History of the Crooked Billet
There are many interpretations as to what a billet might be. A staff, a housing for soldiers, a ticket, a piece of beachwood, or a piece of wood used to light a fire. It is thought that the latter is the correct explanation for the name of the pub – the Crooked Billet. A strange name but we sumize that unlike the wealthier inns who had the money to create ornate wooden carvings to adorn the exterior of the pub. The poorer farmers who ran the ale house here simply hung an old piece of fire wood above the entrance and named the pub The Crooked Billet.
Using the wood from a sailing ship, the Crooked Billet was built around 1600 as a farm house. The owners served ale to the farmers and farm workers going to work in the morning and arriving back from the fields in the early evening. Shortly after, in the early 1700s, it began staying open later in the evening and changed from an alehouse to a licensed village pub.
A brew house was added sometime in the 1800s to cope with the demand of an ever growing surrounding population and the systematic closure of the other seven alehouses in the village. It still continued to function as a farm as late as the 1900s, with pigs and hens kept in a barn at the front of the main building. After the barns and alehouse went, harvesting apples from the orchards at the back of the pub continued until the 1930s. It is thought that it was at this time that it became solely a village pub. The village festival was held in the gardens with stalls and games, such as spit rock, being played.
Today it is still run as the village pub, but with the addition of a separate restaurant, and has won many national awards.