Category Archives: December

31st December 1873

The Bridge Hotel, at 3 The Bridge, was originally a three-story house on the bridge over the River Frome. In 1872, the Bridge Hotel was quoted in a police report as being ‘the worst conducted house in Frome.’ It was a challenging pub to run and manage, and when Charles George Tucker and his wife took over the pub, they did all they could to clean it up. A very hard-working couple, Mr and Mrs Tucker supplemented their income with their own hearse hire company which rented out a ‘shillibeer’ – a horse-drawn hearse which had additional seats for mourners.

One of the biggest and most regular problems the Bridge Inn had, was customers who refused to leave when they had had too much to drink. There are many recorded incidents, but on New Year’s Eve in 1873, a young labourer, Samuel Dartnell got into an argument with Samuel Hinton in the pub. Dartnell stabbed Hinton six times. In a panic Dartnell went on the run and travelled along the railway line to Wiltshire and then made his way to Hampshire, where he finally handed himself in. His guilty sentence came with seven years hard labour. Thankfully Horton recovered to see many more New Years Eves.

5th December 1815

The Black Swan, which was originally called ‘The Swan’ was a busy inn on Pig Lane, as Bridge Street was called in 1815.  Constable Isaac Gregory recorded in his journal that he has had a run-in with Mrs Butcher, the wife of the landlord of ‘The Swan’.

Constable Gregory’s apprentice, Bartlett, had gone to the Swan, where he presumably over-indulged on beer. Gregory found him in the inn and reprimanded Mrs Butcher for serving him.  Mrs Butcher was a tough cookie who said she would “give any person two or three quarts of beer anytime (she) saw proper.”  Gregory was fuming and threatened her with a report to the magistrates if she insulted him again.  According to Gregory “she would not keep her saucy tongue still, although insisted upon by her husband.”

Their relationship continued to be sparky when five years later Gregory recorded that, after he had sworn in the new special constable, Mr Candy, he took him around to the public houses, and was “ill used by Mrs Butcher at the Swan.”