Well, ale be blowed!

FOR hundreds of years Huntingdonshire s pubs have been serving the good people of the county, providing a measure of their favourite tipple or pulling a well-kept pint. Then there was the pub where a customer opened a packet of crisps ... and found a bloo

FOR hundreds of years Huntingdonshire's pubs have been serving the good people of the county, providing a measure of their favourite tipple or pulling a well-kept pint.

Then there was the pub where a customer opened a packet of crisps ... and found a blood-stained piece of dressing.

And those where leaving your horse and cart unattended outside would land you with a fine.

These are just some of the stories, reports and incidents uncovered in a huge bundle of documents that detail 400 years of pub history in Huntingdon.

It makes for amusing reading. There is the case of a man being arrested and sent to prison for 14 days - for stealing a wheelbarrow full of cabbages from The Royal Oak in the High Street.

And then there was the man sentenced to 21 days hard labour after being found sleeping in an outhouse at the Ship and Chequers Inn (renamed the Market Inn in 1913).

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One newspaper extract describes how a drunk man, found unconscious outside the Golden Lion in St Germain Street in 1903, was taken to the police station in a wheelbarrow after police failed to rouse him.

The unattended horse and cart outside the Rose and Crown in Ermine Street, saw Walter Upchurch, of St Germain Street, Huntingdon, summoned before magistrates for the offence in 1913.

Giving evidence, Pc Hogan said he saw a horse and cart standing against the pavement for more than five minutes. The defendant was fined 5s with 2s costs.

The information was discovered by Malcolm Cohen when he was clearing the home of a recently deceased friend.

Mr Cohen said: "The considerable amount of research includes details of pub buildings, owners and tenants going back 400 years with information from the census dating back to 1841.

"There are six folders full of very detailed information, including notes of happenings at premises from various newspapers."

The research is being offered to anyone who could put it to good use.

Mr Cohen said: "It has very little commercial value but if there is anyone who is interested in the history of public houses in Huntingdon, and there were scores of them, and has perhaps started such a project and would like to continue then they would very welcome to this very comprehensive collection."

The research gives details of more than 40 pubs in Huntingdon, many of which no longer exist such as the Three Pigeons, which closed in 1929, and the True Briton, which ceased trading in 1939.

INFORMATION: Anyone who thinks they can put the research to good use should contact The Hunts Post by phoning 01480 411481 or e-mailing ­editor@huntspost.co.uk

* The Sun Inn, Hartford Road:

Extract from The Huntingdonshire Post, Thursday April 2, 1959.

Mr and Mrs Albert Paine opened a packet of crisps at the Sun Inn, Huntingdon on December 18 and found a blood-stained piece of wound-dressing.

Huntingdon Magistrates were told last week when Smith Potato Crisps Ltd, Brentford, pleaded guilty to selling to East Anglian Breweries Ltd a packet of crisps which was not of the quality demanded by the purchaser.

The firm was fined £5 and ordered to pay costs of £5. 13s. 0d.

Chairman of the magistrates said this was "an unfortunate accident."

* The Ship and Chequers Inn, Market Hill:

Extract from The Huntingdonshire County News, March 30, 1895:

On Sunday afternoon on March 22 1895 Huntingdon was visited by a severe gale. Many trees were uprooted, among them a large old elm tree which stood for many years in the Police Station Yard. It unfortunately fell upon a group of choir boys who had left the Parish Room in Ferrars Road, injuring several of them and taking the life of Ernest Wilson, son of Mr J Wilson, landlord of the Ship and Chequers Inn.

* The Royal Oak, High Street:

Extract from The Huntingdonshire County News, February 10, 1887.

George Gibbins was sentenced to one month's imprisonment after stealing a wheel-barrow and a pocket knife to the value of 10s. The man had borrowed the wheel-barrow and knife to take some cabbages to market and promised to return the items later that day, but he did not so.

* The Red Lion, High Street:

Extract from The Huntingdonshire Post, October 3, 1868.

Samuel Mahoney and William Sargent were charged with stealing 11b of pig's fry from The Red Lion. The prisoners were later found at the Duke of Cumberland Public House where Sargent had taken some fry from his pocket and eaten it. Mahoney was discharged and Sargent was committed to one month's hard labour.

* The Three Tuns, High Street:

Extract from The Huntingdonshire Post, March 19, 1925.

William Matthews was fined £1 after leaving his motor van unattended in the High Street for 40 minutes. The defendant was a tobacco salesman and had been doing business in the Three Tuns.

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