Part of the Museum used to be a pub originally called the New Inn. The name was later changed to “The First and Last” but after it finally closed it became part of Chard Museum and is once again known as the “New Inn”. The earliest written record of any pub in Chard is a document, dated 1471, which mentions a “Newynn” so this part of the Museum could possibly be the same New Inn.
The New Inn
Since the New Inn was first mentioned over 500 years ago, there have been more than forty public houses and inns in Chard. A hundred years ago, at the beginning of the twentieth century, there were still at least twenty five in the town.As well as the New Inn, High Street had the Black Horse which closed about the time of the First World War. The Carpenters Arms closed in 1930, and the Poulletts Arms, named after the lord of the manor of Chard, closed in 1950. The Choughs, where the notorious Judge Jeffreys, the ‘Hanging Judge’, stayed is still open.
Fore Street could offer The George, now called The Phoenix, and The Dolphin, first recorded in 1791 and still open over two hundred years later. The Crown whose site is now occupied by Boots the Chemist, closed in 1967, and The Ball closed in 1963 to make way for Woolworth’s.
The Ball Inn and George Hotel
The London Inn
Further along The Bell and Crown is still open after over 150 years.
The Old Inn
Nearby, the Victoria Hotel was built in 1891 to serve travellers arriving or leaving by train. The site is now occupied by a McCarthy and Stone housing development.The road to Taunton has only ever had two public houses, the Ship Inn (now closed) and the Furnham Hotel. The inn sign of the Furnham Hotel depicts a horsedrawn barge, a reminder of the Chard Canal whose terminus was on the site of the B & Q store just a few yards away.