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Marlborough Head (HT)

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About Marlborough Head (HT)

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There is a deed dated 19th December 1706 in the Essex Record Office, but we know the Marlborough Head was here long before that under another name, probably dating back to around 1500. The Chelmsford Chronicle referred to it as ‘an old inn’ on 1st August 1764.

The inn was known for its hard drinkers. Rochford was an agricultural town and the work was never easy, so a few jugs of ale at the end of the day was not unusual. Harvest was a very important time, as well as being very hard work. Once the harvest was in, local farmers would gather at the inn to celebrate. A broody hen with a clutch of eggs would be placed in the centre of the table and celebrations commenced...drinking, feasting and dancing with the wenches until the first chick hatched.

It is said that the Marlborough Head and nearby buildings were connected by cellars at the time. By its side was a lane with about five houses each side, called Barrack Lane. The alley between the public house and the restaurant next door is all that remains of this lane. The barracks that gave the lane its name housed the Duke of Wellington’s Militia, whose duties included preventing smuggling and stopping the French from sneaking up the backwaters. In a small cottage in the lane, James Banyard was born in 1800 and went on to become the founder of the Peculiar People, an evangelical Christian group (see the Barrack Lane entry for more details). He died in 1863 and is buried in St. Andrew’s churchyard. 

As with the New Ship, 1793 was the date of the first recorded innkeeper (William Newman). William Belcham was the landlord from 1828 until he died in 1833. The census of 1881 shows that the innkeeper, George Woods lived there with his wife, their ten children and six lodgers!

Address:71 West St
Postcode:SS4 1AX
Categories:Historical, Rochford