29 Apr. 2014: Supplying the beer to the tied houses

On Tuesday 29 April 2014 Margaret Bird will give a talk to the Blakeney Area Historical Society (details below) on the lives of Norfolk draymen as recorded by Mary Hardy and her diarist nephew Henry Raven.

Entitled ‘Supplying the beer: Life on the road in 18th-century Norfolk‘, it will show the great variety of challenges faced by the men. They covered huge distances. The Burnham Market inn featured at the banner lay 17 miles from the brewery: a weary journey with a laden beer cart or wagon. A severe accident befell one drayman on a delivery to the Pitt’s Arms, as the Hoste was then known.

Worstead, the King's Head

The King’s Head, Worstead seen in the 1890s as a Bullards house under Henry Leach (with the jug) as innkeeper. Lingering here proved Robert Manning’s undoing in 1775  [courtesy Viki Fairhurst]

Dismissal after lingering too long

Robert Manning, the Hardys’ hardworking farm servant, lingered too long over a beer delivery. While his master William Hardy was away in May 1775 Manning and the independently-minded maltster William Frary spent ten hours re-supplying a Worstead outlet only five miles from the brewery.

After further problems Manning was dismissed on the spot a week later. Labour discipline was strict. Both William and Mary Hardy watched the clock when it came to managing the farm servants and maidservants.

Blakeney King's Arms 2012

One of the Hardys’ workforce, the maltster John Hurrell, became an innkeeper here at Blakeney in the 1780s

Seeing public-house life from the other side

One member of the Hardys’ workforce, John Hurrell (d.1792 aged 44), served as a full-time farm servant and maltster soon after the diarist’s family moved to their Letheringsett brewery.

A few years later he was dealing with draymen as an innkeeper, at the King’s Arms near the quay at Blakeney. There he hosted masonic meetings, one of the lodges having fallen out with their hosts in Norwich and deciding in 1787, at massive inconvenience, to move to the small port 25 miles away.

All are welcome

The Blakeney Area Historical Society meeting will be at 7.30 pm in the Harbour Room of the British Legion Hall at 139–141 High Street, Blakeney NR25 7NU. A small charge (£2 for members of the society, £3 for visitors) covers expenses and refreshments. Car parking is free at the Hall.

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Margaret Bird

Margaret Bird in 2016

The editor and author of the Mary Hardy volumes

You can read about the historian Margaret Bird on the link above

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