Ogbourne St Andrew Parish History Group

        Ogbourne St Andrew, Maisey & Rockley
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Old Eagle Pub

Villages > Rockley

Rockley had its own Inn which was thatched and stood at the junction of the Swindon-Marlborough coach road (via Four Mile Clump and Barbury Castle) and the Marlborough - Broad Hinton Turnpike. Originally it was called the St. John’s Arms.  In 1795 Rockley House was occupied by Henry St. John whose Coat of Arms included an eagle with wings displayed, and so the Inn became known as ‘The Old Eagle’.  Built to take advantage of the then newly constructed Turnpike traffic and the Swindon - Marlborough road, it ceased to be used as an Inn sometime in the middle of the 19th century when the new Marlborough - Swindon route along the easier route (now the A346) opened up and the Turnpike to Wootton Bassett via Broad Hinton fell into disuse.

Unfortunately we have yet to find any description of the Inn whilst it was operating.

On 2 January 1948, the Marlborough Times reported that on the previous Sunday night the Old Eagle, no longer an inn but a thatched cottage and occupied at the time, was burnt down.  There was a strong breeze blowing at the time and the flames soon spread.

The "Old Eagle"  and adjacent row of four cottages were owned at that time by Captain and Mrs. Laye of Ogbourne Maisey and they rented the Old Eagle to Bill Marland and his family.  Bill was employed as Second Jockey / track rider by the Layes.  The cottage lacked electricity and "Aladin" lamps (oil filled) were used. On the night of December 30th 1947 Bill and his wife went into Marlborough to see "Gone with the Wind" leaving their young sons David and Gordon playing Monopoly with the Brown boys.  The spaniel started barking and David went to investigate, only to discover one of the oil lamps had set the thatch in the scullery alight.  One of the Brown boys ran to the telephone kiosk at the entrance to Rockley to call out the fire brigade.  But on arrival the fire engine had to refill at the village pond and they arrived too late to save the cottage, which burnt to the ground.      (extracted from notes courtesy of David Marland).

Although there is now no trace of the Inn, the nearby cottages are known as The Old Eagle Cottages.

January 2021
copyright Ogbourne St Andrew History Group 2021
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