Shielding has been paused. I'm free to go out and about. Not that much is going to change. I've been escaping to do a bit of illicit pedalling, avoiding human contact, anyway. I'm not going to rush up to the Duke of York to celebrate my new-found freedom as Anthony's not opened up again yet and I've no great desire to go anywhere else at the moment. A friend sent me this which probably sums me up.
But I did nip out for a ride last week, whilst the summer was here. I was aiming for Sutton on the Hill and the former Cheetham's /Cheetham/Chetham Arms. Take your pick with regards to the spelling. Directory compilers and census enumerators did.
I've been aware of this building for many a year. I'd pass it occasionally if I made a slight detour to my normal commute and I used to pass it when warming-up before racing at Etwall. I always felt that it had the aura of a bygone boozer with what seemed to be a blank signboard, but it wasn't until I looked at Ordnance Survey maps from the 19th century and found it marked as such that my suspicions were confirmed.
Factor 30 applied, bike weighed down with a couple of full bottles, it was time to head south into the inevitable headwind. An early start meant that the crowds hadn't yet descended upon Carsington Reservoir and by the time we'd wound our way through the lanes to the A52 it was still early enough that traffic was reasonably light. We didn't even have to wait to cross and were soon passing the Yew Tree in Ednaston which was showing signs that it might be opening again soon. Not soon enough for us, so it was a brief stop on a seat in Hollington for a munch on a sandwich and a slurp from a bidon before heading off once more to Longford with its millstream and former mill. It'd make a great waterside pub!
On we go again, and in a quarter of an hour we reach the metropolis that is Sutton on the Hill. Other than the building which forms the subject of this post my one other abiding memory of the place is being hit for thirty-odd runs off two overs, with all bar eight coming from the second. The combination of a short leg-side boundary and a farmer who spent all of his working hours lobbing sheep about and who sported a chest several sizes larger than that of Bruce Banner's alter ego at the crease just didn't bode well. Can't think why the skipper only gave me two overs. It would've been nice to have been able to forget the incident with a pint or three in the Cheetham's but it'd been shut for half a century by then which is probably about what I'd have gone for if I had been given another over to bowl.
Cheetham Arms Farmhouse, as it is now, dates from the early 19th century and was given Grade II listed status in 1985, but back in 1841 William Pakeman was the innkeeper there. In all probability it was a boozer before then but if it was I haven't been able to find any reference to it as such. William dies at the end on 1846 and is buried in the churchyard on 25th December. Yes, Christmas Day! I suppose if the vicar was having to take a service anyway...
William's son Thomas is in charge at the time of the next census but by 1861 the family's moved out and the place changes hands several times over the next couple of decades. By 1891 Welshman Edward Fleming finds himself a long way from home but he must like the area for he's still there when census time comes around again. He's not actually still living in the pub but "near the inn" and only a couple of enumerator's lines away from Harry Worthington who is. (If you want to see what Edward looked like there's a pic of him here. Or at least there was when I typed this.)
Edward eventally returns home to Wales and Harry runs the place until he dies in 1920. Followed by his widow Hilda until she dies (in 1926) and then by their son, also Harry, until he dies... By now we've reached 1935 and the end of the line for the Worthingtons and probably the end of the line for the pub too. In 1939 it's recorded as Cheetham Arms Farm and I can find no later reference to it being an inn.
Mission accomplished. It's time to head home. Through Church Broughton with its yet to reopen Holly Bush, and Osmaston whose Shoulder of Mutton's garden was packed, or as packed as socially distanced customers can be. Much as I've missed a proper pub pint I wasn't going to be enticed in. Through the Hole in the Wall, the 18th century former entrance to the parkland of Bradley Hall, and on to the climb home. Accompanied by that very rare and appreciated of things - a tailwind.
Whilst on this little spin I also passed a couple of other possible bygone boozers. A little more digging is required. Watch this space!
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