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Article and photos by Paul Wright, 2019
New Inn

New Inn viewed from High Street in 2019

Many years ago, there were two Manor houses in the village of Wymington.  One still remains, and can be seen half way up Manor Lane on the left hand side. 

The other one which has long since vanished provided some of the stone to build the New Inn. Back in the day Wymington was served by three wells, allowing villagers to provide their drinking water from these sources.  So the need to have something safer to drink would be provided by the drinking of beer. 

Manor Farm in my youth was occupied by the tenant farmers “Frank and Keith Abbott.”  This was located on the northern edge of the old village, this was built in 1612 on the site of one of the two Manors.  Both sharing the honour of being called Wymington Manor.  The Domesday Book mentions both manors, but the exact position of the second one cannot be exactly pin pointed. During the building of a couple houses in the late 1930‘s opposite the White Horse, traces of some wide stone walls were found when the foundations were dug.   It is highly likely that this was the site of the second manor. 

The White Horse closed as a pub in 2012, and is now a private dwelling. 

The other pub in the village is the New Inn, this doubled as a farm and pub.  Prior to the advent of television the pub was one of the busy focal points to keep the locals entertained. 

When the Midland railway decided on the need for the deviation to be dug, the population of Wymington grew by over one hundred overnight! This was the arrival of the navvies who would make the route easier for the steam hauled coal trains, by creating the loop line.  [There is further in-depth reading on the deviation by former Wymington resident Mr Peter Butler on this website.]  This large amount of men and women, which was around five hundred, poor souls at one stage were housed in wooden huts.  One lot of huts were situated near to where the two lines diverged for the loop towards Souldrop.  The other was rather too close for comfort for the village, and this was at the back of the New Inn.  And after lots of heavy drinking, it was the cause for many a “punch-up” to kick off on a regular occasion.  This made the local papers, reporting in many a column inch to the degree of rowdyism that was going on in such awful living conditions.  So much so that the two pubs had to close their doors on a Sunday to prevent further outbreaks of brawling  This lasted for several decades, and was only resolved when the Rev Rogers was one of the names on a petition that was sent to the licensing authority in the mid 1930s. During their hard slog to build this loop, many injuries and deaths occurred.  Their final resting place was where they were buried on the north side of St Lawrence church yard in unmarked graves.

ony and Mable
Tony and Mabel
My own memories of the New Inn were rather less dramatic, I am glad to say. It was then run in the 1950’s by Cyril and Mabel Willmot, previously they had been living over at Tempsford near Sandy.  They had three children, a daughter called Audrey, and a couple of sons, one being Tony (Nip) Musk, and Dennis Willmot.  Nip used to milk the cows on the farm, until his father's death, and then took over the running of the pub.  Dennis was later to run the Bell Inn at Finedon for many years, and was always proudly wearing a smart bow tie behind the bar.  His sister Audrey got married to a farmer and is currently living near Knuston.

Skittles Team
Skittles Team with some of their trophies
L/R Mike Perkins, Vic Webb, Bill Jolley, Barry Miller,
John Buckley, ?, Nip, ?, ?.
One of the best skittles teams locally were knocking the pins down each week for the New Inn, and Pete Westley and Barry Miller were a couple of the lads who were part of that conquering side.  

And the home side skittle board had the reputation of being one of the best ones around the area. 

This used to stand in the bar, where you can now see the open fire place.

The area under the first railway bridge on Podington Road was fairly often under flood water in bad weather.  During the early part of the 1960’s a scheme was implemented to vastly improve the drainage system of the brook from the New Inn running along towards the bottom of Church Lane.  

During the 1970’s it was decided that the pub needed to be improved, and Rushden builders Windsors were chosen to do the building work.  Windsors had their yard etc opposite the old Fire Station in Newton Road at the time.  

Sloe Gin Club
Sloe Gin Club
On a more sedate note there was the weekly meeting of the Sloe Gin club; this collection of eccentrics took place in the lounge bar.  Malcolm Tobin, Andrew Hunt, John the fish, Michael Brown and Tony (Noddy) Norman were members, along with landlord Tony Musk. They even took this out onto the the road on numerous days out.  The man taking them out and behind the wheel was Pete Cherry, in his Volkswagen Caravelle.  They even sported their own specially designed neck ties whilst on parade.  The six colleagues started the original “Sloe Gin Club” in 1964.  

An odd East Anglian pursuit went on in the car park area. One that I recall was “Dwile flonking” — this involved trying to do various moves after drinking more and more alcohol! This took place on a summer’s evening, and gave many people a good old laugh.  

In the dark evenings, and in December time, members of the chapel and the church would be invited to sing carols to both pubs.  The money collected would go towards the senior citizens Christmas tea, which was organised by Mrs Monica Short and her numerous helpers.  

Nip and his wife Edna had a daughter called Joanne, and she married “Tip” Warner, a local farrier. Sadly in 1973 Nip lost his wife, and some time later was joined by Ruth, they stayed on until they took retirement in the early1990‘s.  During this time Nip's mum, Mabel, was helping to run things in the bar.  Several characters were colourful to put it mildly! Keith Abbot used to recite many a Churchillian speech to anyone who cared to listen, and was not averse to dropping a hint for a free pint of Abbot Ale by saying out loud “it’s a dry old night.” (it normally worked, and it was all harmless fun). Steve Bryan was another lad, he wandered over from Podington to help out behind the bar.  He would always get a free ride on his travels, as everyone knew Steve and would pull up and give him a lift.  To say that he liked a drink was an understatement, and he his sadly missed.  Talking of drinkers, Charlie Reynolds lived up Church Lane, and either drank at the New Inn, or gave his assistance behind the bar at the Welcome pub in Rushden which was then run by “Ernie Poole.” Let's remember all of the good work that Charles put in helping out at the Poplars Farm Bar B Q’s, alongside Sheila Corby and David Smith and others, to raise funds to build the Memorial Hall that stands to this day.  The bar trade was always busy, and naturally would have the regulars having their natters about was going on whilst drinking a few pints of IPA or Abbot Ale.  I fondly remember drinking with Joe Waller, Graham Staff, Alan Myers, Jess Philips, Cliff Bates, John Wright, Terry Lewis, Pete Waller, Jeff Kidman, Margaret and Arthur, Joyce, Brian Vizian, Mervin Linford, Alan Northwood, Ernie Tulley, Howard Church, Roy Burridge and Alan Hewlett etc. on many an evening.  

On a Saturday evening without fail Bill Scott from the Salvation Army could be seen distributing copies of “War Cry” magazine to those in the bar and lounge areas.  Bill’s day job was as a postman, and he also took part in the local soccer scene.  

Things did change though when Nip and Ruth went, and their places were taken over by Terry and Pauline Belsen. The bar area was soon to be missing the much loved skittle board, and changes were onthe way! They were running things for three years from 1991 to1994.  A longer tenure then followed,  with John Wills and Pauline Belsen running the pub from 1994 to 1999.  Three years at the New Inn for Mr and Mrs Chris and Rhona Taylor until 2002.  Another trio of years for Brian and Julie Christie running the pub from 2002 to 2005. A chap called Mick ran it from 2005 to 2006, then came Martin and Julie. 

building work John admires the work
John Frankiewicz admiring the work

plumber & decorator
Plumbing & decorating in the barn convertions
John Frankiewicz has owned the New Inn from 2017, with the McKinnon family running the operation for the period of 2017-2018.  Baksy (Artur and Dorata) from 2018 to the present time.  Whilst I was attending the primary school in the village, I remember the Frankiewicz family arriving during the mid 1950‘s.  Barbara was John’s sister, and she was in our class, we also went to Harrold school for our senior education together.  The Frankiewicz family came with another Polish family called the Belz. I remember they fitted in to village life really well from that moment on.  

At 10.30 on the morning of Friday 20th September, 2019, the inaugural meeting was held at the pub, for what was to be called the “New Inn History Society.”  It was attended by Mr David Smith, Melvyn Brown, John Frankiewicz, Nick Hart, Paul Wright, Tony Norman, Roy Robinson, Adrian Short, Peter West and Arthur Fiddler (current landlord in 2019).  Most of this group were born and bred in Wymington, and it was thought that it was a broad church of knowledge to be harnessed to record the history of the “New Inn.”  Other village elders were brought on board for the next meeting to add even more knowledge to the pot.  And this was to be held on Wednesday 27th November, 2019.  

Looking at the New Inn now, it looks light years away from the original farm come pub from my youth. With the former barns and sheds becoming dwellings, they now have individual names; one is called “Limes”, the other is “Beeches.” 

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