Inns at Lelant

© Maxwell Adams 2003-2007

Version 11 February 2008

The first possible mention of an inn in Lelant is in the Assize Roll for 1284 when Michael the Gascon is identified as owner of a taberna, a possible innkeeper (see Murders most foul). His customers fell into a quarrel and murder. Three hundred years later Thomas Pascowe and William Powe of Lelant are named in a list of certified alehouses and wine taverns (National Archives/PRO).

After these, there are numerous references in the eighteenth and nineteenth century newspapers, directories, and censuses to the Lelant inns and their landlords and ladies.

Matthews recounts without giving the evidence that Church Cottage was once an inn: "the only house near the church is one which in old times was an inn, where persons coming to divine service from a distance could stable their horse and find refreshment. At the door of the stables is an old mounting block" (Matthews 1892, 92). The mounting block is still there, but there are no stables.

However, for most of eighteenth and nineteenth century history Lelant village has had two inns, the Ship and what is now called the Badger. The Badger was formerly called the New Inn, Praed Arms or Praed's Arms, and Lelant Hotel and it is the only public house now in the village though the Old Quay House at Griggs is on the edge of Lelant.

Scattered through the newspapers are references of varying detail to the two inns. None of these references tell us of the pleasures that Lelanters and travellers had in the inns, the pleasures of drink and company and bubbling merriment in a warm room. Their songs and jokes are lost to us; no one wrote them down. Their gossip is gone; no one kept a diary. Their tippling wisdom is forgotten. Their bibble-babble is silent. And no one recorded what happened once some of them got back home to their family, late and sharp-tempered. We do catch a sight of village life in some of these brief reports. As the summaries below show, in 1880 the Ship innkeeper was fined for keeping late hours, not closing at the legally-appointed time on the day of Lelant fair. In a hard time they did not want the pleasures of the day to end. And again in December the next year late hours were kept and discovered. There must have been many occasions when they were not discovered and innocent guilt spiced tavern happiness.

Of course drink sometimes impedes sensible behaviour and there are examples of drink and irrationality in the history articles. Seven hundred years ago Elger's murder of Richard was eased by drink (Murders most foul). In 1826 a foundered ship on Hayle Bar threw up bottles and casks of wine which local people stole. Women hid the wine in their clothes and men broke open the casks and used their hats as drinking glasses, and the people lapsed into drunken revelry (see O call back yesterday). When the railway navvies came there were instances of drunkenness which scandalised the scandalisable. In 1875 a villager wrote that drunken men were rambling through Lelant on Sundays from half past two in the afternoon till late at night. The combination of drink and Christian sabbath was powerfully wicked for many Victorians and another villager wrote indignantly to the Cornish Telegraph to say that the culprits were railway navvies and the villagers themselves were blameless (15 and 22 September 1875). And the Royal Cornwall Gazette records on 1 April 1814 that a man called Tredennick, no forename given, no address, no age, just a bald surname, was found drowned by the side of the river. He was intoxicated on the preceding night.

For an account of drinking at the Ship preceding the ferry boat drownings in November 1880 see Death in dark waters. Some of the very early references to the inns were kindly drawn to my attention by HL Douch.


"At a coroner's inquest held at Lelant on the body of Mrs Elizabeth RICHARDS, of the Praed's Arms Inn, who died from the effects of a bludgeon which pushed in one of her eyes, on the 16th of August last, by a man named Edward RICHARDS, who was employed about the premises, and at the time in a state of intoxication - a verdict of manslaughter was returned against Richards, who has absconded" (Royal Cornwall Gazette 26 November 1831).

In 1875 the leaseholds of both the inns, Badger and Ship, were put up for sale.

"There was a sale of leasehold property by Mr E Mitchell, auctioneer, at the Praed's Arms on Friday afternoon, which excited considerable interest in the locality. Lots 1 and 2, viz, the Praed's Arms inn, a cottage adjacent, on which one life now remains, aged about forty-five, the rentals being �24-10-0 and �7-10-0 respectively, were knocked down - the inn to Mr W Hosken Richards, of Penzance, for one hundred guineas; the cot [sic] to Mr John Brush (acting for the present occupier, Mrs Trevenen) at �50" (Cornish Telegraph 23 June 1875).

The Royal Cornwall Gazette for 26 June 1875 has a similar report, saying Mr not Mrs Trevenen. It adds that the Praed's Arms was sought by six or seven bidders and that there was a rack rent for the Ship of �6, and makes clear that Mr Trevenen was the tenant of the cottage.

These are other references to landlords and landladies and other people of the Badger which I have come across. The Praed Arms and Praed's Arms seem to be used indiscriminately in the texts.

Sale at the house of Captain RICHARDS, the New Inn, Royal Cornwall Gazette13 March 1802

Captain RICHARDS, New Inn, Royal Cornwall Gazette 9 July1808

Mrs Elizabeth RICHARDS of Praed Arms killed by an employee, Edward RICHARDS, Cornubian 25 November 1831, Royal Cornwall Gazette 26 November 1831

To let, Praed Arms, proprietor Captain Hugh RICHARDS, West Briton 19 July 1833. In 1838 the apportionment for the Moody/Rutger map at the RIC lists Hugh RICHARDS and adds that the 'late tenant' was Charles UREN and others.

Tithe meeting at the New Inn, Royal Cornwall Gazette 5 January 1838

Thomas HOCKEN, innkeeper, Praed's Arms, Slater's Directory 1852-3

Mrs Ann HOCKEN, landlady, Praed's Arms, Kelly's Directory 1856

Miss Ann HOCKING [sic], innkeeper, aged forty six, 1861 census

Miss HOCKEN, landlady of Praed Arms, West Briton 24 March 1870

Mrs Ann Hocken, Praed's Arms, Kelly's Directory 1873

Died, Miss Elizabeth HOCKEN of Praed Arms, West Briton 14 July 1870

John Bennetts, Praed's Arms, innkeeper and musician, aged forty, 1881 census

Edward Rodda, Praed's Arms, Kelly's Directory 1883

Praed Arms to let, apply to Ellises' Hayle Brewery, West Briton 29 January 1885

Died, at Butte City, Colorado, Captain Edward RODDA, formerly of Praed Arms, West Briton 26 March 1888

Son born to Paul ROACH of Praed Arms, West Briton 29 March 1888

Paul ROACH, Praed's Arms, Kelly's Directory 1889

Paul ROACH, Praeds Arms, blacksmith, 1891 census

Paul ROACH, junior, Praed's Arms, Kelly's Directory 1893

Paul ROACH, Praed's Arms, Kelly's Directory 1897

Paul ROACH, Praed's Arms, Kelly's Directory 1898

Walter CHAPPLE, aged thirty four, Lelant Hotel proprietor, 1901 census

Walter W CHAPPLE, Lelant Hotel, Kelly's Directory 1902

Frederick THOMAS, Lelant Hotel, Kelly's Directory 1906

Thomas DUNSTAN, Lelant Hotel, Kelly's Directory 1910

William Henry COMER, Lelant Hotel, Kelly's Directory 1919

Captain E CODYRE, Lelant Hotel, Kelly's Directory 1923

William E INGRAM, Lelant Hotel, Kelly's Directory 1926

David CROMBIE, Lelant Hotel, Kelly's Directory 1930

Bertram MAINWARING, Lelant Hotel, Kelly's Directory 1935

Bertram MAINWARING, Lelant Hotel, Kelly's Directory 1939


The Ship is now a private house in Church Road. It is opposite Brewery Hill which led to Brewery Quay and the old brewery on the river and up which perhaps the beer barrels were brought to the inn. It seems to have ceased being a public house at the end of the nineteenth century.

"The Ship Inn at Lower Lelant town was nearly all destroyed by fire on Wednesday morning. One part of the public house is covered with slate, but the greater part of it is thatched. Mr Beckerleg, the landlord, was brewing in the morning, and it is supposed that a spark of fire from the brew-chimney escaped and fell on the thatch and so it became ignited. The part covered with slate is but partially injured, whilst the part that was thatched is wholly destroyed. Mr Beckerleg, the landlord, has sustained a serious damage by the destruction of some of his furniture, but fortunately no lives were lost" (Royal Cornwall Gazette Friday 10 May 1850). The Ship is not at Lower Lelant.

The reference to a partly thatched-roof is an interesting detail. The present roof is all slate.

After describing the auction for Praed's Arms and the nearby cottage, the 1875 report goes on to the Ship:

"At this juncture a representative of the Redruth brewery arrived, and there was a spirited competition between him and Mr Richards for Lot 3, the Ship inn, on which there is one life, aged thirty-five; rental �16, conventionary rent �15. This property, although under such great disadvantages, fetching �120, at which figure it was knocked down to Mr Richards who, it was understood, purchased the inns for Mr C Ellis, of Hayle. There is only one life on this last lot, and he is in America. Public houses do not seem much depreciated yet in money value. Of course, the freeholds are the youthful Praed's" (Cornish Telegraph 23 June 1875).

The Royal Cornwall Gazette for 26 June 1875 has a similar report and says that there was a rack rent for the Ship of �6.

References to landlords and landladies and other people of the Ship which I have come across are:

Survey at the house of Lewis PENBERTHY, Sherborne Mercury 18 June 1770

Survey at the house of Lewis PENBERTHY, Sherborne Mercury 7 April 1783

Survey at the house of Lewis PENBERTHY, Sherborne Mercury 5 February 1787

Survey at the house of Lewis PENBERTHY, the Ship, Sherborne Mercury 4 March 1793

Survey at the house of W MORLEY, the Ship, West Briton 10 September 1830

Survey at the house of W MORLEY, the Ship, West Briton 17 May 1833

Died, William MORLEY of the Ship (aged 52), West Briton 12 January 1838

The 1838 apportionment of the Moody/Rutger map lists Isaac PENBERTHY as the tenant of the Ship.

Public house and brewhouse, Lessee Mrs Jane MORLEY, occupier Francis POTTER (aged 52), Tithe apportionment book about 1839

William NICHOLAS, maltster, aged forty, Church Lane [now Church Road], 1841 census

J BECKERLEG, innkeeper, auction of the Ship, Penzance Gazette 25 October 1843

Died, 23 July 1845, Richard the 28 year old eldest son of John BECKERLEG of the Ship West Briton 25 July 1845, RCG 1 August 1845

Fire at the Ship, Royal Cornwall Gazette 10 May 1850 (see above)

Richard JAMES Kelly's Directory 1861

Richard H JAMES, 1861 census

Died, the son of JTB BENNETTS, West Briton 24 March 1870

Philip KINGWOOD-ALLEN charged with keeping late hours on fair day, West Briton 26 August 1880

Mrs Susan HURRELL landlady of the Ship gave evidence at an inquest on the Lelant ferry accident, West Briton 6 December 1880

Mr KESSALL, Kelly's Directory 1881

Phillip KESSALL, innkeeper and mason, 1881 census

WP HARRIS of the Ship cuts oats, West Briton 21 July 1881

Mr WF HARRIS of the Ship cuts a field of white potato oats, Cornish Telegraph 21 July 1881

Mr HURRELL fined for keeping late hours, West Briton 29 December 1881

The Ship to let, apply Ellises' Hayle Brewery, West Briton 29 January 1885

In the will of Jane White (written 1818, proved 1819) there is a reference to "the club or Friendly Society kept at the sign of the Ship Inn Lelant." I do not know what this society was.


Survey at the house of Thomas Hawes, [Lelant] Churchtown, Sherborne Mercury 24 November 1783

Survey at the house of Clement Uren, Lelant Town, Sherborne Mercury 21 March 1785

Thomas JOHNS, innkeeper, died at Lelant [Monthly Magazine April 1805]. Died 1 February 1805 [Lelant parish register]

In 1836 Samuel Hawes is recorded as an innkeeper at

Lelant, whether village or rural parish is unclear [Section 5 of the RGB Birtill Collection at the RIC, mine leases and setts]

Thomas HOCKEN, occupier of malthouse and fields, CRO QS/PDR/14 (proposal for branch railway line St Erth-St Ives 1852)

The beershop of Moses CALLOWAY at Balnoon, Lelant, mentioned in a case at the quarter sessions, West Briton 1 July 1853

William Boddinar, beer retailer (Lelant, but no address given), Kelly's Directory 1856

In the 1841 Census for Lelant Jane POLGLASE of Quay Lane (142/10/folio 17) is described as an innkeeper.


Newspapers, directories, and censuses as cited

MATTHEWS JH (1892) A history of the parishes of St Ives, Lelant, Towednack, and Zennor Elliott Stock, London

National Archives/PRO Just 1/112 membranes 1-5, Assize Roll 1284, murder

National Archives/PRO SP/12/119/ numbers 2 and 3, alehouses and wine taverns certified in Penwith, 9 September 1577 (cited in DOUCH HL (1966) Old Cornish inns Bradford Barton, Truro)