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Notes on the

Wellington Arms pub Rooksbridge

These notes have been compiled from the records I have available and from memory!
With a memory like mine, do not regard all the entries as gospel!

Any corrections, additions, and photos will be welcome.

Especially from the 1900’s.

I am also indebted to material from Sheila Bellingham of Rooksbridge,  Jenny Binning, Margery Fear and many others for much of the above information. (JR)

Wellington Arms pub Rooksbridge

The earliest known deeds for the property go back to 1770.

When a Mrs HATCH and a Mr CURRY were mentioned.

In the early 1800’s a Richard COLSTON was mentioned as an owner. When he died he left it to his daughter Diana.

Note: (In 1805. Richard COLSTON  and other dissenter signatories, applied for and were granted  a certificate from the Bishop of Bath and Wells allowing the “Home of Richard COLSTON to be used for Methodist worship”.

In the 1840 tithe map apportionments, Richard Colston is also listed as owner of the property next door which became the Post Office.

So.. Did he at some time own both properties? And were Methodist religious services held one or other of these)?

See: www.rooksbridge.org.uk/history/methodist.html

In 1831 There was an assignment of the cottage and garden from an Edward BOWERING to a James MILLARD.

1837 George GANE assigned to a Daniel EVANS who in turn assigned it to a John PIKE for £75, listed as a ‘Dwelling house & premises’.

1841 census. No entry for a pub or licensee in Rooksbridge found?

But a “Lamb Inn” somewhere? In East Brent is listed!

William BAKER  70  ‘Publican

Hannah BAKER 60 Wife

Henry BAKER 25 Son?

(Note: Ages in 1841 census rounded to nearest 5 years).

C. 1841-51  First mention of a licensed premises.

Sometime during this period, the property was rented to Isaac BOLEY (Shoemaker) and William TUCKER. (William TUCKER was the husband of Diana COLSTON).

Isaac BOLEY’S wife Elizabeth became the Licensee  


1851 (Kellys Directory) Betsey BOLEY  Licensee  

1851 census Wellington Arms,

Betty BOLEY Widow  45 Innkeeper   

John BOLEY Son  19 Shopkeeper

Susan BOLEY Daug-in-law 19

Ellen BOLEY Sister-in-law 60 Barmaid

Lodgers at the pub.

Jeremy PETHERHAM 73 Pensioner from (Kilbeggan Ireland)  born  East  Brent

William TUTTON  38 Chelsea Pensioner? Born Mark

John HAM   26 Farm Servant  Born East Brent

Isaac HAM   22 Thatcher  Born East Brent

UNKNOWN   28 Sailors Wife

UNKNOWN    5 daughter?

1861 Census

Elizabeth (Betsey) BOLEY    Widow 56 Victualer


Joseph EDWARDS  38 Pensioner

John HARDY   28 Ag. Lab.

Athur FRY   38 Ag. Lab.

Some confusion arises here. ? The very next entry in the 1861 census enumerator’s record book shows son John BOLEY listed as a Butcher? It is unlikely that his shop was next door? As at this time the Grocer’s shop next door appears to be in the hands of the Arthur COOK family.

It is possible that Butcher’s shop keeper John BOLEY,  and his wife Susan with their 5 young children were living at the time with his widowed mother Betsey at the Wellington Arms.

Listed within the John BOLEY household were……

John BOLEY   27 Butcher

Susan BOLEY  wife 27

John Isaac BOLEY son 9

Edward BOLEY son 6

Elizabeth BOLEY dau 5

James BOLEY son 3

George BOLEY son 1

Ellen NASH    housemaid

Joan PAULTNER?  51 Lodger.

1871 census

By 1871 John BOLEY was recorded as Inn Keeper at the Wellington Arms.

John BOLEY   37 Inn Keeper

Susan A BOLEY wife 37

James BOLEY  son 13

George BOLEY son 11

Susan B BOLEY dau   8

William BOLEY son   5

Boarders at the pub

William SAGE    45 Doctor

James ALBERT    56 Cordwainer.

1875  Betsey & John BOLEY Innkeeper. (Kellys Directory)

1878. Diana COLSTON the owner died.

The premises were Auctioned off to a Thomas ADAMS.  

Elizabeth (Betsy) BOLEY and her son John were the licensees.

Betsy BOLEY died soon after in 1878

By the 1881 Census John BOLEY had also died. And Susan BOLEY appears as widow.

1881 Census

Thomas HILL    35 Licensed Victualler Wellington Arms

Caroline HILL  wife  35

Jane PINE     19 Servant

Caroline DAY    11 Visitor.

1883 Mrs Harriet HILL listed as landlord of Wellington Arms (Kellys Directory)

A Harriet HILL 42 is listed in 1881 census wife of George HILL carpenter. Could this be Thomas’s sister or sister-in-law.

1889 William CURRY   (Kellys Directory)

1891 Census.

William CURRY   43 Licensed Victualler  Wellington Arms

Mary CURRY  Wife  43

Reginald CURRY Son   3

1901 Census

William CURRY   52 Licensed Victualler  Wellington Arms

Mary CURRY  Wife  52

Reginald CURRY Son  13

William CURRY kept a few cows behind the pub. And turned them out on the side of the road to graze in the summer!

Photo courtesy  David Walden.

Is the gent in the centre with the magnificent white mutton chop whiskers, William CURRY?

He appears again in the large group photo below. 2nd from the left!

Does anyone have any ideas on the photo below? What was the occasion that warranted such a large group and photograph? Did the motorcycle play a part

Photo courtesy of Bill Viles. Rooksbridge.

1919    (Kellys Directory)

William CURRY     Wellington Arms

1935    (Kellys Directory)

Florence Maud CROOK     Florence took over the pub when her husband Ben Died.

Florence then married George EMERY Snr. Who had previously lived in the mission house next to the chapel in Gills Lane and later at Mudgely Wall House.

After George Snr died, a nephew, Jud? Ran the pub.

Florence EMERY formerly CROOK seen here on the left with her sister-in-law Alice Hatcher nee EMERY.

(Photo courtesy Marjory Fear)

The dates below  are approximate.   (From Memory)! Help needed!

George EMERY’s son George Jnr. Married Dorcas CROSS from Brent Knoll and they moved into the pub in 1958

1960's Wellington Arms
Skittle team

How many of these lads do you know?  We think they are: 

Back row L-R:

Tony Bryant, Maurice Sandiford, Mike Ham, Jimmy Harding, Freddy Bastable, Don Pople, Mick Bryant and Dennis Sandiford,

Front Row Seated:

George Harding, John John Emery,
Roly Ham and George Emery Jnr.

Some are sadly no longer with us, but others are definitely alive and kicking!

What can you tell us about any of this happy bunch?

In 1958 The tenancy of the Wellington Arms  was held by HOLTS BREWERY of Burnham-on Sea.

This later passed to STARKEY KNIGHT and FORD of Bridgwater and eventually to WHITBREADS.

1978 Whitbreads Sold to Mr and Mrs MERVYN REYNOLDS.

1981 Sold to Mr R GREENSLADE.

1983 Sold to Lady D. MAXWELL-MITCHELL and Mr G FOX

1985 Sold to Mr and Mrs John POLLEY

1990’s? Unknown?

For a period during the early 2000 the Wellington in remained closed until reopened by  Gary and Rachael ANDERSON (Gary is a World Championship Darts player)

2011  Steve GRUBB and Jenny FORD

I believe The Wellington Arms is now a “Free House”?