Hennock & Teign Village Chronicle

Published by the Hennock Village Hall Committee

300° view of Hennock from
the top of the Church Tower

© 2014 D Baker

Palk Arms

The Palk Arms

The village 'Local'

The only Pub in the Village is a 16th Century Free House that serves excellent locally brewed beer from the Teignworthy Brewery in Newton Abbot and the Dartmoor Brewery in Princetown and has a reasonably priced 'home style' menu.

The Palk Arms is usually open Mon. to Sat. from 6:00pm and Sun from 12:00.
Now also open Thursday to Saturday 12:00 to 2:30 for Lunch and Cream Teas.

Check the Palk Arms website for opening times, current menu and events.

The History of the Palk Arms

from the book Hennock - A Village History
by Iain Fraser, pub 2004
ISBN 0-9545121-1-1
Reproduced here by kind permission of the Author.
Copies of the book are usually available at The Palk Arms
or from the Author at e-mail: palkhistory@yahoo.co.uk or Tel: 01626 439489

Further extracts from this fascinating guide to bygone Hennock can be found in the Village History section.

The only pub in the village, suitably called The Palk Arms, is situated on land previously owned by the Palk family.

Records from as early as 1642 show that at this time there were five gentlemen who were licensed to sell alcohol in Hennock. They went by the names of Robert Pethybridge, Samuel Elliot, John Creale, John Potter and a Mr Pawlye.

Later, in 1760, a Mr William Medland was the sole licensee for the village; typically there is no mention of the name of his inn or establishment. The early records usually only showed the name of the licensee and not the house.

John and Samuel Loveys, who were also carpenters by trade, ran the New Inn in Hennock from 1825 -1828. It was situated next to Weavers Hill Cottage, opposite the Church.

Stipulations in the licence of 1824 state that the landlord 'shall not fraudulently dilute the beer, ale and other liquors in the house, shall not permit drunkenness or tippling, nor suffer any gaming with cards, draughts, dice or bagatelle, nor permit or suffer any bull, bear or badger baiting, cock-fighting in any part of his premises, nor to permit men or women of notoriously bad fame, or dissolute girls and boys to assemble in his house'.

Palk Arms
The Palk Arms. Emma Jane Brock outside the Union Inn holding the pram with a young Archie Cudmore in it, c. 1910

In the early 1900's there was more than one Palk Arms in the area. There used to be one in Christow, just a few miles away in the Teign Valley, which was owned by the Heavitree Brewery. Also, the current Ley Arms pub, on the way to Exeter, was named the Palk Arms. There was a Palk Arms in Torquay and one on the Teignmouth Road in St. Marychurch.

In St. Marychurch, next to the pub, there used to be a Palk Arms Hotel and the Palk Arms Brewery.

In his book about Torquay, John Pike mentions the old brewery, which for a time was called the 'Mortimer Brothers old-established Palk Arms Brewery'.

Also, in Newton Abbot around 1843, there was a Palk and Pinsent Brewery on the corner of Halcyon Road (formerly Mill Lane).

In 1749, records of the village show that a Mr J Tapper paid 16 shillings (80p) for a hogshead of cyder. A hogshead was about 50 gallons!
The 1861 census shows that William Sanderson, a baker by trade, resided in the Palk Arms and the 1891 census also shows another baker, Thomas Loveys in residence. By the entrance to the Ladies Room downstairs is a large bread oven, eight foot in depth and twenty inches in height internally.

In 1891, the Palk Arms had a family of ten living in the house. In the adjacent Union Inn, which was a Cider House, a family of nine resided.

The Palk Arms has seen many changes over the years. The main door has been moved since the early photographs were taken. In the old days there used to be a doorway leading directly from the Palk into the Union next door.

When you walked in through the old entrance, the bar & drinking area was on the left. The impressive fireplace on your right was actually in the owner's front room.

Just past the bar you would have found two semi-circular wooden settles placed opposite each other to form a circle. Here the village elders would sit with their pints telling tales of now and then. There was sawdust on the floor and spittoons, as you would imagine. The back of the pub was mainly occupied by gaming and sporting types. The dartboard was situated here.

Evans Family
Publican Frank Evans and his family outside the Palk Arms 1921/1922.
From L to R: Renee, May Martin (nanny), Marjorie, Frank, Doris on the horse, unknown boy, Mrs Evans, baby Ken Tucker being held by his Aunt Audrey Tucker

New barrels of beer would be brought up from the cellar in the alleyway. They were rolled into the bar then lifted on to the wooden rack for serving. The toilets of the pub were downstairs, but you had to go out of the pub and around the side to reach them. The stables were situated where the kitchens now are, downstairs at the back of the building.

Frank Evans, the publican in the photo, was a very keen footballer. Large teams of up to 50 players of all ages often played football in the area outside the pub and Lakes Cottage. It must have been great fun with the women and children watching on.

Frank Evans eventually left Hennock and went to manage the Union Hotel in Torquay near the Plainmoor football ground. Both his daughters married successful football players.

The daily routine for a lot of the men used to be to go and do a day's work, then come home and have some supper. Most spent an hour or so working on the allotments, then finally off to the pub for a quick pint and a chat before bed.

The pub would have been the centre of village life and a meeting point for locals and travellers alike. In the beginning of the 1900's the pub was open from 6.00am until 10.00pm. There were many things apart from alcohol on sale here. Petrol was sold from here after it was wisely moved out of the nearby forge. In those days, cigarettes, i.e. Woodbines, were 5 for a penny (an old penny). A good supply of clay pipes was kept behind the bar. Not so long ago, you used to be able to buy your fly fishing hooks from the pub.

The pub was the home for dancing, singing and live music on a Saturday night. The evening used to be filled with voices of the villagers enjoying themselves and escaping the labours of the week. The square outside was also used for dance and merriment during the 'Hennock Revel'. The Revel has in later years been revived and follows in the old tradition. Only in recent years has the pub returned to being the central point of the village, as every village pub, by tradition, is expected to be.

Palk Arms
The Palk Arms, Ivy Cottage centre, Blacksmith's Forge on the right.

During the Second World War, the Palk Arms was the popular haunt for American G.I.'s who were billeted in and around Stover and Chudleigh Knighton. There must have been many drunken nights, with our American friends often supplying Bourbon to the Landlord. Apparently the vicar was known to come out of the vicarage by the old steps and shout at the late drinkers falling out of the pub.

There is a wonderful story in the book 'A New Look at Old Newton Abbot' by the late Harry Unsworth. It is about the time during WW2, when a two and a half ton truck, full of American uniforms and supplies, disappeared from outside the Palk Arms whilst the driver, Private Earnest G. Voight, U.S. Army, was inside having a few drinks. Momentarily paralysed when he came out and saw that his precious truck had gone, he quickly phoned for help and the local Police, U.S. Military Police and several truckloads of troops immediately besieged the village. They never did find the truck or its valuable contents, but some months later, a cider-drinking local was seen by some G.I.'s leaving the pub, smiling broadly as he hitched up his brand-new U.S. Army trousers.

During WW2, Cecilia Simmonds played the piano in the pub. Her son Les remembers seeing a collection of stuffed foxes, owls and birds in glass cabinets on top of the piano.

Being so remote, and in times of national shortage during the war, the pub would often have a sign outside saying 'No Beer'. Luckily for the villagers, cider was always readily available.

When the old houses in Bell Lane were demolished, the plot was left as rubble for quite some time. It seems that the Heavitree Brewery who owned the pub for a time, were offered, but declined, this parcel of land to use as a car park for the pub.

The Heavitree brewery also bought the Union Inn next door in what appears to have been a strategic move. When the licence for the Union Inn came up for renewal, they let it lapse and from then on the Palk Arms has been the only pub in the village.

The pub, now a Free House, has seen many owners and landlords come and go over the years. Like many pubs, it has seen many busy and merry years but has also had its share of quieter times.

It is an essential part of community life up here on the edge of the moor. Along with the village hall which is opposite, many events take place to offer enjoyment and entertainment. In the pub there are fun quiz nights, held fortnightly on a Friday night, as well as a serious team that takes part in the local league. Hired bands, Morris Dancing outside, occasional parties and food nights, when everyone brings something to share, make for enjoyable times, bringing villagers together.

There is a subtle charm about the Palk Arms and its locals. Many walk from far and wide to be able to come and enjoy themselves and not have to drive afterwards. Even heavy snowfalls do not seem to deter some people. Recently a well known resident who lives about a mile across the moor decided to challenge the elements and arrived at the pub on a sledge, complete with a miner's torch strapped to his head. He is now affectionately known as 'Nick the Sledger'.