Recently we have been conducting some documentary research to discover who was living on this site during the nineteenth century, and how the streets and buildings changed through time, specifically how the site changed from the layout on the 1807 map to that on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map in 1885. I will blog more details of our findings in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, here is some information about the pub known as the Black Bull.
The first reference we have found to the Black Bull is on the 1851 census, where it is one of the few named properties. The tenant was James Low, who was a victualler and hay dealer. James lived with his wife, Margaret Low, son Richard Low, two other children, one lodger and his mother in law Ann Fuller, who was the former inn keeper. On the 1861 census the Black Bull is numbered 76 Newmarket Road, and the ‘publican and carter’ is Margaret Low, now a widow. She lived in the pub with her son Richard Low (32) who was a brewer, and a servant who was the housekeeper. On the 1871 census the pub at 76 Newmaket Road is named simply the ‘Bull’, and the proprietor is now Christopher Thurston, brickmaker and publican. He had three lodgers, one of whom was Richard Lowe (sic), who is listed as an ‘unemployed brewer’. It is interesting to read between the lines: maybe Margaret Low had died and the pub had been taken over by a new landlord, but Richard Low refused to move out of the family home! Why else would an unrelated unemployed brewer would be living in a pub? By the 1881 census, the Black Bull seems to have stopped being a pub, since an Edward Bollow, labourer on a brickyard, is listed as living there. However on the 1991 census the house has returned to use as a public house, renamed the ‘Heart of Oak’, with Emma Warren listed as the innkeeper, living with her adult daughter.
Interestingly no. 77 Newmarket Road (to the east of no. 76) also seems to have continuity of use from 1861-1891, since the property is consistently occupied by a succession of grocers and general dealers. In its strategic position on the main road and next to the pub, it probably made a very useful convenience store for the people of Barnwell!
We continue to appreciate the hours our volunteers put in to washing finds from the site. Here is a photo of some of them hard at work!