Wednesday 16 March 2022

From the Parish Magazine - Eton Wick History Group Meeting - Inns, Taverns and Alehouses

At their 13th December meeting, Eton Wick's history enthusiasts were treated to a fascinating talk on the topic of "Inns, Taverns and Alehouses". The well-known local historian and Archivist for the Royal Borough's Collection, Dr. Judith Hunter introduced her subject by quoting "What history you cannot find in the manor house and the church; you find in the inn". She then took her audience, with the help of many photographic slides, on a 'pub crawl' commencing with the very basic ale houses of medieval times right through to this area's public houses and hotels of today. To think that it all began with a humble folk indicating that they had home-made ale to sell, by erecting a sort of 'witch's broom-stick', like a flagpole on the front of their hovel; and that in the 1550's a condition of an Inn's licence was that it should not. offer meat on Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday - thus forcing folk to buy and eat fish on those days, increasing the requirement for fisherman and boats which could then be called up, in case of emergency, for naval use.

Three House Shoes

We heard that the deeds of Eton Wick's 'Three Horse Shoes' date the building back to 1700 and it may well have been a 'pub' then; and that Windsor had a tavern as early as 1300; and would you have known that part of Windsor's 'Castle Hotel' was once an inn called the 'Mermaid'; or that, if you were being chased by police and you nipped into the front and out of the back of one of those houses which used to stand on the Castle side of the road at the bottom of the Hundred Steps, you were then in the Castle Ditch and safely out of police jurisdiction?

Dr. Hunter's imparting of historical facts was delightfully interspersed with such interesting and humorous snippet of information; and she is bound to be asked to talk to the group again before long.

Earlier in the evening Frank Bond had reported on the Group's financial status and commented that £100 had been earmarked towards a plaque for The Pound, for when the work there had been completed, he urged members to help swell the funds by purchasing, for a mini-mum donation of 50p per copy, the Environmental Fund booklet. He is considering publishing a book of old photographs and interesting facts about Eton Wick, and profits from sales would be invested in the Group.

The Committee is keen to have someone volunteer to record, a history in the making, present day events and changes in village, for example, the archaeological finds at Dorney, the traffic calming measures both in Eton and Eton Wick, the fire which destroyed a barn and all Mr. Palmer's winter fodder for his livestock, and even the removal (after so many years) of the air raid siren.

The following meeting was held on Wednesday, 6th March 1996, and the topic was the History of Dorney Church, Village and Court. 

During the 1990's the Parish Magazine of Eton, Eton Wick and Boveney reported on the meetings of the Eton Wick History Group. A member of the audience took shorthand notes in the darkened hall. This article was published in the January edition of 1996.

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