Public Houses in East & West Molesey

Rowland G. M. Baker, 1981

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High Street, West Molesey


Throughout known history it seems always to have been a compelling ambition among servicemen, both soldiers and sailors alike, to settle down after demobilisation and keep a public house. The frequency with which one finds inn signs nostalgically depicting famous military  and naval commanders, battleships, regimental insignia, or any of the various impedimenta of war, bears ample witness that the yearnings were quite often very satisfactorily accomplished. It is most probable that it was by these means that West Molesey acquired "The Cannon" as the name for one of its inns. In the eighteenth century, which was the time when our Cannon first seems to have appeared on the scene, the name occurred so frequently that it was observed: "nothing is so common in England than the sign of the Cannon" [53].

Although the existing building is comparatively modern, an inn has been on the site for over two hundred years. The first licensee of whom we have any definite knowledge is James Paggett, who was here in 1753 [54], and apparently owned the property himself.

In 1779 it devolved upon his daughter, a Mrs. Mary Biden [55], who died in 1817, when she devised "all that my copyhold messuage or tenement or public house known by the sign of the Cannon with the yard garden buildings and premises thereunto belonging situate at West Moulsey and now in the occupation of James Sargeant", to trustees, on behalf of Caroline, wife of Richard Fisher, who was probably her daughter [56].

The ancient building was demolished and the present house erected in 1897 [57].

Inkeepers during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries include:-

            1753 - James Paggett

            1774 - Henry Inwood

            1775 - Richard Whitter

            1780 - Thomas Smith

            1781 - John Perritt

            1782 - James Milner

            1785 - Frederick Strubell

            1800 - James Sargeant

            1821 - John Stevens

            1827 - Mr. Williams

            1828 - James Good

            1832 - Joseph Wells

            1834 - Joseph Cogger

            1845 - Thomas Sinfield

            1864 - Samuel Harris

            1868 - Mrs. Wilkinson

            1868 - William Higgins

            1880 - George Turner

            1881 - James Saunder

            1888 - Charles Duddy

            1895 - Eliza Duddy

Notes on some innkeepers:-

JAMES PAGGETT: Died in January 1773, and was buried in West Molesey churchyard [58], as was his widow five years later [59]. His will was proved in the Archdeaconry Court of Surrey on 20 January 1773 [60].

FREDERICK STRUBELL: Was churchwarden three times between 1790 and 1799. He married the daughter of Richard Edmonds, which brought him into one of the most influential families in West Molesey. The couple had eleven children, through two of whom they were linked to another of Molesey's victualling families, the Davis's of the Castle in East Molesey. Strubell was the owner of several properties in West Molesey, which on his death in November 1800 were left to his widow [61]. His white tombstone, decorated with cherubs blowing horns, still stands.

THOMAS SINFIELD: Was elected surveyor of the highways for the parish of West Molesey in 1861.

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