View of the pub from London Road
Location within Surrey
|Location||Junction of A30 and A325
Bagshot Heath, Surrey
|Construction started||c. 1690 (first building)
1879 (current building)
The Jolly Farmer, formerly the Golden Farmer, is a former pub and roundabout on the boundary between Camberley and Bagshot in Surrey, England. The pub derives its name from a gold-robbing farmer, William Davies or William Davis who spent years plundering various sections of the country's main south-west turnpike road including this area before being hanged in 1689 at this location.
The highwayman William Davies was born in Wrexham, Wales, before moving to Sodbury, Gloucestershire where he married and had 18 children. He targeted heaths across England from Putney near London to Cornwall for 40 years in the 17th century, taking significant gold from his victims. He plied the uninhabited main road across Bagshot/Frimley Heath[a]. His identity was discovered since he was a Sodbury farmer bearing 18 children with his wife who paid "any considerable sum in gold". Davies was hung in chains on Bagshot Heath in December 1689.
According to oral history Davis was hanged near the location of the pub, at the junction of London Road and Gibbett Lane. According to historian Jacqueline Simpson, this included speculation that he was hanged alive and starved to death, though this practice had been abolished by Elizabeth I a century earlier because it was too barbaric.
The original building was to the north of the London Road, and operated from the late 17th century as the Golden Farmer. It appeared under that name on early Ordnance Survey maps in the 19th century. A picture of Davies was painted and hung in the pub. The name was changed to "Jolly Farmer" in 1823. It moved to its current location inside the roundabout in 1879.[better source needed] During the 19th century, the pub was a rendezvous point for hunting around Bagshot Heath.
Malden wrote the Victoria County History in 1911, finding little of economic productivity or architecture in Bagshot to record other than its coaching inns, stating "Thirty coaches a day passed through, and there were many inns, since closed...The later history is full of the exploits of highwaymen, who found the wild country hereabouts specially favourable for their purposes".
In 1996, the pub closed and became a Mongolian barbecue. After this also closed, Burger King offered to buy the building, but their offer was rejected by Surrey Heath council after parents were concerned children from the nearby secondary school would try and cross the junction to reach the premises. Since 2003, the American Discount Golf Store has been run from the premises.
The pub sat at the junction of the London to Land's End turnpike road, now the A30 London Road, and the London to Portsmouth turnpike, now the A325 Portsmouth Road. The junction has been an important landmark and mentioned in early motoring itineraries. It was originally a simple fork in the road and was converted into the current roundabout layout in 1960.
- "A percular inscription - The Golden Farmer". Wrexham Advertiser. 16 September 1882. p. 6. Retrieved 23 May 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (. ))
- J. A. Sharpe (2005). Dick Turpin: The Myth of the English Highwayman. Profile Books. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-861-97418-1.
- History of the Lives and Actions of the World's Most Famous Highwaymen, Cpt. Charles Johnson, Edinburgh, 1814, p. 28, at Google Books
- Simpson, Jacqueline (2011). Green Men & White Swans: The Folklore of British Pub Names. Random House. ISBN 978-0-099-52017-7.
- "Golden Farmer". London Daily News. 7 November 1899. p. 9. Retrieved 23 May 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (. ))
- "Back In Time With A Historical Pub Crawl From Camberley To Bagshot". The Counties Network News. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
- "Hunting Appointments". Hampshire Advertiser. 14 April 1894. Retrieved 2 June 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (. ))
- 'Parishes: Windlesham' A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3, ed. H E Malden (London, 1911), pp. 376-378
- "Safe solution agreed to Jolly Farmer roundabout planning controversy". 20 March 2003. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
- "Golf shop at Jolly Farmer site". Get Hampshire. 27 February 2003.
- The Autocar: A Journal Published in the Interests of the Mechanically Propelled Road Carriage. 27. Iliffe, sons & Sturmey Limited. 1911. pp. 552,594.
- "List of Roundabouts under construction". Hansard. 22 June 1960. Retrieved 2 June 2015.