#100daysofbfotc Day 24: Bucks Mills, The Coffin Arms

Coffin Arms 1928By the time that it is mentioned, in the first chapter of Barefoot on the Cobbles, it has been twenty years since the Coffin Arms closed its doors. Its unusual name comes from the local landowners, the Pine-Coffin family. The Coffin Arms served the fishing village of Bucks Mills as an ale house for fifty years before the licence was transferred to the Coach and Horses at Horns Cross. Bucks Mills has been a dry village since that time. It is likely that it provided off sales rather than being an inn.

The cottage formed part of the Pine-Coffin estate and was almost certainly built, along with most of the other dwellings on that side of the Bucks Mills road, in the 1810s. The earliest known tenants were the Bale family. During the 1840s the Coffin Arms was taken over by Samuel Harris, who combined beer selling with lime burning. Thomas and Thirza Webb were in residence in the 1860s, until Thomas transferred the licence to his brother-in-law, Joseph Dark.

Once the Coffin Arms became a private residence, it was the home of the Steer family for fifty years. Jane Steer took four orphaned nieces and nephews into her home. This brought the total number of inhabitants in 1871 to fourteen.

In the 1920s, with new owners, the name was changed to Woodlands. The house has lain semi-derelict for decades. More information about Bucks Mills can be found here.

‘He had signed the pledge at a young age of course but did not find abstinence irksome. Since the Coffin Arms closed to customers decades ago, there was no ale-house in Bucks Mills, so alcohol was not a temptation.’

Barefoot on the Cobbles will be published on 17 November 2018. More information about the novel can be found here. Copies will be available at various events in the weeks following the launch or can be pre-ordered from Blue Poppy Publishing or the author.



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