Historical notes compiled by Warminster's resident local historian Danny Howell.
When it comes to selecting a name for a pub, the George has been one of the most popular
choices during the last 200 years. Indeed, in London alone, in 1864, there were 52 pubs with this
Eric R. Delferfield, in British Inn Signs And Their Stories, published in 1965, says "Many of the
George Inns up and down the country represent one of the Hanoverian kings, who have achieved
on inn signs a popularity they never experienced, nor in fact deserved, in their lifetimes."
The vast majority of the George names used for pubs, refer to George IV, who reigned 1820 to
1830, and these pubs usually depict him when he was Prince Regent (1812 - 1820).
As Prince Regent he was handsome and witty, and was idolised by society. He was a patron of
architecture and a connoisseur of the arts, but his self-indulgence and personal extravagance not
only caused him to run up debts of over £600,000 (spent on women, drink and gambling) but
"turned the once-slim Prince Charming into a prince whose backside was one of the sights of
George IV was certainly one of the most controversial kings in British history. He was politically
ineffective and his domestic life is best described as "one of impropriety". When he died in 1830
The Times newspaper noted "There was never an individual less regretted by his fellow creatures
than this deceased king."
The George Inn, at Longbridge Deverill, three miles south of Warminster, stands at the crossing
of the A350 (Chippenham to Poole trunk road) and the Sutton Veny to Maiden Bradley Road.
The latter was once an important coaching route, connecting Heytesbury with Bruton, and is
marked with many old milestones giving the distance to Bruton.
It is most likely that this coaching route and the crossing in Longbridge Deverill gave rise to the
establishment of the inn. No doubt it provided much needed rest and refreshments to weary
travellers during what must have been less than comfortable journeys.
The exact date for the establishment of the inn is not known but it was certainly in existence 150
to 200 years ago, when it was at one time in the hands of a Mr Lampard.
One of the first recorded landlords was William Charlton, who is listed as the host at "George" in
Kelly's Directory of 1848.
Charlton did not, however, have it all his own way, when it came to selling beer in Longbridge
Deverill. A fellow village resident, John Turner, who was a tailor, also retailed beer; his Sand
Street home doubling as a beer house called The Plough. Turner's beer selling must have been
worthwhile because he continued this sideline until at least 1880, when he rivalled Charlton's
successor at the George, one William Barnes Dufosee.
Likewise, other landlords of the George had to contend with rival beersellers too - among the
rivals were a Mr Blatchley and a Mr Barfoot. A second beerhouse was once situated at the north
end of Church Street, in a house opposite the Almshouses. There was also a third beerhouse in the
village, called either the Globe or the Horse And Groom, but its location is now forgotten. Only
the George currently survives in business.
Wilfred Middlebrook, referring to the George at Longbridge Deverill, in his notes on the Wylye
Valley, written in 1949, says "…. A fascinating exhibit, when Mr [William Barnes] Dufosee was
mine host …. Was a fragment of carpet, about two feet square, with a floral device on a white
ground. This 'sample' was the last pattern conceived by the innkeeper's ancestor, old Anthony
Dufosee, who was smuggled over from France by the Earl of Pembroke in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, to found the world-famous carpet industry at Wilton."
The aforementioned William Barnes Dufosee was not only the host of the George but also a
farmer. (The Dufosee family are still farming in the area today).
From 1880, or thereabouts, up until 1911 or slightly later, the George was in the hands of three
Dufosees in succession, passing from William Barnes Dufosee to Mrs Fanny Dufosee (probably
his wife), who ran the inn from the late 1880s to the mid-1890s; to William Henry Dufosee
(probably their son) who was at the helm at the beginning of the 20th century.
William Henry Dufosee was the last landlord to brew his own beer at the George. Mrs Beatrice
White, in A History Of Longbridge Deverill, Hill Deverill and Crockerton, 914 - 1960 recalls "In
the old days many of the publicans brewed their own beer and I can still remember the smell in
the village when Mr W.H. Dufosee was brewing. After his time the pubs came under the
ownership of the various breweries."
Later landlords included Alfred James Perry (mentioned in 1915); Ernest Edgar Tempest (1920);
Alfred George Bollen (1923); William Collins (1927 and 1931); and Thomas U. Thompson
(1935). More recently, "mine hosts" at the George have been L. White, Mr Brown, Bert Reece
and Michael Long.
The George Inn today, though much modernised since its time in the old coaching days,
thankfully still retains a modest plain appearance and more than a hint of its original charm.
Wilfred Middlebrook, (again in his notes on the Wylye Valley, written in 1949), commenting on
objects of interest concerning the George, said they "included an old-fashioned chimney-corner or
inglenook, in the tap room, the like of which can only be seen locally in the kitchen of St. John's
Hospital at Heytesbury. A local farmer had a chair fixed in the chimney corner of the old George,
and it remained there for years, the rungs carved with the initials of several generations of
Long may future generations of customers continue to patronise the George at Longbridge
Deverill, which is now a free house offering good food and accommodation.
It is certainly one of the oldest coaching inns in the Warminster area.