Ticking Over With Ticknall.

When this thing all started, the blog I'm on about not the Covid-19 situation, I was simply looking for a reason to tempt me out on the bike whilst the medics were trying to find out what the nastly little virus contracted in the autumn of 2017 had done to my lungs and ticker. (Having experienced what that little bugger did I certainly don't want to get anywhere near this one.) With no racing allowed, and therefore no need to train, why would I want to pedal forth? Reading about local former coaching inns provided the impetus to ride out and look at them and the initial post about the Old Bear was born.


Dig about to find old inns, pedal out and snap them. That's what it was about. And then the odd memory came drifting back and so certain bygone boozers which had featured in my past started to appear. Since the lockdown programme was instigated these have become more common along with buildings that I had photographed before I started writing all this unnecessary stuff about them. This post falls into the latter category and so I'm keeping things ticking over by visiting Ticknall.


I took this shot on the same July day in 2018 on which I took the pics of the White Horse. I'd ridden through various villages in the area, including Smisby, Hartshorne and Ticknall, before hitting Melbourne.


Ticknall had been a regular venue for a pint or two when I was living in South Derbyshire. The Chequers was the usual haunt, but I've had a Bass on a couple of occasions in the Wheel and it was in the Staff of Life one Saturday evening that the final pint, Daleside's Monkey Wrench, on top of the previous Bishop's Fingers, proved, errr, testing and necessitated the car stopping near Foremarke Reservoir. I'm pleased to say that all systems returned to normal the following day. (I hadn't come across Monkey Wrench since that day until I spotted some bottles of it in a branch of Systembolaget in Sweden a year or two ago. I didn't buy any.)


In addition to the three pubs mentioned above, all still operating before lockdown, Ticknall used to have at least three more - the Crown, the Turk's Head and the Royal Oak. With regard to the first two I have yet to establish their locations, but the Royal Oak was pretty easy to track down. It's now a Grade II listed private residence, Royal Oak House, which is to be found on Main Street. The fact that it stands close to Royal Oak Service Station and Royal Oak Court didn't hinder the task.


Royal Oak House, Ticknall. July 2018.

The ealiest record of it that I've been able to find is the 1828 edition of Pigot's Directory which shows that a John Hardy is in residence. He's at the Royal Oak in future editions too but by 1842 it's passed into the hands of Gilbert Hutchinson. Gilbert had been recorded as being a beer retailer in the village before this and had obviously stepped up to become an innkeeper. By the time of the 1851 census Gilbert was living in retirement in Derby and the inn was in charge of one William Charlesworth. William, just like Gilbert before him, had also stepped up into the Royal Oak from being a beer seller elsewhere in the village.


The Charlesworths ran it for a couple of generations. William isn't shown at the pub in the 1861 census as on 7th April 1861, census day, he's being lowered into Ticknall churchyard. Son Stephen takes it on and when he dies in June1890 wife Sarah takes over, being shown as the innkeeeper in the following year's census. Unfortunately, a few months later she joins her husband and father-in-law in the chruchyard and it's probable that the inn died with her as I can find no reference to it after 1891.


Depending upon who you believe, the Royal Oak is the second or third most common pub name so I'm quite surprised that I've only come across two other examples so far, both in the 'B' area of the index, in Bakewell and in Brassington.


Well, that's the first of Ticknall's bygone boozers ticked off. The remaining pair will take a bit more effort.


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