Atworth Public Houses

Atworth, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


White Hart pub, Atworth

Situated on what was at one time the main turnpike road from London to the fashionable resort at Bath, The White Hart was well-placed for providing for travellers and their horses as a coaching inn. The White Hart was certainly trading before 1771, when Richard Poore, formerly at the Bear in Devizes, moved from Atworth to the King’s Arms in Melksham. It is a large building with a fine ashlar Bath Stone fa├žade under a magnificent mansard roof covered with limestone tiles that may well have been dug locally. A lower second pile lies behind and there are other outbuildings around a yard, some of them stables for the travellers. A flight of steps by the entrance to the yard was provided to help them mount their horses.  Today it is the only pub left in Atworth.

Former New Inn public house, Atworth

Another pub that formerly faced the Bath Road was the New Inn, the right hand side of the pair of early eighteenth century houses (number 143) and sometimes both. It would have been new at some time, but its deeds go back at least to 1763 and in 1788 it was put up for sale, including the remainder of a 5,000 year lease, because John Aplin, the owner, was quitting the business. It included stables, a brewhouse, a cider mill and press, three acres of pasture and came with between 3,000 and 4,000 gallons of strong ale. It closed in the 1960s, with the then publican, Mr J.E. Barker, converting the business into the New Inn Dairy. It is now a private house.

Curiously, the house next door was recorded on the Bradford on Avon Tithe Apportionment map in 1841 as another pub, called the Butchers’ Arms and occupied by Jacob Poulsom. It was not listed in 1851, but it was then the home of James of Oram, quarryman and his widowed daughter Elizabeth Compton, who was described as “Inn Keeper’s wife now out of business” and the pub was not mentioned again.

Another pub on the Bath Road, also now closed, was the Red Lion, which was listed in the 1851 to 1871 Census records as being next to the Turnpike tollhouse. In 1851 it was the Red Lion and belonged to Samuel Poulson who was a farmer with 400 acres and four men working for him.  In 1859 the publican was John Hulbert, who was probably related to John Tanner Hulbert, landlord of the New Inn in the 1860s and 1870s. In 1861 it was listed as The White Lion, although when the licence was transferred in 1864 it was as Red Lion again. The pub doesn’t seem to have lasted into the 20th century and by 1908 had been divided into two houses and known as Old Lion Place.

former forge, former pub, Atworth

Away from the turnpike road in the old centre of the village was another old pub, long closed and had been converted by 1861 into a forge that was run by Richard Hampton from Potterne and now private house known as the Old Forge. In 1766 a deed involving Michael Sumsion, who was a publican at Colerne, referred to it as the “Three Horse Shoes later Hare and Hounds” .

former Foresters public house, Atworth

The other pub in the old village centre was the Foresters’ Arms, at the junction of Bradford Road and Church Street. This was probably a latecomer and may not have had this name until the end of the 19th century. Before that it might have been the shop of John May, beer retailer and shopkeeper in 1855, beer house and shopkeeper and jobbing plasterer in 1861. He was followed by his daughter Miss Ellen May, publican and grocer in 1871 and 1875. It closed in the late 1980s and a house was built in the garden, but then in 1990 it re-opened with a new name- The Thirsty Beggar. This phase didn’t last long before closing for a refit that did not completely take away all its character and it re-opened again, this time as the misspelled Forresters. The next closure was final and it was converted into a house in 1999.