Serving fine ales since 1850ish
The New Inn was originally part of a row of cottages in Combe Batch, and is thought to have been opened sometime in the late 1840s by the Parker family. It was ‘new’ compared to the other two drinking establishments in the village, and hence the name.
The pub didn’t appear as a beer house in the census of 1841, but by 1851 Ann Parker was recorded as being the keeper of an ‘Ale and Beer house’. She was still running it in 1891 with her son George (44) and one servant, and by 1901 George Parker had taken over.
It all kicks off in 1885
In 1885 the General Election caused something like a riot in Wedmore. The New Inn was the scene of much of the trouble because it was the headquarters and drinking place of the Liberals in Wedmore. The Tory party in Wedmore was very strong and when a Liberal stole the Tory flag and took it to the New Inn, the Tories came to take it back.
About 30 to 40 men stood outside the pub to prevent them from entering, and shots were fired, men got injured, and a great deal of damage was done to the New Inn. All the windows were shattered and the shutters smashed. Ann Parker and son George appealed for them to stop, but to no avail. Although there were six policemen on duty in Wedmore for the election polls, extra police had to be sent to quell the rioting mob. Eventually, twenty police arrived at the pub and arrests were made. After the trial, several men were lucky to get off with just a very stern warning and bound over to keep the peace.
Ann’s will is dated 1893 and although she ran a public house for many years she could not even sign her name. Probate was granted to George and his sisters, but George died in about 1914 and the New Inn was put up for sale. The sale particulars advertised it as an ‘Old-established Beer and Cider-House’ to be sold Wednesday March 11th 1914, at The George Hotel. It was sold to Mrs Bessie Puddy, but the Cook family took it over a short time afterwards, and were running it in the 1930s.
Somewhat less riotous than in the 19th Century (unless Spurs are playing Chelsea on the telly), the New Inn today is a largely quiet, cosy pub in which you can hear yourself talk most of the time, and enjoy a good drink all of the time. The skittle alley regularly sees battles of an altogether different kind, against other pub teams in the area, whilst the large beer garden to the rear provides a great summer oasis from the outside world. We look forward to welcoming you here!
With thanks to Hazel Hudson for supplying the historical information about the New Inn. Her book, The New Wedmore Chronicles, is available from all good book shops.