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Former history group member Richard Jenkins has written a series of short pieces on the village; this is one of them.


One of the oldest public houses in Blewbury called 'The Load of Mischief' has now closed down and the building is in the process of changing to a place of residence. The name undoubtedly awakens the feelings of fun and the old sign, a copy of that painted originally for a similarly named inn in Oxford Street, London, was designed by the eighteenth century artist William Hogarth. The artist was a celebrated satirist of his day and his paintings greatly sought after. The Load of Mischief depicts a man staggering under the weight of a woman whom he is carrying on his back. She is holding a glass of gin. There is a chain with a padlock round the man’s neck inscribed 'Wedlock', the meaning of which is quite clear! There is a drawing of the sign in 'This Venerable Village Blewbury' by Peter Northeast. Several inns took this name at the time but it appears that they have all now changed their name or status.

A gruesome tale was told of one of the old village inns. It was a lonely place in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and travellers sometimes disappeared. Inn keepers were not always good-hearted 'Bonifaces'. In the paddock of a particular inn a tree blew down, and when its roots were grubbed up "a skeleton form lay mouldering there" around which the roots were entwined. A similar discovery was made beneath a neighbouring tree, and village tongues began to wag, everyone wondering how these bodies came to be buried in this curious fashion. At last the oldest inhabitant told how that in the days of his youth the landlord, who was a surly ruffian, was suspected of robbing and killing his guests. But no one could accuse him as no bodies were ever found. But he was observed to be fond of arboriculture. He planted many trees in his paddock, and if all these were cut down and grubbed up doubtless the body of a slain traveller may be found under each one of them!