Well, Well, Well!

No. Not really. I'm not really that well. Not heart or lungs this time. Not the subluxated shoulder. Not even the nagging hamstring. I now have an annoying Achille's issue. The same tendon that I managed to snap all those years ago whilst attempting to ascend some steps at work. So once again I'm forced to have 'a few days off the bike'. Just how few it turns out to be we'll have to wait and see. Let's face it, were I a dog I'd have probably received a good dose of pentobarbitone years ago. Still, it provides a suitable opportunity to battle with the traffic on the M5 to go and do battle with the Outlaws.


Since I began making this trip over forty years ago I'd always pass the now lost Pound in Coxley and a couple of minutes later this pub at Southway near Polsham, on the A39 between Wells and Glastonbury. Doing so would indicate that I was nearly at journey's end.


Blue Bowl, Camelot Inn, Three Wells, Polsham
The Camelot Inn in October 2008. © Google 2022

The Camelot Inn had no doubt been renamed at some point to cash in on the association of King Arthur with Glastonbury and this was confirmed by the old Ordnance Survey mapping which names the pub as the Blue Bowl Inn.


The Blue Bowl Inn. But was this another piece of clever marketing?

I did for a brief while wonder if another, earlier, renaming had occurred, that cashing in on local legends wasn't a modern-day phenomenon and that a previous owner hadn't attempted to milk the tale of the Glastonbury Blue Bowl.


In 1885 a Bath physician, Dr. J. A. Goodchild, bought a small blue bowl in Italy and was convinced by a vision that it was the Holy Grail. A second vision seemingly told him to bury it at St. Bride's Well in Glastonbury, which he proceeded to do. It was dug up in 1906 and is now in the care of the Chalice Well Trust. If all this vision stuff sounds a bit far fetched to you, well it's quite normal for this Somerset town where it's possible to come across a couple wandering the High Street dressed as a giant penis and vulva. Don't believe me? Then click here.


I was quickly disavowed of the thought that there'd been a 19th century marketing ploy when I looked at the 1851 census, for it shows that Joseph Churches was the innkeeper at...


... the Blue Bowl Inn.


Extract from the 1851 census.

I can't recall it being anything other than the Camelot and it seems that its name change occurred in the late 1970s. The 1978 telephone directory has it as the Blue Bell but it has acquired its Arthurian moniker in the edition published two years later. Although a Marston's house in its later years I'm pretty sure that my memory has it displaying the Courage cockerel. At some point in the early part of the twentieth century it belonged to Shepton Mallet's Charlton Brewery which, via a series of takeovers, ended up under the cockerel's wing. Courage themselves later became part of the Marston's empire by way of Charles Wells.


In July 2014, looking for a new team to run it, Marston's were advertising the Camelot Inn. Presumably unsuccessful in their efforts it closed shortly after for a makeover and name change. It reopened on the 8th April 2015 with its new identity of the Three Wells, but only survived for a couple of years.


Blue Bowl, Camelot Inn, Three Wells, Polsham
The Three Wells in May 2015, shortly after its reopening. © Google 2022

On the 13th May 2017 this comment appeared on the pub's Facebook page...



...and the Three Wells served its last pint the following evening. Other than a bit of encroachment by Mother Nature little appeared to have happened to the place when I pedalled past in April 2018, a month after it had been sold for £330,000.


Blue Bowl, Camelot Inn, Three Wells, Polsham
The Three Wells in April 2018.

Nothing really happened over the following couple of years either and in November 2020 the pub was put up for auction, fetching £276,000. The sales blub contains the phrase "This property is being marketed for sale due to insolvency..." so perhaps the "very rich couple" weren't as rich as they believed they were. (At the time of posting the auction details are still online and are viewable by clicking here if you want to see what £276k could have bought you.) Eight months later, in July 2021, Mr. Google found the place looking rather sad when he drove by.


Blue Bowl, Camelot Inn, Three Wells, Polsham
Looking sad in July 2021. © Google 2022

In November the same year a Change of Use planning application was submitted hoping to convert it to a mixed-use site providing two holiday lets, a café /shop and staff accommodation. The following month saw another Change of Use submission. This one applied to the attached land and was looking for permission to station five lodges on it to provide holiday accommodation. It certainly looks like its days as a pub are well and truly over. Well, well, well! Who could possibly have predicted that?



The map extract is copyright and is reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under this licence.


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