Meet Mary. The Luppitt Inn is a parlour room in her farmhouse. It is not so much a pub as a beer house, from the days when licensing laws permitted their creation. These days it would be called a micropub. Mary is 96 years old and has been there since the 1940’s, formerly with her husband Albert, but it has been in the family for over a century. She graciously consented to being photographed.
The first record of it being licensed dates back to 1714. Alehouse keepers were licensed annually. They had to be of respectable character and pledge a sum of money (usually a hefty £10) to assure good behaviour. The wording under the clock (above) refers to Brutton’s Double Crown Ale. Joseph Brutton was a nineteenth century brewer in Yeovil whose business was taken on by his sons. They were taken over in 1935 and brewing eventually ceased first in Chard in 1937 then in Yeovil in 1965.
As this ageing sign shows it is also known as the Red Lion but rest assured Cathy, the Red Lioness, has been here.
Opening hours are limited but usually include Thursday and Saturday evenings. We had called before 6 in the snow to see if it was open but Mary was watching Pointless (well, it was the Head to Head stage) so we called again later. If ever a pub visit wasn’t pointless it was this.
There is room for a single table, occupied by two regular customers on our arrival. Fellow ticker the Maltmeister is pictured on the left. I asked Ken (below, right) when the pub closed. “About ten” he said “or when Mary gets tired.”
The puzzles on the table are produced by Mary and a source of amusement to her when visitors invariably fail to solve them. We failed to solve them. The bar has a single pin of Otter Bitter (3.6%), served at £2.50 a pint, that reflects local favour for beers with a pronounced malty balance. Brewed down the road, it was newly on and deliciously fresh. There are three spirit bottles, two decorative spirit casks and a few other period pieces.
There is another room that is said to be used at Christmas but rarely at other times. The gents toilet is for the adventurous.
The Luppitt Inn is on CAMRA’s marvellous National Inventory of historic pub interiors. The next blog will feature another Devon pub that is also listed in the Inventory and an even older landlady.