The White Swan (or simply ‘The Swan’ until 1877) has been part of Holcot’s social scene for over two hundred years with a Joseph Wright being the first recorded landlord in the 1780’s
Landlords through the last 200 years
In 1866 William Holt combined the Swan with a butcher’s shop and was also a stone mason.
The White Swan, as it became, was taken over by Walter Page in 1885, retaining the butcher’s shop. It is unclear when the butcher’s trade ended, but Albert Jeyes ran the pub from 1910 to 1920, when William Benton took over for four years, before Frederick Dunkley became landlord in 1924.
William Jonathon Crane and his wife ran the pub throughout the Second World War, before a number of shorter tenancies started in 1957 with Helen Mobbs. Her son, John Mobbs took over in 1963, followed by Harry Farmer and Bert Morris from 1967 to 1969. Kenneth Higginson from then until 1974, with Adam Hogg taking the helm for a year before Mike Roe ran it from 1975 to 1980.
David and Pat Storey from London became the 19th recorded tenants in 1980 until 1989, when Robert and Nelia Buckler from London and South Africa respectively came on board, changing it to a Free House in 1992. In 1998 David Hodgson became landlord.
Then came Pete Stubbins, followed by a few management couples until Martin and Hayley May bought the freehold the White Swan in 2015.
The White Swan's boxing connection
During the tenancy of Walter Page, a number of structural alterations and additions were made, including conversion of a large loft into a kind of gym, attracting professional boxers from all over the country to train there for periods of six weeks at a time.
It was said to be the training booth of the then British Bantamweight Boxing Champion, Thomas ‘Pedlar’ Palmer, indeed a photo existed of Palmer who signed it ‘To my old pal, Page’.
Other notable boxers of that time who trained there include Harry Ware, Will Curley, Nunc Wallace, Tom Ireland, Jack Farley, George Peach, Bill Mortimer, Lew Morgan, Ted Griffin and Nat Smith.