/ About / Pubs / The Crown Inn



The Crown Inn was a pub since at least 1812 and past landlords and landladies included the Thatchers, the Trotts and the Mitchells, all well known Creech families.

It was affectionately known as “The Drum and Monkey” and was known by this name as far back as the 1920’s. The reason is unknown.

There is a rumour it was a reference to a pet monkey owned by Joe Way a farmer in Creech Heathfield.

However, the rumour is not true as this particular monkey did not arrive in Creech Heathfield until the 1940’s.

The Drum reference is suspected to relate to an annual Fife and Drum parade that took place through Creech Heathfield and Creech St Michael. How this related to The Crown Inn is unknown.

Fred Thatcher (right) who lives in Creech Heathfield was born in 1922 in The Crown Inn. Fred has kindly given the following information on the pub’s history. Fred’s mother, Mrs Emily Thatcher, ran the pub for 30 years from 1916 to just after the war in 1946.

The photo (right) of The Crown Inn was taken by Fred’s family in the 1920’s. The basic shape of the Crown Inn has remained much the same. As Fred’s mother ran the pub back in 1922, it was where he was born and remained his home until he was 25 in 1947.

In 1922, the pub was just an ale and cider house. There was no bar and it was quite primitive with no electricity and no mains water. The window on the right is the bar area where locals would sit around playing cards, darts, table skittles. There was a skittle alley at the rear that remained in use until the pub closed in 2001.

The quite rudimentary toilets and a cellar were at the northern end or left hand side of the house looking from the front. In the latter years of the pub’s existence this side of the pub was converted into a restaurant.

The Atlas Fire Insurance Policy document (left) is for a total of £100 and was issued on June 24th 1912. It is in the name of Harold Victor Pavey, of The Crown Inn.

The annual premium was only 5 shillings (25p).

A return (discount) of 1 shilling was allowed on the previous year’s insurance reducing the annual premium to 4 shillings (20p).

As the pub had a thatch roof, one stipulation of the insurance policy was that the pub must not be situated with 100 yards of any railway.

 

The pub was tied to the Arnold and Hancock brewery in the Hatchers building, Kingston Road, Taunton who delivered ale by horse and cart. Cider was mainly supplied by Mr Godfrey of Walford Cross Farm.

Back in the 1920’s the opening hours were, 10:30am to 2pm, 5pm to 10pm (winter) or 10:30pm (summer). In earlier days the people would often be knocking on the door as early as 6:30am as farm labourers would want cider after the first ploughing of the day.

Fred remembers clearly how people not from round these parts, would struggle with the strength of the local cider or scrumpy. There was a good reason local cider had names like ‘Apple Twister’ and ‘Stunner’. Many a person would think they could handle a few pints at only 3d a pint, and then find it difficult or impossible to ride a bike and, from time to time, even to walk!

In 1947 a bar was added and Fred’s mother sold the pub to Tom Thorn who owned it for a number of years.

In the 1990’s the pub was host to the Crown Rams Football team who used the local recreation field as its home ground.

Sadly, the pub closed in 2001 and, despite many attempts to find a new licensee, planning permission was granted to convert the pub into a private dwelling retaining its former name ‘The Crown’.

Article by Nigel Finch, Langaller, January 2011