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We Need 'Em.

Updated: Jan 8, 2020

We need 'em. Pubs, that is. And these two former watering holes, which both closed this century, seemed to need Needhams. Each of them was run by a series of Needhams for years. A geographical surname which probably originated from inhabitants of the nearby settlement of High Needham. With me still trying to avoid steep and/or sustained climbing we decided that we'd spend much of the ride on Derbyshire's Strade Bianche, so it was off along the High Peak Trail to Parsley Hay before rejoining tarmac and plummeting down into Monyash. There are a number of bygone boozers here which are still being researched. Past the former Bay Horse and off to Flagg we went, where lies the now defunct Plough Inn.

The Plough Inn, Flagg.

This Peak District pub was run for generations by the Needham family. Census and directory records show that a Thomas, two Richards and a John ran the place form 1855, or earlier, until at least 1941. A couple of non-Needhams do show up, but I do wonder that they're not just temporarily managing the place.

Closing around 2005, The Plough Inn may well have been struggling to remain financially viable for a while as it appears in a copy of the London Gazette from 1983.

Back onto the white stuff and the High Peak Trail from where we could see the next sad case.

The Bull I' Th' Thorn, Hurdlow.

Needhams also feature in the history of the Bull I' Th' Thorn. Sitting alongside the current A515 it seems it was in existence in 1472 when it became The Bull. From the 1830s to the 1890s it's variously referred to as the Bull's Head or Hurdlow House after which the title Bull I' Th' Thorn seems to have stuck. A poll book of 1832 shows one William Needham as the innkeeper and either he or his son William jnr. ran the place until around 1880. Reputedly haunted, I can't recall seeing any strange happenings on my one, vaguely remembered, visit – the village cricket club's annual dinner sometime back in the late 1990s. Recently popular with motorcyclists and campers, its doors finally closed in 2015.

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