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Vanished Via Victualers.

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

The Via Gellia runs from the A515 at Newhaven to Cromford. Strictly speaking, the Via Gellia tag ought only be applied to the length built by Phillip Gell in 1791/2 to ease the transport of ore from his lead mines to the smelter at Cromford, but is often applied to the whole stretch of the A5012. It's this looser definition that I'm using otherwise there wouldn't be much to write about.

So, starting at the westerly end I'm not far from the Newhaven Hotel described in an earlier post (where I've just noticed a misspelling!) and heading towards Cromford – it's easier to cycle downhill – at Pikehall we come to Pikehall Farmhouse. This is shown on Ogilby's 1675 mapping as Pikeham Inne and, according to Dodd & Dodd (1980), in all likelihood it was largely rebuilt a couple of hundred years ago although it still boasts ancient barrel-vaulting in its cellar. Speaking of a couple of hundred years, I can't find any record of it trading as an inn any time in the last two centuries. (Edit April 2020. A William Raines, a farmer and victualer at Pike Hall, is listed in Glover's 1829 directory.)

Pikehall Farm. Previously Pikeham Inne.

After the hill out of Pikehall and the one by Mouldridge Grange it's downhill all the way, passing the still-trading 16th century Hollybush at Grangemill and shortly beyond Prospect Quarry we come to The Lilies.

The 16th century Hollybush Inn at Grangemill.

Named after the Lily of the Valley that used to be harvested from the surrounding woodland it was trading as an inn by 1851 when John Watson was the innkeeper. He was in residence ten years earlier, but was it trading as an inn in those days? I don't know. He was still there in 1861. After that the occupier seemed to change at least once every decade for the next half century.

The Lilies. Photo from

I think the pub closed in the 1950s and is now a private residence.

The Lilies.

More downhill pedalling brings us to the former Pig of Lead on the corner of the Clatterway leading up into Bonsall.

The Pig of Lead. Photo from

At some time it went under the title of the Via Gellia Inn as can be seen more clearly in this picture of the residents of Bonsall gathering for a trip to Blackpool in 1946 on the Bonsall History website.

I remember this being open in the 1990s but I never entered to sample their offering of Home Ales. It is now operating as a bed and breakfast establishment.

The Pig of Lead.

The earliest that I've been able discover the occupant is 1829 when Glover's directory has one William Peat there. A couple of years later he seems to have been succeeded by James Briddon, who's there for three decades. Another long-term resident was Josiah Oliver who was in occupation for over twenty years bridging the turn of the twentieth century. His father, also Josiah, will probably feature in a future post when I get around to digging more thoroughly into Bonsall's pubs, as he was landlord of the New Inn.

Ann Andrews has managed to go back a bit further and has a page on the Pig of Lead:-

From here it's either a case of continuing downhill to Cromford or turning left and climbing up the Clatterway into Bonsall. Both have bygone boozers, so watch this space.

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