The Slaugham Archives

Signs of the Jolly Tanners
The Slaugham Archive
Signs of the Jolly Tanners

In recent decades the swinging pub sign outside the Jolly Tanners has changed several times. This photograph shows some of the signs, but is possibly not a complete record.
Following the sale of the freehold to the licensee fairly recently the “Whitbread” name on the most recent sign has been replaced by “Free House”.
However, the painting is the same with the tanner on the left holding a frothing pint, and the chap on the right doing something indeterminate with a piece of leather!
Picture added on 18 October 2013 at 10:13
This picture is in the following groups
Pubs - Staplefield
In Charles G Harper’s classic "The Brighton Road" he refers to the inn as "The Jolly Farmers’". Was it ever known by this name?
He also then goes on to lament the disappearance of another Regency/Victorian hostelry called the "Dun Cow and its equally famous rabbit puddings and its hostess(?) pretty Miss Finch. Gone, as utterly as though they had never been"’.
Where was this?
Added by Mike Lewis on 03 March 2018
Mike, the Tithe Map of 1843 describes the building as “Jolly Tanners shop and cottages”. The owner was Henry King and the occupier was “Tom Gard and others”. I can find no earlier references to the pub but with the tannery a couple of hundred yards away in Tanyard Lane, it seems entirely likely that the business was named after the thirsty workers who visited from their unpleasant toils at the plant.
I have spoken today with Julie Churchill who with her husband, Denis, ran the JT from about 1981 to 1991 and she confirms that she had never heard talk of any other name for the pub.
It seems safe to say that Charles Harper was mistaken, which perhaps is only to be expected after seemingly visiting every hostelry between London and Brighton!
As for the Dun Cow, I have never heard of a pub by that name locally. Until recently there was a Dun Horse at Mannings Heath a few miles distant which is now closed after the Asset of Community Value verdict failed to preserve it.
Charles Harper, in his throwaway comment, may be referring to arguably the most famous Dun Cow which was located in the Old Kent Road, London, just a short stroll from the notorious Thomas A’Becket pub.
The Dun Cow is no more, but its heritage lives on as the building is now home to the Dun Cow Surgery. The only liquor now being dispensed is surgical spirit!
The 1911 census lists the residents as the landlord with his wife and child, 8 barmen, and one servant named as 26-year-old unmarried Rose Finch.
Could she be the pretty Miss Finch who served the “famous rabbit puddings” so fancied by the author?

Added by Barry Ray on 04 March 2018
Barry, thank you for your speedy response to my enquiry. I came across the Slaugham Archives purely by chance yesterday and am amazed and delighted to have discovered this wonderful resource.
I am interested - well ‘curious’ really (‘interest’ implies some knowledge of the subject) - in the coaching days on the old Brighton Road between Povey Cross at Hookwood, to Pycombe. There is no rationale in my interest in this section of road other than that I was raised and educated in Crawley for 24 years, and I have lived in Haywards Heath for the past 36, so, over the decades, have come to know the area around and between. I can also therefore concentrate on just one of the three main routes that passed through villages that I am familiar with.
I was amused to read in Samuel Shergold’s account published in 1853 of a typical coach journey taken “in the olden times” from Brighton to London that:
“As we had a downhill passage from Hand Cross, and not above four or five public houses to stop at, we soon arrived at Crawley”
It was the number of pubs that struck me. Looking back on my wilder youthful excursions, I assumed these to be “The Fountain”, “The Grapes” and “The Black Swan” at Pease Pottage, “The Half Moon” at Hogs Hill and, possibly, “The Railway Inn” alongside Crawley railway station.
Shergold tells us that it was “a prescriptive right of all coachmen in those days never to pass a public house without calling”.
Even allowing for the writer’s enthusiasm, surely the coaches wouldn’t have stopped at both “he Grapes” and “The Black Swan” or pulled up at “The Railway Inn” just a few hundred yards short of their staging destination at “The George”.
Nevertheless, considering this problem is what caused me to search for other inns along the way including “The Jolly Tanners”’. I was delighted to see the photograph of Bob and Mary White, landlords from 1964-1982, posted by their daughter Madeleine Richings from Australia. In 1986 my then girlfriend’s parents, Ron and Brenda Pocock, were friends with Bob and Mary and I remember visiting Madeleine’s flat in Burgess Hill and her collection of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention record collection! It was lovely to have been so accidentally reminded of Bob and Mary and of many happy days in the late 60s.
But to get back to my original question. I’m sure you must be right in assuming Charles Harper’s mistake in respect of the “Tanners”. I remember “The Dun Horse” at Mannings Heath (I used to get around a bit when I was younger!) and I also used to change buses at “The Dun Cow” in the Old Kent Road every day as a nipper on my way to school. The Miss Rose Finch must surely be the same referred to by Harper, but why has he confused the two hostelries and included her and her pies in his book on the Brighton Road?
What I did find interesting was the photographs in the archive showing the extent of the grass verges in front of ‘The Jolly Tanners’ and the pollarded trees which we must assume to have been the famous cherry trees. I can just imagine the stage coaches pulled up alongside and the “outsiders” helping themselves to the fruit.
Thank you so much for this marvellous archive which I’m sure I’ll be visiting regularly! Best regards, Mike

Added by Mike Lewis on 04 March 2018
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