Former Mermaid Inn, Welshpool

PWMP logoFormer Mermaid Inn, Welshpool

This timber-framed building is thought to date from the 16th century. It’s easy to imagine it with its original thatched roof! It remained a pub into the 21st century and became a private residence in 2012.

The building, once known as the Black Boy Inn, was carefully renovated by Shrewsbury-based architect Frank Shayler in the 1890s. As well as exposing the timbers on the frontage, he added some decorative timber pieces of his own.

In the 1880s and later, the Mermaid Inn was kept by Harry and Jane Rudge. He was well known as a jockey and broke his leg while riding in 1889. In 1896 he was training a two-year old colt, prior to racing it in Leicester, when the animal bolted. Harry fell to the ground and was kicked on his forehead. He died at the inn three days later, aged 35. Many people joined his funeral cortege and blinds were drawn at buildings along the route to Christ Church.

Harry left a widow and four children, who weren’t deterred from riding. One son, Herbert, kept the Eagle Hotel in Llanfyllin and became known as a jockey. In 1910 he won a race at the Llanfyllin Show. After passing the winning line Herbert looked back over his shoulder, unaware that his horse was heading towards a tree. A branch knocked him to the ground and he soon died, aged 25. There was a large turnout for his funeral in Welshpool.

The youngest son, Harry, raced ponies at local events. He dealt in animal skins before emigrating to New Zealand, where he married and worked as a driver and labourer. He was an army reservist during the First World War and died in Wellington in December 1918. The Rudge family’s gravestone at Christ Church includes a memorial inscription which states that Harry died “from effects of war service”.

With thanks to Natalie Bass

Postcode: SY21 7JP    View Location Map

To continue the Welshpool (Powys) in WW1 tour, go to the top of High Street and down Raven Street. Cross the road. The steam railway station is left at the roundabout
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