The Demise of Yapton's Public Houses and Inns

At the start of the 20th century, Yapton could boast four Public Houses and Inns catering for a population of 715 inhabitants. Today, in the year 2019, it has been reduced to one for a population, recorded in the 2011 Census, of 4307.

Possibly the earliest beer retail house in Yapton was the 'Shoulder of Mutton and Cucumbers', a reference to the Sussex dish of roast mutton in a cucumber sauce. The  history of the Inn is a little confusing because it appears that the original location was in the 'Old Malt House'. This 17th century Grade II listed building, was recorded on an Indenture dated 1841, as 'The Shoulder of Mutton and Cucumbers' Inn and Malthouse. By the time of the 1871 census it had become a private residence by the name of 'Ivy Bank House' and renamed again by the 1901 census to the 'Old Malt House'.

The building which inherited the name was also a Grade II listed building, situated in Main Road opposite the entrance to Church Road. It appears that an innkeeper was mentioned living at the premises in 1725 and the building became known as the 'Shoulder of Mutton and Cucumbers' in 1832. As can be seen the two sets of information contradict each other.

Original Shoulder of Mutton and Cucumber c.1900

Shoulder of Mutton & Cucumbers c.1950

The 'Mutton' was in great demand as the venue for village activities. The 44th anniversary celebration of the Yapton Friendly Society was held there in 1855, a 'sumptuous dinner' followed a parade around the village. The premises were also used for inquests on the bodies of local people. Perhaps one of the most bizarre happenings in the 'Mutton' was when Walter Marley sold his wife for 7s 6d (37.5 p) and a quart of beer to George White in 1898. The pub's fate was sealed in 2008 when the last pint was pulled and the building converted into two dwellings.

Lamb Inn c.1955

Another village public house that has disappeared in the last decade is the Lamb Inn, which served the southern part of the village and the hamlet of Bilsham. Originally the home of a family of carpenters by the name of Marner. Although it was the 1871 Census listed the occupants as William Marner and his family the house was recorded as a Beerhouse. By the time of the 1881 Census the house was occupied by William Hotston, Beerhouse and Cowkeeper. He was still living there according to the 1891 Census but this time the building was called The Lamb. It was a thriving centre of entertainment where villagers living in Bilsham and Bilsham Road could enjoy a game of darts, cribbage or dominoes along with a pint of Brickwoods beer or a Babycham. This all came to an end in 2013 when the Arun District Council allowed Punch Taverns to sell the premises and allow 14 houses to be built in its place.

The third Yapton pub to close its doors and succumb to the developers was the Olive Branch (formerly known as the Black Dog). In 2016 it was sold and planning permission was granted to convert it into apartments and to build an extension for the same purpose. Part of Rope Cottages was demolished to make way for the building of the Black Dog in the latter part of the 19th century.

Rope Cottages were part the Poor House (Laburnham Cottages) and as the name suggests the poor of the village were put to work making rope while residing in the house. The rest of Rope Cottages were demolished during the first half of the 20th century and the site made into a car park for the Black Dog.

Black Dog & Rope Cottages c.1900

The only pub left standing is the Maypole which nestles at the bottom of Maypole Lane. Before the coming of the railway in 1846, the lane was part of Lake Lane, the main route between Ford and Barnham. It was originally two flint cottages and the earliest reference of beer being sold on the premises was in 1783.

The name 'Maypole' was first associated with the building in the 1886/87 edition of Pike's Directory when the Inn Keeper was John Wilson. Another Landlord, Albert Fluter, renovated the pub in 1955 and commissioned London artist, Walter Reed to paint murals on the walls and on the panels on the bar.

The Maypole Inn
© David Ruffle

All four original pubs were regularly frequented by officers, pilots and ground crew from the nearby Ford Air Station during and after WW2. Today the Maypole still remains a traditional cosy English Pub complete with a skittles alley, still very popular with locals and visitors alike.

Allen Misselbrook
October 2019

(Originally published in Sussex Local Magazine, Arundel, November 2019)