The Bladebone Inn

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The Bladebone Inn
Provisions at Chapel Row - geograph.org.uk - 350250.jpg
General information
Address Chapel Row,
Berkshire,
United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°25′24″N 1°10′50″W / 51.42331°N 1.18060°W / 51.42331; -1.18060Coordinates: 51°25′24″N 1°10′50″W / 51.42331°N 1.18060°W / 51.42331; -1.18060
Opened Circa 17th century
Owner Freehouse
Website
thebladebone.co.uk

The Bladebone Inn is a public house at Chapel Row in the civil parish of Bucklebury in the English county of Berkshire.

History[edit]

Records show that there has been an inn on the site since the mid-17th century.[1] The current red-brick building, however, is undated.[1]

The pub was the location for Courts leet and baron on behalf of Bucklebury manor,[1] and was often part of the Chapel Row Fair. In 1790, the sons of George III attended a prize fight there between "Hooper", one of Lord Barrymore's men, and "Big Ben Brain". The bout lasted almost three-and-a-half hours and 180 rounds, and was eventually called a draw.[1]

Name[edit]

The name comes from the blade bone of a mammoth that was killed by prehistoric hunters.[1] The skeletal remains of the animal were found preserved in the silt of the Kennet Valley; the name "Bladebone" was used to refer to the pub by 1666.[1] The bone is encased in copper and hangs from the front of the pub as the pub sign.[2] The copper casing is regularly repaired, and the bone within has been found to be preserved in an excellent state.[3]

Ownership[edit]

In 1922, the pub was bought by Strange's Brewery of Aldermaston for £3,500[1](equivalent to approximately £150,000 in 2008). The brewery already rented the pub – along with a portion of the Bucklebury estate – for £86 (£3,500 in 2008) per annum.[1] The pub was later owned by Whitbread.[1]

It is currently a free house, and regularly stocks ales from the West Berkshire Brewery.[4]

In the arts[edit]

In the 1950s, Robert Still composed The Ballad of the Bladebone Inn, inspired by the pub.[1] Describing a tale explaining the name and sign of the pub, the composition's debut performance was at the Royal Festival Hall on 23 October 1957.[5] Stanley Bayliss of The Musical Times described the performance as "duly bucolic" with "pleasant tunes", but saw that it failed to send a "shiver down the spine."[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ingram, Christine; Ingram, Tony; Ridley, Pamela, eds. (1976). The History of Some Berkshire Inns and Their Signs. Reading: The Berkshire Federation of Women's Institute. pp. 23–24; 48–49. 
  2. ^ Musto, Graham (2006). "Composition Detail: Ballad of the Bladebone Inn". The Orchestral Works of Robert Still. Archived from the original on 14 August 2007. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  3. ^ "The Bladebone Story". The Bladebone Inn. Archived from the original on 20 January 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  4. ^ "West Berkshire's Better Pubs". West Berkshire CAMRA. Campaign for Real Ale. 2007. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  5. ^ Musto, Graham (2004). "Broadcast Performances of Robert Still's Music". Robert Still - 1910-1971. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  6. ^ Bayliss, Stanley (December 1957). "Opera and Concert Notices". The Musical Times. London: Musical Times Publications. 98 (1378): 682.