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Horse & Groom (HT)

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About Horse & Groom (HT)

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The Horse & Groom inn was once in the parish of Eastwood because it was on the south side of Salt Bridge, which stood at the beginning of South Street. 

However, it had a close link with Rochford Hall, being the place where tithes from the parish of Eastwood were paid to the bailiff of the Manor of Rochford Hall.

The dinner afterwards had as centrepiece an enormous pigeon pie. The birds for the pie came from the Hall’s dovecot, brought over by an old shepherd in the large side-pockets of his greatcoat. Unsurprisingly, when the Rochford boundary was later extended, the Horse & Groom was then included within it.

Much to the joy of the people in Watt’s Lane, the Horse & Groom had a pump in the yard, so the people who lived in this lane that ran by the side of the pub didn’t have far to walk to draw water.

When facing the Horse & Groom from the road, look to the left and spot the small building with the chimney, nestled just at the edge of the brook. This is the site of the original inn and the cottage was possibly part of it, sitting alongside the brook that runs into the River Roach. The inn was moved 10 yards south to its present position, presumably to reduce the chance of flooding.

In the 1890’s to early 1900’s, the cottage was occupied by a Captain Strachan, who was a German, and walked the streets in breeches and gaiters.

Another strange occurrence was the actions of a stubborn dancing bear. Dancing bears were a regular feature of local fairs and their owners would walk them from one place to another. One particular bear took a liking to local ale and reputedly would not pass the Horse & Groom until someone had given it a jugful to drink!

To celebrate the coronation of Edward VII in 1902, there was a stream of flags from the Horse & Groom going right the way through the town as part of the celebrations, with a service taken by Reverend Cotton in St Andrew’s Church. After this people gathered in the Square. The Burnham town band played and decorated bicycles and vehicles could be seen along the streets.

The Horse & Groom was owned by the Stambridge Brewery, although the main part of the brewery was demolished in the 1930’s. J. A. Hardcastle MP owned the Horse & Groom between the years 1842-1868, followed by Lukers of Southend.

Address:1 Southend Rd
Town:Rochford
Postcode:SS4 1HA
Categories:Historical