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Hammer and Pincers

A flag-sized banner between the two upstairs windows of the Hammer and Pincers announces that this village pub has been in business for the last 250 years. Glynn Hewitt, the landlord says that he is often asked, 'what is a victualler? - quite simply, victuals are food and drink, so a licensed victualler sells food and drinks requiring a license - beer, wine and spirits.

Before 1753, the building was used by Joseph Hull as a blacksmiths. The blacksmith's business there was shown by having tools of the trade fixed to the outside wall - a hammer and a pair of pincers. When Joseph Hull died, Mrs. Hull was unable to continue with the blacksmith's work and ran the inn, at that time named the Blacksmith's Arms; the name changed to the Hammer and Pincers in 1846.

Landlords and dates:

1754 - 1757 Joseph Hull
1757 - 1758 Frances Hull
1758 - 1756 William Branston
1778 - 1779 Stephen Squire
1780 - 1789 Frances Branston
1790 - 1792 Thomas Hull
1793 - 1794 Jane Hull
1794 - 1809 Joseph Shepherd
1809 - 1814 Thomas Underwood
1815 - 1827 Joseph Priestly
1827 - 1883 mostly unknown
(Edward Voce - 1846)
1883 - 1884 Thomas King
1884 - 1886 William Millett
1886 - 1887 Albert Lord
1887 - 1889 William Clifford
1889 - 1890 Walton Goodwin
1890 - 1897 Thomas Thorneycroft
1898 - 1902 Harry Lewis
1902 - 1904 Henry Simpson
1904 - 1906 Harry Thorneycroft
1906 - 1907 Ernest Hickman
1907 - 1911 Joseph Page
1911 - 1915 John Mayes
1915 - 1930 Walter Smith
1930 - 1958 Walter Lockwood
1958 - 1984 Maurice Hewitt
1984 - Glynn Hewitt

The building has changed over the years . The lounge was previously cottages and was used by brewery staff for accommodation until the late 1950's. This is the oldest part of the pub and was thatched until the end of the 19th. century. The Rose Room, the upstairs entertainment room was previously three letting rooms. It has a claim to fame. The Leicester based singer Jerry Dorsey was often booked - he later became known as Englebert Humperdinck.

In the part of the building that fronts North Street was a butcher's shop. This can be seen in the bottom right-hand corner of the photo - 1905. The out-buildings were used as a slaughterhouse. To the right of the arch off North Street are stables and a coach house stood on what is now the car park. There were two wells in the yard. The wide pavement area running to the side door of the pub is common land and was used as a market place.

It is easy to imagine how this inn was used. A market on the doorstep, stabling, a coach house, food and drink available and perhaps overnight lodgings would have made a thriving business: bring produce to sell at the market, have the horses re-shoed while you have some food and drink in the pub, but Glynn also mentioned that the Fox Inn, on the opposite side of North Street, between Thirlmere Road and Grasmere had facilities for coaches and, given the name, may well have been used, with the Hammer and Pincers, by those coming to the Quorn Hunt.

The last 250 years have seen many changes to the buildings that are now the Hammer and Pincers, but it has been an inn continuously over this period and has been adapted and changed to meet the needs and demands of the times and will, quite likely, do so for another 250 years. Below are the names of the landlords and the dates of their tenancy over this time. It can be seen that the Hewitt family have been landlords for about a fifth of this!

Alan Willcocks