The History of the Wooden Fender
The Wooden Fender is the first pub mentioned as a staging point on the London - Colchester - Harwich route in 1625. The unusual pub name is believed to have come into being by way of a large pond which at one time was in the field opposite. Herds of cows were brought to drink from the pond, and to prevent them from falling in , large pieces of wood were put around the pond to "fend" the cattle off, hence the name "the wooden fender".
It is said the Matthew Hopkins, the "Witchfinder General" held meeting's around the open fire at The Wooden Fender where he discussed the allegations of witchcraft against local women. In 1664 The Tap Room was the centre of England's most vicious witch hunt. As a result twenty nine local women were arrested and arraigned by Matthew Hopkins.
In 1770 beer drinking was not permitted during the hours of divine service. An old record about The Wooden Fender reads, "as our ale-house keeper dwell upon the great road, he did not draw beer on the Sabbath, but we did not remember seeing any disguise with liquor on that day". It would seem that our Innkeeper of in 1770 sold a few tankards at the back door with a stern warning to customers not to stagger in sight of the Parson!
Thank you to Mrs Gill Woodman, former Landlady of The Wooden Fender from 1974 to 1980 and also Stephen Holland, whose family lived in the Guide Post Farm House from 1949 to Circa 1964, for all of the images and information below. Gill passed on her history to us, having been given the information from another previous Landlady, Mrs Betty Eberstein, who with her husband, Robert, had The Wooden Fender from 1960 to 1972.