"That must've been a pub."
Mrs Bygone Boozer and I were heading back along the A57, returning home from Old Bolingbroke where we'd been to stay with friends. They were having to go away for a few days and somebody needed to look after Woody.
Woody had a difficult start in life. He was a twin but whilst his mother bonded with his sibling she didn't want Woody and abandoned him. Our friends firstly fostered the new-born before eventually adopting him. His environment in rural Lincolnshire was somewhat different from his family's origins on the island of St. Kilda but he soon took to sitting by the woodburner and sleeping on the sofa.
Woody isn't the only adoptee that our friends have taken in. Twins Josh and Jess, whose parents originated in north Wales and Suffolk, were orphaned when very young and taken in to keep Woody company. And then there's Amber-May, Cherry, Rose and Willow. And we mustn't forget Leo.
Let me introduce you to our temporary charges. Firstly Woody...
...then Jess and Josh, the Lleyn/Suffolk crosses...
...and finally to the four feathered females.
Of course, there's also Leo who some of you may recall from this earlier post.
The sheep sitting session – that's a lot easier to type than it is to vocalise politely – passed without incident. I even managed to avoid the temptation to enter the Black Horse singing
"Airport, you've got a smiling face..." at the top of my voice as Pete Brammall, aka Bram Tchaikovsky, was looking after it whilst the usual purveyors of pints of Fuller's finest were away. What? You're telling me that you're too young to remember The Motors' 1979 hit? If that's the case or, as is more likely, the passing of time has eroded the ability of your hippocampus to access the necessary neural networks to recall it, here by the magic that is YouTube is Mr. Tchaikovsky wielding his guitar.
But let's return to that initial statement.
We'd not long crossed the River Trent by virtue of the toll bridge at Dunham. That seems like a nice little earner to me. Just how much does the annual maintenance cost? Just how many vehicles use that portion of the A57 each year paying up to a pound a time to cross it? Money is being set aside for its eventual reconstruction, but just when that will happen is anyone's guess.
Anyhow, as we drove through the village of Darlton we passed this building.
"That must've been a pub."
Arriving home and a quick check of the old Ordnance Survey mapping confirmed it to be the case.
Further delving produced a name. The Sun Inn.
The earliest record I can find of the pub is in the 1841 census when William Colebeck is recorded there as a publican. This census doesn't actually name the pub but White's directory of three years later does, so it's probably OK to assume that he was there at the time of the head count.
William remains at the Sun for another thirty years before retiring sometime in the 1870s. When he gives the place up he doesn't go far. The census of 1881 has him living next door.
A century after William left the pub it was still in operation. Picture Nottingham has this image of it taken in 1977. The building doesn't seem to have altered much in four and a half decades.
Quite when the sun went down on the Sun Inn I don't know but it certainly set at some point. Woody the Boreray's star however continues to rise. He even has his own Instagram page now.
If you've read this far, then thank you. Possibly, like me, you may 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.