The Shamrock

Oliver claimed by his affectionate friends – George Cruikshank

Since at least 1842, William LAMB of Derby, had been recorded as a bricklayer.  However in the 1871 census, he was recorded living at 59 & 60 Goodwin St “The Shamrock” and his profession was given as Bricklayer & Publican. It was common for innkeepers to have secondary jobs but it was the first mention of this family being involved with running a pub.  Goodwin Street was located within the ‘slums of Derby’ which were later cleared in the 1930s. My initial search for this pub proved fruitless but over the years, I’ve managed to glean a little more information about this ‘phantom’ pub.

The 1871 census entry for ‘The Shamrock’ and the Lamb family

In 1872, an inquest was held ‘upon the body of Rebecca Lamb, aged 51 years, wife of William Henry Lamb, landlord of “The Shamrock” beerhouse, Goodwin-street, who died on the previous day [17th April]” and the findings published in The Derby Mercury.

Rebecca Lamb’s Inquest in The Derby Mercury (24 April 1872, p5 col4)

In 1873, William Lamb of The Shamrock was among a number of ‘persons who had been called before the Bench to prove that their premises, if used for other than public-houses, would be rented at not less than 15 [pounds] a year” and received a renewal of their license.

The Derby Mercury, 27 August 1873, p2 col1

These two newspaper clippings together tell me that The Shamrock was actually a licensed beerhouse.  According to HistoryHouse.co.uk, beerhouses were “Premises which could sell only beer”.

The opening hours could be from 4am to 10pm. For a small fee of 2 guineas payable to the local excise officer, anyone could brew and sell beer. The excise licence would state whether the beer could be consumed on the premises (beerhouse) or as off-sales only (beershop).  [HistoryHouse.co.uk]

An 1874 directory also lists The Shamrock as a beerhouse:

Wright’s South Derbyshire Directory of 1874, p68

Whereas in 1878, another directory lists it as the ‘Shamrock Inn’:

Wilkins & Ellis New Borough of Derby, 1878

 

The Shamrock is also recorded twice in The Illustrated History of Derby’s Pubs by Maxwell Craven which I located when visiting Derby Central Library.  The first instance notes that it was almost certainly…

‘…named to encourage the colony of Irish families who in the early and mid-19th century lived (in some squalor, unfortunately) in this area, mainly in ‘Rookeries’ – grandish old houses split up by unscrupulous landlords. First recorded by name in 1874, but to be identified with the anonymous beerhouse listed at this address in 1857 and 1862.  The name quite probably migrated with a landlord from King Street.  Closed in 1908 after pressure from Mrs Boden and the Derby  Temperance Association.’ pp. 135-6

[NB: “First recorded by name in 1874” – does this refer to the 1874 directory entry or more official records?]

The second instance suggests it was a separate establishment located at 34 King Street from at least 1850 to 1852:

“Possibly later renamed the Mechanics’ Arms; it seems not unlikely that the landlord took the name with him to Goodwin Street, first recorded by name only a few years later.” p. 136

Although the Lambs are recorded at the same address in the 1861 census, there is no mention of the Shamrock or any publican profession.  The King Street incarnation of the Mechanics’ Arms appears in newspapers in 1862 under landlady Emily Bates [was she the Shamrock’s original landlord?]It’s still possible that The Shamrock was operating but not recorded at the time of the 1861 census and that William Lamb was the landlord who took the name from King to Goodwin Street.  As yet, there is no evidence that the Lamb family ever lived on King Street so we may never know.

Goodwin Street during demolition in the 1930s

 

 

Commercial Inn

I had some credits to spare at ‘Find My Past’ so I trawled the newspapers and found a death notice for George WREFORD’s daughter, Harriet in 1858.

Death Notice of Harriet WREFORD -1858

April 29, at Witheridge, aged 7 years, Harriet, second daughter of Mr. George Wreford, Commercial Inn.

It seems my WREFORDs may not have run the Hare and Hounds after all (see previous post, Pub Crawl). Although it is possible they could have run both during their life in Witheridge – this has been the only time I’ve found where the inn was named.

The Commercial Inn in Witheridge,Devonshire closed sometime after 1894. The Witheridge Historical Archive website has a gap between the 1850 and 1878 directories for the inn’s keepers and I’m still yet to find a directory for the area circa 1861.

To Let or Not To Let?

Hare and Hounds TO LET notice
Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post
22 April 1858
This notice was found on a visit to the Exeter Library a few years ago. It relates to the letting of theHare and Hounds Inn of Witheridge in 1858 – only a few years before my WREFORDs inhabited it in 1861.  Perhaps the WREFORDs took over this letting in 1858? 
The text is very difficult to read but I have uploaded it here (with a transcription of what I could make out) in case anyone has any suggestions.
Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post
Exeter, Thursday, April 22,1858 (p1)
WITHERIDGE – DEVON
TO LET by Tender, for a Term of …… [years] from Midsummer next, all ……[establish]ment called the HARE AND [HOUNDS] [encompassing?] a dwelling-house, malt- …… and also a garden and two fields? … the occupation of Mr. William … 
… [business is now?] being carried …
… be sent on or before the 1?th …. to Mr I M?H C?mins?, Solictor, …
Front page the above notice was ‘clipped’ from

UPDATE – I have found evidence that the family actually kept the Commercial Inn – see post here

Bombay Love Story

After receiving an email asking whether Drusilla WREFORD (the 14 year old innkeeper originally mentioned in my post Pub Crawl) met her husband, Thomas WILLS on the voyage to NZ, I delved further into this family.  It was a good question and one I hadn’t really thought of since she was not my direct ancestor and I have so much to research on my genealogical plate.  However, my curiosity was piqued and I donned my detective cap to find out more.

After some apparent hard times, George & Harriet WREFORD, who had apparently ran the Hare & Hounds Inn in Witheridge, Devonshire (c1861), emigrated with their 8 surviving children to New Zealand aboard the Bombay on the 26 Nov 1864.  Sadly, their youngest daughter, Mary Ann died on the voyage, aged 2.

My first step was to consult the 1864-5 passenger list for the Bombay voyage these WREFORDS took and funnily enough there was a Thomas WILLS on board aged 23.  Drusilla was 17 at the time so quite possible they could meet and take a fancy to one another.  Or perhaps they were already betrothed before leaving England?  I diverted course to search for Thomas on the UK censuses but without having any more information about him abandoned that search and turned instead to the fabulous NZ Papers Past website.
Sisters Augusta, Drusilla and Sarah Grace
nee WREFORD
Although I was initially searching for marriage notices, most of my day has since been spent reading the articles and snippets which mention my ancestors and their neighbours, revisiting old avenues of research and getting to know the other members of this family.  My search also led me to the NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages online where I was able to locate the WREFORD sisters’ marriages (or at least their registration numbers).
WREFORD sister marriages including Drusilla’s to Thomas WILLS
So proof that 14 year old innkeep, Drusilla married somebody called Thomas WILLS.  The 1865 marriage made it seem likely but there was still no real evidence to suggest it was the same Tom on the Bombay with the family.
Drusilla’s Death Notice
(also mentions sister Sarah Grace)
Until… serendipity stepped in.  Tweaking the newspaper search words to ‘bombay’ and ‘wreford’ led me to the obituary notice for Drusilla
Obituary Notice for Drusilla WILLS (nee WREFORD)
transcribed below
(Auckland Star, Volume LXV, Issue 140, 15 June 1934, p3)

The death occurred on June 13 at Onehunga of Mrs. Drucilla Wills, aged 89 years.  She was a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. George Wreford, and came to New Zealand with them when a child in the ship Bombay.  Her late husband, Mr. Thos. Wills, was a passenger on the same vessel. They were married at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Onehunga, by the late Rev. Dr. Purchas, and settled at Awhitu, where Mr. Wills engaged in the gum trade for many years.  When he retired from business Mr. and Mrs. Wills went to reside at Onehunga.  Mrs. Wills is survived by two children. Mr James Wills and Mrs. D. Evans, and 15 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren.

Ta – dah!

Pub Crawl

Inside the Hare & Hounds, Witheridge c1940s
On the night of the 1861 census, in the Devonshire village of Witheridge, 14 year old Drusilla WREFORD was recorded as head of the household and her occupation as ‘Innkeeper ?’ (note the question mark). Also in the household were 4 siblings aged 7 and under (including my direct ancestor, Augusta Harriet), and a 17 year old servant, Emily CHERITON. Their parents, George and Harriet, were nowhere to be seen. I knew they weren’t dead, as George WREFORD and his family emigrated to New Zealand in 1864. So where were they?
12 Fore Street, Witheridge – 1861 census
This remained a mystery for some time until a chance search led me to discover that George WREFORD was in jail for bankruptcy at the time (you can read my post about that discovery here and here). I still haven’t been able to locate the parents on the 1861 census but I’m still keen to find out more about the business.

George was recorded on bankruptcy notices as an innkeeper, butcher and farmer but I haven’t been able to discover which inn George (and Drusilla) was keeping.

On my last visit to Witheridge (I’ve been twice), I picked up the ‘Witheridge Village Trail & Local Walks’ pamphlet which mapped some of the pubs (old and current) in the village.  Armed with this pamphlet, I used Google Maps to pinpoint the pub locations.
Witheridge Pub Locations
Assuming the family lived in/above the inn being kept, the map indicates the pub was the Hare and Hounds (in Fore Street).  According to the pamphlet, “it burnt out in 1995 and was rebuilt”.  I was able to find this picture of the Hare & Hounds Inn circa 1955 from the excellent Historical Witheridge site:
Here is a picture of Fore Street today from a similar location and perspective via Google Street View:

I’m now in the process of trying to find a directory closer to 1861 which will hopefully attach George’s name to the correct pub.

UPDATE
I have found evidence that they actually kept the Commercial Inn – see post here

Next Steps:
  • check for 1860 directories
  • obtain a copy of  ‘Researching Brewery and Publican Ancestors’ by Simon Fowler for more information