While the village of “Worldeham” is mentioned in the Domesday book, the history of the Three Horseshoes isn’t quite so old. Her story begins with Henry Newman, the village blacksmith, who lived on the corner of the cross-roads of Caker Lane and Blanket Street where he built a large house. In the 1851 census, Henry described himself as a blacksmith although his wife’s niece, Matilda Harris, was there on census night and said to be a ‘bar maid’ – which may suggest that beer was already being sold in Henry’s home. By 1855 he opened a public house called the ‘Three Horseshoes’ and described himself as a blacksmith and shopkeeper. The bar was in a room of the house beside the present road. (The entrance has now been changed and the old walled garden is the front car park.)
For centuries, the village and surrounding parish were owned by Winchester College. It was a thriving farming area and an old Tithe Map from 1842 shows the land usage for pasture and arable lands to be surprisingly similar to their use today. The main change is that, back then, ‘Hops were King’ of the farming year and this very valuable crop continued to be grown until 1996. During hop-picking weeks, hundreds of pickers descended on the village, living in tents and huts on farms. Each season ended with a Horse Fair on the road outside the pub. It’s a lot quieter today! (Maybe we should start a movement to restart the Hops Party!) The only evidence remaining now are a number of Hop Kilns dotted across the landscape, including the one forming the back wall of the pub garden.
Over the years the Three Horseshoes has been successfully run by a number of landlords who enjoyed numerous achievements including being awarded a ‘Badge of Honour’ by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) as a result of villagers and visitors rallying their support and voting The Three Horseshoes an “asset of community value”. Then COVID struck and, like many others, the pub closed. And so she sat, patiently waiting for her new landlords. And that is how she was found by the Evans family who jumped at the chance to be able to reopen her doors and welcome the community back through the doors.
The Three Horseshoes is located in East Worldham, which, fittingly for a Fuller’s pub, is right at the heart of Hampshire’s hop-picking country. Hops are no longer grown locally, but many of the locals tell stories of days gone by.