OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
When I growing up on the Beeches estate there were two premises of importance; the Beeches shop and the Golden Farm pub. Adjacent to the shop was one of the three red telephone boxes that served the Beeches, back before most people had telephones. “Jack Arnolds” shop as it was known, stocked most things a boy could want; sweets when I was small and “Fags” when Jack Arnold thought I was old enough to buy them. The Golden Farm had different attractions: bottles of “pop” and crisps and later Quart bottles of Cider from a small hatch at the back. I don;t remember it happening, but legend has it that some boys would take empty bottles from crates at the rear and then redeem them for 6 pence a bottle at the hatch.
The Golden Farm opened on the 10th July 1953 having been converted to a pub by the owners H and G Simmonds having acquired the Licence from the Nags Head on London Road which had recently closed down. In the 1950’s licences to sell alcohol were restricted and one establishment had to tender its licence on closing to allow another to take it’s place. The Golden Farm was a Tudor residence named after the Highwayman William Davis “The Golden Farmer” who was once thought to have lived there. I was always told that the Golden Farmer was called so because he had an farm which he worked on during the day and turned highwayman at night. But reading an account of Davis in the Standard from 1953 when the pub opened, it seems that William Davis was called the Golden Farmer because he “farmed Gold” from his unfortunate victims. Over many years he robbed coaches, mostly near Salisbury but also in London, where he was eventually apprehended in 1689; committed to Newgate, and executed on Friday the 20th of December, 1689; he was afterwards hanged in chains.