History

History

Rich & Diverse

Dating back to the 1500s, the Sunny Sailor has a rich and vibrant history. Learn more here!

history

Where It All Began

From whence we came...

The grade II listed building that houses our fair pub has lifetimes of fascinating history within its walls. Whether it be sailors heading into port or the smugglers’ hideout it allegedly was, history oozes from every nook and cranny. 

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A Victorian picture of the view down Market Hill
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An engraving circa 1840 showing the Sunny called by it's previous name "The Angel"

Aside from the burgeoning local rumours regarding what the building was used for, including a smugglers’ den or a place for disreputable men to relax and unwind with company, the book “Here’s Good Luck to the Pint Pot” by Ken Stubbings gives a clear and concise description of the building’s history:

“…the adjacent premises now named ‘Welcome Sailor’ once stood as a dwelling known as “The Wrenches”. It was described as thus: ‘A long narrow hall-house with two clusters of brick chimneys and a jettied upper floor. About 1586 the former house and thould kitchen, a warehouse and a shed were remodeled under a roof-tree’. By 1674, the premises were licensed and had assumed the name the Angel. The simple sign can be seen on the classic etching of Fullbridge by Hartlett c.1840 [pictured above].”

A Short Story About 'Snowey'

The local troublemaker

Following the opening of the new bridge in Fullbridge in 1878, the local populace decided to throw a shindig to celebrate at our pub, then named The Welcome Sailor. The book “Here’s Good Luck to the Pint Pot” by Ken Stubbings details an altercation between a well known local man nicknamed ‘Snowey’ and policeman Constable King after Snowey had indulged in a few too many celebratory drinks:

“By eight thirty in the evening, celebrations at the Welcome Sailor, by the bridge, were advanced. One of the most sociable in the crowd was Snowey. Several drinks later his attitude began to deteriorate.

When constable King arrived, he was standing at the foot of the bridge hurling “disgraceful” language and threats at all those who stood around him. The brave constable asked him to go home but Snowey punched him in the face, twice, each blow accompanied by “bad expressions”. 

The scuffle that followed ended with Snowey, handcuffed on the ground, being asked to go quietly to the lock-up. He agreed, got to his feet and kicked Constable King twice in the thigh before being wrestled into a cart.”

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An old photo of the 1878 bridge in Fullbridge

In 1960, work began on a temporary bridge to replace the one on which Snowey partied too hard, claiming structural instability. During production of a replacement bridge, the life of one of the workmen was lost, but there is speculation as to how this happened.

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Production starting on the new bridge. Credit to Edward Mead.
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A truck helping production, note Welcome Sailor in background. Credit to Edward Mead.

An Unexploded Bomb!

Brace for Impact!

During Zeppelin raids over Essex amid the first world war, bombs were dropped all around the Maldon and Heybridge area. One of the unexploded bombs which was recovered around this time dropped just short of the Welcome Sailor in the River Blackwater.

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Soldiers retrieving unexploded bomb near Welcome Sailor. Note pub in background
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Projected Zeppelin flights to UK from 1914

According to sources, the bomb raids were unsuccessful in taking human lives and mainly caused structural damage to buildings. Apparently the only casualty in the Maldon area was a speckled hen belonging to Henry Huston of Gate Street! Our thoughts and prayers go out to that brave chicken’s family and friends…

Eddie Kidd's Big Jump

The Daredevil of the Dengie

In 1979, famous stunt biker Eddie Kidd embarked on a dangerous escapade to jump the gap of the old viaduct over the River Blackwater on a Yamaha motorbike.  The viaduct was demolished using explosives in the mid sixties but a large portion of the structure survived until the bypass was built in the 90s.

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Eddie Kidd jumping the old viaduct
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A still from the film Riding High which featured the jump over the old railway bridge

The 20-year-old Eddie Kidd made the jump in spectacular style and was filmed as a part of the film ‘Riding High’. The event will always be remembered by locals, a lot of whom were Kidd fans who crowded around to watch. When you look out over the Blackwater from our outside seating area and see the bypass, think of brave Eddie Kidd.

In 2014, the pub was bought by a local hotelier, John Wilsdon, and was renamed the Sunny Sailor. His sister, Sally Wilsdon, received the pub in 2018 and the rest is history…

SPECIAL THANKS!

Thank you very much to Lisa Cullumbine for being exceptionally helpful in sourcing information, to Edward Mead for supplying wonderful images of the Fullbridge bridge construction and to Zeppelin Busters for the unexploded bomb story. 

Historic Gallery

Collage of our Past

Get In Touch

If you’re curious about any of the information provided, or wish to ask us a question, then raise your looking glass and set sail for the contact page!