A Jolly History

The village of Ardeley dates back many thousands of years. An object found 10 years ago was dated to 6000BC – it was a Mesolithic ceremonial mace head. The Church is nearly 1000 years old. All who come remark what a wonderful place it is.

Old photo of The Jolly Waggoner pub in Ardeley.

In 1820 William Cobbett sat upon the hill at Ardeley looking down to Cromer and over to Luffenhall and wrote of the fair farming and countryside here.

Little has changed since. Ardeley Bury, all the land and farms around and three other villages were given by the first King of England – Athelstan – in around 900AD to the Canons of St Pauls Cathedral in London.

They owned it for the next 1000 years – the wealth from here went to maintenance of the Canons and the Cathedral.

The Jolly Waggoner was once known as the “New Bell Inn” being next to another pub “The Old Bell”. In front of the pub was a blacksmith’s shed – since converted – and the parish tithe barn – now a house and a pond. For hundreds of years this was a busy meeting place for people from miles around.

Old photo of The Jolly Waggoner pub and river in Ardeley.

Wagons, carts, horses, oxen, and implements of all types would be seen waiting outside the blacksmith’s shed. Waggoners would deliver a tenth part – the tithe – of crops to the big barn. With two pubs it is safe to assume a lot of beer and a jolly time was had in Ardeley. One “Jolly Waggoner” was such an influence that this pub became named after him.

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