The Northey Arms

    Henry Shewring was a blacksmith, born around around 1789, baptised in Corsham, 24th Jan. 1790, son of Richard Shewring and Mary.  Henry married Mary Ann Lucey in Corsham on the 3rd Dec. 1808. They had at least 11 children but clearly not all survived:
    Charlotte (b. 20th Sept., bapt. 19th Nov. 1809 in Corsham);
    Richard (b. 13th May, bapt. 9th June 1811 in Corsham);
    Jane (bapt. 25th Dec. 1812 in Corsham);
    Martha (b. 5th Dec., bapt. 16th Apr. 1815 in Box),
    Anna Maria (b.24th Oct., bapt. 31st Mar. 1817 in Box);
    Richard (b. 9th Oct. 1818, bapt. 27th June 1819 in Box);
    Jane (b. 11th Mar., bapt. 28th Oct. 1821 in Box);
    Elizabeth and Sarah, (both b. 10th May, bapt. 8th June 1823 in Box);
    Emma (b. 5th Apr., bapt. 7th Aug.1825 in Box);
    Ann (b. 28th July, bapt. 30th Sept. 1827 in Box) and
    Harriet (b. 30th Aug., bapt. 18th Oct. 1829 in Box).

    From the above list it can be noted that the family moved to Box sometime around 1813/14. Box Tunnel opened to traffic on 30th June 1841. Its construction was started in November 1836. In 1841 Henry Shewring's Blacksmith's shop was in the part of the village formed by the triangle of the junction of the Melksham and Chippenham roads. 

    According to the deeds and building contract from Wadworth's brewery held by the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Chippenham, the Northey Arms was constructed in 1847, so Henry must have been its first owner or tenant. He was there only a few years before his death in 1850. His son Richard carried on the Blacksmith business in Box Village. The earliest reference to the hotel being called the "Northey Arms" is indeed from the report in the Wiltshire Independent - Thursday 28 November 1850 p.3. concerning the death of Henry Shewring, on the 24th of November 1850, aged 61. Emma Shewring died in 1865, "May 30th, at Box, after a long and painful illness,....youngest and beloved daughter of the late Mr. Henry Shewring, of the Northey Arms Inn, Box, Wilts, aged 40" (Bristol Mercury - Saturday 3rd June 1865 p.8.) Henry's wife Mary Anne Shewring had died in 1843 and was buried in Box on 4th Feb.

Mary Anne & Emma Shewring
    Daughters of Henry, Mary Anne (that is either Anna Maria or perhaps Martha in the above list) and Emma continued to run the pub after the death of their father in 1850, with James Lansdowne as Ostler in the 1850's. Mary Ann Shewring remained a spinster, and owner of the premises, which she let to tenants, until her death on 26th Dec.1900 at Vine Cottage, Box. Probate to Thomas Vezey, solicitor, effects 3,548 5s. 6d.

John Heale
    In the 1861 census, John Heale of Devizes was the landlord of the Inn, with his wife Fanny, of Cherhill,  and son George (bapt. 30th Oct. 1859 in Box). John had married Fanny Rawlings, registered in Calne on 1st Oct. 1855. In the 1859 Post Office Directory he is listed as John Hales, and there is a John Hales, a farmer at Call's Farm, Box in 1855. Something happened to John Heale/Hales in 1864 however, and there is a death recorded in Melksham that year. His widow marries Charles Coward in Mere, Wilts. in the summer of 1867 and is living in Salisbury Street, Mere in 1871.

George Browning
    From Harrod's Directory of 1865, George Browning is innkeeper at the Northey Arms. By 1867 he is running the Box Steam Mill. He was son of Thomas Browning, a yeoman farmer and miller, and his wife Charlotte at Drewett's Mill, Box. George later became baker and corn factor in the High Street, and in later life, assistant overseer of the poor in Box.

    At the Chippenham Petty Sessions for Thursday 6th December 1866 Mrs. Ellen Dyer obtained a transfer of the license to keep the Northey Arms Inn.
     Hellen Dyer was actually Hellen Vezey of Box, daughter of James Vezey. She had married William Dyer on 20th Aug. 1837 at St. Mary Redcliffe in Bristol. They had daughters: Anne (b. 1839, bapt. 5th May); Hellen (b. 1840, bapt. 3rd Jan. 1841); Mary (b. 1843, bapt. 28th May); Elizabeth (b. 1846, bapt. 21st June) and Wilhelmina (b. 1848, bapt. 18th June). In census 1851 and 1861 Hellen Dyer was landlady of the White Hart, Batheaston, with her daughters Ann (age 12), Hellen (age 10), and Elizabeth (age 5). Elizabeth went on to marry cousin James Vezey jnr. of the Chequers Inn, Box, on 10th May 1870. In the 1841 census William was still alive, and was a painter and glazier as well as publican at the White Hart. William died in April 1848 age 35 and was buried on 1st June at Batheaston.
    Helen Dyer "relict of Mr. William Dyer of Batheaston" died on 18th December 1873, her daughters were already running the pub by 1868. The license was officially transferred from the executors of Helen Dyer to her daughters Mary and Ann at the Corsham Petty Sessions of Thursday 15th Jan. 1874.
    At the Police Court, Chippenham, on 28th Sept. 1893, the license was transferred from Miss Dyer to W. R. Shewring. Ann and Mary Dyer had retired to Glendale, Bull's Lane, Box. Wilhelmina Dyer married Edwin Stone, innkeeper of the Bear Inn, Batheaston in 1873, she died in 1896.

Walter Richard Shewring
    Richard Shewring, was the son of the original Henry Shewring, and blacksmith, at the Queen's Head, Chippenham Road, Box. His sister Ann died at the Queen's Head on 29th Jan 1845, age 17 after a short and severe illness. Richard married his first wife Elizabeth Tylee at St. Anne, Soho, Westminster on 13th Nov. 1849. They had a daughter Mary Ann (b. 1850).
    After the death of his first wife Elizabeth, on 25th March 1855, at the Queen's Head, Richard married Elizabeth Ann Tanner of Warminster, Wilts. at St. James in Bristol, in 1859. They had 5 children: William Henry Shewring (b. 1857, bapt. 18th Sept. 1859); Walter Richard Shewring (b. 1859, bapt. 18th Sept.), Frances Jane Shewring (b. 1865); Francis John Shewring (b. 1867) and Elizabeth Mary Shewring (b.1870). Francis John was licensee of the Lamb Inn, Box, in 1891.

    Walter Richard Shewring married Ellen Norah Sims of Semington in Steeple Ashton on 2nd April 1883. Unfortunately Ellen took to drink after their marriage and also spent a month in prison for theft, her husband petitioned for divorce in 1892 due to a suspected affair with the couple's landlord and neighbour, a saddler by the name of William J. Houkes who was 48 at the time the alleged events took place and was born in Hinton Charterhouse. The affair was in newspapers nationally, the further away from home, however, the more distorted the tale became. From the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 10 November 1892 p. 5.:- LOCAL DIVORCE SUIT - In the Divorce Division yesterday Sir Francis Jeune and a common jury had before them the case of Shewring v. Shewring and Houkes. The petition was that of the husband, a stone contractor of Box, for a divorce by reason of the alleged adultery of his wife with the co-respondent, petitioner's landlord. Answers were filed denying the charge. The marriage took place at Steeple Ashton in 1883, after which Mr. & Mrs. Shewring lived at Bellevue-cottage, about a mile from Box. It was stated that the respondent took to drink and was arrested on a charge of stealing. She was tried and sentenced to one month's imprisonment. At the expiration of the sentence he met her at the prison gate and said he would look over the matter. Next door to their house lived the co-respondent, a saddler, who was a widower. According to the case of the petitioner Mr. Houkes was a constant visitor to the house, and it was alleged that on one occasion they travelled to Bath by the same train and at a public house in Bath they misconducted themselves. Maud Helps, living in Bath, in the service of the petitioner, gave evidence as to the witnessing familiarities between the respondent and the co-respondent. It was then proposed to call the two young children of the parties, and the learned Judge said it seemed that must be done as the case hinged upon it. Mabel Shewring, eigh years of age, was called and at the request of the learned Judge she went by his side on the bench, and he elicited from her that she knew the difference between telling the truth and telling a story; she was then sworn and stood by the side of the President, giving evidence against her mother in regard to the night Mrs. Shewring and the co-respondent travelled together from Box to Bath, and was corroborated by her brother Harry, aged six years. The case was not concluded when he court rose.  From the Bristol Mercury - Friday 11 November 1892 p.8.:-...Upon the case being resumed (10th Nov.), Mr. Houkes was called. He said that he was formerly the owner of Belle Vue cottages, one of which he occupied, and the other was tenanted by the petitioner. He was a saddler. He lived at home with four sons and a daughter. In 1890 Mr. Shewring left his house, and said he would not have gone if he (witness) had made some improvements which were wanted. His business kept him about the place all day. Sometimes Mrs. Shewring called at the house to ask his daughter to take care of her child while she went to Bath. The first he heard of the charge of adultery against him was on Christmas-day, 1890. The petitioner on that day, when he called at the house, ordered him off, stating that he would hear from him. He emphatically denied the charge of adultery. The day before Christmas, 1890, he travelled in the afternoon from Box to Bath, but not in the same compartment in the train as Mrs. Shewring.
    To the Jury - Never to his knowledge had he travelled in the same compartment with her.
    This being the whole of the evidence, council addressed the jury on behalf of their respective clients. Mr. Wheeler. Q.C., in the course of his address said that he only called the two young children of the parties with the sanction of his lordship, and he must say that a more touching sight he had never witnessed.
    His Lordship, in directing the jury, said that in this case there was an absence of familiarity outside the evidence given between the accused parties, but, on the other hand, there were abundant opportunities of misconducting themselves if they were so minded. It was admitted that the co-respondent had given way to drink, and that in consequence she and her husband lived unhappily. As to the evidence of the young children, the defense was that it was a concocted story; but if that were so, no language could fitly describe such conduct on the part of the petitioner. It was absolutely essential in the interest of justice that they were called, and the jury would have to consider whether they could give due weight to the evidence.
    The jury, after a quarter of an hour's absence, returned a verdict in favour of the petitioner, and the learned Judge granted a decree nisi, with costs, and custody of the children.

    In 1891, during the above proceedings, the three children from this marriage Edith Gertrude Mabel (Mabel), Henry (Harry) and Walter William (Willie), were living with the Long family, at 20, Richmond Place, Walcot, Bath, being cared for by Maud Helps, the nurse in the employ of their father. By 1911 Mabel was a nursing sister herself, employed by the Islington Workhouse, St. John's Road, Upper Holloway, London.

    Three years after this upheaval, on 11th December 1895, at North Wraxall Parish Church, by the Rev. Francis Harrison, Walter Richard, son of the late Richard Shewring, of Box, married Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Weeks of Luckham, Colerne. Walter was already at the Northey Arms by now. In 1901 he remained a stone contractor, he was a stone mason in his youth, whilst also being licensed victualler at the Northey Arms, with wife Mary Elizabeth, Maud Helps carried on working for the family after they took over the Northey Arms, as barmaid, along with sister-in-law Mabel Elizabeth Weeks. There were three children at home, Edith G. M. (aged 17), Walter W. (aged 13) and new daughter Doris Mary (b. 1899). Meanwhile Walter's first wife Ellen Sims had died early in 1898. Other children followed: Walter Richard Shewring in 1901; Jack Brenton Shewring in 1904 and Joan Isabel Shewring in 1905. There was also a daughter Mollie Eugenie Shewring, born 1907 but died 1908. I have yet to find out what happened to Harry as he seems to have just vanished from the records, although there was a Harry Shewring who became a prominent rugby international, who may be completely unconnected .
    Walter Richard Shewring of "The Paddock", Box, Wilts. died 12th Feb. 1911 at Corston, Somerset. Probate to Elizabeth Mary, widow, Thomas Vezey, solicitor, and Benjamin Vezey, soap manufacturer.

    THE LATE MR W. R. SHEWRING - Impressive Funeral at Box - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 23 February 1911 p.6. : "The interment of Mr. Walter Richard Shewring, of the "Paddock", Box, whose death occurred suddenly at Corston, on Sunday, took place at the Box Cemetery on Thursday. The funeral service was a very impressive one, nearly all the inhabitants of Box attending the funeral to pay their last tribute of respect to a life-long and much respected inhabitant.
Mr. Shewring's death created a painful sensation in the village. Mr. Shewring, who was 51 years of age, was a native of Box, and took an active part in the life of the village. For many years he was the licensee of The Northey Arms, which he relinquished about seven years ago. A mason, by trade, Mr. Shewring commenced work as soon as he left school, at the Box Station Works, of Bath Stone Firms, Ltd., and up to the time of his death was the foreman there. The deceased leaves two sons and one daughter. He was always actively concerned in the affairs of the village, and up to the last election was a member of Box Parish Council, from the time of his establishment, had also been a member of Chippenham Board of Guardians for many years, but as in the instance of the Parish Council, he was forced to retire at the last election through ill-health. For many years, and up to the time of his decease, he was the Overseer for the Parish. Mr. Shewring was a keen sportsman also. He was one of the oldest members of the Box cricket club, and was an extremely popular man on the cricket field. Last season he did not take a very active part, but donned the flannels for the last Married v. Single match. The Baden Powell Scout movement also interested him considerably and it was he that took the initiative in the formation of a Box section of the Scouts, of which he remained hon. secretary until he died.
    A large number of residents were present at the cemetery when the interment took place this afternoon. The officiating clergyman was the Rev.W. White, Vicar of Box. The coffin was borne to the family vault, in which the remains were reposed, on a bier, and the bearers were old employees at the Stone Wharf, and some had been there for as many as 30 years. The Box detachment of the Boy Scouts. in their picturesque uniforms, accompanied the cortege, marching on each side of the bier. The coffin was of unpolished oak with brass fittings, and bore the following simple inscription on the breast-plate:- Walter R. Shewring, Died February 12th, Aged 51.
    The principal mourners were:- Mr. Frank Shewring, Mr. Dick Shewring, Mr. & Mrs. Tanner, Mr. C. Tanner, Mr. R. Weeks, Mr. H. Weeks, Mr. A. Gifford, Mr. W. Vezey, Mr. B. Vezey, Mr. Dick Gifford, Mr. T. Vezey, Mr. E. Vezey, Mr. Percy Vezey, Mr. H. Milsom, Mr. S. McIlwraith, and Mr. A. Chaffey.
    The members of the Box Parish Council who attended the funeral were Dr. Martin (chairman), Messrs. T. Pinchin (vice-chairman), F. J. Goldston, T. Bull, C. Oatley, W. H. Pepper, F. H. Lambert, W. B. Stowers, A. J. Bishop, G. Bradfield, and W. J. Bradfield (clerk).
    Several of the deceased's fellow workers at the Stone Works also attended, among them being Messrs. J. Tiley, W. Bradfield, C. Richards, J. Weeks and E. Gale. Mr. George Northey, of Box, was also present at the cemetery...."

    There followed a list of many other mourners and floral tributes. After Walter retired from the Northey Arms, it was acquired by Frome United Breweries.


1/8, 1/4, 1/2 & 1 Gallon Stone Jars Shewring1.jpgShewring2.jpgShewring3.jpg

Potter: Price, Bristol.

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