ID: PH01_PPH / Elaine Barker

TitlePlough Public House Peldon


Perhaps not as famous as The Peldon Rose Inn which has been licensed premises for centuries, The Plough, being located in the centre of the village and next to the village pump (and in more recent times the village sign) has been central to the lives of Peldon's residents since Victorian times.

The Plough became a Grade II listed building in 1982. In 2020 the description was:

"Peldon Lower Road 1. 5214 The Plough Public House TL91 NE17/34 11 2. Late C16 or early C17 house, timber framed and weatherboarded, with red plain tile hipped roof, Two storeys, three window range, double hung vertical sliding sashes with glazing bars. L-shaped plan. East front is 3 bays and chimney bay. Modern single-storey extensions front and rear. Internally much of the original frame is exposed. Listing NGR: TL 9901416388."

Prior to being licensed as a pub in 1840 it seems to have been a carpenter's shop, possibly from the mid eighteenth century, then a butcher's shop which also sold beer. At the time of the application for the licence, it was operating as a beerhouse where beer could be drunk on the premises but wines and spirits were not sold.


In the medieval period alehouses were ordinary dwellings where the householder served home-brewed ale and beer. If lodging for travellers was offered, it could have been just bedding on the floor of a kitchen or barn. Inns by contrast, were generally purpose-built to accommodate travellers, needing more rooms than the average house, plus adequate stabling. They also provided food, drink and lodging, and were run by Innkeepers. Taverns were generally in towns, selling wine and spirits to the more affluent patrons, sometimes with entertainment. All three were social centres.

The 1552 Alehouse Act required alehouse keepers to be licensed by the Justices of the Peace, who would meet at local 'Quarter Sessions' or 'Petty Sessions'. From 1617 licenses were also required for those running inns.

By the mid-18th century the larger alehouses were becoming common, while inns beside highways grew in grandeur and new ones sprang up to serve the boom years of the coaching era. The term 'alehouse' was gradually replaced by public house during the 18th century (a public house being an establishment that served alcoholic drinks for consumption on the premises). Taverns, meanwhile, were being replaced by coffee houses, as social centres for the wealthier classes. The term hotel is basically French and was rarely used in Britain before 1800.

The Government of the 1820s and 1830s was keen to promote the drinking of beer instead of spirits, especially gin. Widespread drunkenness through gin consumption was believed to be detrimental to the working class. The drink of the working man, beer, was taxed, which meant the cost of beer could be prohibitive to the working classes despite the fact that beer was safer to drink than water, which was untreated.

The Beerhouse Act of 1830 was liberating. It abolished the beer tax and extended the opening hours of licensed alehouses, taverns and public houses from 15 to 18 hours a day. These measures were subject to the control of the local Justices, and a licence was required. The Act also introduced Beerhouses and Beershops, both being premises that could sell beer but not spirits. The opening hours could be from 4am to 10pm, and for a small fee (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 sold as off-sales only (beershop).

Beerhouses provided not only beer, but food, games and some lodging. Many shopkeepers opened their own beershop by selling beer alongside their normal shop wares. The beer would either be brewed on the premises or supplied by brewers.

Supervision of these establishments by the Justices was limited, which led to complaints by Magistrates and the local gentry, who were keen to control the working classes. Concern over law and order resulted in the excise fee being raised to 3 guineas, and the premises had to comply with certain requirements. The Wine and Beerhouse Act of 1869 brought the licensing of beerhouses back under the control of local Justices. Many such premises then closed, or were purchased by breweries and changed to fully licensed public houses. ['Researching the history of pubs, inns and hotels' and 'What was a beerhouse?']

There were two beerhouses in Peldon in the Victorian era, one, located at Malting Farm, was run by members of the Wright family, then by members of the Harvey family.

John Wright was a farmer, who was variously described as a 'beerhouse and shopkeeper', 'grocer and beer retailer', 'licensed to sell beer' and a 'farmer and beer retailer' in the trade directories for 1844 (Kelly's), 1848 (White's), and 1851 (Post Office). In the census for 1851, he is listed as a farmer of 5 acres, and his wife, Sarah Ann, as a shopkeeper. Although the name of the farm is not given, the location on the Colchester Road would indicate it was Malting Farm. The 1861 census gives the family's address as Malting Hill Farm and describes John as a farmer of 50 acres while the 1871 census notes 'Farm House & licensed to sell beer' with John employing 6 men and a boy on his 102 acres.

In the Kelly's directory of 1874 John is listed as a farmer and beer retailer and in 1878 it is Mrs. Elizabeth Wright who is listed as a 'beer retailer and farmer' (what relation she was to John Wright has not been discovered if, indeed, the name is correct).

John Wright died in 1878.

On 4th October 1879, John's widow, Sarah Ann, put up the farm's Live and Dead Stock for sale as Mrs. Wright is declining business. On 11th October 1879 the Essex Standard reported her relinquishing the licence with the new licensee named as Elizabeth Harvey. Sarah Ann Wright is subsequently to be found in the 1881 census as a 'retired farmer' living with two of her daughters in Rose Cottage, Peldon, while in September of that year at Michaelmas, Malting Farm was put up for auction.

In 1882 Elijah Harvey appears in the Kelly's directory for Peldon as a 'beer retailer and farmer' this is likely to be at Malting Farm since he is, only a few years later, recorded as living there.

In the Essex Herald of 3rd August 1885, Elijah Harvey of Malting Farm, Peldon, described as a beer-house keeper, was charged with having on 11th July sold intoxicating liquor to John Christmas allowing him to drink it on the premises contrary to section 5 of the Licensing Act. Fined 10s and 15s costs.

That was not the end of Elijah's woes for later in August that year the Essex Standard reported a fire at his farm.

In Kelly's trade directory of 1886 Elijah was listed as a beer retailer, the last time reference was to be made to Malting Farm being a beerhouse, and although Elijah was listed as being a farmer in the 1890 Kelly's directory his death was recorded the same year in the Essex Standard of 26th July at the age of 48, referring to him as the son of Daniel Harvey.

In the late 1830s, the other Peldon beerhouse (at the premises now known as The Plough) was engaged in a legal battle over whether it should be re-licensed as a Public House.

In September 1840 there was a sitting of Colchester magistrates to consider a second application for the transfer of the Beerhouse licence to one for a Public House. This sitting was reported in the county Press as follows:

      "COLCHESTER CASTLE. - At the sitting of the magistrates on Saturday last, it being a general licensing day, the licensing of the public houses in the Colchester division were all renewed. Mr. W. Salmon Cooper, on the part of Mr. John Chignall, beer-house keeper at Peldon, renewed the application made last year for a licence to sell spirits and wine in addition, but which was then refused. Mr. Abell appeared in opposition on the part of Mr. Palmer the Rector, and Mr. Wackerbarth, the Curate of Peldon. Mr. Cooper reiterated the points he urged last year in favour of the application, viz., the locality of the applicant's house being in the centre of the village, and surrounded by about seventy houses, and a great number of inhabitants, and that the only public house in the parish (the Rose) was situated at the extremity, quite away from the village, affording the inhabitants, in consequence, but little accommodation. Mr C. also put in a memorial, numerously signed by the respectable parishioners of Peldon; also a similar document from an adjoining parish, Little Wigborough, in which parish there is no public house. The memorial stated that if the applicant's house were licensed to sell wine and spirits, it would afford great accommodation to that parish. It was signed by a number of the influential parishioners. The Rev. Robert Eden, of Leigh, stated to the Bench, that having lived in Peldon five years as a curate, he felt that

another public-house in the parish at all was a very great nuisance; for although the Rose public-house was at so great a distance from the village, it held out inducements to the poor man to spend his earnings there, instead of appropriating them to the support of his family; and if the application in the present instance were granted, an additional inducement would be held out to the poor man to indulge in drinking ardent spirits, to the great injury of himself and family; therefore he (Mr. Eden) entreated the Bench not to grant the application. Mr. Abell also put in a memorial, signed by the Rev. Mr. Palmer and the Rev. Mr. Wackerbath, against the licence being granted. Mr. Round spoke in favour of the application, observing that if the licence were not granted, the house would still be a beer-house, and thought a respectable Public-house far preferable to a beer-house and he should certainly give his voice in favour of the application. The Chairman took the sense of the Bench, and then told Mr. Chignall they were of the opinion that the licence should be granted accordingly. The new public-house is to be called the "Plough". Essex Standard, 11 September 1840

Within a week of this decision, Robert Eden (former Curate of St Mary the Virgin, Peldon from 1832 - 1837 but by then Rector of St. Clements Church, Leigh-on-Sea) wrote to the Essex Standard, protesting in much detail against the transfer of the licence, criticising the Editor for even publishing the report, launching a tirade about the competence of the news reporter individual, and criticising a multitude of items in the news report for being wrong. [See Transcription of Eden's letter ]


The Reverend Robert Eden was curate of Peldon in the 1830s until leaving to become rector of Leigh On Sea in 1837
Photo "Robert Eden by unknown photographer", copyright National Portrait Gallery, obtained under Creative Commons License. See

In Eden's letter, Mr. Osborne is referred to as the landlord, (represented before the magistrates by Mr. Cooper).

Osborne was, in fact, John Posford Osborne, who ran a brewery in Colchester and owned a string of public houses in and around Colchester [see Appendix 2:John Posford Osborne] while Mr. Chignall was the householder - a tenant - running the beer-house from his Peldon premises. Chignall was to take on Moor Farm, Peldon, in the same year, presumably moving out of The Plough once it had gained its licence. One can only presume Osborne supplied the beer and employed a landlord to run the pub.


The following names and dates have been taken from trade directories, Post Office directories, censuses, newspaper reports of licensing procedures, and newspaper reports of court cases connected with The Plough. More recent information has been supplied in conversation with villagers and frequenters of the pub.

Note. The title of the person in charge of the Plough has varied over the years, from one describing their trade (e.g. 'innkeeper') to a legal term (e.g. 'victualler', 'licensee'). Also, some census records and trade directories have used the terms 'inn' and 'innkeeper' when, at the time, the premises were, in legal terms, not specifically an inn. So the words 'inn' and 'innkeeper' should not be taken literally.

As we have seen, according to the Reverend Eden's letter of complaint following the 1840 granting of a licence, Mr. Osborne was referred to as the 'landlord' (in this context meaning the owner with tenant publicans).

By 1843, Jeremiah Bartholomew is listed as the 'victualler' and appears at The Plough in the trade directories for 1844 (Kelly's) 1848 (White's), 1851 (P.O.) and in the 1851 census.

Jeremiah Bartholomew was born in about 1793 in Wakes Colne. In 1841 he was a publican living in the parish of St. Peter in Colchester, and in 1842 he married Hannah Egerton (also from Wakes Colne) at St. Mary's Church, Peldon. In the marriage register Jeremiah described himself as an inn keeper, but did not state where. His tenure at The Plough can be traced back to at least June 1843, according to a newspaper report of a court case: "......on a charge of assaulting Mr Jeremiah Bartholomew, of the Plough public-house at Peldon......" [Essex Standard 9th June 1843]

Jeremiah Bartholomew stayed at The Plough until a change of licensee in 1851. In the 1851 census he and Hannah were living at their farm in Fingringhoe, where they had 17 acres and a servant/labourer. Jeremiah died in 1860 and was buried at West Bergholt. In 1861 Hannah was living in West Bergholt. She died in 1870 and was buried at Copford.

It is clear in the interim, Thomas Nelson (who became landlord of The Rose, Peldon from at least 1855 to his death in 1880,) had been licensee of The Plough, presumably for a very short time. Like many licensees in those times, Thomas had another line of work, and described himself in directories as 'builder and victualler' or 'innkeeper and bricklayer'.

Then he became a long term licensee at The Rose from the end of the William Lappage tenure to the start of the George Pullen tenure (approx. 25 years). [See The Peldon Rose Mersea Museum ] On 2nd December 1851, the Essex Herald reported the licence of The Plough being transferred from Thomas Nelson to William Nice.

It is interesting to note that in the marriage register of Little Wigborough, Edward Nice, the next landlord, presumably related to William, married Sarah Ann Brewer on 20th November 1851. Edward's profession is given as 'publican' and there is no other indication that a William Nice ran The Plough.

Edward Nice was born in about 1818 in Little Wigborough and he married Sarah Ann at St. Nicholas's Church, Little Wigborough. Their children were Frederick, Alice, Mary Anne, Caroline, Elizabeth, Herbert, Edward and Bertha. From at least 1855 (but possibly from 1851) to 1891, Edward, variously described in trade directories and censuses for Peldon as a victualler, innkeeper, publican, machine owner, carter and landlord was landlord of The Plough.

He appears in this capacity in P.O. directories of 1855 and 1862, White's of 1863 and Kelly's of 1882. In the 1861, 1871, and 1881 censuses he is listed as innkeeper and machinist.

In the 1891 census Edward is listed at The Plough as an innkeeper and threshing machine owner with son, Herbert, an agricultural engine driver. Another son, Frederick, is an engine driver of a threshing machine, living up the road from the pub in The White House [now Sampton Wick], Peldon.

A third son, also Edward, was to move first to Camberwell then Deptford where he raised a family and worked throughout his life as a brewer's drayman.

Edward Nice's years at The Plough were not totally blemish-free for the Essex Standard of 8th July 1863 records him being brought before the County Magistrates following a Weights and Measures inspection. He was found to have nine deficient pewter measures and was fined 10s with 10s 6d expenses. He was also recorded as being landlord of The Plough in February 1862 when he had 5lbs of bacon stolen from the premises and again in January 1888, when he gave evidence in another court case.

During Edward Nice's tenure, The Plough clearly withstood the earthquake of 1884 when almost every building in the village was damaged. No damage was reported to the pub although it seems unlikely it got off scot-free.

Edward also appears in the farm accounts for Horn Farm and Green Farm in Salcott  and Viners Farm, in Messing/Tiptree (all farmed by the same family, the Smiths) between 1886 and 1890, being employed to perform various duties including scarifying, ploughing, horse hoeing wheat and beans, and drilling oats, wheat, barley and peas. He also carted straw to barges at Salcott wharf and took oats and wheat to Marriage's Mill in Colchester. [MPB text=Salcott Farm Accounts Mersea Museum;]

Edward Nice died in Peldon in 1891, aged 73.

NICE Edward
    Personal Estate £461 15s.
  14 August.     The Will of Edward Nice late of the "Plough" Inn Peldon in the County of Essex Machinist and Innkeeper who died 20 July 1891 at the said Inn

Edward Nice's probate (courtesy of Ancestry)

The Plough: postcard circa 1900. S A Nice is the landlady named on the pub sign. The sign over the door says 'Colchester Brewing Co; Fine Ales Stout & Porter'
Photo: Ron Green

Sarah Ann Nice was born in 1829. After her husband, Edward, died she took over the running of The Plough in the early 1890s. She is listed as an innkeeper in Peldon in 1894 and 1899 (Kelly's).

Her son, Herbert, was living at The Plough when he gave evidence for The Plough in a court case reported in the Essex Standard. [Essex Standard 7th October 1899].

Sarah Ann retired in late 1900, when she was advertised as auctioning her possessions in advance of her coming retirement. [EADT 10th August 1900] She died in the Colchester area in 1915, aged 87.

The Plough, Peldon. Landlady S.A. Nice is named on the sign. Is this her in the photograph? Date: c1900 ?
Note the plough attached to the two horses

Frederick Nice was born in about 1852, the son of Edward and Sarah Ann Nice. He married Amelia Christmas née James (his second wife) at St. Nicholas's Church, Little Wigborough in December 1891. They had a daughter, Eva, born around 1886. Frederick is listed as an innkeeper in both the 1901 census and the Kelly's directory for 1902 having taken over from his mother. He died in 1902 aged 49; his probate reveals he had continued his father's business as a threshing-machine proprietor and that his executor and brother, Herbert, also continued to work for the family business as an engine-driver.

NICE Frederick of the "Plough" inn Peldon Essex threshing-machine-proprietor died 29 July 1902 Probate Ipswich 28 August to Herbert Nice engine-driver Effects £121 12s.

Frederick Nice's Probate (courtesy of Ancestry)

Amelia Nice was born in 1852 in Fingringhoe. She became the licensee of The Plough after the death of her husband Frederick in 1902, and was the licensee for some 20 years, including during World War One when famously a German Zeppelin came down at Little Wigborough. Described as a licensed victualler she appears in 1910 (Kelly's directory) the 1911 census, 1914 (Kelly's) and 1922 (Kelly's) and is also listed as the occupant of The Plough in the 1918 electoral roll. She died in 1924 in the Lexden district (which encompasses Peldon), aged 73.

Peldon's Special Constables who apprehended the German crew of Zeppelin L33 which came down at Little Wigborough in September 1916, sitting outside The Plough

Percy R. Dare was listed in a trade directory as the named person for The Plough in 1925 (Kelly's) but no biographical information could be found.

A journalist visitor to Peldon circa 1935/6, Cyril R Jeffries, who wrote an article for the Essex County Standard entitled Your Essex No 30 At Peldon wrote

Near Pump Green stands 'The Plough' at which Mr H Hedger is host. He succeeded Mr W Holland, and before him was Mr Nice. The oak-beamed old-world rooms of the house are delightful. A word which may be fittingly used of Peldon.

This would indicate there had been another landlord between Percy Dare and Henry Hedger namely Mr W Holland about whom no biographical detail has been found.

Henry Hedger was born in July 1890 and married Margaret Lilian Mahoney in 1912 in Haringey. He, Margaret and William Henry Hedger are all listed in the electoral roll of 1929 as living in The Plough, Peldon.

Kelly's directories of 1933 and 1937 also list Henry at The Plough.

In 1939 a national population survey was carried out, namely the 1939 England and Wales Register. The occupiers of The Plough were recorded as:
    Henry Hedger - Licensee (amended to Licensed Victualler). Born 1890.
    Margaret Hedger (wife) - Unpaid duties. Born 1890.
    William H. Hedger (son) - Assisting Father. Born 1914.

Henry was the licensee for nearly all of World War Two, and died in January 1945 aged 54. The following newspaper report which dates his arrival in the village as 1928, gives an insight into his life, work and experience in WW1:

    "Widespread sympathy is extended to the family of the highly-respected and popular landlord of the Plough Inn who passed away on Jan 24 at the age of 54. The deceased had lived in the village for 17 years and was highly successful in the running of a loan club, himself being treasurer; he was also a member of the Licensed Victuallers' Association. He had not been in robust health since his service in the last war, when he was gassed at Ypres, and his illness, which was a long one, was patiently borne. He leaves a widow to whom the license is being transferred, a son and a daughter." [Essex County Standard, 2 February 1945].

Margaret Hedger, Henry's widow, had a brief time as licensee. She eventually moved to Westcliff-on-Sea and died in 1946 aged 56, at Runwell Hospital, Wickford, Essex.

William Hedger was born in the Edmonton district in September 1914. The son of Henry and Margaret Hedger, he was living at The Plough in 1939, and married Violet Maud Knight, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs H. Knight of Home View, Peldon, on Christmas Day 1940.

Christmas Day Mr William Henry Hedger only son of Mr and Mrs H Hedger of The Plough Inn, Peldon and Miss Violet Maud Knight eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs H Knight of Home Farm Peldon [Essex County Standard 4th January 1941]

William and Maud ran The Plough from about 1946, and they lived in a small cottage opposite the pub, Brick House Cottage, (where modern 'executive houses', 'The Vineyard' and 'Magnolia Cottage' were built in later years). They celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in 1990 having spent all their married life in Peldon. Violet Maud died in 2002 at the age of 87, followed by William in 2006 aged 92.

Mersea resident, Nick Hines, reports there was a dairy at the pub. Maud Hedger was a member of the Knight family who had been living and working at Home Farm, Peldon since the early 1930s. They had a dairy herd and supplied milk locally which might explain the setting up of a dairy business at The Plough.

The Hedgers relinquished The Plough thirteen months before the next owners, the Glendennings, took it over and there was an intervening proprietor from January 1960 until February 1961.

The Plough circa 1960 before The Glebe bungalows and the houses to the west along Lower Road were built

Alfred Glendenning married Beatrice Bowman July 1955 in the Southend area. They took over The Plough in 1961 and were very popular, with Alfred known as 'Glen' and Beatrice known as 'Bea'. Glen had a job during the day with the railways while Bea ran the pub. Following Glen's tragic death an appreciation was written by Fred Walker, a friend of the family and member of Peldon Church.

"In February 1961, Alfred and Beatrice (known to their many friends as Glen and Bea) took over The Plough in Peldon. Through their pressure on the Brewery Company, the present attractive alterations and innovations were carried out and with their friendly personalities they made it into a happy meeting place, not only for Peldonians, but for many others in the district.

'Glen' has not enjoyed good health of recent years and indeed had undergone five operations, while Bea had only recently returned home from several turns in hospital at Myland and elsewhere. Then the final blow fell. At 4a.m. on Saturday 6th April 1974 they woke to find their home on fire, and though they both got down to safety, Glen returned to his room to save some papers, where he received such severe burns that he died in hospital less than 48 hours later. To Bea and to Glen's family by his first marriage, we extend our deepest sympathy." [Peldon and the Wigboroughs Parish News May 1974]

Some felt there was an implication that the pub had been left run-down under the proprietorship of the Hedger family and this was quickly refuted in the Parish News the following month.

To clear any misunderstandings possibly arising from the above Appreciation.

Many will recall that the Glendennings did not take over the proprietorship of The Plough Inn from the late Mrs Hedger, there being an intervening proprietorship of some thirteen months. The Hedgers were, and I hope remain good friends of mine, and others, and therefore any suggestions misconstruing their proprietorship must be quickly dispelled. G F W [Peldon and The Wigboroughs Parish News June 1974]

Bill and Lorna Peek, Bea and Glen Glendenning, Chris Moore and a visitor, Peldon Plough.

Glen was only 61 when he died and Bea continued running the Plough, but for no more than a year. She then moved to the Southend district, and died in the Colchester district in July 1978, aged 61.

Nick Hines, who worked in a local pig farm recalls

When I first started using the pub - early 1970s - there was a good section of the Zeppelin behind the bar and a rather wormy Vienna Regulator-style clock on the wall to the right as you entered the public bar.

Could this have been the 'village' clock referred to at the end of WW2 bought by Mr. Dansie of the local stores - only three doors along from The Plough?

With the abolition of black-out restrictions the unofficial 'village' clock in the window of Dansie's stores comes once more into its own having been hidden behind a wooden shutter on Sundays and on week evenings for 5 and a half years. The clock was purchased by the late Mr E R Dansie who was the first in the neighbourhood to venture on a wireless receiving set, having acquired an experimental one only three months after the formation of the BBC. Very soon customers were asking for the 'wireless time' and the proprietor rightly judged that a public clock would be appreciated. The habit of setting ones watch by the shop clock was formed and has persisted through the years and there are many expressions of satisfaction on the part of local residents and of motorists and cyclists passing through Peldon at the reappearance of an old familiar friend. Essex County Standard 22.6.1945

Regulators were first developed in England around 1720. Typical clocks of the day were only accurate to within about 5 minutes per week. But regulators, powered by a weighted and geared mechanism, could be accurate to within 10 seconds per month when properly adjusted. These clocks were initially used in observatories and clock and watch shops as the standard of accuracy during repairs, synchronization, and manufacturing. []

It is not known where either the piece of zeppelin or the clock are now.

Eric and Janet Woolnough In March 1975 the parish magazine welcomed Eric and Janet to The Plough. Nick Hines recalls Eric was the first full-time landlord and for a while the pub was popular with motor-cycle clubs.

Mike and Chris Young took over the Plough in 1977 and were welcomed to the village by the Parish Magazine of December that year. Mike had previously been employed as a buyer for both the Lotus Formula 1 team, and for the Williams Formula 1 team.

According to local resident and car designer, Ivor Walklett, in the late 1970s a motor racing trophy was displayed on the bar of The Plough; it had been won by Jim Clark of Lotus. This would have been a rare find, because after Jim Clark's death his Mother got rid of most of his motor racing items. Mike is thought to have displayed the trophy during his time as Landlord of the Plough.

Doris Christmas recalls he had been involved with the racing driver Mike Hawthorn in the past.

In the August 1982 issue of the Parish Magazine it was announced Mike and Christine had left The Plough with the editor writing an appreciation of how much Christine had done towards village activities especially catering for events. The new pub landlords were David and Clare Richardson.

David and Clare Richardson took over at the Plough in July 1982, when it was owned by Ind Coope brewery. They did not stay long - about two years. David's wife Clare, was a good cook, beef cobbler and brown bread ice cream being favourites [John Hawes by Email] Clare was to go on to run the much-missed Cook's Garden Centre on Mersea Island.

Nick Hines tells me the actor Richard Briers (of The Good Life) was David Richardson's godfather (Briers' mother was a Richardson) and also recalls frequent lock-ins all in the Saloon bar which was then at the back of the pub.

'The Plough, Peldon. Pints will continue to be drawn here, the brewery has assured villages.' An historic Austin Maxi stands outside the pub. From Essex County Standard 2 March 1984. Presumably the Richardsons had left and the Harts were yet to arrive.

Des and Jackie Hart It is not clear when the Harts came to The Plough; they moved to Peldon from The White Hart in West Mersea.

Described as 'the new landlord' of the White Hart in the Lions Talking Magazine of Sept 1980 Des won the Truman's Tavern of the Year Award in 1979. A Cornish-man he was a Cornish Darts Champion and played in the English Darts Final. Several Mersea locals recall that many of The White Hart clientele moved across to Peldon upon the Harts' taking over of The Plough.

In the Peldon Parish News of February, 1987 it was stated that Mr W D L Hart (Des) was appealing against a Listed Building Enforcement issued by Colchester Borough Council against the use of canopies of a highly conspicuous and visually obtrusive nature.

Nick Hines tells me He upset the locals by installing fake beams in the public bar and laminate flooring which caused the original old timbers to rot and it was during the eighties that the Young Farmers who had used The Plough as their 'watering-hole' switched to the Peldon Rose.

Peter and Jane Newman were very popular landlords arriving in the summer of 1997 [August '97 Peldon & Wigborough Parish News], progressing the food side of the business to new levels, especially the fish dishes. Peter was a keen angler, and there were various angling themes in the pub, including an angling book collection and a mural of an angling scene on the back wall.

After Peter and Jane's tenure The Plough was put up for sale. Various discussions took place in the area, but after a period of closure while it was for sale, the locals breathed a sigh of relief when Jack and Josie Newman took over, Jack being Peter and Jane's son.

Jack and Josie Newman continued to develop the food side of the business, and changed the layout of the bar/restaurant areas with a change of decor and a refurbishment.


Peldon Football Club can be traced to at least 1936, when it held a public meeting at The Plough [Chelmsford Chronicle 19 June 1936]. It appears that the club soon became 'Peldon United', as this part of a press report indicates:

    "......Peldon United entertained Alresford Colne Rangers, and won 7-1. The game opened in sensational style. B. Reynolds scoring for the homesters in the first minute. This early goal acted as a tonic to Peldon......" [Essex Chronicle 8th January 1937]

In the 1940s it was traditional for a village football match to be held on Boxing Day. Eric and Colin Coan recall that before Newpots Close was built, the land was used as a football field and the players would change at the Plough. Rev Roy Gumley Adnett, the Rector of St. Mary's, used to play for the team.

Peldon Football Club taken at Birch circa 1952. Three Polish players were living in the Hostel, Wigborough Road, that had housed POWs and the Women's Land Army during its history.
Standing L-R D. Coats, W. Pooke, W. Wopling, R. Purtell, Polish, W. Hedger, P. Miller, W. Fletcher Kneeling A. Green, R. Hall, P. Wopling, Polish, D. Baldwin, Polish

An Egg and Spoon race was held on every Easter Monday, starting from the Plough.

Easter April 1982 Archie Moore taking part in the Egg and Spoon race

Easter Monday Egg and Spoon Race outside Peldon Plough 16th April 1979

The Peldon Ploughboys Although they shared their name with the tug of war team, 'The Ploughboys' were a separate charity fundraising group of pub regulars not involved wholly with the tug of war team. This group used to take a float to Colchester Carnival

The Peldon Ploughboys' float for Colchester Carnival in 1981

Peldon Wheelbarrow Races used to be held, and the Plough was the official start and finish. Chris Moore recalls the course was westwards along Lower Road, up Church Road and down St. Ives Road.

Spring Bank Holiday 1979 Wheelbarrow Race, Peldon 28th May 1979

A special Snakes and Ladders game was once held at the Plough. John Fell recalls it went on for several days without a break, and local players would play in turn according to a rota. Sadly details are sketchy now - some record of the proceedings must surely have been made?

The Plough Darts Club can be traced back to at least 1937, when it played its last match of the season at home against The Donkey and Buskins of Layer de la Haye. The Plough is recorded as having lost 4 - 5:

"......thus qualifying by one point for the wooden spoon, which had been held by Mersea Fountain for 4 seasons......" [Chelmsford Chronicle 5th March 1937]

In 1939, The Plough drew 7-7 in an away match against the Kings Head at Great Wigborough. [Chelmsford Chronicle 17th February 1939]

In 1946 it won the West Mersea and District Darts League.

There was also a very successful Ladies' Team during the time of the Glendennings

Post-1970 The Plough was in the Abberton and District Darts League.

Peldon Plough Darts Team. Abberton Peldon District Champions.
L-R Some of the names: Jim Shepperd, Ken Warren, Alfred 'Glen' Glendenning (with glasses - Plough landlord), Geoff Green, Leslie Mole.

Peldon Plough Ladies Darts Team. Abberton Peldon District Champions.
Back Bill Wopling, Brian Munson, Cliff Cook, Alf Argent, Dave Willis, Stan Willis, Don Balls.
Front Mrs Warren, Doris Mole (centre), Beatrice 'B' Glendenning (landlady - with prominent handbag), Leslie Mole, Victor Ponder

The Pool Team Trevor Johnson recalls the pool team would travel round the pubs in the general area for matches.

The Tug of War Team was known as 'The Plough Boys'. From the start they were very serious about training and competing. They devised and built a rig in Moss Haye, to train with and perfect their technique. It consisted of two telegraph poles firmly set into the ground, and a system of wire ropes, industrial pulleys and a range of concrete weights cast in cut-down oil drums. A heavy concrete weight would be suspended on the rig, and by the team pulling on a manila rope and via pulleys, they increased their combined power and perfected their technique. This resulted in a lot of success over many years.

Peldon Plough Tug of War Team 14 July 1979
Pulling from number one Clive (Laddie) Ladbroke, Mick Cawdron, Jerry Woolf, Mick (Urko) Cook, Steve (Sid) Vince, Roger Cook, John Hawes and anchor man unknown.

The Local Shoot would use the Plough for lunch on alternate Saturdays during the shooting season. This goes back to at least 2000.


The Peldon Womens Institute held its first meeting at the Plough, hosted by landlord Henry Hedger and Mrs Hedger in 1942.

WOMEN'S INSTITUTE The first meeting of the Peldon Women's Institute was held on Monday at The Plough Inn, by kind permission of Mr and Mrs Hedger [Essex County Standard 31st October 1942]

Television was provided at the Plough in the early 1950s, and the TV 'set' was very popular with locals, who could watch major events such as the football Cup Final.

'Jam Sessions' have been held occasionally since 2000. Elaine Barker and friends connected with Colchester Folk Club (many being musicians in local Ceilidh bands) would meet informally once a month and play a variety of tunes with fiddles, melodeons, mandolins, guitars etc. Sometimes visiting musicians would call in from the recording studio on the top road (Church Road).

Colchester Morris Men would include The Plough in their summer programme, and dance on the hardstanding by the garden area.


Auctions were occasionally held at the Plough, typically in the 1800s. They would start at 7pm or sometimes at 4pm, and can be traced back to at least 1843. The following is an example from 1892:

    "PELDON Near COLCHESTER. VALUABLE FREEHOLD AND COPYHOLD PROPERTIES. Including Two FREEHOLD MESSUAGES and two Parcels of LAND, and two COTTAGES with 4½ Acres of Accommodation Land; MESSUAGE, with Blacksmith's Shop, Saw Shed, and Appurtenances
    SEXTON and GRIMWADE are favoured with instructions from the Trustee under the Will of the late Mr. John Wright, to prepare for SALE by AUCTION, at the Plough Inn, Peldon, on FRIDAY, August 26th, 1892, at Seven o' clock in the evening precisely, the valuable properties, forming the real estate of the deceased.
    Messrs. GOODY and SON, Solicitors, North Hill, Colchester."

Inquests were occasionally held at the Plough. These can be traced back to at least 1852. [Essex Standard 27th February 1852 and EADT 11th August 1892]

The Plough Christmas Loan and Mutual Benefit Club started in 1925, and it had periodic 'Share Outs' at the Plough. The following newspaper report explains one of them (note the number of people present):

    "SHARE OUT. The thirteenth annual share-out of the Plough Christmas Loan and Mutual Benefit Club took place on December 15th 1936 at The Plough Inn, some 90 members participating. The sum of £340 was distributed, each share making a profit of 10d on the year's workings. The treasurer, Mr H Hedger, landlord of the Inn, and the secretary, Mr F Purtell, were thanked for their services." [Chelmsford Chronicle 25th December 1936]


Peldon resident Colin Coan remembers being outdoors with his brother Colin and Father, near the family home in Mersea Road, when a World War Two V1 'Doodlebug' suddenly flew towards them very low. They dived into a ditch just before it went over, followed by a Spitfire chasing it. They were in as much danger from the spitfire as from the Doodlebug itself. Colin believes that the Doodlebug was heading out over nearby Brick House Farm, opposite The Plough, when it was shot down by the Spitfire.


The Plough has remained a public house with the same name since the Colchester Justices agreed to Public House status and that name back in September 1840. It may be called the 'Peldon Plough' in some quarters, but to many it is simply 'The Plough', the name it was first given.

In 2040 Peldon will have the opportunity to celebrate 200 years of that continuity, and the fact that the pub has had to suffer the following in that time period:

  • a tirade of objections by the Clergy over a 2-year period before it even became licensed as a public house
  • an earthquake
  • two world wars
  • a near miss by a Doodlebug
  • a period of being up for sale
  • the Covid Pandemic [see Appendix 4]

Despite all this, and the demise of five other pubs in the surrounding area (the Rising Sun at Salcott, the White Hart at Virley, the Kings Head at Great Wigborough, the Langenhoe Lion, and the Fountain at West Mersea), The Plough continues.

And long may it do so!

The Peldon History Project with contributions by Elaine Barker and Geoff Gonella

Appendix 1: The Plough's earlier History

As we have seen The Plough was licensed as a public house in 1840 having been a beerhouse for an unspecified length of time. Listed as being built in the late 1500s to the mid 1600s, it clearly had a long life before it became a beerhouse but, of course, only became known as The Plough in 1840.

Clues as to its previous use, ownership and even its name, are provided by the tithe awards for Peldon, published in 1840, several wills, deeds and auction particulars for 1815.

In the tithe awards for Peldon, the house and yards identified as The Plough are in the ownership of the trustees of the late Thomas Creek and the occupier is listed as John Chignall. As we have seen John Chignall was identified as the beerhouse keeper and further research into him reveals that in 1840 he purchased Moor Farm where he was to stay and farm until 1857.

Thomas Creek, who owned the building up until his death, had married into the Bullock family, an established family locally with origins in Great Wigborough going back to the early 1500s. Samuel Bullock, Thomas's father-in-law, was the last of at least four generations of Peldon carpenters and so successful in his carpentry business, apprenticing and employing local men as carpenters, that he became a major landowner in Wigborough and Peldon.

Thomas Creek (1776 - 1839) married Samuel's daughter, Jane Bullock, on 12th November 1807 at Great Wigborough. By the time Samuel died in 1814, Jane was his only surviving child.

In his will [ERO D/ABW 120/3/15 ], Samuel willed that all his land and properties be sold, and, after costs and various bequests, willed that the proceeds of the auction be divided between Jane and his six grandchildren.

The Essex Record Office has the Particulars and Conditions of Sale of Several Valuable Estates at Peldon and Wigborough the late property of Mr Samuel Bullock deceased which will be sold by auction by James Thorn at the White Hart Inn Colchester on Saturday the 1st day of July 1815 at 4 o'clock in the afternoon in 8 Lots [E.R.O. D/Del T226]

Not all of the properties are named although informed guesses can be made and it seems likely to me that Lot 6 could very well be the building that was to become known as The Plough sited opposite Lot 1 which we know to be Brick House Farm.

A Messuage or Tenement with a Carpenter's Shop garden and Timber yard and suitable buildings situate in Peldon in the occupation of Thomas Creek Tenant at Will and opposite Lot 1.

It seems likely that Jane kept the building from where her father had run his business as part of her settlement although the couple didn't necessarily live there. With Jane's death in 1823 it became part of her husband Thomas Creek's estate, they had no children.

Jane is remembered on the south side of the Bullock tomb in Peldon Churchyard.

Sacred to the memory of Jane the wife of THOMAS CREEK and daughter of SAMUEL BULLOCK / of this parish who departed this life / Oct 26 1823 aged 56 years

Thomas remarried after Jane's death and moved to Colchester where he died in 1839. In his will, written in 1835, [National Archives PROB 11/1907] he, describing himself as a merchant, bequeathed to his second wife, Elizabeth, unnamed land and property in Peldon.

I give and devise All those my freehold messuages or tenements and Carpenters Butchers shop cottages Lands and hereditaments situate in Peldon...and now in the several tenures or occupation of John Chignall shopkeeper James Whiting and George King

These properties he bequeathed to Elizabeth for the term of her natural life and, following her death, to be shared equally between his sister, Isabella Spurden, and his 'brother-in-law' [likely to be his half-brother], John Posford Osborne. By the time of the licensing of The Plough, (although Elizabeth Creek wasn't to die until 1868 and was living in Colchester off Cottages, Land Dividends, Interest of Many Lands), John Posford Osborne seems to be managing the premises for Elizabeth if not actually the owner. As we have seen, John Posford Osborne was in fact running a brewery in Colchester and behind the licensing of the Peldon property as a public house.

Isabella Spurden died in 1838 and by the time her will was proved, which left all her property between her brother, Thomas Creek, and her half-brother, John Posford Osborne, Thomas Creek had died too. So John Posford Osborne inherited all her property. Hence, the Osborne mentioned in Rev. Robert Eden's letter of complaint about the licensing is clearly him.

We have found out the history of the public house for close to the last two hundred years but, as we know, the building goes back another 200 years.

What was The Plough called prior to it becoming a public house?

It is believed the building was erected on glebe land as explained by the Rev C R Harrison in his record written in 1867.

The Rectory House} The Rectory House formerly stood on a portion of The Glebe, near the Tithe barn and yards, near where is now The Plough Public House. Some exchange of land was subsequently made and a new Rectory was built by the Reverend R Palmer in about the year 1822 nearly on the site of the present Rectory. Rev C R Harrison Some Record of The Parish of Peldon 1867 ERO D/P 287/28/6

He goes on to explain that originally Peldon's Rectory Manor had jurisdiction over the land.

Rectory Manor} There are certain Manorial Rights attached to the Rectory. All trace of the Manor itself is lost But it is commonly supposed that the waste land, adjoining The Glebe near the Pump was part of it, and that the Plough Public House was built on it, and ought to be held under the manor; but there are no records known to exist by which any rights can now be enforced.Some Record of the Parish of Peldon ERO D/P 287/28/6 Rev C Harrison 1867

A hundred years later, another rector of Peldon, The Reverend Anthony Gough, (the incumbent between 1964 and 1971), researched the history of the church and village, subsequently writing the church booklet which is still on sale in St Mary's today.

One of the earliest Peldon rectories was situated by the parish pump, behind the Plough Inn on the Lower Road and subsequently became Glebe Land. St. Mary the Virgin: A G Gough Peldon

The thirty acres Glebe land, first listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, belonging to the rectory manor must have encompassed much of the land between Church Road and Lower Road and beyond. Some of this land is still owned by the Church, some, along the Northern side of Lower Road, was sold for housing in the 1990s.

The Kelly's Trade Directory of 1844 states

The rectory was a small manor, and part of the copyholds are subject to certain and the rest to arbitrary fines

On this understanding I had a look at the remaining court documents for the Peldon Rectory Manor at the Essex Record Office.

There are very few documents for the Rectory Manor that survive and the final entry in the minute book was in 1863. [E.R.O. D/Del M212] The homage or jury who had to appear at the court meetings was drawn from its tenants and Samuel Bullock appears as such in this minute book which begins on 1st January 1787. Samuel's death is recorded in the minutes at the beginning of 1817 (meetings of this court were very infrequent - often several years apart) and a later entry records that he had been admitted as a tenant to the Rectory Manor's property called Doggetts on 12th September 1772.

Could Doggett's be what became the Plough?

A further document from 1766 shows a sale by Thomas Green, who was a miller in Wormingford, to Sadler Whitmore, a miller in Wiston, Suffolk, of various properties including Doggetts, Nutt Croft (2 ½ acres) and Doggetts Croft (3 acres).

It reads

Last mentioned in tenure of John Messingarte [probably Mazengarb of Wigborough] late of William Norfolk and now of Samuel Bullock

This takes Samuel Bullock's tenure of Doggetts back to at least 1766. At this time it could have been Samuel Senior who was to die in 1778 or Samuel Junior - father and son ran their carpentry business together.

At this juncture, it is worth pointing out that it would seem parts of the property were freehold, and parts were copyhold of both Peldon Rectory Manor and Copt Hall Manor, Little Wigborough therefore belonging to the Lords of the respective Manors and each time a new tenant took on the property they were admitted at each Manorial Court. These tenants would not necessarily live in their properties but have sub-tenants.

It is fairly safe to say from the above that the building had been occupied by the Bullock family from at least 1766 - initially as sub-tenants - and used as part of their Carpenter's business until Samuel Junior's death in 1814.

It would seem John Chignall ran a shop there comprising a butcher's and a beershop from at least 1835 (the date of the writing of Thomas Creek's will).

John Posford Osborne, as a brewer and supplier of beer was also related to the owners of the building, the Creek family. As a beneficiary of his half-brother and half-sister's wills, he pursued the application to have the building licensed as a pub with the assistance of the existing tenant, John Chignall.

Further back ....

Is this the final piece of the jigsaw?

A series of wills and indentures at the Essex Record Office trace the ownership of a Messuage called, Doggetts/Doggits/Doggatts - not an exhaustive list of the spellings!

The will of William Francke, a yeoman of Peldon, was proved in 1668

First I give & bequeath all that my Messuage & tennement & about seaven acres of Land therunto belonging with ther appertenances part free hold & part Coppy hold Land lying in Peldon Called or knowne by the names doggitts Nuttcroffts Marygolds or by any other Name or Names whatsoever unto my Loveinge wife Mary Francke duringe her naturall life. And after her decease I give & bequeath the afforesaid Messuage tenement & Lands w[i]th ther appertenances unto my son William Francke & to his heires for ever [ERO D/ABW 66/35]

William's widowed mother had married a Peldon yeoman, called Jeremiah Lowe who in his will of 1642 bequeathed.

3 roods off Coppy Hold lyinge in the meadowe Called Doggatts unto my wife Lydia and to hir sone William Francke for ever [ERO D/ACW 14/43]

It would seem that by the time William died he had added to his step-father's three roods of land. In the 1642 will of Jeremiah Lowe, Dogatts is referred to as a meadow whereas by the time of William's will in 1668 there is a Messuage and seven acres.

Is it possible that we have a time-frame for when the building known as The Plough was built i.e. in the 26 years between 1642 and 1668?

In 15th January 1715, William Francke of Hornchurch, a wheelwright and son of William Francke of Peldon, a yeoman, sold to Thomas Fell of Cliffords Inn, London, gentleman and John Bradley of the Inner Temple, gentleman, messuages in Peldon called Doggetts also Nutt Croft (2 ½ acres) also Doggetts Croft (3 acres) [ERO D/DHt T203/2 and D/DHt T203/6]

On 12th April 1717 there is a quitclaim by Daniel Franck of Heybridge, yeoman, uncle and heir-at-law of William Franck of Hornchurch, wheelwright, and brother and heir at law of William Franck of Peldon and Thomas Fell of Clifford's Inn, gentleman; the latter clearly a lawyer. A quitclaim was a deed renouncing any rights or interests in property and in this document it was being made by the Francke family to James Browning of Peldon, maltster, to include Doggett's and Doggett's Close [ERO D/DHt T203/3]

James Browning, maltster of Peldon, appears in the 1722 poll book which reveals he had land in Peldon but lived in London. In the 1734 poll book his address is Mersea with land in Peldon. In his will, written in 1737, he left all his estate to his wife, Mathue [Martha] Browning, during her life, although no property is named.

...all my Real House, Barns, Edifices buildings Lands Orchards Gardens Stables [The Will of James Browning ERO D/ABW 93/3/11].

The estate was then to be sold with the proceeds shared between his four siblings, John Browning, Richard Browning, and two married sisters, Susan Glanfield and Sarah Towns[?] James and Martha clearly had no children.

A Martha Browning married William Jacobs in Peldon Church in 1753. This was James Browning's widow; would her marriage have triggered the sale of Doggett's for in the will of Isaac Houssaye of Colchester, gentleman, proved in 1756 it is clear he was the owner of Doggetts in Peldon? [ERO D/Del T226]

Isaac Houssaye and his wife, Tamary were both Huguenots who clearly owned several properties locally and lived at the top of East Hill, Colchester (north side). Two copyhold Great Wigborough farms had been held by Isaac since 1750 according to Great Wigborough's Court Rolls but documentary evidence of him buying Doggetts in Peldon has so far not been found.

Coming full circle we again meet the Wormingford miller, Thomas Green, who was admitted to the property at a Court Baron for The Rectory Manor held on 19 June 1758 and then sold in 1766. The Essex Record Office has the lease and release dated 10th and 11th January 1766 for Green's properties, Copelands and Doggetts. The next owner was Sadler Whitmore.

Sadler Whitmore was admitted at the Rectory Manor Court Baron held on 9th August 1769 and then in 1772 Samuel Bullock was admitted to 3 roods of land abutting towards the East upon a croft of land part of a Tenement called Doggetts with the appurtenances

The sale of Doggett's includes a useful list of three of its tenants.

ALSO Doggetts, messuage or tenement and a close or croft of land in Peldon commonly known as Nut Croft 2 ½ acres also Doggetts Croft - 3 acres last mentioned in tenure of John Messingarte late of William Norfolk and now of Samuel Bullock. Freehold and copyhold.

Of the tenants of Doggetts, a John Mazengarb was born in Little Wigborough to Isaac and Elizabeth in 1716. A William Norfolk married Sarah Marshall in Peldon Church on 3rd March 1748 and had a child, Richard, baptised there in 1754 which would fit in with the time-frame we are looking at. The document indicates Samuel Bullock - this could be either Senior or Junior - had tenure from at least 1766.

Is this the final link from the possible time of the building of The Plough between 1642 and 1668 through to Samuel Bullock, whose executors, we know, put the building up for auction in 1815? We know that the building remained in the ownership of Samuel's son-in-law, Thomas Creek, whose half-brother John Posford Osborne was behind the licensing of The Plough as a pub in 1840.

The research above suggests to me that a house called Doggetts was an earlier name for the building which was to become The Plough. Since my conclusions are based on circumstantial evidence, it will for the time being remain in an Appendix and I leave it to you, the reader, to make up your own mind!

Elaine Barker

Appendix 2: John Posford Osborne

John Posford Osborne, business man and brewer, was born in Great Wigborough in 1793. He was a rising entrepreneur, who had run Bawtree's brewery in St. Botolph's and Stanwell Street for its owner and founder, John Bawtree (and his successor A.W Hume) before purchasing it in 1833 following Hume's death. Along with the brewery he bought 35 inns and public houses, including the Peldon Rose. We reproduce two articles about Osborne, his business and family below.

The first article from the Colchester Gazette reveals the origins of Bawtree's Brewery, later to be Osborne's. The second article from the Lexden History group reveals the connection between Colchester Brewing Company and Osborne's brewery via his son and explains how in the postcard above from 1900 it is the Colchester Brewing Company who were supplying The Plough with beer.

Legacy of town's well known brewer lives on in its street 1799 ... [a] group led by John Bawtree, realised the soldiers who had been gathered in the town, due to the fear of a French invasion, might just be thirsty.

They put up the money to build by far the largest brewery Colchester had ever seen, on the junction of what is now Osborne Street and St Botolph's Street.

It was huge and produced the popular tipple of the time - London porter beer, making it one of the first outside the capital to do so.

With additions the building survived until 1944, when it was destroyed in the great incendiary bombing of February 23.

Bawtree who was primarily a banker, put in one of the rising entrepreneurs of Colchester, John Posford Osborne, to run his brewery.

Eventually, Osborne bought out Bawtree's successor (A.W. Hume) and what was originally called Bawtree's Brewery became Osborne's Brewery.

One of Osborne's long-term gestures was to use the property boundary of the brewery to drive what became Osborne Street through to St John's Street to provide a convenient short cut for horse drawn traffic coming up Magdalen Street from the Hythe. [Colchester Gazette 8.1.2018 Lauren Oldershaw]

John Posford Osborne, who had run Bawtree's Brewery for owner A W Hume, sold off his smaller nearby brewery premises in 1833 to an ironfounder and in February of that year bought at auction the substantial Bawtree's Brewery holdings in St Botolph's and Stanwell Street, including a brew house, stores, residences, etc, as well as 35 inns and public houses. The brewery was soon producing more than 4,000 barrels a year.

The boundary of the brewery became what we now know as Osborne Street but it had originally been used for horse-drawn traffic as a cut through from the Hythe to St John's Street. In 1845 John also built some houses in what became Arthur Street named after his second son, having fallen out with his elder son, Forster.

By 1839 he was also producing vinegar and in 1851 was recorded as a Vinegar Manufacturer and Arthur as a Porter Merchant. Vinegar production ceased in 1854.

In 1846 John is recorded as one of the 17 directors of the Colchester, Stour Valley, Sudbury and Halstead railway company, later becoming part of the Eastern Union Railway, and held forty £25 shares qualifying him to have four votes. These were early days in railway history and the engineer is recorded as Peter Bruff .

The Osborne household was wealthy and in 1851 employed a cook, two housemaids, and a nursemaid for the youngest child aged one. Two years later they had their sixth child, another son, and soon employed a lady's maid and a groom. John Posford Osborne died in 1863 aged 70 and a memorial tablet can be found in St Giles Church, Colchester.

Arthur Thomas Osborne then took over St Botolph's Brewery as well as his father's many other businesses. In the 1871 Census Arthur was living with his housekeeper at St Botolph's Brewery, next to the tied Woolpack Inn and was described as a wine, spirit and beer merchant. In 1884 the company was listed as A&F Osborne and Company, Ale and Porter Merchants, of 39 St Botolph's Street. A joint company owner was Arthur Othniel Stopes and when brewing ended in 1886 the company was sold to his brother, Christopher Stopes, of the Colchester Brewing Company.

Included in the deal were all the 70 tied public houses, but part of Osborne Yard in St Botolph's became a bakery.

Christopher Stopes had long been associated with the local Hurnard family and was given the Eagle Brewery (later Colchester Brewing Company) when James Hurnard inherited a substantial sum in 1870. The whole Osborne site later became a boot repair business and after being badly damaged by fire in 1898 was converted by Hollingtons into a clothing factory. This was destroyed by bombs in February 1944 and no trace remains today. [Lexden History Group Magazine: June 2019]

Elaine Barker

Appendix 3: MYSTERIES

When researching old buildings and their use, there is often a mystery or two. In the case of The Plough, the following mysteries were revealed by former Peldon resident Trevor Johnson but not investigated. Strictly speaking they are not 'history', but they are inserted here in case they inspire somebody to investigate further:

1) An old clock in The Plough was supposed to be haunted. Following the death of Alfred 'Glen' Glendenning from fire injuries, the clock had stopped working, so it was taken to a clockmaker for repair. The clockmaker couldn't find any reason why it did not work.

2) An old tunnel supposedly ran from the Plough towards the sea wall, and was used by smugglers.

Geoff Gonella

Appendix 4: Covid 2020

On 16th March 2020 after growing concern about the spread of Covid, Britain's PM, Boris Johnson, urged people, especially the over -70s, to avoid unnecessary social contact. At that point he stopped short of ordering the hospitality industry to actually close but by 20th March pubs were ordered to close just days before the country was asked to Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives.

Here in Peldon, after the initial lockdown, once regulations had been slightly eased, The Plough was to start a take-away service on Friday nights which was overwhelmingly popular. Locals could order a meal to be collected from the door into what is now the main bar. As per government instructions customers were to maintain a 2 metre distance from each other at all times.

Elaine Barker

Closed. The Plough Car Park cordoned off during covid. Notice there's no traffic!

The Plough ran a very popular take-away service on a Friday night during the Covid pandemic but customers were urged to keep their distance.


Many thanks to the following, in no particular order, for their valuable assistance with memories, photos, and for directing us towards items of text in other documents: Tony Millatt, Ivor Walklett, Chris Moore, John Fell, Eric and Jan Coan, Colin Coan, John Hawes, Trevor Johnson, Doris Christmas, Nick Hines, Ron Green, Owen Fletcher.

AuthorElaine Barker
SourceMersea Museum