The Wheatsheaf Hotel is a late Georgian building, described by Nikolaus Pevsner in his book "The Buildings of England" as ‘stuccoed, with projecting quoins (and having) three bays, three storeys.’ Georgian buildings had sash windows that were shorter on the ground floor and which were taller on the upper floors."
A Typical Georgian Mail Coach
The Wheatsheaf History
The Wheatsheaf was said to have been a drover’s pub at one time, but this seems unlikely as it was deemed to be a hotel, and as such served travellers arriving in the village by coach. If it was ever a drover’s pub then this must have been before the coaching era.
Coaches and strangers would require a guide to lead them over the boggy terrain to Spalding or Sleaford, whichever direction they were travelling in. The land had not been fully drained at that time and a stranger to the district would not be familiar with the dry ground. From Swineshead The Wheatsheaf supplied the guides; it was known as the principal hostelrie in the town of Swineshead and also noted for its good accommodation (Pigot’s Directory of Lincolnshire).
The tide formerly came to Swineshead; the haven was near the market place. It was crossed by a bridge which was taken down in 1796 when the channel choked up.
According to Pigot’s Directory of Lincolnshire 1841, "A coach to Norwich from Newark came through the village each morning at 11am and called at The Wheatsheaf. Another coach going in the opposite direction, from Newark to Norwich, would call at 5pm".
There was once stabling for sixteen horses at the back of the hotel and cottages for the ostlers positioned around the yard. The tethering rings for the horses were there until just after the Second World War, according to a newspaper article.
The coaches would also leave their mailbags at The Wheatsheaf and it was from here that local people would collect their letters. This meant that in effect it was the village’s first Post Office. Some time at the turn of the century, Bank House, the property adjoining The Wheatsheaf, became the Post Office and the mail was left there.
A few years later the Post Office moved to High Street in what is now part of Forresters Court Art Gallery and eventually to its present position.
A document seen at The Gentleman’s Society in Spalding showed that in 1801 The Wheatsheaf belonged to John Jessop. He was part of a large family who owned much property in the village at that time. The Wheatsheaf passed to his son Zebedee Jessop and then to his son, another John. This meant it belonged to the same family for the best part of half a century.
White’s Directory of Lincolnshire for 1815 stated that Swineshead held a market every Thursday, which was of considerable importance to the middle of the seventeenth century, when the corporation of Boston used low means in its suppression, it may now be considered obsolete, except that some of the neighbouring farmers assemble in the evening at one of the inns for recreation and business. Here is still a fair on 2 October for the sale of cheese and onions.
The Jessops, however, did not live at The Wheatsheaf all the time but sometimes put in a landlord. In 1820 or thereabouts, Edward Cole, landlord of the Neptune Inn on the river bank near Skirbeck church, moved to Swineshead to become the landlord. In 1821 Swineshead had 1,696 inhabitants. By 1826 William Kirkham had taken over as ‘mine host’ for a while.
White’s Directory of Lincolnshire for 1826 stated that William Kirkham was the proprietor of The Wheatsheaf. Swineshead has a market on Thursdays, but it is now nearly deserted and very little business is done at it, except in the evening when the principal farmers generally assemble in one of the inns.
In 1832 Thomas Smith and John Lighton were charged with offering base coins at The Wheatsheaf. One of them had eight half crons and the other one counterfeit sovereign in their possession when they were apprehended.
Nobles Gazeteer of Lincolnshire for 1833 recorded Swineshead as having a fair on the second Thursday of June for horses and on 2 October The Great Cheese Fair. In 1833 Zebedee Jessop, the then owner, died leaving it to his son John Jessop, who had been landlord for some years. John owned The Wheatsheaf until 1851 and during this time as landlord of the pub he was also described as being a brewer and a farmer of two hundred acres. Presumably he owned the Westholme Brewery which served The Wheatsheaf.
Pigot’s Directory of Lincolnshire for 1835 recorded John Jessop as being the proprietor of The Wheatsheaf a Commercial Inn and Posting House. It also has the following statement: “Not more than 80 years since the state of this part of the country was such that in wet seasons, strangers travelling hence to Sleaford, were obliged to take a guide, and one was generally supplied from The Wheatsheaf which Inn is still noted for its good accommodation.”
The Census of 1841 records the inhabitants of The Wheatsheaf as being John Jessop (aged 40, born in Swineshead in 1779), his wife Jane Jessop (40), with their children John Jessop (20), Mary Jessop (15), Elizabeth Jessop (15), Fanny Jessop (14) and Thomas Jessop (10).
White’s Directory of Lincolnshire for 1842 stated that John Jessop as being the proprietor of The Wheastheaf and a Brewer. At this time Swineshead held a Horse Fair on the second Thursday in June and a fair on 2 October.
The Census of 1851 records the inhabitants of The Wheatsheaf as being John Jessop (aged 52, born in Swineshead in 1779), his wife Jane Jessop (53), with their staff William Woodthorp (assistant aged 22), Lucy Myers (General Servant aged 23) and Sarah Bemrose (General Servant aged 23 and born in Spalding). John and Jane Jessop were responsible for doing some alterations to this establishment as a bill heading was found amongst some papers at the archives shows. The smart new bill heading advertised The Wheatsheaf as having ‘Post Horses, Good Stabling, Lock-up Coach Houses’ and underneath in smaller letters it said ‘John Jessop, having made considerable improvements in his House and Premises, hopes to receive a share of Public Patronage.’
From 1856 the landlord was Seth Cawthorne.
The Census of 1861 records the inhabitants of The Wheatsheaf as being Seth Cawthorn (Victualler aged 38 born in Marbaragh, Yorkshire) with his wife Betsey Cawthorn (44), his sister Lucy Cawthorn (28 born in Horncastle), nephew Richard Bycroft (4 born in Stickford) and their staff William Bay (Ostler aged 22 born in Algakirk), Anna Palmer (General Servant aged 23 born in Bourne) and Thomas Hergram (17).
The Morris Directory and Gazeteer of Lincolnshire for 1863 recorded Seth Cawthorn as being the proprietor of The Wheatsheaf a Commercial Inn and Posting House. It also had the following statement: Such was the state of this part of the country within the last century that strangers travelling to Sleaford in the wet season were obliged to have a guide, people for that purpose being in attendabce and supplied from the Wheatsheaf, then and now the principal hostelrie in the town.
The Census of 1871 records the inhabitants of The Wheatsheaf as being William Durston Bagg (Inn Keeper, Butcher and Grocer aged 54 and born in Mark, Somerset), his wife Mary Bagg (49, born in Brothertoft), their children Will Bagg (7 born in Swineshead) and Mary Jane Bagg (6, born in Swineshead) together with their staff Sarah Ann Woods (Servant aged 16 born in Swineshead) and James Walker (Servant aged 15 born in Swineshead).
William Durtson Bagg was succeeded by James Ward around 1876, followed by Richard Dodsson on 27 August 1879 and Charles Bland on 1 Deceber 1880.
The Census of 1881 records the inhabitants of The Wheatsheaf as being Charles Bland (Inn Keeper aged 36, born in Boston), his wife Louisa Bland (28, born in Holbeach), with their staff Ann Breeton (General Servant aged 16 and born in Donington). Who owned the property during these years is not yet known.
The Wheatsheaf also had its own brewery at Westholme, down Church Lane, which was once called Brewery Lane. The census of 1891 recorded Robert Smith, a brewer, living there with his wife Martha with their family of seven sons and five daughters between the ages of 24 and three.
In 1883, the Boston Guardian, dated 23rd August, contained an article regarding an application by John Bramley of The Wheatsheaf Brewery to have a licence to supply small amounts of liquor as an ‘off-licence’. Some of the local licensees objected, notably John William Rawlinson the landlord of The Red Lion, George Rawlinson of The Golden Cross, Mr Reynolds of The Swan and Dickinson Lynn of The Green Dragon. The licence was denied. At this time the brewery was called Bramley & Groom – Wheatsheaf Brewery. William Groom, the other partner in the brewery, lived at Drayton House and as well as being involved with the brewery he was said to be a farmer and grazier, and also a miller at Wyberton.
The advertisement below was printed in the Stamford Mercury in 1887.
WHEAT SHEAF BREWERY
SWINESHEAD- ESTABLISHED 1830
The Celebrated Swineshead ALES and STOUTS, in
of 6, 9, 18, 26, and 54 Gallons each.
X ALE 0. 10 per Gal
XX .. 1. 0 .. ..
XXX .. 1. 2 .. ..
STOUT 1. 2 .. ..
Post card will find
J. BRAMLEY, Wheat Sheaf Brewery, SWINESHEAD
Below is a photograph of The Wheatsheaf circa 1880, the cottages on the left backed onto the church yard and contained Shackleton's Shop. This shop later became Dawsons butchers shop.
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The Census of 1891 records the inhabitants of The Wheatsheaf as being John Pickersgill (Publican aged 60 born in Swineshead), his wife Elizabeth Pickersgill (aged 54 born in Swineshead), their son Maiden Pickersgill (Ostler aged 28 born in Swineshead), their granddaughter Maud Holland (aged 12 born in Sheffield) and their staff Ada Stevenson (Domestic Servant aged 17 born in Swineshead).
White’s Directory of Lincolnshire for 1892 stated that John Pickersgill , a Victaller and Potato Merchant, was the proprietor of The Wheatsheaf. It also stated that the tide formerly came to the town, the haven was near the market place. It was crossed by a bridge which was taken down in 1796 when the channel choked up.
In 1895 the Independent Benefit Society was meeting at The Wheatsheaf. The Boston Guardian reported that in January of that year the members attended a ‘splendid dinner provided by Host Pickersgill’.
However, all the occasions taking place at The Wheatsheaf were not so jolly. Three months later on 1st April a sale took place at the pub. A disturbance broke out amongst a group of people. The landlord intervened and was punched to the ground by a Swineshead labourer George Holland. The landlady, Elizabeth Pickergill, attempted to pull George Holland off of her husband and she herself was struck by George’s brother Henry. A local farmer George Cole stopped the fight and threw out the fighting brothers assisted by locals James Moore and John William Witherington. At their trial the brothers were described by PC Clarke as "men who gave a great deal of trouble and if they couldn’t find anyone else to fight with then they would fight amongst themselves".
The incident must have affected the Pickersgill who left later that year and Joseph Whitworth took over. He was described as a potato merchant and receiver of mail. The Boston Guardian and Lincolnshire Independent ran a newspaper article entitled ‘Odd Man Out – Gaming at Swineshead’. It seems that Joseph Robert Whitworth was summoned for unlawfully permitting gaming on his premises; as he had allowed three men to toss for beer. A witness, George Cole junior of Swineshead, said that of the three men the same man always lost. It was clear that something was going on and was of the opinion that the landlord knew about it. The ‘odd man out’ was a local shoemaker. Cole thought it was unfair that the shoemaker was being set up, and remonstrated with the landlord. He said he would call the Police and was then threatened by one of the men who tried to knock him down. Dickinson Lynn, landlord of The Green Dragon, was in The Wheatsheaf at the time and told the court that the landlord was present and must have seen what was going on. When Whitworth was finally convicted under section 17 of the Licensing Act 1872 of suffering gaming on his licensed premises, he was fined 10/- and told by the Chairman of the Court that he should learn how to conduct his public house, he replied that he was ‘A bit of a greenhorn at the job yet, sir’. This would suggest that Joseph Whitworth had not been a licensee of a public house before taking over. However, five years earlier in 1890, when his daughter Kate was married, his occupation was stated as ‘Inn Keeper’!
Below is a photograph of The Wheatsheaf and Swineshead Market Place circa 1890.
Click on the images to view full size
Kelly’s Directory of Lincolnshire for 1900 recorded Isaac Bentley as being the proprietor of The Wheatsheaf Inn and also a Brewers Agent.
The Census of 1901 records the inhabitants of The Wheatsheaf as being Isaac Bentley (Brewery Agent aged 56 born in Spilsby), his wife Sarah Ann Bentley (aged 41 born in Algakirk), their children Arthur Ernest Bentley (Servant aged 18 born in Edenham), James Isaac Bentley (Apprentice aged 15 born in Grantham) and Anne Kate Bentley (aged 4 born in Swineshead), together with his Mother in Law Sarah Whitworth (aged 65 born in Fleet).
Below are photographs of The Wheatsheaf and Swineshead Market Place circa 1900.
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By 1910 another change had taken place when Ernest Callow Stammers took over as the landlord, he remained at The Wheatsheaf until 1918.
The Census of 1911 records the inhabitants of The Wheatsheaf as being Ernest Callow Stammers (Licensed Victualler aged 55 born in Gressenhall Norfolk in 1856), his wife Henrietta Rose Stammers (aged 37 born in Kirton), their children Victor Callow Stammers (aged 7 born in Boston) and Leonard Stammers (aged 6 born in Boston) together with their staff Rebecca Hilton (General Domestic Servant aged 20 born in Bicker).
Kelly’s Directory of Lincolnshire for 1919 recorded Ernest Callow Stammers as being the proprietor of The Wheatsheaf.
Kelly’s Directory of Lincolnshire for 1926 recorded Robert Wilkinson Kealey as being the proprietor of The Wheatsheaf. On 3 April 1929 William Walker became the proprietor of the Wheatsheaf.
Below is a photograph of The Wheatsheaf and Swineshead Market Place in 1920. The photograph shows the construction of the War Memorial in the Market Place, it was unveiled and dedicated at a ceremony on 13 November 1920. The memorial was unveiled by Lieutenant Colnel LHP Hart D.S.O. and Bar, M.C., commnading officer of the 4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment (TF), he then addressed the crowd and distributed medals to members of the forces who had returned from service in the First World War. William Gilding, Chairman of Swineshead Parish Council, made a speech in which he said the memorial had cost £600.
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Kelly’s Directory of Lincolnshire for 1930 recorded William Walker as being the proprietor of The Wheatsheaf, which was noted as a hotel. From 2 August 1931 Walter Whittaker was the proprietor of The Wheatsheaf. The 1933 edition of Kelly’s Directory for Lincolnshire stated Samuel Harmiston Pattinson as being the proprietor of The Wheatsheaf. He had taken over on 11 May 1932 and ran The Wheatsheaf until he moved to Stamford in 1936. There was another change by 1937 as Kelly’s Directory of Lincolnshire recorded Henry George Morris as being the proprietor of The Wheatsheaf, who had assumed responsibility on 20 May 1936.
According to a newspaper article in the Boston Guardian dated 7 September 1938 the original stables were still standing in the yard at the back. It was also reported that Mr Morris was leaving on 21 September for The Horse and Groom in Lincoln.
On 5 October 1938 George Houghton became landlord of The Wheatsheaf which he ran for almost 17 years with his wife Mary Ethel Houghton. Prior to running The Wheatsheaf George Houghton had lived in High Street, Billingborough, Lincolnshire with his wife and family, where he was a baker in partnership with his brother Jack. On 29 June 1910 George and Mary had a son named William Eric Houghton and in 1911 their daughter Cecily Mary Houghton was born. Later the partnership had split up; Jack Houghton remained in Billingborough with George Houghton and his family moving to run a bakery in Rippingale.
Eric Houghton attended Donington Grammar School and later started to work in the family bakery. He left the bakery in 1927 to be a footballer with Aston Villa where he made 392 first team appearances and scored 170 goals from his position on the left wing. In 1946 he moved to Notts County where he made 55 appearances and scored 10 goals until 1949. He made seven international appearances for England and scored five goals from 1930 to 1932. In other years it is likely he would have made more appearances for England but he had competition for his place from Cliff Bastin who was part of the Arsenal team which dominated English football in the 1930s. After retiring from his playing career Eric Houghton managed Notts County from 1949 to 1953, he then returned to Aston Villa who he managed from 1953 to 1958. From 1972 to 1979 he served as a director of Aston Villa and in 1983 he was made Senior Vice President. Eric Houghton also played cricket, he made seven first class appearances for Warwickshire from 1946 to 1947 and he also played Minor Counties cricket for Lincolnshire. His son Neil Houghton was Chairman of Warwickshire County Cricket Club from 2003 to 2010.
Cecily Houghton married Geoff Dawson, a butcher from Swineshead and moved to live in Ferndale House, Swineshead with him. Ferndale House is on the opposite side of High Street to The Wheatsheaf, it had been built in 1898 on the site of the former Shackleton’s butchers shop (see photograph circa 1880) by Geoff’s father Christopher Dawson for the family’s butcher business as a house, butchers shop and butchers workshop. It is believed that George and Mary Houghton moved from Rippingale to take over The Wheatsheaf after being encouraged by their daughter as she enjoyed the social life of being involved in the village public house.
George and Mary Houghton’s granddaughter Patricia Woods (nee Dawson) gave birth to Christopher Charles Eric Woods in Swineshead on 14 November 1959. Chris Woods became a top class goalkeeper playing for: Nottingham Forest, Queens Park Rangers, Norwich City, Rangers, Sheffield Wednesday, Reading, Colorado Rapids, Southampton, Sunderland and Burnley together with 43 appearances for England. After his playing career ended Chris Woods became the goalkeeping coach at Everton and on 1 July 2013 he joined Manchester United as their goalkeeping coach along with David Moyes who moved from Everton to become manager of Manchester United at the same time. There can’t be many occasions when one man and wife have had their son and great grandson gain representative honours for the full England team.
George and Mary Houghton were tenants at The Wheatsheaf which was owned by the Ind Coope Brewery. Eric Houghton and Cecily Dawson helped at The Wheatsheaf when they were available, working behind the bar and other duties as required. Mary Houghton was one of the first landladies to sell Sunday lunches, which proved to be popular as The Wheatsheaf was full on most Sundays. She also catered for large parties of travellers passing through the village. Swineshead did not have a by-pass then and all traffic to and from the east coast passed through the village. George Houghton used to help at the Thomas Cowley Secondary School by referring football matches against visiting school teams. At times during the Second World War Army units were stationed in Swineshead, on these occasions the Function Room of The Wheatsheaf was used as the Guard Room. Swineshead Silver Band used a room at The Wheatsheaf for their practice sessions during the wartime.
The teams of Aston Villa and Notts County were regular visitors to The Wheatsheaf whilst they were managed by Eric Houghton. He had been appointed manager of Notts County in 1949 and took them to promotion to the Second Division at the end of the 1949 – 1950 season. This achievement was assisted by the inclusion of Tommy Lawton in the Notts County team. He played for Notts County from 1947 to 1951 during which he made 166 appearances and scored 103 goals, he also made 23 appearances for England and scored 22 goals. Eric Houghton and Tommy Lawton came to Swineshead on many occasions to present trophies at football competitions rune by Swineshead Institute Football Club. During these visits they would stay at The Wheatsheaf and meet old friends.
In May 1955 George and Mary Houghton retired from running The Wheatsheaf, they moved to Bank House which is attached to the side of Ferndale House. Later they moved to a bungalow on Tarry Hill and after that to a bungalow in Church Lane. George Houghton returned to his former occupation as a baker by working part time for Dawsons Butchers making pork pies and sausage rolls. He was still baking for Dawsons until 1975. When George Houghton was 85 he was living on Tarry Hill, one day in the winter he left his home at 5.00am to go to work at Dawsons Butchers. On his way to work the police stopped him to ask what he was doing at that time of day, after talking to them for a few minutes he was able to convince them that he was going to work and had jobs to do.
In 1955 The Wheatsheaf was sold by the brewery and this pub became a ‘Free House’. It was in a derelict state and no brewery wanted to invest the amount of money required to restore it to its former glory. On 12 May 1955, a Polish man, George Helsing, and his partner Mrs Josephine White, bought the place and Mr Helsing took control of the renovations. He replaced ceilings and added oak beams. Put in twenty-seven hot and cold taps (as there was no modern plumbing in the building) and panelled the walls of the bar. He added carved furniture and fittings to give the place character. Mrs White added horse brasses – one hundred and thirty of them! They were placed around the fireplace. An old ‘Plague pan’ dating from 1665 was hung on the wall in the corner of the bar (These pans were originally used to burn herbs to fumigate houses to allow the removal of dead bodies). George Helsing and Josephine White gave the place a new lease of life and created the impression of a real ‘Olde English Inn’. They left in 1958/9 to be replaced by Stan Regulski; he himself left eighteen months later.
The photographs below are:
1 - Brad Martin (Sleaford), George Houghton (Landlord of The Wheatsheaf from 1938 to 1955), Geoff Dawson (grandson of George Houghton), George Penistone (Swineshead), Cecil Smith (baker of South Street, Swineshead) at Wembley Stadium for the Football Association Challenge Cup Final 4 May 1957 between Aston Villa and Manchester United. Eric Houghton, son of George Houghton and uncle to Geoff Dawson was the manager of Aston Villa and Matt Busby was the manager of Manchester United. Match details: Aston Villa 2 (McParland 68 and 73) Manchester United 1 (Taylor 83), referee F Coultas, attendance 99,225. Aston Villa team: Nigel Sims, Stan Lynn, Peter Aldis, Stan Crowther, Jimmy Dugdale, Pat Saward, Les Smith, Jackie Sewell, Bill Myerscough, Johnny Dixon, Peter McParland. Manchester United team: Ray Wood, Bill Foulkes, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Jackie Blanchflower, Duncan Edwards, Johnny Berry, Liam Whelan, Tommy Taylor, Bobby Charlton, David Pegg. This was the first major trophy Aston Vila had won for 37 years. Nine months later the Manchester United team was involved in the Munich air disaster.
2 - Match Programme from the Football Association Challenge Cup Final 4 May 1957.
3 - George and Mary Houghton (landlord and landlady from 1938 to 1955) in 1969 for the celebration of their Diamond Wedding Anniversary; 60 years of marriage. The celebration was held in Swineshead Church Hall in Church Lane, it has subsequently been demolished and two bungalows are now on the site. The present Church Hall is on the site of Swineshead Manor House which was demolished in 1957 with a supermarket for the Co-operative Society being built on the site.
Photographs 1 to 3 by courtesy of Geoff Dawson.
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Dr Nabin Mukerji purchased The Wheatsheaf in 1960 when it came on the market. He was a retired Indian doctor of medicine who had been forced to retire due to ill-health. He is claimed to be one of the first patients to undergo a hip replacement. He and his wife lived in the hotel and employed a manager, Eric Hardy, formerly of The Fortesque Arms, Tattershall. It was sold in 1963 and advertised as having nine bedrooms and a banquet room.
On 9 April 1980 The Wheatsheaf was acquired by Joseph and Connie Shergar, who lived there with their family Christine, Pauline and Stephen and their daughter’s partners Terry Young and Tony Yousefian. Joe also worked as an engineer on oil rigs in the North Sea; he used to spend two weeks working on oil rigs and then two weeks at The Wheatsheaf.
On Friday 24 September 1982 (subject to confirmation) The Wheatsheaf was transferred to John and Rita Hewitt who had previously ran the Post Office and General Store at Gosberton Risegate. John had also served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and worked as a long distance lorry driver. During the evening of Friday 24 September, at around 10.45pm, John and their youngest son Gary were serving customers at the bar when all the draught beers ran out due to unexpected high demand combined with stock control issues at the time of transfer of ownership. As this was their first day in a new business venture John and Rita were concerned as to their future prospects but the next day there was an emergency delivery of beer and their concerns were alleviated when the regular customers came to The Wheatsheaf. When John and Rita required time away The Wheatsheaf was run by their daughter Carol and her husband Paul Benge. Functions usually had entertainment provided by Silver Dollar Disco which was hosted by their eldest son Kevin. At this time their other son David, who would later run The Wheatsheaf, was serving in the Army.
Soon after John Hewitt took over winter arrived. One Saturday John lit a fire in the Lounge for the first time, he was concerned for the building when a regular customer came in and immediately started to work on the fire, but it soon became clear the customer knew what he was doing. The customer was Frank Riches who had been a fireman on the railway, for part of this time he had worked out of Kings Cross on the east coast main line towards Edinburgh, and he knew how to build a fire to obtain heat without it burning fiercely.
In January 1986 The Wheatsheaf was purchased by Gerald and Margaret Campbell who lived there with their daughter Sharon and her partner Alex Black. Gerry was originally from Scotland, during the 1950s he had worked on the construction of the Pelham Bridge in Lincoln, which was opened by The Queen in June 1958.
From October 1987 The Wheatsheaf was run by John Watkins with his partner Elizabeth Phillips and Michael Phillips with his partner Maureen Williams. On 2 August 1989 The Wheatsheaf was acquired by James and Patricia Collin.
On 1 August 1990 The Wheatsheaf was purchased by Alan and Doreen Poulton. Alan had previously worked for British Ropes Limited in Retford. Initially the customer service was provided by their sons Kevin Bashforth and Andrew Poulton. Kevin Bashforth left during October 1990 to take over The Barge at Swineshead Bridge; he later ran the Newsagent and General Store at North End, Swineshead and was a member of Swineshead Parish Council. From August 1992 to January 1993 (subject to confirmation) the customer service was provided by Andrew Poulton and his partner Mandy Wheatley. At this time the upstairs Function Room was being used as the Restaurant with the assistance of a dumb waiter connecting it to the kitchen.
During May 1994 (subject to confirmation) Anthony and Julia Luto took over the running of The Wheatsheaf. Anthony had grown up in Swineshead whilst his parents had run the Newsagent and General Store at North End and he had worked in the family business after leaving school.
On 22 July 1998 Alan Poulton sold The Wheatsheaf to Daryl and Deborah Scott from Dunston. They were joined by Philip Baker who had previously been the Head Chef of the Carre Arms Hotel in Sleaford. Philip Baker introduced the concept of themed food nights in the Restaurant on Thursday evenings, such as fish one week followed by curry, steak, etcetera in following weeks. In 1999 air conditioning was installed in the cellar to assist with maintaining the temperature and humidity suitable for cask ale.
In April 2001 the Scotts sold The Wheatsheaf to Punch Taverns plc with Philip Baker becoming the first leaseholder.
In April 2003 three local businessmen Anthony Luto, Carl Gibbard and Steve Gilmartin, took over the lease. Philip Baker continued as Head Chef with the bar initially being managed by Anne Henderson who had been working with Anthony Luto at the Black Bull, Kirton. Changes were made to The Wheatsheaf including the installation of en-suite bathrooms to all of the letting rooms. A new initiative introduced at this time was a no smoking area in the Lounge. Anne Henderson was succeeded as Bar Manager by Karen Rate who was followed by Neil Smith in September 2006. During 2006 popular and long serving member of staff Margaret Williams retired, she had provided excellent service at the bar since 1988. Philip Baker was succeeded as Head Chef by Chris Sheppard who was followed by Paul Spooner in January 2009. Later Paul Spooner became Manager of The Wheatsheaf.
The photographs below are:The Wheatsheaf and Swineshead Market Place on 10 April 2004.
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In August 2010 The Wheatsheaf was given a refurbishment. The old Public Bar and Pool Room was turned into a stylish Lounge and Dining Room. The former Lounge became the Sports Bar, retaining many of the traditional features including the unique hand carved bar front and real coal fireplace. Solid wooden floors were installed throughout, natural slate features and contemporary colours have refreshed the public areas while retaining the original character. At the same time a new coat of paint was applied to the outside of the building. The refurbishment provided an enlarged restaurant area, which together with flat screen television in the bar and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the building have brought The Wheatsheaf well and truly into the twenty first century.
On 28 May 2012 The Wheatsheaf returned to the Hewitt family when David Hewitt and his family assumed control. David is the son of John and Rita Hewitt who ran The Wheatsheaf previously. David has served in the Army in the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Cyprus and The Falkland Islands. He was a member of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers as were his father and grandfather. David’s son Ross took up the position of Head Chef; whilst growing up in Swineshead Ross had worked at The Wheatsheaf as a waiter. Ross was previously at Langar Hall Hotel near Nottingham which has been awarded two rosettes by The AA for its restaurant. Regular visitors to the hotel have been the BBC Test Match Special commentary team, Jools Holland and Keira Knightley and Fashion designer Paul Smith has a gallery there.
On 30 November 2012 The Wheatsheaf has received the certificate in respect of its achievement of being awarded the coveted Cask Marque accreditation for its real ales. The Cask Marque scheme is operated by an independent body called Cask Marque Trust. Pubs that join the scheme are visited unannounced by an independent assessor twice a year. The assessor checks all cask ales on sale for: temperature, appearance, aroma and taste. If all real ales reach the required standard then the pub passes and it receives Cask Marque accreditation. According to the Cask Report 2012-13, cask ale volumes grew in 2011 for the first time in 20 years, recording a1.6% uplift and over the same period cask overtook keg as the most popular format for draught ale.
During 2013 an online room booking facility for the guest rooms has been set up, 22 inch flat screen televisions with integral Freeview receiver and DVD player have been installed in the guest rooms and a virtual tour of The Wheatsheaf has been set up.
The photographs below are:
1 and 2 - 8 December 2012 Stuart Bateman, Managing Director of George Bateman and Son Limited of Wainfleet, visited the Wheatsheaf to congratulate David Hewitt (Landlord) and Carlie Hewitt (Bar Manager) on achieving the coveted Cask Marque accreditation for the real ales.
3 - 29 December 2012 Three generations of the Hewitt family at The Wheatsheaf: John Hewitt (Landlord from 1982 to 1986), David Hewitt (Landlord, son of John Hewitt), Ross Hewitt (Head Chef, son of David Hewitt), Carlie Hewitt (Bar Manager, daughter of David Hewitt). Photograph by courtesy of the Lincolnshire Free Press.
4 -An aerial photograph of the centre of Swineshead including The Wheatsheaf from May 2013.
5 - A close up aerial photograph of The Wheatsheaf from May 2013.
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Continuing a colourful history of traditional Lincolnshire hospitality.
There have been various Licensing Acts regarding alcohol and public houses. The Licensing Act 1872 required landlords to apply for a licence to sell alcohol to a Licensing Committee of County Justices who maintained a Register of Licenses in the District, the act also required the name of the Licensed Person to be displayed on the premises and to state that they are licensed to sell intoxicating liquor. Swineshead was in the area of responsibility of the Kirton and Skirbeck Magistrates Court until that court was abolished on 31 March 1974, when it was combined with the Boston Borough Magistrates Court (also abolished at that date) to form the Boston Magistrates Court.
The Licensing Act 2003, which came into force at midnight on 23 November 2003, transferred the responsibility for licenses to local authorities. There are now Premises Licenses which are required for any premises offering licensable activities and Personal Licences which allow a person to sell alcohol or authorise the sale of alcohol. Following the act it is no longer necessary to display the name of the authorised person on the premises.
The names of Landlords of The Wheatsheaf for 1879 to 1958 have been confirmed with the Register of Licenses of Kirton and Skibeck Magistrates Court at Lincolnshire Archives and the Landlords for 1989 to 1998 have been confirmed by the Register of Licenses of Lincolnshire Magistrates. The confirmation of the landlords for other years is in progress.
1820 - Some time after 1820, Edward Cole, landlord of the Neptune Inn on the river bank near Skirbeck church, moved to Swineshead to become the landlord of the Wheatsheaf.
1826 William Kirkham
1828 John Jessop
1849 John Jessop [Also a brewer]
1856 - 1871 Seth Cawthorne
1871 William Durston Bagg
1876 James Ward
27 August 1879 Richard Dodson
1 December 1880 Charles Bland
4 April 1888 John Bourne Bramley
6 June 1888 John Pickersgill
5 June 1895 Joseph Robert Whitworth
2 December 1896 Isaac Bentley
1 December 1909 Ernest Callow Stammers
4 December 1918 Edward Mayes
7 April 1920 Richard Johnson
1 December 1921 Robert Wilkinson Kealey
3 April 1929 William Walker
2 August 1931 Walter Ernest Whittaker
11 May 1932 Samuel Harmston Pattinson
20 May 1936 Henry George Morris
5 October 1938 George Houghton
12 May 1955 Josephine Cavendish White
1958 Stan Regulski
1960 Dr Mukerji
1965 - 1974 Valerie Bealby
9 April 1980 Joseph Shergar
24 September 1982 John and Rita Hewitt
January 1986 Gerald Campbell
October 1987 John Watkins
2 August 1989 - Patricia Collin
1 August 1990 - Kevin Bashforth
17 October 1990 - Andrew Poulton
30 January 1991 - Alan Albert Poulton
9 May 1994 - Andrew Poulton and Anthony Luto
22 July 1998 - Daryl Ashley Scott and Philip Royston Baker
April 2001 - Philip Royston Baker
April 2003 - Anthony Luto, Carl Gibbard and Steve Gilmartin
28 May 2012 - David Hewitt
Information regarding the history of The Wheatsheaf has been received from the following sources:
Geoff Dawson - Grandson of George Houghton, landlord from 1938 to 1955.
Pam Southworth - Pam has carried out extensive research on the history of the local area and has had books published. One of her books is A History of Swineshead, published by Richard Kay Publications in 1996, ISBN 0 902662 17 1. Pam’s next book is due to be published in 2014, it is to be called Swineshead at War and is about the people whose names are on the War Memorial.