Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tucker's Grave RIP


And so it goes...the legendary Somerset cider house that is/was Tuckers Grave finally closed it’s doors for the last time on Tuesday 31st May. A barbecue was held the Sunday before in the lovely back garden where I’ve/we’ve spent many an idyllic summers evening drinking the rough and shooting the breeze, and I volunteered my services to go down there and play to whoever turned up...which turned out to be around 300 people...word had got around ...

I first went there about 6 months after joining the Stranglers in summer 2000 with Sil Willcox and probably Bruce Gooding. Immediately I was drawn to the place, the people, the history, the vibe...and my fate was sealed a couple of weeks later when I got into an impromptu game of skittles with some of the locals one Sunday evening whilst waiting for my flight home a couple of days later...and drank 7 pints of ‘farmyard fanta’...We only discovered it was 7 pints when Sil went down to pay the bill and Glenda, the famous landlady said she’d been marking off who was drinking what, and I’d had 7...I was ill for 2 days, missed my flight, and have never done it again...although I did have 5 at the gig...doesn’t really sound much does it? But you try it...it’s done for a lot of better men than me...

Since then we’ve become honourary members of a very exclusive little slice of west country life, and made many friends over the years. I remember one very memorable afternoon when the whole band was there crowded around a little table in the garden, Jet declaring his love for the place after every mouthful of cider and Paul Roberts acting the goat for some kids that were there with their parents...being indoctrinated at a very early age...The sessions for Norfolk Coast were fuelled there, as JJ, Dave and I lived at Sils’ farm up the road for 8 months...and inevitably we immortalised it in song...much to the delight of it’s punters and management... For years after the albums’ release we’d go there for a pint and Glenda would tell us of another pilgrimage of Stranglers' fans who’d visited, hoping to see us there, or just simply soak up the very unique atmosphere and read the history which was there for all to see on the old mantelpiece in the living room.

I’m actually writing this in the very room where Edward Tucker hanged himself on June 5th 1747 which is at Sil's Farm about a mile up the track. Suicides were not permitted to be buried on hallowed ground, and so , after an open inquest with the Kings Coroner, Tucker was buried in an unmarked grave at the crossroads where the pub stands. In 1827 the pub first opened it’s doors to the public, although it’s almost certain than communal drinking had been taking place there for many years before that...

If you never visited Tuckers Grave you missed out on a truly amazing little place, where mobile phones didn’t work, there was no jukebox, not even a bar for that matter...and if you didn’t enjoy striking up very interesting and sometimes very surreal conversations with complete strangers, who would in time become very dear friends, Tuckers was never going to be your kind of place. I lived in the West country for 4 years and visited at least twice a week and after 10 years of drinking there i’m going to miss it immeasurably...and I know I’m far from the only one...

Videos from Baz's farewell to Tuckers are here






Baz/4th June 2011

Thanks to Roger Bonsall for additional information and to Dave Edwards and Corrine Laver for the photographs...

6 comments:

  1. Matthew BrignallJune 8, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Baz what a great tribute to Tuckers Grave.I was lucky enough to have visited the said Cider house quite a few times over the years.I first became aware of it through a certain song by a band who wear black(wonder who?).But Im glad I did as It was a treasure of a place.I'm so sad at its closure,but today its all pub food and people who know nothing about the drink they serve to people.Ivan and Glenda were stars they should be knighted for their hard work and their contribution to the locality.I mourn the loss of a unique pub,but will raise a glass to the spirit of Edwin Tucker whilst listening to the said about that certain "Cider Drinking Inn".

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  2. Nice piece Baz. Thanks. Your love for the place shines through!
    I turned up on the Monday only to discover that you had played there the day before - Rats!

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  3. Oh crap, i missed it, i have been there twice and its the best pub in the UK as far as i'm concerned, gutted that it closed, but i heard that it reopened in aug 2011....

    We met Baz there a while back and we are from Wigan....Yep, its so good we made the 200 mile trip down there, and we only just heard of the closure shenanigens and have just been checking our finances to desperately lodge a bid to buy tuckers...

    I hope someone bought it and isnt going to spoil the place

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  4. What a legend of a pub lived in somerset until I was 21 have taken some new friends to Tuckers Grave and they have always be amuzed when I order myself a half of pint that's until they hit the fresh air lol

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  5. Went to this legendary pub this week whilst spending a week in Faulkland. Me and my Wife Mandy met the lovely Glenda and Ivan. It was great to be in a pub with no bar and it felt like a real blast from a bygone age. The best pub I have visited and I will certainly go back. I definately recommend a visit.

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  6. The place is still shut. I drove from Radstock to Trowbridge today and must have counted 6 empty pubs. Shocking.

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