How Guardians Bested the Toll Collectors

The "Versants Inn" Sharpe's Bridge, with the late Mr Edward Black and Mrs Black standing in front of it.

The “Versants Inn” Sharpe’s Bridge, with the late Mr Edward Black and Mrs Black standing in front of it.

An interesting family record is brought to light in connection with the recent relinquishment by Mrs. Edward Black, of the licence of the Vernarts Inn, near Sharpe’s Bridge, Pinchbeck, in favour of her son, Mr. George Black. Mrs. Black, who is 73 years of age, lost her husband few years ago.

She has resided at the house for 48 years, and during the whole of that time there has never been a complaint against the house nor has anyone been summoned from the house. The previous holder of the licence was Mrs. Black’s husband’s father, who entered the house, which was built about the year 1825, some years after it was erected, so that the Black family’s connection with it, which is now continued by the third generation, promises to be a very lengthy one.

The name of the house was originally the “Lamb and Flag.” A few years after its erection this was changed to the “Parting Pot” but this appropriate sign was altered by Mrs. Black about fifteen years since owing to the liberties which roystering youths took with the name. “I hardly knew what to call it”, remarked Mrs. Black to the writer, “and eventually I decided to name it the Vernatts Inn, after the drain.” An Inquiry about the trade of the house and changing conditions elicited the reply that the two most serious events in the history of the house were the advent of the railway and the abolition of the toll-bar over Sharpe’s Bridge some forty years ago, which greatly affected trade at the lime. “However,” added the old lady, “if there are not so many traps on the road as there used to be, there are the bicycles and motors.”

Sharpe’s Bridge, it may be mentioned, was built in the year 1806, by a Mr. Kirby of Market Deeping, the contract price being”£800 and take the old one. “it could hardly be renewed on the same terms today. In the leisurely days of the toll-bar, the house entertained a good many callers who, having to pull up at the gate, thought it no bad plan to refresh themselves before starting again. The frugal Guardians of the poor from the Pinchbeck side of the district, when they attended the meetings of the Board, saw no reason why they should enrich the coffers of the toil collector any more than they could help, and so in order to avoid the extra toil charged on a horse and trap, they would put up at the inn and walk to the Union house, thus paying toll as pedestrians only!”

AOS P 1501 the vernatts inn pinchbeck 1950

Vernatts Inn in 1950

Does anybody know who Mr Sharpe was and why the bridge was named after him???