History of The Chequers, Elston

Information from the Pentagon (History Group) Archive Material

The Chequers and butchers. The lean-to extension was a butcher’s shop, opened in 1850 by the then licencee, Richard Whitworth (1800-1870). One of the adjacent cottages was a small shop, as can be seen by the advertisements on the wall. There was a slaughterhouse in the grounds of Sunnyside behind the pub.

In 1767 Mary Piper’s (nee Elston) husband died and she took over the Chequers. It had been in the Piper family for many years before that date. William Piper, Mary’s son, ran the pub. Both Mary and her son died in 1788 and she bequeathed the pub to her brother’s son, John Elston, who became the new landlord.

Thus, evidence exists to show the Chequers has been a hostelry in the village for at least 250 years and most likely longer than 300 years.

There is further evidence in the County Records Office (Law and Administration, Item 48, Ref QDLV.1) that John Elston applied for his annual licence (at a charge of £10) in 1815, something all alehouse keepers had to do annually.

Circa 1947. Merrins’ dairy cows going to a field in Old Chapel Lane. Their herding was specifically timed so the cows didn’t mix with the Firs Farm herd from the field opposite the mill.

We also have a chronological list of Chequers landlords from 1853 to the present day.

The man at the door is Geoffrey James Howard, who was The Chequers’ publican from 30 July 1963 to 5 March 1970.

From the 1850s until the 1930s, Feast Day in Elston was an important social gathering of the villagers. It took place on the Sunday nearest the 18th June when the farmers had finished the hay harvest and were yet to start the corn harvest. The Chequers featured as a key gathering place for the feasters and was the destination of the feast parade. This comprised the Bromley Lodge of the Unity of Oddfellows with Newark Borough Band and villagers parading from Pinfold corner to the church for morning service. After the service, the parade would continue to its destination, The Chequers, where a feast lunch of cake, bread, cheese and onions was consumed. Thus, more than 150 years ago and for many years, the Chequers was an integral part of the village social fabric.

Geoff Peabody helps out behind the bar. Geoff and his wife had won the privilege of being landlord and landlady of The Chequers for a day as a result of a successful bid at an auction, which raised £5000 for charity.

With the closure of the two other public houses in Elston, The King William IV in 1915 and The Horse and Gears in 1936, the Chequers has thrived and up to very recent times has continued to be an important part of village life.

tl9Summer 2008

Good food, drink and a friendly atmosphere has helped the pub to maintain a healthy number of patrons until only very recently. It is an important asset of community value and should be protected as such.

A sad day – 2009. The car park of The Chequers with every window and door covered in protected aluminium sheeting. The pub had closed down. Let’s not let this happen yet again.