Public Houses in East & West Molesey

Rowland G. M. Baker, 1981

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Walton Road, East Molesey


In 1866 Mr. Francis Bowry, a cab proprietor, living in Pemberton Road, opened a new public house which had been erected on the corner of Manor and Walton Roads.

The village of East Molesey was then in an expanding state. Every year more and more houses were going up, and Mr. Bowry had good reason, therefore, to believe that the licensing authorities would allow him to open it as an inn. However, in spite of a petition signed by numerous residents, including the vicar of St. Paul's Church, and a letter from the dowager Lady Clinton of Molesey Park; in favour of the request, the bench refused to grant his application [119].

In the following year he again applied, the petition in his favour now being supported by three clergymen, two churchwardens, and one hundred and seventeen other people. But still it was turned down, the magistrates deeming "that the requirements of the neighbourhood did not yet demand another licensed house" [120].

Nevertheless, he persisted, and in 1868, when most of the landlords of surrounding inns had dropped their opposition, his request was allowed, and he received his license [121].

Mr. Bowry was so grateful for the assistance he had received from Lady Clinton in his attempts to open the inn, that he wanted to name the house after her and call it the "Clinton Arms". The Clinton family, it was said, was horrified at the thought of their name being associated with anything as low as a public house and objected. Whereupon the good lady replied: "Never mind. If you still want to call it after me, you can use my maiden name. They cannot demur at that", and, as she had been a Miss Poyntz, the "Poyntz arms" it became.

Although constructed at the height of Victorian opulence the Poyntz is no gin palace. Its restrained architectural style exhibits neither the brash boldness of the Europa nor the flamboyance of the Prince of Wales. It is to be seen at its best in the Spring, when the wisteria clad walls are awash with azure splendour. The late Mr. W.G. Roberts, a one-time member of the old Molesey Council, told the present writer that he was born a few doors away in Manor Road, and that the wisteria was planted in the same year as his birth. It means, therefore, that it has flourished here since 1872.

Mr. Bowry still kept up his business as a cabby, or fly proprietor as he was named, from the stables at the rear of the public house. He died in 1901, having been the landlord of the Poyntz for almost fifty years.

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