Running Horse
Nepcote Findon
1800's to unknown

       

The Running Horse in actually in Nepcote which is slightly east of Findon Village. Nepcote used to be a separate village unto its own but has long since been incorporated with the main village of Findon for many many years.

Nepcote House as its known today, hasn't been a pub for well over a hundred years and dates back to around the 1700's making it Georgian. It is thought that it was probably two separate cottages originally.

Records show it was known as the Race Horse in 1861 under the ownership of landlord George Nicholls of Cornwall, by 1871 it became the Running Horse and continued to be until at least 1881, still run by George. no further records have been found to see when it ceased to be a pub.

 
   

We have been fortunate enough to secure a private viewing care of Jane Curtis of Curtis & Sons estate agents. We have been keen to visit this property to see if there are any remaining features harking back to its use as a public house.

The present building is now a five bedroom house of character with shadows of historic interest. The kitchen and morning room are said to have been the pubs skittle alley, which would have been nine pins and not ten pins as we know today.

It has a double cellar giving substance to the idea of two separate buildings.

Opposite: What may have been the entrance to the pub, a semicircular bench sits neatly in the bay window.

   
The polished slightly uneven quarry stone and brick floor is probably the original.
   
This internal swinging gate is said to be an original feature of the pub and was the entrance to the bar.
   
On the same wall as the swing gate is this rather curious opening window. It is possible that beer could be served via this means from the bar.

It is known that business would be very busy during the annual sheep fair that took place on Nepcote Green just outside, this very window would have been useful.
   

A hidden staircase. Just behind what looks like a pantry door lays a surprise, a very narrow staircase to the upper floor. The present building only has one staircase and it may be that this was the original stairway when the property was two separate cottages. Note the exposed wooded beams and wear on the wooden steps, these steps were used a lot at one time.

   

 

   
The Skittle Alley. This view is an approximation of the position of the skittle lane, running south to north so the sun light would be behind you in the day time. It takes up three rooms, the Morning room in the south, the long central kitchen and a kitchen lobby in the far north. Note that it's nine pins, not ten.

   

 

 

 

Another surprise just in a large alcove in the kitchen is this wooden serving hatch which leads in to the room shown right.

 

   
This absolutely  stunning hand carved fire surround is directly off the skittle lane in what is now a long lounge room.

It appears to be of panelled oak construction, I am tempted to wonder if it is quite in tune with the building, I have a slight suspicion that it might have been an item rescued from the nearby ruins of Muntham Court that was demolished in the early 1960's.

The two pictures below also seem slightly out of place, again I suspect they were rescued from elsewhere.

   
   
   
Nepcote House has three clearly defined cellars.

(1) Houses the boiler system.
(2) Garden Irrigation tank
(3) storage room

   
   
   
Within cellar one there are two deeply recessed alcoves both of which lead under the south lounge. There is no evidence that these used to lead in to another section how ever we won't dismiss that thought.

We note that the floor beans are much younger than the rest of the wood in the house and the walls supporting them are brick rather than flint which would suggest a later built extension.

   
   
Cellar three, to me this is certainly a food cellar, the door has vent holds to allow cold air to circulate, some hooks in the wooden ceiling might imply the hanging of hams and pheasants and the raised shelf for storage jars.

It is of course possible that beer barrels could have been stored here, the bricked up exit would be the ideal way to get barrels in to the cellar but unlikely that they were tapped or pumped from here as the pub is probably situated on the other side of the building.

 

   
View from the cellar to the ground floor.

The steps are certainly not original, there are no signs of age and wear and the bricks are very narrow. They also have the effect of making the individual steps wider than the norm which you soon discover as you try to walk down, the stride pattern is just odd!

I can only think that the original would have been much steeper or even in the form of an open wooden staircase or steps.

   
The following pictures are just curios that we find intriguing.

A hatchway in to a roof space.

   
Little glassed window viewing from one lounge to another.
   
It's not a painting, it is a recess, purpose unknown.
   
Hatchway set in the floor adjacent the were we think the bar entrance was. There is evidence that there used to be a metal ring fitted to the centre.
   

Bit of a re-think. Working on the premise that this building was originally two cottages has made us look more closely at its layout. A map of the late 1800's shows a square building with a recess in the front (North facing edge) shown directly below. This would be in keeping with two buildings sharing a common wall. We noted some more modern brickwork under the south facing lounge. The building would have been of flint construction and, as is the norm, fireplaces were on outside walls. We have reconstructed what it might have possibly looked like in the 1897 depiction. The pink and blue sections belonging to the pub. The cellar layout does fit within these bounds.

   

2011


1897

   
Special thanks to Jane Curtis & Barry from Curtis & Sons Estate Agents without whom these pictures would not have been possible and of course the present owners.