Some history on the Malt Shovel at Bubbenhall in the county of Warwickshire
Both the Three Horseshoes and the Malt Shovel are historic taverns. I believe that the Malt Shovel is the older building, as it incorporates part of a 17th century half-timbered structure. Additions to the building's core started early as, in 1801, it was described as the "newly-erected malthouse," suggesting barley was being processed here at least two centuries ago. In the 1870s the Malt Shovel was operated by the Coventry Brewery. The Malt Shovel was later operated by several larger brewery concerns including Ansell's Brewery Ltd..
More information on the Malt Shovel at Bubbenhall to follow. I have created a page for the pub either because I had a link to the Malt Shovel from another page or I am developing a framework for the website before filling in the gaps. I realise this is frustrating if you were specifically looking for information on the Malt Shovel. There is plenty of information on Warwickshire pubs dotted around the website - click here for a good starting place.
Though somewhat faded by the sunshine over the years, this is a very nice image of an old maltster leaning on his malt shovel. This old Ansell's inn sign was still fixed to the Malt Shovel at Bubbenhall in the 21st century. Part of the building housed a malthouse in the early 19th century.
"Yesterday [Thursday] morning Mr. J. J. Willington Wilmshurst, Coroner for Mid-Warwickshire, held an inquest the Malt
Shovel Inn, Bubbenhall, on the body of George Mills, a blacksmith, 46 years of age, who died under somewhat singular circumstances on Monday morning.
Mr. Henry Grimes was chosen as the foreman of the jury, and the following evidence was adduced : Mary Ann Mills identified the body as that of her
husband, George Mills, 46 years of age, was a blacksmith, but he was not a strong man. He vomited frequently, and had been attended by a medical officer. If he
had a little more beer than usual he became worse. Deceased had not had medical advice for some years. He was taken worse with vomiting on Saturday and witness
asked him if she should fetch a doctor. He would not have one, and went out. Her husband came home to dinner but could not eat anything. He said he felt very
giddy, and that he would lie on the sofa. She again asked him if she should send for a doctor, but he would not let her, saying that if she did he should go out.
After lying on the sofa for an hour he went back to his work. About 4-30 she heard him say to his son he should not do any more work. He returned home and
left at five o'clock. As her husband was no better she asked him to stay in the house, but he went out, and she did not see him again until eight o'clock.
He had had some drink. She had had a lot of trouble with him through drink, and deceased was quarrelsome when in drink. She never knew when he was coming home.
Deceased quarrelled with witness and also his eldest son when got home after ten o'clock. He struck witness and attempted to strike his son. No one struck
deceased. He had had a lot of drink and was raving. They had to catch hold of him for some time. He was raving for about hour and half. About twelve witness asked
him to go to bed and he went upstairs. He continued to rave and made a great noise. He complained of pains at the heart and in the stomach. Ultimately he got
into bed and witness applied hot flannels to his stomach. Deceased said he wished had done differently, and though witness and her son asked him several times
if she should send for a doctor, he was not willing. He went to sleep, and appeared easier on Sunday morning. However he became worse later, and witness sent
for a doctor in the afternoon. During the night deceased wanted to get up and into his son's room to ask him to forgive him for what he had said to him. He
had threatened his son. Witness would not let him go, but next morning he told his son he was sorry for what he had said. The doctor sent some medicine, and witness
gave her husband some. He seemed easier after it. He had a sleep afterwards, but about five o'clock on Monday morning he became worse. She sent for the doctor.
Witness noticed a bruise on his stomach, and attributed it to his falling against the table. Her husband died five or ten minutes before the doctor arrived. Witness
had done all she could to persuade her husband to keep sober, but she could not call him a drunkard. George William Mills, eldest son of the deceased, stated
that he was with his father at the Malt Shovel on Saturday night. They had a quarrel early in the evening, and as witness had had a little drop of beer and
was quarrelling with his brother, he was asked to go. He went away, and then went to the Three Horseshoes and had a pint of beer. Witness did not see his
father between eight o'clock and ten o'clock. Deceased was not drunk, and he had not seen him drunk for a long time. His father attempted to strike him, and
followed him upstairs. His mother prevented deceased from hitting witness. Deceased always used to start on witness when he had had beer. His father had been kicked
by a pig some time ago, and had frequently complained of pains in the stomach. They had not been fighting together. After his father left the bedroom he said
"Good-night, my lad, I shan't be very long with you.' Next morning he told witness he was sorry for what he had said. Witness did not think he was
as bad as he was. Eliza Dowell, Bubbenhall, said she had known Mr. and Mrs. Mills for over twenty years. The man drank at times, and there were quarrels in
the house now and again. She had never seen any blows struck, and did not know the cause of the quarrels. Witness went into the house on Sunday and saw deceased in
bed. He appeared to be very ill, and when she spoke to him he did not make any reply. Alice Mills, the mother, said she was with her son Sunday. She was
sent for because George wanted to see her. She found him in bed very ill and suffering from violent pains in the stomach. She gave him some castor oil, and a
mustard plaster was put on his stomach. He did not complain of anyone ill-treating or quarrelling with him. Just before he died he said "It's all
over." Dr. M. J. Richardson, of Wolston, deposed that he first received information of Mills' illness about 5-45 on Sunday evening. He had a verbal
message to the effect that he had an attack of windy spasms, and that if he could not go he would send some medicine. He had difficulty in getting the information
out of the messenger, owing to his condition. He could not go to deceased then, but sent a message to the effect that if he was worse they must send over later in
the evening. On Monday morning a message was left at his place to the effect that Mills was better, but that Mrs. Mills would like witness to see her husband. About
10 o'clock he had another message to say that they thought Mills was dying. Witness proceeded to Bubbenhall, and when he arrived deceased had been dead about
10 minutes. Mrs. Mills told him that he had fallen against the table and injured himself, and that he was very drunk on Saturday night. He was told nothing about
vomiting and fomentation, or the administration of the castor oil. He could not ascertain the cause of death. They said they hoped there would be no necessity of
an enquiry, and witness said the matter would be placed in the hands of the Coroner. On Monday evening the son came and asked for a certificate, and witness told
him the matter would have to be dealt with by the Coroner. He made a post-mortem examination, and externally found a large bruise over the left groin,
and a smaller one on the left testicle, which might have been caused simultaneously. The bruises had been caused recently. Internally every organ in the body was
diseased, more or less, through chronic alcoholism, especially the heart and liver. There were no signs of inflammation, or constipation. He was of opinion that the
cause of death was primarily due to the condition of the heart, probably brought about by the excitement and drinking bout of Saturday night. Death was due to
exhaustion from fatty degeneration the heart, and it was accelerated by chronic alcoholism. The heart was in such a condition that death might have occurred any
time, especially during excitement. The Coroner, summing up, said it was an excessively distressing case, because the circumstances under which the poor man come
by his death were wretched and sad. The cause of death was pretty plain. They might take that the bruises found on the body were probably caused by Mills falling
against the table, but there was nothing to show any corresponding internal injuries which would cause the pains the man complained of. Having reviewed the evidence,
the Coroner said that the reason an inquest was necessary, apart from the cause of death, were apparent. Deceased had certainly suffered from sickness, but was to
all appearance in fair health, and it did not occur to the family that there was urgent necessity to call in medical aid sooner. On Saturday he came home after
drinking to excess, and practically never recovered from that condition. The pains he complained of were evidently caused by excessive drinking, and sooner or
later must have resulted in death. He alluded to the unsatisfactory statements made the witnesses, especially the son, and the condition of two of them, one
[a young man named Batchelor] not having been called, and he doubted whether, owing to his condition could have given any information to the jury. All the
circumstances pointed to the necessity for the case being inquired into. It was in the interests of the family, those who were with Mills during Saturday, that the
case should be investigated. After a short consultation the jury returned a verdict of death from exhaustion, arising from fatty degeneration of the heart, and
accelerated by chronic alcoholism and excitement. The jury exonerated Dr. Richardson from any blame."
"Singular Death of a Blacksmith
Leamington Spa Courier : July 12th 1907 Page 8