Methuen Arms Hotel

Formerly the Red Lyon

Lyon1.jpg Image from the Bucker Collection, Devizes Museum.

    The earliest parts of what is now the Methuen Arms in Corsham belonged to the Priory of Corsham, once occupied by the order of the Cluniac Priory of Tickford (Newport Pagnel dissolved in 1524). It had ceased to be a priory by the end of the 14th century but many of the old parts of the buildings survived until 1815 when it was extensively remodelled. An image of the old buildings survive in the Buckler sketch now in the W.A.N.H.S. Devizes Museum.

    There was  Christopher Nott, son of Edward Nott, baptised in Corsham on the 15th April 1575. It is likely that it is this Christopher Nott that first set up the sign of the Red Lyon and caused upset for the gentry in 1607. He married Elizabeth Kington on 28th Apr. 1600. They had children Christopher (bapt. 24th Aug. 1602); Prudence (bapt. 9th Dec. 1604); Marye (bapt. 22nd Feb. 1606/7); Nathaniell (bapt. 13th Aug. 1609); Honer (bapt. 16th Aug. 1612) and Elizabeth (bapt. 17th Nov. 1616). Christopher's son Nathaniel ran the inn with his wife Joane, in his will he states that his estate should pass to Nathaniel, son of his brother Christopher after Joane's demise.

    The Lyon continued in the Nott family to Elizebeth Webber, sister of Edward Nott. An article for children in the Wells Journal - Friday 14 August 1936 p.7 describes an object like a napkin ring.. "well can you imagine one big enough for a child of, say, five years old to put his head through, made of polished brass, two and a half inches wide and as thick as a couple of pennies? Only instead of being a joined up ring, all in one piece, as a napkin ring is, it is open and one end overlaps the other a little. This tremendous contraption is a dog collar, one hundred and ninety years old! There is a small scrawly pattern around both edges of the collar, and on it is engraved in well-worn letters:- "Elizebeth Webber at the Red Lyon, Corsham, Wilts. 1739."... (the word) Corsham started a little too near the hole punched through the collar for the dog's chain, with the result that he couldn't get the last letter in....the "m" flying away up above, and the "Wilts, 1739" tucked away in tiny letters."

    As you can see from the above list, the hotel has passed through many hands. A selection of bottles survive from when it was also a wine and spirit merchants.

    Edward Sidney Ogburn was born in Pimlico, London, in 1868, son of Edward Ogburn and Louisa Jane Burges. Edward's father was from Portsmouth, Hants. but his mother Louisa Jane was born in Bath. In 1871 the family were living above a draper's shop at 99 Lupus St. Pimlico, London, where Edward senior was a brewer. Louisa Jane's sister Mary Ann was a dressmaker at the draper's shop

   By 1873 the family were in Bath where Edward Ogburn had the Northgate Wine Vaults (The Unicorn), by 1881 they were at Upper Borough Walls where Edward senior was a licensed victualler at "The Full Moon". The license was transferred from Northgate Street at the Bath sessions for August 1874. E. Ogburn remained a member of the Bath Licensed Victualler's association however. At a special session for the end of April 1875, Edward acquired the license of the Full Moon from Charles Hayden. He was here until June 1903, when the license was permanently transferred to Alfred Ernest Cleall. In 1882, Frank John, the twin son of Edward Ogburn, died at Upper Borough Walls. The family had moved to Southleigh, Claremont Road, by 1892 when their second son Joseph Percival married Emily Sophia Payne (second daughter of Inspector Payne of the Bath Police) at St. Mary's, Bathwick on 1st Sept.1892.

    Edward Sidney Ogburn married Flora Jane Saunders at St. Saviour's Church, Bath, on 27th Apr. 1899 whilst he was living in Frome. By 1902 Edward Sidney Ogburn was under adjudication for bankruptcy as proprietor at the Bull Hotel, Market Place, Frome. He was under receiving orders that July. The Bull was a large establishment with catering for 150, which Edward Sidney had taken on in the spring of 1896, and despite copious advertising it seems it was difficult for him to make a success of it. On 26th July 1902, however, his situation had changed to "Amended Notice". The first meeting of creditors had taken place on the Thurs. 24th July in the billiard room of the Bull. The facts stated were as follows: "This bankrupt states that he acquired the fully-licensed business known as the Bull Hotel, Frome, in May, 1896. His capital was only about 87, but he borrowed 700 from his father, who is the owner of the premises. The father is now scheduled as a partly-secured creditor for 757 10s. His security, valued at 44 5s. 9d. (consisting of a policy for 200 on the bankrupt's life, and three "permits" for whisky and brandy) was deposited with him as late as the end of May last. This transaction will, of course, be inquired into. The bankrupt attributed his failure to money expended on the premises, loss on horses, robbery by servants, ill health, depression in trade during the past two years, and want of capital. Under the first four headings, the bankrupt, in his deficiency account, estimates specific losses amounting to 176 13s. 10d. The bankrupt states that he only knew about his insolvent position about a fortnight before the receiving order, when he was first served with a County Court process. In the deficiency account, however, he estimates an excess of liabilities of 140 8s. 7d. a year ago, and, having regard to this admission, and to the last alleged cause of failure, viz., depression in trade during the last two years and want of capital, the Official Receiver is of the opinion that the bankrupt was aware of his position much earlier. A private meeting of the creditors was held on the bankrupt's premises the day before the petition was filed, at which an offer to make a deed of assignment was made, but not accepted by certain creditors present, and the matter fell through. The whole of the unsecured liabilities, with the exception of 31 2s. balance of rent due, and not distrainable in bankruptcy, is owing to 82 creditors for goods supplied in the hotel business. The bankrupt's books and accounts are very well kept. The Official Receiver is aware that certain articles if furniture, claimed by the bankrupt's wife as her separate property, were removed from the hotel on the morning of the receiving order, and this is now the subject of investigation. The debtor has been adjudicated a bankrupt on his own application....." (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 31 July 1902 p3.)

    Edward Sidney Ogburn applied for and was awarded his discharge from bankruptcy on Tuesday 7th April 1903 before Mr. B. Vachell, acting as deputy judge. The discharge, however, was suspended for 12 months. He was licensee of the Methuen Arms Hotel by the beginning of 1907.

    Edward Sidney was initiated into the Royal Somerset Lodge of Freemasons on 10th Sept. 1896 whilst at the Bull Hotel.

    From the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Saturday 16 July 1921 p.17:- DEATH OF MR. E. OGBURN: - The death took place in a Bath nursing home  on Wednesday of Mr. Edward Ogburn, late of 52 Oldfield Park. the deceased, who was a native of Portsmouth, migrated to Bath at an early age, and became prominently associated with the licensed trade, from which he retired fifteen years ago. He was an esteemed member of the Bath Licensed Victualler's Association, in which he had held the offices of President, Secretary and Treasurer, while at the time of his death he was the senior trustee. For fourteen years also he was a member of the City of Bath Lodge of the R.A.O.B., having attained the position some time ago of Provincial Grand Primo of Bath and District. Mr. Ogburn leaves three children, Mr. E. S. Ogburn of Chippenham; Mrs. J. L. Sandford, of Glasgow; and Mr. F. S. Ogburn, who practices in this city as a solicitor. His last illness commenced as far back as the beginning of this year, and five weeks ago he was removed to a nursing home."

   By 1911 Edward Sidney and Flora had 3 children: Flora Marjorie (b.1900), Edward Percival Saunders (b.1901), and Phyllis Louisa (b.1904), all born in Frome.   In 1915 Edward enlisted in the Army Service Corps. and served in WW1, he was in the Med. expeditionary force until 1918.

    Edward Sidney Ogburn died at 1 Parkside, Chippenham on 21st Feb. 1957. At the time of his father's death, Edward's son, Edward Percival Saunders Ogburn, was a retired Squadron Leader of the R. A. F.


Large & Small Spirit Flasks Ogburn1.jpgOgburn4.jpgOgburn5.jpg
Embossing: E. S. OGBURN (Variation: OGBOURNE on Large) / FAMILY WINE MERCHANT / CORSHAM .

Height: 6.25" & 7.5". Both variations of large flasks have 40 on the base. No other makers mark.

1 Gallon Stone Jar Ogburn2.jpg
Impressed: E. S. OGBURN / Wine & Spirit Merchant / METHUEN ARMS HOTEL / CORSHAM / WILTS.

Potter: Price-Powell, Bristol.

1 Gallon Stone Jar Ogburn3.jpg

Potter: Price, Bristol.  Photo courtesy of M. Squires.

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