Withersfield pub’s new name inspired by cricketing legend’s family history
The historical links between the only pub in Withersfield and the greatest batsman in the history of Test match cricket have inspired its new licensees to give it a new name.
Whilst I cannot definitively say whether or not the White Horse Inn in Hollow Hill has always borne the same name since it began its life as a 17th century coaching inn, history books show that its links to the family of Sir Donald Bradman are indisputable.
With that in mind, the pub’s new licensees Bianca and Lee D’Arcy-Jones have decided to rename it Bradman’s, in recognition of ‘The Don’ and his family’s heritage in Withersfield.
Sir Donald, who died in 2001, was born in Australia in 1908, some 53 years after his grandfather Charles Bradnam packed his bags and left Withersfield for a new and better life Down Under.
The story goes that on arrival in Australia, an immigration official misspelt Charles’s surname, an error that saw it changed forever from Bradnam to Bradman - although there are different interpretations for the reasons behind the name change.
It was Charles’s uncle (Don’s great-great uncle) Thomas Bradnam that was the landlord of the White Horse from 1855 to his death in 1898, at which point it passed to his son Sam, who died in 1932.
With such a connection to one of sport’s most legendary characters, it is no surprise that Bianca and Lee have gone for the new name.
Bianca explained: “We wanted to change the name; new business, new name and we wanted to keep it as something to do with the village and the building and we found out Sir Don Bradman’s family owned the pub, so that’s where the name Bradman’s came from.
“We wanted a fresh start and a new name and we wanted to have something that’s got relevance to the pub.”
Cricket memorabilia can be found in the two bar areas of the pub, one of which is being named the Bodyline Bar, in reference to the infamous 1932/33 series in Australia when England skipper Douglas Jardine instructed his bowlers to bowl at the batsmen, including Don Bradman, and not the wicket.
A signed photo of Jardine and of one of England’s bowlers in that contest, Harold Larwood, are among the reminders of that series that can be found in the pub.
Bianca and Lee previously lived locally in Steeple Bumpstead and Horseheath and would regularly use the pub.
The pub trade is new to them however. Bianca has a background in cosmetics sales and Lee had his own office supplies business, LJ Solutions, which is now part of STP Stationery.
The pub’s previous licensee left in August and it had been closed for some months prior to that and, seeing it on the market, Lee and Bianca, who have two daughters aged 11 and three, decided to take the plunge and after making a successful bid to its owner, Enterprise Inns, are now in charge themselves.
The pub, said Bianca, was the only one for them: “There would have not been another pub if we didn’t get this one. We would not have gone for any other pub.
“When we used to come here it was lovely. It always had a great atmosphere.
“When we lived at the bottom of the road we would come up three or four times a week.”
They officially opened as Bradman’s on September 12, initially just as a drinking pub, but three weeks ago started serving food.
Features such as the Friday Steak Night are proving popular, said Bianca.
She added: “Lots of local companies are starting to use us and some of them use us for our rooms as well because we have five letting rooms, which are still open.”
Tomorrow (Friday) the pub is holding a James Bond Tribute night, with a disco and live singer and in mid-December local band, Round and Around are returning to play again.
The pub has been redecorated with a colouring scheme of green and gold a reference to its Australian connection.
All the food is home made and freshly prepared in the newly-equipped kitchen.
The pub is holding a New Year’s Eve Dinner and Dance Celebration. A black tie party with a complementary glass of bubbly followed by a three course meal, with table entertainment, live music and a disco that will take customers into the New Year.
Numbers are limited to 200, so bookings need to be made early. The evening costs £70 per guest.