at the Queens Arms in Wraxall." If it was an attempt to advertise the pub for new takers it wasn't successful. The pub was closed at the time and has remained so ever since.

Since closure, the future of the pub has been slowly evolving. In June 2015 plans were submitted to convert the pub to four homes and to build two more on the car park. This was approved in November of that year. In May 2018 new plans were submitted in which there would be partial demolition of the existing buildings with conversion of the remainder into a pair of semi-detached homes with an additional five to be built on the site. This new plan was approved with conditions. Then, in May 2020, plans for the full demolition of the property with seven homes to be constructed on the site were put forward. I believe that the decision on this is still awaited. The place was still standing when Mr. Google drove by in September 2021.

Queens Arms Wraxall Somerset
The Queens Arms in 2021. © Google 2023

Whilst it looks like the Queens Arms' trading days are well and truly over I still nurture the hope of racing again this season. With today being the second Saturday in March it might be a bit late to enter Gillingham Wheelers' event this year, but then there'll be others. And there's always the second Saturday of March 2024.

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.

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