The attractive village of Caldecott is located in the south-western
corner of Rutland close to the boundary of
Northamptonshire. The Eye Brook flows through the
village and into the River Welland just to the south-east. A flour
mill stood next to the brook but it last ground wheat around 1910
before being converted into the village hall. Caldecott is now on
the main A6003 between Uppingham and Rockingham. Indeed, part of the
village once formed part of the Rockingham Estates though the
Marquis of Exeter was the Lord of the Manor. However, a small Roman
settlement existed near the river long before any such manorial
claims. The walls of the church feature recycled Roman tiles and
some have made claims that the building was constructed on the site
of a Roman temple. There is a small Norman window reset in the
chancel wall of Saint John the Evangelist which is essentially an
Early English building that was restored in the early 1860's. The
date of 1648 can be seen on the additional porch. Below the date
there is a lovely sundial with the slogan "Your sunny hours alone I
tell". There used to be a Congregational Chapel but closed just
after the First World War. In the next ware the building was used by
Dad's Army. The village is comprised of a variety of interesting old
buildings, many of which are constructed with Welland sandstone.
There used to be a dovecote that housed up to 600 birds but it was
demolished in 1966. One historic building to survive is near the
church. Apparently featuring a priest hole, the Garden House is now
used as a farm building but was once a butcher's shop, a wartime jam
centre and the refuge of a family escaping the French Revolution.
There must be something in the local water for Caldecott has
produced two winners of the Grand National. The stables of Mr Hunt
turned out Playfair in 1888 and Forbra in 1932. The latter won at
the first attempt at the handy price of 50-1.
Built in 1955, the village hall stands on the site of the old Black Horse Inn which closed its doors to the public in 1927. The building was demolished eight years later. Henry and Sarah Jeffs were mine hosts at the Black Horse Inn during the early 1860's. Born in the village around 1798, Henry Jeffs was also a joiner and carpenter. Sons Pridmore, Smith and Augustus all followed in his footsteps working with wood. Their mother Sarah Ann was born in Middlesex. She took over the running of the beer house following Henry Jeff's death in 1867. By the early 1870's, Sarah Ann's son Pridmore was living next to the pub whilst working as a carpenter and joiner. He had a successful business and was employing two men. His sons also continued the family tradition of woodworking. Inevitably, Pridmore and his wife Mary took over the Black Horse Inn before moving to the Old Plough Inn. Kelly's trade directory for 1891 lists a Joseph Wignell as a beer retailer in the village but the census shows Emma Wignell as the innkeeper of the Black Horse Inn. Recorded as a widow, I assume she lost her husband in that year. She lived on the premises with three young children and her mother and father Charles and Ann Ward. Despite being 70 years of age, her dad still worked as a shepherd. Emma Wignell's brothers, Samuel and Herbert also lived on the premises. Emma Wignell re-married to John Spriggs, a locally born shepherd and, together, they kept the pub into the Edwardian period.
The Castle Inn is included here because it is on the edge of Caldecott. However, historically and because it is on the opposite bank of the Eye Brook, it really belongs to Great Easton in Leicestershire. The pub is named after Rockingham Castle to the south. William Conqueror ordered the construction of the original castle, the moat of which remains along with the foundations of the Norman hall and the twin towers of the old gate house. The castle was used by King John when hunting in Rockingham Forest. Today's castle dates from Elizabethan times and has been owned by the Watson family since it was granted to them by King Henry VIII. Charles Dickens was a regular visitor to the castle and he dedicated David Copperfield to Mr and Mrs Watson.
Despite being named after the fortification, the Castle Inn was the principal port-of-call for passengers arriving at the nearby Rockingham Station, a matter of yards from the building. Operated by the London and North Western Railway, the line connected Rugby and Peterborough. In the 19th century the railway line was designated the Stamford and Blisworth branch of the L.N.W.R. The station closed in 1966.
The 1901 census records Edmund Phillips as a builder and victualler
of the Castle Inn. However, a trade directory issued two years
earlier makes much more interesting reading as he was listed as a
plumber, painter, upholsterer, cabinet and venetian blind maker.
Makes you wonder how he had time to run a pub! Much of the duties
around the Castle Inn were almost certainly the domain of his wife
Elizabeth. The couple had moved to the Castle Inn from a property
next to the Shoulder of Mutton Inn at Great Easton. Edmund Phillips
was born in 1842 at the Northamptonshire village of Braybrooke.
Three years younger, Elizabeth hailed from Long Buckby, a short
distance from today's Watford Gap services on the M1. Living next to
the Castle Inn was Norfolk-born Robert Wilson, the station master.
Edmund Phillips learned his trade as an apprentice to the master
carpenter John Loveday at Kibworth Beauchamp. It was in this
Leicestershire village that he married and
daughters Fanny, Ellen, Emily and Florence were all born at Kibworth.
Edmund Phillips died in 1910.
This building traded until 1948 when the licence was transferred to the Plough Inn across the road. Malt is thought to have been worked here from the 16th century and there is the date of 1578 above the front door. Another date  with the initials R.M. is more prominent, suggesting a partial rebuild or restoration. These letters are the legacy of Robert Morris who was the publican at the Old Plough Inn at this time. He was born in the village around 1779 and at the time of the 1841 census lived at the Old Plough Inn with his children Robert, Jane, James and William. The latter was only one year old and, with Robert Morris being recorded as a widower, it suggests that his wife died in complications related to the birth. The other children were considerably older. Robert Morris employed Thomas Loveday and Mary Shilton as servants, suggesting that the Old Plough Inn was enjoying good trade. Robert and Jane were still living with their father in the early 1850's, a time when Hannah Brown operated a bakery next to the pub.
When Robert Morris died, son Robert took over the licence of the Old Plough. He kept the pub with his sister Jane who remained at the Old Plough Inn. They employed Gretton-born Mary Spencer as a servant. By the 1870's Robert Morris had decided to take things a little easier and moved into a neighbouring property whilst George and Jane Stapleton became mine hosts of the Old Plough Inn. The son of a blacksmith, George Stapleton was born in Great Casterton in 1848. Three years older, his wife Jane hailed from Morcott to the east of Uppingham. It would seem that Jane died at the pub because by the time of the 1881 census George had re-married and was living at Great Addington and working as a farm bailiff of 304 acres. This was not the end of George's life in the licensed trade. Together with his second wife Sarah, he later took over a pub in the Norfolk village of Denver.
Following the departure
of the Stapleton family, the new incumbents
at the Old Plough Inn were Joseph and Sarah
Berridge. The son of a baker turned
prosperous farmer, Joseph Berridge was born
in the Northamptonshire village of Yarwell
in 1846. Five years younger, his wife Sarah
hailed from Gretton. Joseph's upbringing was
in similar surroundings to that of the Old
Plough in that there was a pub and bakery
close together. He followed in his father's
footsteps as a baker whilst next door to the
family bakery in Fotheringhay, another of
the Berridge clan was running the Falcon
Inn. Joseph was another publican to become a
widower at the Old Plough Inn. Following
this tragedy, he moved to his
brother-in-law's house close to the Hatton
Arms Inn at Gretton. He later re-married and
became a farmer.
This building took on the role of the Plough Inn when the licence was transferred from the pub across the road [see Old Plough above] around 1948. The building fronts the main road but is in the corner of the old green where nearby there was the village pump. The people of Caldecott relied on this until piped water was installed in 1957. Up until that point it was a case of trudging down to the pump with a bucket. An older feature of the village green were the stocks but these were stolen in 1835.
The yard of the Old
Plough was used for part of the village fair
along with the green. Moving from the Black
Horse Inn, Pridmore and Mary Jeffs were
running the Old Plough in the early 1890's.
Their granddaughter Laura Corbett worked as
a domestic servant. By this time, nearing
the end of the 19th century, Thomas Brown
had followed his mother by running the
village bakery. Just along the street Annie
Rains was the post-mistress. She was still
running the village's post office when
Robert and Sarah Richards were in charge of
the Plough Inn at the turn of the 20th
century. The Richards family had previously
lived in the
of Hackleton where Robert Richards was a
police constable. They had seven children
living with them at Hackleton but only the
youngest daughter Elizabeth moved with them
Later known as the Engine and Tender, this boozer stood next to the village watermill. It may have been re-named after the steam engine installed in the mill during the late 19th century. This was brought in to replace the heavy machinery brought in by the mill's last operator, Nottingham-born Thomas Vice.
The building of the White Hart Inn has survived but the last pints were pulled around 1950. The pub was formerly called the King's Head. Harris Palmer was the publican in the early 1860's. Born in Swinstead, Lincolnshire, he moved into the beer house with his second wife Mary. He had previously lived in Freiston where he worked as an agricultural labourer. This was also the occupation of William Wade who was the publican in the early 1870's. Born in the neighbouring village of Great Easton in 1845, he kept the pub with his wife Mary. She was born in the village. The couple had two young sons Benjamin and William. In adult life Benjamin would later move to Lancashire when he worked as an engine driver on the railways. William, who was born in the White Hart Inn, also became an engine driver and he moved to Gloucestershire in later years.
Throughout the 1880's the
White Hart Inn was kept by Charles and Ann
Harris. Charles was born in the
of Harringworth in 1828 but his wife hailed
from Yarwell. The couple lived in
Harringworth during the 1860's when Charles
worked as an agricultural labourer. In an
1899 trade directory John Ward was listed as
publican of the White Stag - whether this
was an error or not I cannot determine.
did trade under this name for a period. The
main village smithy was next door to the
White Hart Inn and Wilfred Sarson was both
blacksmith and innkeeper. He clearly moved
with the times for he also earned a living
as an engineer for motor cycles in the
pioneering days of bikes.
“Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was
in the sky I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry:
History and Information on the Public Houses with Licensees and Newspaper Articles PLUS Genealogy Connections