Monday, 29 October 2012



Monday 29th October

Hi everyone, I thought I’d better let you know what’s happening and why there’s been no info from us for a couple of weeks.

We decided on a pub for our next visit and contacted them with a view to going on the 28th October but the pub was in a bit of a transition. The manager had left and the place was being run by agency staff with a new manager starting on 27th October, the day before our planned visit. In view of this we decided to postpone this pub for a while to let the new  guvnor settle in etc..

So we picked another pub to visit. I called but could not speak to the manager, so left a message. I also e-mailed but, up to now, have received no reply. Tonight I spoke to the secretary of the local Historical society and now we seem to be getting somewhere. Nothing has been firmly decided as to when we go, as yet, but as soon as we have plans in place you can be sure we will let you all know.

Thanks for your patience and speak to you soon,


Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Wednesday 17th October

Hello again. Just a quick word. It has been brought to our attention that, in order to post a comment on our blog, people have to register with the Blogger website and I can understand how many folk can't be arsed with that (which may explain why we are not getting many comments) (or folks just think we're crap) so we are thinking of maybe also posting on Facebook where readers can comment as often as they like.

The only trouble with this is that Facebook doesn't offer us the same facilities. We won't get a count of how many people are viewing the blog nor any idea where they are from. On Blogger we can see how many people are looking and from which countries. For instance, as I write there are a couple of people in the UK and one in Argentina reading our last post and we've had our first views from Spain and Italy this week. I'd hate to lose this aspect of it.

So while we discuss how we are going to proceed I've set up an e-mail address that you can write your comments on If  I get a few mails I'll try to answer them, time permitting. Anyway, thanks for listening,



Friday, 12 October 2012

The Bears Head Brereton, Summary...

Friday 12th October

Well it's been a few days (sorry about the delay but it's sometimes hard for us to get together due to work commitments) and no sign of the ghost so we'll have to just wrap up this episode of our mission.

While in Brereton we went a walk around the village to get a feel of the place. We'd been told about the totem pole in the village and headed in that direction but, we'd only gone about 50 metres (bloody metres..... I wanted to put YARDS but, being an old fart, my son reckons nobody will know what I'm talking about) when we came to an old gatehouse that had been converted into a pretty cool looking house. There was a sign saying CHURCH pointing through the gateway so I told Clint I was just going to have a quick look up the lane. So, off I went, thinking Clint was following....

But I wasn't! I could see the park was 50 feet away, and through e-mail correspondence I had heard that there was a totem pole (?) carved with all the local highlights, so I took a walk over and got some good pictures. (I would like to add, that as a tourist, I felt obliged to take pictures for this blog, but I got loads of funny looks from the locals) (I don't think that was anything to do with taking pictures, you get funny looks everywhere........ha ha!!). Check out the pics of the totem pole, and if you can see it, the bears head is on there.

I then took the path to the church, bumped into a local who told me that the old Brereton hall, which was up until recently a school, has just had a wealthy banker move in who spent a fortune on the hall and it is now a magnificent stately home, unfortunately, it's closed to the public, so no pics from us, so I have stolen one from another site.

Above: Stolen Brereton Hall Pic

Left: Guess what? Totem Pole!

Below: Totem Close up showing The Bears Head

 I soon realised Clint wasn't following but carried on regardless. I mean, The Church couldn't be far, could it? (I should point out that I live quite a sedentary life, I sit down all day at work and my idea of exercise is fetching a beer from the fridge). After about 10 minutes, (it seemed like half an hour) I came to a fork in the road with a sign saying CHURCH pointing right. I thought "how much bloody further?" But it wasn't far. I came upon a lovely church, very quiet, very picturesque and nowhere near any roads. I walked round the churchyard looking at the gravestones and some were dated early 16th century and some were that old they had weathered to just plain stones. I walked all the way around the church and as I came back to the front I met Clint who had eventually caught me up......

Yeah... So he was milling about the church, I thought, "sod this", tried the door, it opened, stuck my head in, then went all trigger happy...


Then a polite little "hello?" replied, it was a very nice lady named Alison who helped out in the church, I explained what we were doing in Brereton and she very enthusiastically gave us a tour of the church, which dated back to 1297!

So my son barged into the church and accosted the lovely Alison. Actually she was very helpful and told us all about the history of the church and the village, and a bit about the Breretons. She showed us around the church and we had a chat, at one point bemoaning the fact that the village no longer had a Post Office or shop, and that all they had now was the pub, the Church and a school. I pointed out that that was all a community needed, somewhere to sin, somewhere to repent and somewhere to learn the difference!


I want to mention a couple of things, very briefly, I am saddened how the the Bears Head is now just "generic eatery of Brereton", but also, I am very excited that we have actually done it! Back when we had this idea, drunk, in the back of my dads garden, we were wondering about the state of pubs today. My dad thinks that the one of the reasons that's hastened the  decline of the British pub is because of the smoking ban, Me, I have a different view...

While we were walking back from the church to the pub, we bumped into a couple of people, walking the dog, some girls on horses, etc, and as they passed, they kept themselves to themselves, one elderly couple passed us walking their dog, and they remained silent like all others we passed. I politely and cheerfully said "Hello!", and they, almost surprisingly, replied politely and we had a nice chat about the local area. What struck me, and what my original argument was about the decline of the British pub, is that people don't socialise any more.  With the advent of Facebook and Twitter, and the world in our pockets on apples, blackberries, or any other fruit, we don't need the meeting place of the pub any more. We are completely connected, 24 hours a day, so catching up with yer mates on Friday after work is not how its done any more. a persons social calender can be organised on-line for the foreseeable future without ever actually talking to anyone. Maybe the very thing that I am connecting with you now is the very reason I'm not enjoying a pint of mild with you at the bar....

So that's the first of forty. I have mixed feelings about it really. It's nice to get under way but it was disappointing in some respects. And then again I really enjoyed the experience. We met some new people, most of whom were nice (I have one niggle about one of the people we met but I'll keep that to myself, we're not doing this to slag people off), learned some interesting stuff and had too much to drink, which all adds up to a good night out.

The biggest disappointment was The Bears Head itself, not because the place was rubbish, but because it's not the place I wanted it to be. I, foolishly as it turned out, expected it be full of interesting old guys with stories to tell, but it seems the pub has moved more with the times than I have! I've not been disheartened by this and I shall be full of the same expectations on our next visit which we shall announce within the next few days. In the meantime keep your glasses filled and give a toast to our ancestors who invested the time and energy to develop the nectar that we all enjoy today (and wouldn't the world be a poorer place without it)!!!!!!!!!! 


Please leave your thoughts as either comments, friend requests, or whichever way you can....

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Bears Head Brereton part 2

Thursday 4th September

So we had had a pretty poor show at the Bears Head, and started to think forward to the next visit. I was browsing the web on my laptop, in the pub (how times have changed eh? When I started visiting my local, you were given earache for watching the telly!), I was glued to the screen, and hadn’t noticed my dad had gone outside for a fag. 

When I finally tore myself away from the screen, I glanced around, and happened to look toward the adjacent table. I gave a polite nod, and in turn received a polite reply in the form of a chat. As all at the table were elderly (ish), I thought they might find the old cards interesting and, as it turned out, the elderly couple were local to the area for 60 years! We had struck local-knowledge-and-pub-going-history gold!

I’d gone outside for a smoke and when I came back Clint was pestering some nice people at the next. I went to rescue them and drag my son away but we had a bit of a chat and that’s how me met Dick Heyhoe, his wife Wendy, his nephew Jonathan and Jonathans wife, Florence. Dick and Wendy have lived in the village for 60 years or so and his nephew and niece-in-law live in Ireland but were over for a visit.  They told us the previous landlord had been a man called Roberto Tarquini, of Italian descent, (who married Margaret, one of two daughters of Arthur Whiteley, the landlord before that), and who had been an excellent host with many a convivial evening being had there, including one New Years Eve when Mr Tarquini (who, sadly, had had a leg amputated) danced a little too vigorously with the end result being he went one way and his false leg went the other which caused much hilarity but all taken in good spirit!

I’d like to butt in here, Wendy told us she remembered when present owners first took over and took down the old Muzzled Bear pub sign hanging outside and replaced it with a picture of  a more “friendly bear”, Yogi Bear! The locals campaigned against the sign, and after 6 months, they took the friendly sign down, and just put up the words, “The Bears Head.” Very politically correct…

Which brings me on to a good tale. We spoke about how the pub came to be called The Bears Head as it had originally been The Boars Head.

We had heard a story which goes as follows:-

An un-named Brereton had been eating his evening meal in Brereton Hall when he was interrupted by one of his servants. The Master was so enraged by this that he ran after the servant who fled upstairs. The fact that the servant ran from him enraged the Master even more, so much so that, when he eventually caught the poor fellow, he beat him to death!!

The rest of the household staff and the villagers were so incensed by this it appeared to the Master of the hall he was in danger of being strung up! So the fearful man fled to London to confess to the King and ask his pardon. The King, however, was not in a forgiving mood and ordered the Master to be confined to the Tower for three days where he was to design and manufacture a muzzle for a bear.

After the said three days the man was brought before the King with his muzzle and was then thrown into a pit with a bear on the understanding that if he could attach the muzzle to the bear before he was killed the King would let him go which, fortunately for the Brereton, he managed to do and was released. Since that time the pub became the Bears Head and a muzzled bear features on the Brereton coat of arms.

We asked the Heyhoes if this was the correct story and they said it was pretty much what they had heard too.


There are other theories. One is that a member of the Brereton family was too outspoken and the King ordered him muzzled, another is that Henry VIII ordered the bear muzzled after a William Brereton, Kt., Chamberlain of Chester and Groom of the Chamber to the King, was executed on 17th May 1536 (along with 4 other men including George Boleyn, Annes’ brother) for “adulterous association” with Anne Boleyn. Two days later Anne herself was executed.

The third is that it was just a play on words. Any name that remotely looked or sounded like “bear” (Barnard, Baring, Barnes, Beardsley e.g.) became associated with the bear and Brereton was close enough to Bear for the association to be formed. According to The Art of Heraldry by A. C. Fox-Davies, heraldic bears were normally muzzled. As there are no pictures or descriptions of the Brereton bear without a muzzle it may have always had one, but I prefer to believe the murder story!

I went outside for yet another fag and met a guy called Tom.

Dad came back from a fag break and said he’d been talking to a guy outside called Tom. Dad had asked him if he knew any tales about the place and he’d mentioned a ghost. I immediately asked Dick and Wendy if they had heard about it and Wendy said yes. It was the ghost of a little girl who had appeared in the pub numerous times in the past but the local vicar, Charlie Shepherd had carried out an exorcism in c. 1961 and the phantom had not been seen since.

Tom also said that he had a photograph allegedly depicting the ghost in the pub and he would mail me a copy. Unfortunately this has not arrived but if it does in the future I will share it with you.

So hopefully, we’ll be able to bust this ghost, and we’ll have some more on the village of Brereton, some of the sights, and wrap up our visit, all next time….

By the way, we're really chuffed that so many people have looked at this, and from all over the world (Western Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia, Canada and the USA) but it would be even better if we had a few comments. Tell us what you think, good or bad, where you're from etc., and share with your friends. Cheers!!