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The Griffin

 
This new page about The Griffin was prompted in Jan. 2021 by an email to the website by John Wakefield, who used to ride in the Welsh Two-Day Trial (now called the Two-Day Enduro).  The trial organisers used The Griffin as one of the time check points when it was allowed to take place over public footpaths & byways.  (The route has changed since.)


Photo #1 shows the late Lewis Bridgeman on a 350cc Douglas Trials model.  (Lewis was not competing but acting as support rider for John, who rode in the trial from 1972-9.)  Brent Scholes took the picture, which takes one straight back to a forgotten era.  Extremely nostalgic.  Thanks, Brent.


When we walked by the pub in 2010 we couldn’t get hold of the owner Nigel Channing, but he wrote a superbly detailed letter to me about The Griffin’s history.  It closed its doors to the public in 2001, but the Western Mail in 1969 said “the house has been a tavern for more years than anybody can remember.”  As Nigel points out, it’s in the middle of nowhere, so the only customers were going to be travelling ones. 


Also there was always grazing land attached to the property, unusual for an ordinary pub, but essential for one that catered for four-footed customers as well.  He says that there were still 40 acres attached in the 70’s when Mrs Clytin Jones combined the smallholding with the casual sales of beer & spirits to passers-by: she and her daughter Blodwen had no bar as such, but served the beer from the kitchen & later from the stable door.  So the triallists presumably got their pints from Blodwen...lucky them. 


Philip Hughes told us that more recently the land at the pub was used for breeding pit ponies, the pit props being provided by the forestry land on Epynt.


Nigel Channing continues: "The Griffin’s main claim to fame in the first half of the twentieth century was as a venue for annual Pony Sales. The auctioneer’s ring was set in the field below the house, which would not have been possible had the current pond been in place at that time. I believe the current pond is a more recent enlargement of an original, much smaller, pond but whether even the original was there before 1980, I cannot say. 


"The inheritors of Blodwen Jones’ estate divided up the property. The house with its five acres ended in different hands from the remaining 35 acres, but their interdependence (e.g. a shared water-supply) still remains. The additional acreage passed by inheritance to John Bevan, who farms at Erwood.


"The house, standing alone, never made a profit and became more and more dilapidated through a series of landlords until we acquired it."


A common story.



The old Griffin sign still exists in the hands of Mark Lawrence of Fareham, who apparently acquired it whilst on holiday in Wales when the pub was derelict. (#3)


Thanks to all the people involved in giving me this info.



 

The Griffin image 1
The Griffin, 1974
The Griffin image 2
In 2010
The Griffin image 3
The Griffin Lives!