It is purported that 500 years ago where the three roads meet – The Street, now Manor Road and Rectory Road and Church Lane, a square was formed by the junction and there a public house was built.

1731 the tenement of a blacksmith was recorded (on land opposite the inn) and it is believed to be why the inn was named ‘The Wheel’.

The building was depicted on Chapman & Andre’s map of 1777, as was Ivy Cottage, the Rectory, the Tudor Cottages and Larges Farm.

Ship Inn History

By the latter part of the eighteenth century the Inn was recorded as ‘The Ship’, possibly from its association with smuggling.

From 1769 – 1784 the Palmer family ran the business, John Bowtree at the beginning of the nineteenth century and the Atkins family, who were also bricklayers, 1840s – 60s.

From the end of the eighteenth century (recorded for the first time in 1794), courts were held in the two pubs in the village; alternating between The Ship and The Red Lion (subsequently the Lions Den), before The Ship became the preferred location.

It was in the centre of the village shops, including the general stores & Post Office and the bakers & confectioners, and was the hub of village life.

In the 1920s it was famous for quoits and hosted quoits competitions with other villages.

The Ship Inn - Old pub Pic

Shortly after the First World War, a heavyweight boxing champion – Bombardier Billy Wells – stayed at The Ship Inn.

During the 1960s it hosted the Great Holland football team, who used pub rooms as changing rooms before matches on the Rectory Meadow and celebrated afterwards.

There were many landlords throughout the years, including one who was a local councillor, until 2016 when a new landlord took over and gave the pub a new look and a new name, ‘The Manor’.

It has been the hub of many village celebrations including coronations, jubilees, the opening of the village hall, and the village fetes. The public house has always been the centre of the community.


By Liz Bruce Great Holland Local History Recorder

Bombardier Billy Wells


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