BREWERIES AND PUBS OF TITCHFIELD
Brewing was like baking in early times, undertaken by many ordinary tenants. Before public water supply companies, well and river water could be unreliable, brewing was one of the methods of sterilizing it for consumption.
The licensing of brewers and the testing of ale was one of the duties of the abbot’s court in the Middle Ages. The regulation of brewing and beer retailing continued to be an important function of the court in Elizabethan times. Amongst the offences considered in one court were:
For using the trade of a brewer – whether he a prentice in that trade we know not.
For selling beer at the fair – we know not by what measure.
For selling beer by the stone jug.
For having a gallon (measure) chained at the stable door.
For selling wine in quarts not sealed.
But the business gradually became concentrated in fewer, more professional hands, and carried cut with permanent equipment.
Today it is closely regulated by Customs and Excise. In the mid-nineteenth century there were said to be 5 breweries in the town. In East Street there were two; the Hope Brewery, former premises is now to the rear and behind Titchfield Motors and another was near Rockstone House at the other end of the street. The Bugle hotel did its own brewing too. Founded in 1744, in 1895 Kelly’s directory lists it as Titchfield Steam Brewery – much grander! Fielder’s absorbed the Hope Brewery and was the sole survivor until 1961. It occupied the entire south side of Bridge Street as far as the canal. J. R. Fielder and Sons in latter years supplied ten public houses in the district – the Brewery lap, the Queens Head, the Fisherman’s Rest, the Jolly Farmer, the Bold Forester, the Sir Joseph Paxton, the Sun Inn, the Osborne View, the Coal Exchange, and the Kings Head (once in West Street, Fareham).
The smell of the brewery, the sight of Fielders drays and lorries, and of course the taste of the beer are nostalgic memories for older villagers. When the company was sold to Brickwoods (later to become part of Whitbread), most of the buildings were
demolished and a row of private houses built on the site. The attractive brewer’s house and some small outbuildings still stand opposite the Coach and Horses.
There were taverns in Titchfield in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, but the first inns that can be actually located are the George north corner of the Ware bridge and the Inn House in West Street in 1546. An inn called the Nags Head is mentioned in the late seventeenth century and the Bugle seems to have been the centre of fashionable local life in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when “assemblies” were held there. By then three more of the existing inns had appeared – the Coach and Horses, the Queens Head and the Wheatsheaf;
Queens Head Coach & Horses Wheatsheaf
In addition there were five inns that have now disappeared – the King’s Head (Cordwainers) and the Red House in South Street, the Crown in Mill Street the Clarendon in East Street and the Horse and Jockey in West Street, making twelve inns altogether at that time. During the turnpike era the provision of food and drink for the for the carriers’ waggons which had regular timetabled stops in Titchfield was an important economic function of the village. A small tannery at the corner of Fishers Lane became the Railwav Inn when the railway navvies were working at Segensworth in the 1880’s, changing to the present name, The Fisherman’s Rest after they moved on.
In 19XX the West End Inn was the most recent casualty, building still clearly recognisable; but Titchfield Mill made up for it when it was purchased by Bass and became Titchfield’s sixth pub.
West End Inn Titchfield Mill