The buildings in Broom
are a mixture of ancient and modern, some of them being 16th Century, the earliest of these is said to
be The Broom Tavern which was built as a farm house. Due to its timber building and red brick in-fill, this building
when floodlit makes an impressive site. Right up until the mid / late 1970s, The Broom Tavern was a pub flanked by
two small cottages although as a building it appears as one on OS maps dating back to 1889
In Broom there are about twenty small buildings with timber framing; about half of them have thatched roofs. Some
of them may be approximately dated from the complaint made early in James I’s reign against Thomas Throckmorton that
he had lately erected certain tenements there whose occupants were unlawfully pasturing their beasts on the common (document
dated between 1603 and 1614). The largest of them is the Broom Inn at the south west corner of the cross road. It is of rectangular
framing on stone foundations with heavy timbers and brick infilling. Long struts from the sills help to support the story-posts
of the anges. The plan consists of a main block facing east with two parallel wings projecting behind, all with gable ends
to the tiled roofs.
One of the few stories
told about Shakespeare concerns a famous drinking bout at Bidford on Avon. He had gone with some bibulous cronies to take
on the Bidford Topers in a drinking contest one Whit Monday but the Topers had departed for Evesham Fair. Bidford however
had a second team, the Slippers, who promptly drank the visitors under the table at the Falcon. Beating an uncertain retreat,
the Stratfordians staggered barely a mile homewards before resting underneath a crab tree where they fell asleep and stayed
the night. Waking with a hangover, Shakespeare vowed never again to drink with the mean of ‘Piping Pebworth, Dancing
Marston, Haunted Hilborough, Hungry Grafton, Dodging Exhall, Papist Wixford, Beggerly Broom and Drunken Bidford.
The pub was once called the Bowling Green Inn in 1876 according
to a deed which states that the tenants - widow Mary Ann Cowper and her son, William Henry Cowper had kept the inn since the
death of George Cowper. From the 1840’s to the 1870’s the inn belonged to Charles Jones of Alcester. From 1891
– 1900 William Harknett was present, followed by local Christopher Wilkes and his wife Louisa.
In the 20th Century, the pub was renamed to the Broom Inn and then became the Broom Tavern in
the 1970’s. The innkeeper from 1908 to 1921 Walter W. Ward, was related to Arthur W. Ward who wrote a guide
to Bidford in 1903. Later publicans include Lewis Harwood 1932 – 1940, Baker, Ross, Holder and Crump. The artist
of the inn sign in the 1970’s chose to interpret ‘Broom’ not as the village or the plant from which
the village derives its name, but as the besom providing transport for a witch.
'Having a drink round Bidford' by Richard Churchley
(please see the website
below if you are interested in purchasing a copy)
|Deciding on the local tipples for Broom Tavern...
|Redecorating the bar area...