Tuesday 26 March 2013

Pub Inventories in Barnsley Archives

For the last couple of weeks myself and my friend GB have been going to the Town Hall in Barnsley to help digitise a set of card files for the new Archives.  This morning I hit upon several entries which tweeked my curiousity.

The items were listed as 'Inventory and Valuation' for several pub names which I recognised - they dated from the first half of the 19th century, 1829, 1848 and 1849.  Bear in mind that so far I've only dipped into the smallest part of the drawer of file cards I've been assigned to digitise - we are managing about 50 entries a week, and I've found three of these in three weeks.  This suggests that in the whole set of drawers there may be over a hundred of this type of record referred to.

An example of an inventory from the 18th century America (from Weigand PANNEBECKER)

Historically inventories were often drawn up when someone died as part of their estate.  A couple of locally respected men would go around the house of the deceased and list all the items therein.  They were common before 1782 although their survival is patchy.

"The inventory itemised the estate held by the deceased, including leases, chattels, debts owed and owing, cash, crops, stocks and slaves. No account of real estate (land) was normally taken in estimates and totals. [...] After 1782 an inventory might be called for by an interested party, but it was no longer an automatic part of procedure." (The National Archives)

Of course there are other reasons why someone might take an inventory, especially where a business like a public house or inn was concerned.  A change of landlord or the sale of the property would require a proper accounting of what was included in the business assets. 

Some of Barnsley Archives holdings are already listed in the Access to Archives section of the National Archives site - searching there I found another entry:

Inventory and valuation for the Rising Sun Beerhouse, at Dodworth, completed by Edward G Lancaster, 21 August 1868.  (Access to Archives)

No, I'm not sure where this was - except it was on High Street Dodworth (no. 91 in 1911) just before and on the opposite side of the road to the Pheasant (not that that's there any more either!). This document contains seven sheets of paper - I am now bursting to know what might be listed on a pub inventory.  Might there be some for pubs still in existence today?  The ones I saw indexed this morning were for an unnamed pub in Silkstone, for the Temple of Muses (which is now Brownes Bar on Graham's Orchard - and that is an old building), and for the Norman Inn at Monk Bretton (obviously a previous incarnation as the current pub is very 1970s). 

The Temple Inn in the 1971 (from Yococo)
Looking in Barnsley Streets 2, I see that the Temple of Muses, also known as the Temple Inn, dates back to 1825.  Further Googling returns me to the Access to Archives site and an entry for the will of the landlord of the Temple Inn in 1905 and there are quite a few other pubs listed on the same page.  There's a listing in the London Gazette for 1892 for another landlord of the Temple Inn - presumably going out of business as it mentions receivers. In fact there are numerous listings of the same kind, 1897, 1900, 1922 and so on.  Seems the pub trade wasn't any more secure a job a hundred years ago!

There are lots of interesting sources just waiting to be found in Barnsley Archives when it reopens, it's very frustrating having to wait.  You'll see I've put a countdown at the top of my blog to try to speed things along!


jaceybedford said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jaceybedford said...

My godfather (known to me as Uncle Ernest - though he was a friend of my dad's rather than a relative) was landlord of the old Norman Inn in Monk Bretton in the 1940s and 50s and was also the organist at St Paul's - which is why I was christened there in late 1950, even though we lived in Athersley at the time. Ernest was (my mum says) a brilliant pianist. My dad (a former member of the Monk Bretton Cricket Club in the 1950s) is long gone. Mum (who is 92) and I have put our heads together but for the life of us can't remember Ernest's surname - though we're both convinced it's on the tip of our tongues. We lost touch when he moved away to another pub in the late 1950s or maybe early 1960s.Mum recalls that the pub was very old and the cellars were cut into solid rock which apparently kept the beer beautifully. It was the best pint for miles around according to my late dad.

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Hi Jacey,

I have only published one of your comments as they seemed mostly the same. There is a time delay on them appearing because I have my site set to allow me to check them before they are published to prevent spam.

The pub inventories that I was looking at were mostly very old, 1840s and 1850s. I have managed to find my reference and it was from 1848 when the landlord was called John Hoyland.

You should try the old newspapers at Barnsley Archives. The landlord of a pub and an organist of a church sounds like the sort of person who might be mentioned in the papers.

aka Barnsley Historian

jaceybedford said...

Thanks. I thought my first comment disappeared into the void, hence I posted a second. Glad you sorted it.

Chris said...

Hi I lived in Monk Benetton until 1967 and remember the old Norman Inn and the landlord Ernest Exley very well. He was a larger than life character and always jolly. As you say he was the church organist and an excellent pianist who gave lessons to the local children.

I know he was still running the pub in 1964 but can,t say when after that he left and the old pub knocked down to make way for the new Norman pub.

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Thank you for this Chris, I am sure Jacey will be please to know her godfather was a popular figure in the area.

jaceybedford said...

Oh, thanks, Ernest Exley, indeed.

I know it seems mad that I can't remember my godfather's name but I only recall meeting him a couple of times. My dad was a member of the cricket club, but when he stopped playing there was never any need to go to Monk Bretton. We moved to Newmillerdam in 1963 and Uncle Ernest moved away to (if I recall correctly) somewhere near Goldthorpe (or maybe Doncaster) to take over another pub. He did offer to give me piano lessons at one time, and I would have loved to learn, but he was just that bit too far away (in those days) to travel regularly.

I don't know if Uncle Ernest was the last landlord of the old Norman, but as Barnsley Historian says, the new Norman is very seventies in design.

The life of Emily M Weddall said...

Thank you Barnsley Historian for the information on the Norman Inn. Your little tidbits of information about Monk Bretton and the surrounding area make for a great read.I have been researching the pub on and off for a while. It has been around for a while 1800's but looks like it was updated more recently. I will be mentioning in my own blog soon.

jaceybedford said...

The life of Emily M Weddall said: 'It has been around for a while 1800's but looks like it was updated more recently'

As far as I'm aware the old Norman was torn down and the current one is a complete 1970s new build. I don't even think it fits the same footprint as the old pub.