The Waggon & Horses has a long and interesting history. It is proven to have been in operation as an Ale House / Inn / Public House and possibly a former Coaching Inn or Staging Post over a period of at least 214 years following which it was converted into a private residence. It was also used for public functions such as auctions, Courts Leet, and The Golden Fleece Oddfellow Lodge meetings. Unlike many places of historical significance which have been demolished, this building has managed to survive through many difficult times.
The building opposite Elder Lane on the Rempstone Turnpike road, where the Waggon & Horses Inn now stands, is depicted on the 1806 inclosure map shown. The inn would almost certainly have been a farm house originally, and the old alehouse records confirm that John Nicklinson Sn’r received a Victualler’s license in 1806. It was quite common for a farmer to combine his farming activities with running an alehouse within his home. His wife would have taken responsibility for this during the daytime. Alehouses did not have to be named until the 1825 licensing Act, and the licensing records confirm its name in that year. Its name is thought to have derived from stabling kept there for horses to help pull waggons up the adjacent hill. This has always been known as Nickerson’s Hill, obviously a slang derivative of Nicklinson.
John Nicklinson Senior was the landlord until 1844 when his son took over for a further 19 years.
It was recorded in the 1851 census, that John Nicklinson Junior was the Licensed Victualler. John was living with his wife Mary, son John, Daughter Sarah, and niece Hannah Handford. They also had a housekeeper Jos Brook and a servant Thos Waterfield. John and his family were all born in Griffydam.
In Melville & Co’s Directory & Gazetteer of Leics 1854, John Nicklinson is listed as a farmer, as well as a publican, at the Wagon & Horses. In 1855, he was recorded in “The Post Office Directory of Leics & Rutland” as a Beer Retailer (Waggon and Horses), also as a farmer and brick maker. Presumably he was employed at Griffydam Brick Works. The 1861 census shows John Nicklinson Jnr was still the landlord at the Waggon & Horses. He was still recorded as being there in 1863, but by 1871 he was living in Isley Walton as a farmer of 38 acres employing 5 labourers.
In the 1870 version of Harrod & Co’s Postal Directory of Derbyshire and Leics, Thomas Gostelow (Costelow) is recorded as being Licensed Victualler and Butcher at the Wagon & Horses. In 1880 he was still at the pub. Thomas Costelow and his wife Charlotte Harrison Costelow’s graves are in Griffydam Cemetery.
By 1891, Kelly’s Directory of Derbys and Leics recorded that a Frederick W Cox was at the Waggon & Horses. The 1901 census confirms Frederick W Cox aged 44 as Inn Keeper & Grazier and born in Dyke, Lincolnshire. His wife was named Annie, aged 42, who was born in Ashby Folville.
The 1911 census lists Thomas Smith, aged 45, as Publican and Farmer (mainly agriculture) and born in Measham. His wife was named Harriet, aged 59, and born in Ticknall.
Landlords of the Waggon and Horses:-
1806-1844 John Nicklinson Snr
1845-1864 John Nicklinson Jnr
1864-1880 Thomas Gostelow (and butcher)
1880-1886 Thomas Wilkins
1887-1888 William Cox
1889-1911 Frederick William Cox (in 1901 Frederick aged 44 was also a grazier and born in Dyke, Lincs. His wife Annie, aged 42 was born in Ashby Folville)
1911-1913 John Thomas Smith (in 1911 Thomas was aged 45 and was also a farmer, mainly in agriculture)
1914 David Else
1915-1918 David William Else
1919-1921 Frank Howard Burton
1922-1933 George Kilby
1934-1936 William Morley
The Waggon and Horses was regularly used for public auctions and there is a record in the Leicester Chronicle 1880 showing that it was used to hold Courts Leet for the Manors of Newbold and Worthington.
Court Leet (plural Courts Leet, or Court Leets), was an English criminal court for the punishment of small offences. The use of the word leet, denoting a territorial and a jurisdictional area, spread throughout England in the 14th century, and the term court leet came to mean a court in which a private lord assumed, for his own profit, jurisdiction that had previously been exercised by the sheriff. The court met twice a year under the presidency of the lord’s steward, who, by the end of the 13th century, was almost always a professional lawyer and acted as judge. The two main functions of the court were to hold view of frankpledge (the pledge of responsibility made by each freeman) and to receive notices of accusation of crimes made by the juries, constituted in the Assize of Clarendon in 1166. Because serious cases were increasingly reserved to itinerant justices, the rights of trial of small, local courts became restricted to petty misdemeanors only. The 17th-century jurist Sir Edward Coke held that a court leet could not imprison but could only fine or apply other pecuniary penalties, and as time went on its capacity to enforce its judgements became progressively weaker. After the 16th century the duties of the court leet were increasingly transferred to the justice of the peace.
The photograph of George Henry Kilby, who was landlord of the Waggon and Horses from 1922 – 1933 is with his four sons from left to right:- Jack, Albert, Walter, Joe. He had a total of ten children. Prior to becoming landlord at the Waggon and Horses, he was landlord at the Griffin Inn for the previous five years. After leaving the Waggon & Horses, he became a coal miner and died in Griffydam in 1947.
In 1927, the owners of the Waggon & Horses, Dorothy Sarah Brearley, a farmer’s wife, and Ethel Elizabeth Nicholson sold the house to Zachary Smith & Co Ltd, brewers of Shardlow who closed in 1930 and were taken over by Marston Thompson and Evershed Ltd. The latter owned numerous pubs in the area including the New Engine Inn at Pegg’s Green at one time. Presumably Zachary Smith continued to rent the inn to George Kilby after they purchased it.
The Waggon & Horses was still operating in 2014 after at least 208 years, and has now been converted into a private residence. Further information can be found in Samuel T Stewart's publication.
1806 Inclosure Map
1885 OS Map
In the old photograph above taken c.1895, the building on the RH side is the Waggon & Horses. At the time of writing we don't have any history on the thatched cottage in the centre. The edge of the building on the LH side was part of the Blacksmith’s Shop.
A recent photograph taken prior to the pub's closure
George Henry Kilby, landlord 1922-1933, with his four sons
The sales brochure for the auction held at the Waggon & Horses on July 18th 1927