THE WAGGON AND HORSES. Public House
As you travel along the A4 towards Beckhampton you will come across a 16th Century Public house called The Waggon and Horses.
The A4 was once the main road leading from Bristol to London. The public house was seen as an important stop for many a weary traveller on horseback or stagecoach travelling between the two cities. The journey would take two days, and so the Waggon and Horses was a welcome sight on those cold winter nights on the Marlborough Downs.
It is now recognised as a listed building with a traditional thatched roof, and exquisite dormer windows which makes it a building of great importance. Its popularity became so when Charles Dickens himself mentioned the building in his novel "Pickwick Papers" Please see below for the short piece we have published from the book.
An extract from Charles Dickens "Pickwick Papers".
"Tom cast a hasty glance at the upper part of the house as he threw the reins to the hostler, and stuck the whip in the box. It was a strange old place, built of a kind of shingle, inlaid, as it were, with cross-beams, with gabled-topped windows projecting completely over the pathway, and a low door with a dark porch, and a couple of steep steps leading down into the house, instead of the modern fashion of half a dozen shallow ones leading up to it. It was a comfortable-looking place though, for there was a strong cheerful light in the bar-window, which shed a bright ray across the road, and even lighted up the hedge on the other side; and there was a red flickering light in the opposite window, one moment but faintly discernible, and the next gleaming strongly through the drawn curtains, which intimated that a rousing fire was blazing within. Marking these little evidences with the eye of an experienced traveller, Tom dismounted with as much agility as his half-frozen limbs would permit, and entered the house"
It was once regarded as the main meeting place for the Crop Circle researchers, and indeed the now disbanded Beckhampton Group, used it to hold their crop circle meetings here before the days of The Barge in Honeystreet.
The Public House is regarded as one of the most important listed buildings in Wiltshire, and is indeed a typical Old English Stage Coach inn. We recommend the food at The Waggon & Horses as its one of the best places to eat in the surrounding area with its exposed beams, and bustling atmosphere.
We recommend that you visit the Public House while on your stay, as it has some excellent ales and home made recipes, in an original 16th century atmosphere.