History of the Galton Arms at Himbleton in the county of Worcestershire.


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Some history of the Galton Arms

The Galton Arms in Harrow Lane dates from the 17th century. Some folks claim it is older but when the property was given Grade II listing status it was detailed as a house from the 17th century. There are some later alterations and additions from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The pub was formerly known as the Harrow Inn but was changed to the Galton Arms on September 20th, 1901. The application to change the name of the house was made by local landowner Mr. A. Bearcroft and was submitted two years after the death of Sir Douglas Galton.

Himbleton : Galton Arms [c.1905]

This is a fine old view of the pub; the image is thought to be from around 1905 though could be earlier. The photograph shows the building before the addition of bay windows and a renewed front entrance - not the well-worn single step in this image compared to the short flight of steps in more recent photographs. Extensions to the ground floor are also not in evidence in this early image which also suggests two separate dwellings being joined together. Either that or the public house was enlarged - the right side of the pub is brick painted to resemble the timber-framing of the older property. Note that the roof of the older building has been raised from the original pitch of the timber-framing.

Himbleton : Galton Arms [2015]

The Gittus family kept this house for many years during the mid-late 19th century, a period when the Drainers' Arms at nearby Earl's Common also provided refreshments for the parishioners of Himbleton. Cider was possibly more popular than beer in Himbleton during the mid-19th century. When Daniel Robson was the victualler at the Harrow Inn, there were two cider houses run by James Bullock and Elijah Fincher. The latter was running Pound Farm and using part of his property as a cider house. This was known as the Plough Inn.

Himbleton : Auction of Cider House held at the Harrow Inn [1847]

I am not certain if the other cider house at Himbleton had a name. Quite often this type of business had no sign as such. James Bullock also worked as a tailor as the profits from the sale of cider was possibly insufficient to maintain a household. Dated September 1847, the above advertisement for an auction of the freehold of the house, mill and orchard was held at the Harrow Inn. This shows that the family were tenants of the property. James Bullock would later be recorded at the Drainers' Arms at Earl's Common.

Daniel Robson had previously worked as a draper in Bredon, the place of his birth. He married Hannah Beck at Saint Peter's Church in Worcester in July 1853. She was the daughter of Himbleton's blacksmith William Beck. I believe that Timothy Munslow, an earlier publican of the Harrow Inn, was also a smith.

Himbleton : Galton Arms [2015]

Following the death of Daniel Robson, Hannah re-married to Thomas Averill but remained at the Harrow Inn. Born in Staffordshire, Thomas Averill was a farmer and he worked some 74 acres whilst holding the licence of the pub. The couple would later move to a farm at Checkley near Uttoxeter. When they were running the Harrow Inn a fire broke out one evening in the rick-yard. Although insured, the couple lost about 15 tons of straw during the blaze. The press reported that the fire was the result of a "malicious act of an incendiary."

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The Gittus family took over the reins of the Harrow Inn during the 1870's. Crowle-born John Gittus and his locally-born wife Sarah had lived in the village for some years. Working as a sawyer, he was the son of a publican. His father and mother kept the Fox Inn at neighbouring Sale Green in the mid-19th century.

At the Harrow Inn John and Sarah Gittus operated a shop on the premises in addition to the pub. In fact, in 1877 John Gittus successfully applied to the local magistrates to sell petrol from the premises.

Himbleton : Interior of the Galton Arms [2015]

Eli Gittus succeeded his parents as licensee of the Harrow Inn. He was the publican when the name of the house was changed. Indeed, he was a tenant when the freehold of the property was sold at auction in 1896. The pub, along with a pasture orchard and land exceeding three acres was knocked down at £1,060 during a sale of sixteen other lots of freehold property in Himbleton. At the time Eli was paying an annual rent of £40 per annum.

Eli Gittus had quite an unusual second name - I wonder how many customers of the pub learned that his middle name was Christmas? He married Alice White at St. George's Church in Worcester in May 1887. In addition to running the Harrow Inn, Eli farmed land whilst Alice worked as a dressmaker.

Eli Gittus was licensee for 20 years, remaining at the Galton Arms until the First World War. He later concentrated on farming and lived at Court Farm. He met an unfortunate end in February 1922 when walking along a plank stretching between two granaries. He slipped and fell from a height of eight feet, and fractured his skull. He died from his injuries in Worcester Nursing Institution.

Herbert Mound was the licensee of the Galton Arms in the years leading up to the Second World War. Born in Nechells at Birmingham in 1875, he spent his formative years living above the grocery shop run by his parents in Rocky Lane. Towards the end of the 19th century his father, John Mound, had a career change and worked as a wheelwright whilst the family lived in Cato Street. It was from this address that young Herbert Mound started working as a coach fitter. However, following his marriage to Laura Amelia Stokes in 1899, he and his wife moved to Erdington where Herbert worked as a barman. The couple later moved to Hartlebury to run the Mitre Inn, a roadside hostelry on the busy Kidderminster to Worcester road.

When Herbert and Amelia Mound were running the Galton Arms the village bobby was a close neighbour of the pub. Police Constable Frederick Masters was 27 years-old when the war broke out. He was in army reserves as he had served in the Grenadier Guards.

Licensees of this pub

1855 - Daniel Robson
1858 - William Robson
1871 - Thomas Averill
1879 - John Gittus
1892 - Mrs. Sarah Gittus
1894 - Eli Christmas Gittus
1916 - Charles Hill
1928 - Herbert Mound
1997 - Benjamin Tabary-Davies
Note : this is not a complete list of licensees for this pub.


Map showing the location of the Harrow Inn at Himbleton in Worcestershire [1884]

This map shows the location of the pub in Himbleton. The guide post marked in the top left corner was on the junction of the old turnpike road. With the smithy and wheelwright's shop close to The Harrow, the pub may have benefited from some passing trade on this route but it was largely a house for the parishioners.


Watercolour Painting of the Galton Arms by Alan Jones [2015]

This watercolour of the Galton Arms was painted by local artist Alan Jones in 2015. A resident of Callow Hill in Redditch, the retired Birmingham engineer took up painting in 2010, although he had not picked up an artist brush since he left school at the age of 15.

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Inn Sign

Inn Sign of the Galton Arms at Himbleton [2015]

Formerly known as the Harrow Inn, this pub was re-named in September 1901 to commemorate Sir Douglas Strutt Galton, the Lord of the Manor who had died two years earlier. His grandfather was Samuel John Galton Jr., the Duddeston-born arms manufacturer and member of Birmingham's Lunar Society. The Strutt element of his name is from his mother's side of the family. Isabelle Strutt was the daughter of Joseph Strutt, the wealthy textile merchant and philanthropist who held the office of Mayor of Derby for two terms.

Sir Douglas Strutt Galton was born in 1852 at Spring Hill in Birmingham. Following his education at Rugby School, he entered the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich when he was 15 years of age, and there he passed the highest examination on record, taking the first prize in every subject. In December 1840 he received a commission in the Royal Engineers. Following promotion, his work as secretary of a Royal Commission into railway bridges led to his appointment as Inspector of Railways, and Secretary of the Railway Department of the Board of Trade.

The high death rate of soldiers in the Crimean War owing to bad sanitary conditions in hospitals led to Galton forming part of a Commission in 1858 to improve the sanitary conditions of the barracks and military hospitals in Great Britain. In this field he worked closely with Florence Nightingale, a family connection as he had married her cousin Marianne Nicholson in 1851. She was the daughter of George Thomas Nicholson of Waverley Abbey.

In 1862 he was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for War, whereupon he retired from the Royal Engineers. In 1870 he was appointed General Secretary of the British Association, and after his retirement he undertook professional work, particularly within the railway industry and design of hospitals. A fellow of the Royal Society, he received the distinction of being appointed Honorary Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers in 1894.

It was in 1875 that Sir Douglas Strutt Galton took up residence in Himbleton. The Galton family had already occupied Hadzor Hall near Droitwich. He took a great interest in farming and declared himself successful at Himbleton Manor. He took an active role in local affairs and was a member of the County Council and Chairman of the Sanitary Committee. He was nominated a C.B. in 1875, and at the time of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath by Lord Salisbury, in recognition of his long distinguished public service.

Sir Douglas Strutt Galton died aged 76 at London in March 1899 and was buried at Hadzor churchyard. A memorial to him at Himbleton Church was in the form of the restoration of the east window of the Shell Chapel. The 15th century glass of this window was restored and dedicated "to the glory of God by the parishioners of the parish in dear memory of Captain Sir Douglas Galton, KCB, an earnest and true-hearted seeker after God. A.D. 1901."

Genealogy Connections

If you have a genealogy story or query regarding the Galton Arms you can contact me and I will post it here in addition to including your message within the website pages for Worcestershire Genealogy.

Have Your Say

"Very interesting reading this history of the Galton Arms. I lived in Himbleton during the middle-to-late 1970s. The landlord was an ex-pilot in the Fleet Air Arm. His name was Dick McCann, not certain if my spelling of his name is correct. It was a great local and a number of us who worked in Birmingham would gather on a Thursday night on our way home for a pint. Happy days."
Ron Venn, August 6th 2019.

"I have very fond memories of the Galton Arms. In the early 80s I was gamekeeper to Huddington Court, just a couple of miles away. I regularly met my friends and occasionally the local poachers there. Several of my beaters were from Himbleton as was the late Roger Sellars, the Master of the Three Counties Mink Hounds. I remember Roger asking me to get Dick McCann the landlord to open early and cook as many steaks as he could because the mink hounds were hunting the brook behind the Galton Arms and everyone was cold and starving. It turned out to be a great night with much beer and spirits being consumed. Dick McCann once turned up at the local meet of the Worcestershire Fox Hounds on a donkey, the MFH was not amused."
John Lea, December 27th 2019.

If you would like to share any further information on this pub - perhaps you drank here in the past? Or maybe knew a previous publican? Whatever the reason it would be great to hear of your stories or gossip. Simply send a message and I will post it here.

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Related Newspaper Articles

"W. S. P. Hughes Esq., held an inquest on Tuesday, at the Harrow Inn, Himbleton, on the body of a labourer named Henry Sturmy, 35 years of age, who was found lying in the turnpike road leading to that place on Saturday night. He had been with a waggon to Worcester to fetch a load of soot, but waa found lying in the road, the waggon and horses having gone on. He was carried into the Harrow Inn, and there being no marks of violence on his body, he was at first supposed to be in liquor, but he died in about three hours, his hip and spine being broken. The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."
Worcester Journal : January 27th 1855 Page 5

"Last Thursday some labouring men going through a lane in the parish of Himbleton observed a man sitting under the hedge with his feet in the ditch and the water flowing over them. They went up to him, and addressed him, but he neither answered them nor moved. They then carried him to an adjoining barn, belonging to Mr. Robson, landlord of the Harrow Inn, where he was wrapped in blankets, some warm beer given him to drink, and Mr. Kitsell sent for from Droitwich. Mr. Kitsell on his arrival administered brandy, but life continued to ebb slowly out, and about midnight expired. He was repeatedly asked his name, and he attempted to speak but was too weak: he died and made no sign. He was however recognised as a poor vagrant who had been begging about the neighbourhood for several days, and had been generously relieved by several of the farmers. The tale told was that his wife was a nailer at Bromsgrove, who had sold his clothes and turned him out of doors. An inquest was held by Mr. H. Hill, D.C., on the body at the Harrow Inn, Himbleton, Saturday, and a verdict of "Died from cold and exhaustion" returned."
"The End of the Journey"
Worcestershire Chronicle : January 16th 1856 Page 2

Himbleton and The Galton Arms [c.1914]

"William Robson, of the Harrow Inn, Himbleton, was summoned for opening his house for the sale of beer, before half-past twelve o'clock on Sunday morning last. The case was proved by P.C. Grant. He was fined five shillings and costs."
"Beer House Case"
Worcestershire Chronicle : September 29th 1858 Page 3

"Jesse Osborne and Edwin Edgcumbe, of Himbleton, labourers, were charged with being drunk at the Harrow Inn, Himbleton, on the 22nd October. Mr. F. Holyoake appeared for defendants. P.C. Edwards said he visited the Harrow Inn on the evening of the day named, about a quarter to 10 o'clock. Both defendants were in the tap-room. Osborne was fast asleep. He asked the landlady if she considered them drunk or sober, but she made no reply. They both staggered about. About two hours before he had seen the defendants at the Plough, and he saw them go to the Harrow, when he advised them to go home. A man named Gittus was called in support of the last witness's statement, but he would not say defendants were drunk. They did not stagger about the road. For the defence Mr. Holyoake called three witnesses, who all swore to the defendants being sober. The Bench dismissed the case."
"Alleged Drunkenness"
Worcester Journal : November 19th 1887 Page 2

"It sounds like a storyline from The Archers. But this is more than just an everyday tale of rural life for the residents of Himbleton, who have been barred from their village pub. The displaced drinkers say that the licensee wants to get rid of village trade and attract a more upmarket clientele to the Galton Arms, a 600-year-old pub in the picturesque Worcestershire village. They claim that Benjamin Tabary-Davies has barred more than 70 regulars since taking over two years ago and has tried to introduce table d'hote and a la carte menus to bring more prosperous customers to the inn. The village cricket club's end-of-season match against regulars from the local pub has already been marred by the controversy. By the time it was played, several members of the Galton Arms scratch team had been barred from their pub. So they went into bat under the new name of the IBBBBB XI - I've-Been-Banned-By-Bastard-Ben. Mr Tabary-Davies, who had been invited to play, did not turn up for the fixture. "Virtually all the team had been banned so we had no choice but to change the name," said the IBBBBB skipper, Vaughan Jones, who lives 100 yards from the pub. "I was given my marching orders four weeks ago when I was accused of swearing. Mr Tabary-Davies told me I was barred just as I was leaving one night. I thought he was joking, but when I went in the next night the barman said he was not allowed to serve me. "The place used to be heaving on a Friday night, but now there are only half a dozen people in there. Still, I suppose it's the correct half-dozen he wants. Just wait until the winter comes and he needs the local trade." Mr Tabary-Davies said yesterday that everyone was welcome at the pub if they dressed nicely and were respectful to people there, but he would not tolerate bad behaviour. He denied that 70 regulars had been barred and said only a handful of cricket players had been. "Customers are still welcome to come in just for a drink and I don't mind if they are casually dressed - even in jeans and shorts. But some of the regulars used to come in straight from work on farms and building sites with their muddy boots. They used to swear a lot as well and I will not put up with effing and blinding. I have a business to run and I don't want riff-raff," he said."
"Storm Brews As The Barred of Himbleton Take Custom Away"
by Chris Mowbray in The Independent : August 21st 1997

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