Page 12 - Moreton Village Only Book
P. 12

12 Moreton Village Only

                                                                 During the mid 1800’s when the
                                                              population of Moreton was probably at its
                                                              height (242 in 1839, 202 in 1851 and 160
                                                              today) the hamlet enjoyed the luxury of
                                                              two pubs in a small, mainly Methodist (and
                                                              therefore teetotal) community. As there has
                                                              never been a village hall, it is likely that
                                                              the  pubs  served  an  important  social
                                                              function as meeting places as well as
                                                              brewing and serving beer. Records show
                                                              that what we know today as The Old Bell
                                                              was, in 1851, the “One Bell Inn” and living
                                                              there were Thomas Lester, a butcher and
                                                              shoemaker who employed two men and his
                                                              wife, Anne, and their five children (all
                                                              under twelve). It is assumed that Anne
                                                              Lester was the landlady of the One Bell
                                                              Inn. By 1881, the “One Bell Inn” had
                                                              become “The Bell Inn” and the landlord
                                                              was Harry Richmond who lived there with
                                                              his wife Harriet and their baby.

                        The Royal Oak sign as it used to hang    There is no record of when the Royal
                        on an Elm tree – circa 1900.          Oak was established (presumably after
                                                              1651 when the name became popular for
                                                              pubs) – it was locally famous, as we have
                                                              mentioned, in the 1860’s, for its blind
                                                              landlord John North. His culinary
                                                              speciality was to smear malt on a piece of  1881 Map of Moreton.
                                                              pork, wrap it in old sacking and bury it for
                                                              six months to “season”! In 1870 the Royal
                                                              Oak burned down and was later rebuilt. It
                                                              closed its doors and called time for the last
                                                              time on 24th December 1999 ending many
                                                              centuries of the tradition of a village pub
                                                              in Moreton.

                        The Royal Oak – early 1920’s.
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