The History of the Northbrook Arms
History of East Stratton’s Inn’s and Public Houses – All information kindly documented and provided by Patrick Craze (local resident and historian)
The earliest record we have for an inn or public house at East Stratton is an indenture dated 29 June 1797 between John Bradley of Stratton, victualler, and Timothy Mullens of Basingstoke, common brewer, detailing the terms and conditions for the leasing of; that messuage, tenement, or public house called, or known by the name, or sign of, The Goat, situate, lying and being at Stratton. The Goat was located in Stratton Park and is recorded in the 1799 estate map and ledgers, produced to value the estate prior to the sale of the estate by Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford, to Sir Francis Barring in 1801. The site of the current pub, (Northbrook Arms), is shown as uncultivated land on the 1799 estate map and therefore suggests a date of construction for this building is after 1799.
The Goat most likely took its name from arms of the Duke of Bedford, (Russell family), which included a goat at the top of the arms. We can trace the Russell connection with the Stratton estate back to the marriage, in 1669, of Lord John Russel, 2nd son of the 5th Earl of Bedford, to Lady Rachel Vaughn, daughter of Thomas Wrisothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton. Lady Rachel had inherited the Stratton estate from her father on his death in 1667. Lady Rachel Russell lived to see her son become the 2nd Duke of Bedford, and her grandson become the 3rd Duke of Bedford.
The Northbrook Arms, formerly The Plough Inn, dates from the first quarter of the 19th century and although we don’t have an exact date for the building’s construction, the records and style of construction suggest the early 19th century.
The remodelling of the estate by Francis Barring in the early 19th century included the construction of five pairs of estate cottages, designed by George Dance Jr, and the clearance of existing cottages and other buildings from Stratton Park including The Goat Inn. This would suggest the need for a new pub and that The Plough Inn is contemporary with the construction of Dance’s estate cottages. The five pairs of estate cottages and adjacent Plough Inn are located on a new site south of the existing village recorded on the 1799 estate map.
The Plough Inn and Dance’s five pairs of estate cottages are recoded on an estate map dated to the early 19th century although no specific date is recorded for this map.
The earliest written reference we have for The Plough Inn at East Stratton comes from Hampshire Chronicle, 28 April 1817, which records a creditors meeting in respect of Henry Whitear, of East Stratton, to be held at the Plough Inn, Stratton.
The Hampshire Chronicle, 21 May 1821, records the death of Mr James Smith, “for many years the master of The Plough Inn, East Stratton, age 64,” which suggests the Plough Inn was established before the 1817 date.
We also have a witness statement taken in connection with the so-called Swing Riots, involving agricultural dissenters and machine breakers. William Nations of East Stratton under examination on 18th December 1830 states under oath:
That on Friday the 19th of November 1830, he went up with a mob assembled to the Plough Public House at East Stratton, and saw William Pearce among others in and about the said House.
Style, Construction and Development
The original pub building is Georgian in style and construction, characterised by its symmetry, box sash windows and segmented flat arch to the window heads in fine gauged brickwork. The current skittle alley, formerly stables, is contemporary with the original pub building.
Later in the 19th century the original building was extended on the north side to provide accommodation for a grocers shop. The evidence for this extension can be seen in the joint between the original building and extension and in the inferior brickwork of the extension, when compared with the original building, particularly the window heads.
The original building was extended on the west side to provide a brewhouse and bakery and a date stone inscribed 1842 with initials LC, possibly for Lawrence and Lucy Combs, can be seen above the entrance door to the bakery.
In 1898 the current dining room was extended to the south, the garages on the north side were built, the detached brick and tile dairy on the south side was built, and the stables were extended to the west side to provide, cow house, pigsty’s and stores. This work was carried out on behalf of Edwin Carter who is recorded as a grocer, baker and farmer at the Plough Inn, in the 1901 census. Edwin Cater also rented the adjoining fields from Lord Northbrook and appears to be operating the Plough as an inn, grocers shop, bakery and smallholding.
The above postcard view of the Plough Inn dates to around 1910 and shows the original Georgian Inn building, with a central porch entrance on the left and the grocers shop extension on the right.
Tenants and Licensees’
1821 Death of Mr James Smith “for many years the master of the Plough Inn, Stratton.”
1841 census Mary Smith is recorded as Publican at The Plough.
29 Nov 1841 Hampshire Chronical auction notice records the sale of; Useful household furniture, brewing and dairy utensils, an excellent young Norman cow in full milk, fine donkey with cart and harness, marquee, the usual articles required for an inn and a variety of useful effects. The property belonging to Mrs Smith, leaving her residence, late the Plough Inn at East Stratton.
1851 census Lucy Coombs is recoded as Inn Keeper and Grocer at The Plough
1861 census Lawrence Coombs is recorded as Grocer and Inn Keeper at The Plough Inn
1871 census William Carter is recorded as Publican and Shopkeeper, Thomas Whitcocks –baker.
Whites Directory for 1878 lists Charles Carter as grocer, baker and victualer at the Plough Inn.
1881 census Sarah Carter is recoded as Baker and Grocer at The Plough Inn.
1891 census Edwin Carter is recorded as Grocer and Baker at The Plough Inn and Shop.
1901 census Edwin Carter is recorded as Grocer Baker and Farmer at The Plough Inn.
Warrens directory from 1900 to 1912 list William Carter as Victualer and Grocer.
1911 census William Carter is recorded as a License Victualer and grocer at The Plough with his wife Maude recorded as Assisting the Business.
Warrens Directory from 1914 to 1922 lists Mr Petter as the landlord at The Plough, and from 1922 to 24 a Mr Strange is listed as landlord.
In 1925 Mr F. A. Ratcliffe is listed as landlord starting the long Ratcliffe dynasty at the Plough which continued until the 1980’s.
1930 Tenancy Agreement between The Right Honourable Francis Arthur Baron Northbrook and Mr Frank Austin Ratcliffe (HRO 92M95/F8/7/3) records the tenancy comprised; inn, shop, dwelling house, yard, garden, dairy, bake house, copper house, garage, coal house, oil stores and wash house.
1939 Register Frank A Ratcliffe is recorded as a Licensed Victualer at The Plough Inn.
Nov 1965 Frank Ratcliffe’s son Guy and his wife Joan took over the running of the pub until Apr 1983.
Apr 1983 John and Joan Harkness were at the Plough until Aug 1987
Aug 1987 George and Trudie Duke took over the Plough and were later joined by their son Richard and Gill Moran. By the time the pub closed for refurbishment in 1998? just Trudie Duke and her son Richard were at the Plough.
September 1998 – January1999 the pub underwent refurbishment and reopened in January 1999, renamed The Northbrook Arms, with Maurice and Jean Cain as tenants until April 2003.
May 2003 – June 2007 David Sheff and Marlon were tenants.
June 2003 – March 2010 Nigel and Wendy Sutcliffe
March 2010 – March 2012 Tim Gray and Wendy Nichols
March 2012 – May 2012 Wendy Nichols and Sophie Chivers for Lord Northbrook
May 2012 – March 2015 Jon and Millie Coward
2nd Mar 2015 – 4th November 2018 Ian Ashton
30th April 2019 – Lord Northbrook sold the Northbrook Arms to Kate and Adam Shanley who plan to convert the outbuildings into holiday let accommodation and to make improvements to the pub’s facilities.
Jul 2020 Following extensive refurbishment to the pub bar area, kitchens and former stables, the pub reopened following the governments COVID-19 guidelines prevailing at that time.
Sept 2020 Having received planning consent from Winchester City Council, for the proposed works to convert the main building and outbuildings into holiday let accommodation, work commenced on this phase of the refurbishment.