Some history of the Bell and Cuckoo Inn at Hadley End in Yoxall in the County of Staffordshire
The Bell and Cuckoo Inn was a beer house at Hadley End in the parish of Yoxall. Known as Dove Cottage in the 21st century, the building still stands near the junction of Morrey Lane and Sandpits Lane. The tavern was marked on the 1884 map extract below.
In the early 1870s the Bell and Cuckoo Inn was kept by Benjamin and Catherine Lymer. The couple also operated a shop from the premises. In July 1874, when Benjamin was fifty-two years of age, the publican fell down the stairs and fractured his skull. He was retiring for the night when the rest of the household suddenly heard a lumbering noise. He was found quite dead with his legs stretched out on the floor and his head resting on the bottom step. His skull was fractured from one side to the other.
In May 1881 the Bell and Cuckoo was offered for sale by auction, at the Crown Inn. However, the bidding only reached £330, at which point the property was withdrawn from the sale.
Alfred Bird was publican in the mid-1880s. In addition to running the beer house he also operated a farm. By all accounts he was a bit of scoundrel. In August 1885 he was imprisoned for selling meat unfit for human consumption. In the following year he was charged with horse stealing.
It was because of the antics of Alfred Bird that I learned that the Bell and Cuckoo was operated by Charrington's of the Abbey Brewery at Burton-on-Trent. The company had to step in to save the licence and then had it transferred to William Cooper.
William Cooper was a wheelwright by trade. He kept the Bell and Cuckoo with his wife Ann. However, he died soon after moving into the premises. His wife Ann suffered greatly from this loss and her health deteriorated badly.
In May of the following year, after feeling unwell for about a fortnight, Ann Cooper started to show signs of insanity. The surgeon who attended her, Edwin Snoad of Yoxall, gave strict orders that she was not to be left alone. Accordingly, the family obtained a nurse to be with her. The widow became very restless and seemed as though she did not anyone to watch her and stated as much to Mary Cooper, the nurse. On the 21st of May she appeared quieter and the nurse left for few minutes about 12 o'clock and immediately after she heard a slight noise and at once returned to room. Ann Cooper was in bed but she heard a gurgling noise. She turned down the sheets and a most horrible sight presented itself. Ann Cooper had an ordinary dinner knife in her right hand with which she was cutting her bowels and pulling at them with left hand, the bowels being completely cut open on the left side. Assistance was immediately obtained but in spite of efforts to save her, she died at 9-20 on the same day. At the subsequent inquest the jury returned a verdict to the effect that the woman had took her own life whilst in a state of unsound mind.
In the subsequent sale of furniture belonging to the Cooper family, Thomas Wardle, a local labourer was summoned for being drunk on licensed premises. According to Police-Constable Moyle, Wardle was in a drunken condition and created a disturbance by "displaying an anxiety to fight while the sale of furniture was proceeding. He was subsequently fined by the magistrates.
The above notice for an auction of the freehold of the Bell and Cuckoo shows that the tenant was Alfred Raworth. Born locally in 1861 he also worked as a bricklayer. Many of the people who kept the Bell and Cuckoo had lived nearby beforehand. It was almost a case of whose turn is it to be publican this time? There was, however, as an outsider at the tavern for Alfred had married a Scottish woman named Ellen. Alfred's father, along with his brother, also worked as bricklayers so it was probably a team effort when undertaking a contract. Together, they probably helped with the construction of a number of properties in the local area. Alfred Raworth enjoyed a long life and was still living in Hadley End during the Second World War.
William Dukes was the licensee during the Edwardian period. The publican is pictured here with some of his family. The image may have been captured outside the Bell and Cuckoo Inn. Sat to the left of the Somerset-born publican is his wife Mary who hailed from Blakenhall in Cheshire. Stood next to her is son Charles William. Two of their daughters, Elfreda Penelope and Ethel Mary, are stood behind the publican. Between him and his wife is daughter Stephanie May. Not all survived but William and Mary had ten children, most lived long lives. Indeed, Charles, the boy seen here, lived until the grand old age of 101.
The Bell and Cuckoo was referred to the compensation authority in August 1908 and in January 1909 it was decided that the tavern should close with compensation being set at £350.
"John Thorley, of Bradley Street, Uttoxeter, was brought up on suspicion of stealing a copper weight, the property of some person unknown,
on the 7th instant. Police-Constable Small, who is stationed at Yoxall, said that at about half-past seven on the previous night he visited the Bell and Cuckoo
Inn, Hadley End, and there saw the prisoner. The landlord of the house, in prisoner's presence and hearing, said that the prisoner had been endeavouring to sell a
copper weight. He [the officer] asked him to let him see the weight, but the prisoner refused, and the officer therefore searched him. The weight was not found
in his actual possession, but had been slipped behind the seat on which the prisoner aas sitting. Prisoner, in reply to a queetion, first said he had the weight from a
shop near, but when this statement was found to be incorrect he said he had bought it with four other weights at Abbot's Bromley for three-pence. The officer
took hook him into custody, and the prisoner then commenced crying and admitted that he had stolen it from a smail shop at Abbot's Bromley. Prisoner eventually
became very violent, and in his endeavour to escape, slipped his jacket and waistcoat off, leaving them in the officer's hands. He also violently kicked the
officer, and the officer had to use his staff. The prisoner was remanded until Tuesday."
"Arrested on Suspicion"
Burton Chronicle : October 13th 1881 Page 3
"At the Guildhall Police Court London, Wednesday, Alfred Bird, Bell and Cuckoo beershop, Hadley End, Yoxall, Stafford, was summoned for
sending the carcasses of two cows to market for sale as human food, the same, being diseased and unfit for the food of man. Mr. Baylis prosecuted for the Commissioners
of Sewers. Henry Randall, one of the inspectors of meat in the Central Meat Market, said that on the of 16th of July he was called to the shop of Messrs. Sketchley and
Co., where he saw eight quarters of beef and two heads. He brought them to this Court, where they were condemned by Alderman Waterlow. The flesh was in a wet flabby,
and soddened condition, and totally unfit for human food. They were evidently parts of two cows that had suffered from disease. They were not bad from the state of the
weather. Mr William Wyld, the chief inspector of meat in the market, gave corroborative evidence. Sir Francis W. Truscott said it was a very bad case indeed, and the
magistrates were determined to put the practice down. He should inflict the heaviest penalty he could, and that would be three months' imprisonment."
"Sending Bad Meat To Market"
Lichfield Mercury : August 7th 1885 Page 5
"On At the Burton Police Court on Monday, Alfred Bird, 24 of the Bell and Cuckoo Inn, Hadley End, Yoxall, was charged with stealing
a mare, value £30, on the 15th inst., the property of John Turton Norman, grocer and postmaster, of Yoxall. Prosecutor deposed that at half-past nine on
the night of the 15th inst. the mare was taken from a field adjoining his house. On the 19th inst. he saw the mare in a stable belonging to Mr. Yates, provision dealer,
of Derby. He had since paid Mr. Yates £16 to get the animal back again. Prisoner was committed for trial at the assizes, and admitted to bail, himself in £100
and two sureties of £50."
"Horse Stealing near Burton"
Sheffield Independent : July 28th 1886 Page 3
"Samuel Finney, a labourer of Yoxall, was charged with embezzling 6s. belonging to his employer, Alfred Rayworth, at that place on the
3rd inst. The evidence went to show that the prosecutor, who keeps the Bell and Cuckoo at Hadley End, sent the prisoner with 6s. to fetch some grains from Messrs.
Beard, Hill, and Co's brewery. He got the grains, but did not pay for them, having spent the money. He sent his wife with the grains, and on inquiry at the
brewery it was ascertained that they had not been paid for. Prisoner was arrested by Police-Constable Moyle, and he told the officer that he got drunk and
spent the money. There were forty-two previous convictions against the prisoner, who was now sentenced to fourteen days hard labour."
"Stealing Money at Yoxall"
Burton Chronicle : July 20th 1893 Page 7