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Jolly Farmers is steeped in history. It was built around AD 1590 as a substantial thatched farmhouse. Later in approximately the 1700s an additional smaller brick-built cottage was built, for servants and farm workers, later believed to have also served beer, as an additional overflow from the pub.
Originally there were 2 ponds, one at the bottom of the garden to the West (filled in 1960s) and one that remains presently now part of the adjacent cottage, “Homestead”. It is believed these ponds were dug out to provide original building material, such as wattle & dawb and to make bricks. Jolly Farmers originally became known as “Gates Yard” (probably due to being adjacent to the gates to the common) and was a thriving business with a Stud, Piggery, barns, productive gardens, a smokehouse, cart lodges, stables & mill (part of the estate until 1913, demolished 1934), also land opposite, growing grain, presumably which was milled at the mill on the Green, known locally as Mill Green.
Jolly Farmers' original cart-lodge (Gates Lodge) was believed to have been built around the time it became a beer-house. You can still see evidence of the old brackets that are believed to have hung one of the the original signs. The lodge had stables at the rear, backing on to a yard.
The Beer House
The abolition of beer tax in 1828 saw a huge rise in “Beer Houses”. It is believed that the Jolly Farmers became a Beer House shortly after this time, when it was named “The Cherry Tree Inn” until around 1840. The absence of today's mechanised farming and long licensing hours (often from 8.00am to well into the night!) without the need for a full public house licence meant that there was an abundance of customers and was a popular "drover's pub" for cattle farmers on their way to the local markets.
In 1967 Watney Mann bought out Steward & Patteson and Jolly Farmers was closed on 6th November 1968 on economic grounds. Jolly Farmers was small, and it just was not practical to diversify into food. At the end, the yearly beer sales were only 35 ¾ barrels and only a couple of regular customers remained, like “Whippy Brown” from Silverley’s Green.
USAF Lighter, Half & Quarter Dollar,beer token & 10c
1928 Steward & Patteson beer top
Victorian & George V Pennies & Ha'pennies
Early 1800s - 1900s glass bottles.
c1900s Walker's "S" Kilmarnock Whisky
1939 - Sam King (Landlord) & pub regulars outside Jolly Farmers, with Gates Lodge in the background