Above: Wenford Inn sketch by Pamela Bousfield

The Wenford Inn and brew-house were built around 1834 to meet the demand created by the building of the Bodmin and Wadebridge railway. Inside the building there were numerous wooden partition walls which divided the Inn into small easy-to-heat areas, keeping out draughts and creating a cosy interior. Both the Bar, Parlour and Tap Room were very small at about nine feet square.

In 1856 it is recorded that the Landlord of the Wenford Inn was one Harry Bastard, a steward to the Onslow family at Hengar Manor. Harry’s family were also landlords of the Old Inn for many years. Harry was succeeded by John Colwell whose widow Sarah took over the licence after his untimely death at the age of 49, and ran the establishment for several years.

In 1889, Edward Eade was the landlord for a brief period until the lease was transferred to Archibald Campbell in 1895, marking the change from a landlord of Cornish stock to one from far away Scotland. During this period the brew-house became redundant, and the Inn became tied to St. Austell Brewery.

The last Landlord of the Wenford Inn was Alexander Armstrong from the Scots borders. Alexander was a stonemason by trade but had gained experience as a landlord at the Sportsman’s Arms in Camelford.

In those times, before the Wenford Dries were built, china clay was taken from the dries near Stannon down to St. Austell by horse-drawn wagons, and the drivers would spend a night at the Wenford Inn, where Mrs Armstrong would cook them meals. In about 1907, when liquid clay began to be transferred to the newly built dries by pipeline, clay workers continued to use the Inn for their crib breaks.

Trade was good during this period. Mrs Armstrong would make pasties for the rail workers, and after Saturday afternoon games, the local football teams were served tea and splits on trestle tables. Unfortunately, this golden period didn’t last. The Inn closed and buildings that had once been a skittle alley, brew-house, blacksmith’s shop, cowhouse and piggery became derelict.

Jon Arnold

Charles Marshall outside Wenford Inn, 1927

SBHG 0822 – China Clay Company horses at Wenford, c1910 . Photo: Arthur Welch]

The Wenford Inn from Wenford Bridge

The Wenford Inn from Wenford Bridge

If you can help with further details of the Wenford Inn contact Brian Hill on (01208) 851565 or email brianvalerie@btintnernet.com