The Who’d Have Thought It at Milton Combe picked up a commendation recently in a competition for creative pub names.
It came more than 200 years too late for the composer, unfortunately, but the current hosts, Jacquie and Paul Lisney, still tell his story, as far as it it is known.
In the 1700s, the village was a hub of estate workers, river traders, and so on, with two old ale houses knocking along opposite each other, the First & Last and The Welcome Inn. But the craze and the crack cocaine of the age was gin and government spent half the century trying to crack down on it. There were riots when it tried to tax the stuff and eventually it had to settle for controlling rowdiness by introducing a licensing system for purveyors of “liquor”.
When this got to Milton Combe, for reasons of local politics and connections, we assume, the First & Last had the deal sewn up and the magistrates ready to rubber stamp it. But something – who can tell us what? – put a spanner in the works and the landlord of the Welcome Inn praised the Lord and gave the pub the name it had by the time of an 1801 census.
The First & Last limped on as a beer-only house and was a grocery shop too around 1900. Then the shop took over, then it was a post office, and now it is absorbed into the village housing stock.
The Whody has expanded into a pub with a good reputation for grub – £10 for a taster meal with a drink on a Monday night – and original rooms, beautifully kept. Also, they have some good music on regularly.
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