Tabernarius is from the Latin meaning tavern or innkeeper and I just like the sound of the word – sounds better than just plain “tavern keeper”. In the past the local inn or pub was an important meeting place for the locals (albeit mostly men). It was often used as the venue for public meetings and inquests. In modern times pubs may be less popular and many have closed their doors for good in the last few years with the economics of running this type of business being a challenge that too proves too much for many, particularly in rural areas. In my place, New Fishbourne there used to be three pubs, but now only one remains – the Bull’s Head – and this blog deals in particular with one licensee who may have been driven by economics to desperate and dishonest measures.
Louis Gould took over the licence of the Bull’s Head sometime between 1882 and 1890. The previous occupant, William Knight is listed in a Kelly’s commercial directory for 1882 and Louis is listed in the directory for 1890. In the directories that I have copies of, Louis is listed up to 1895 and in 1899, Thomas Jenner is listed as the licensee of the Bull’s Head. I haven’t had chance yet to narrow down the dates by looking through the licensing records, but the following may help identify why Louis gave up the pub.
I love reading old newspapers and as can be seen from the above article, by 1893 Louis was earning a living as a fly proprietor and horse dealer. A fly was a type of horse drawn carriage and was for hire by fare-paying passengers similar to a taxi today. I am not certain whether Louis was also still running the pub at this point.
Louis seems to be on the downward spiral, because he is later listed in a calendar of prisoners dated 9th January 1896 having been sentenced to “four calendar months hard labour”. What was his crime? He was convicted of “Unlawfully and with intent to defraud his creditors within two months before the date of a certain Judgement obtained in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice against the said Louis Gould by William Burgess, on the 23rd September, 1895, which is still unsatisfied, remove one gig, one landau, and two horses, on the 6th September 1895.” He subsequently removed other items on the 7th September (two more carriages) and on the 15th of October removed 25 horse collars and two saddles.
The previous incumbent of the Bull’s Head, William Knight was a pillar of the local society – he is even mentioned in a newspaper article as having saved someone’s life. Louis Gould seems to have been of a somewhat different nature.