Can you tell me the origin of the name of the inn, Sally Pussey's Inn, located just off Junction 16 of the M4 on the Swindon to Wootton Bassett road please? Was she a local lady, as the inn sign has her sat with her dog?
The lady was actually Sarah Purse and her family ran the establishment from 1841, or earlier, to about 1885. She and her family appear on the Census returns from 1841 to 1881, and the family comprised her husband Thomas and, at various stages, seven children and, in 1851, Thomas's father William. The family lived at Wickfield Cottage, Midgehall tithing, Lydiard Tregoze. Thomas and Sarah are shown as labourers or agricultural labourers, except in 1861 when Thomas is shown as a beer-house keeper. The name of the Wheatsheaf appears only in the Census of 1881, when Sarah, by then widowed, is listed as a beer-house keeper, helped by her granddaughter Emily Knipe, who had been living with the family in 1871. The Wheatsheaf Inn was a beerhouse until relatively recently: Kelly's Directory of 1875 lists Thomas as a beer retailer, while that for 1880 shows Francis, the couple's only son, as the beer retailer. By 1885 one James Saunders is listed as Lydiard Tregoze's beer retailer. The six-inch Ordnance Survey shows the house as 'Wheat Sheaf (B.H.)'. Frank Harry Padgett is listed as a beer retailer at Wickfield in 1935 and as the innkeeper of the Wheatsheaf only in 1939. The house was taken over by Arkell's in 1906 and extended in 1974 when the name was changed to Sally Pussey's Inn, the name by which Sarah was known locally.
1841 Census: HO107/1179/9 fol. 25r p. 14
1851 Census: HO107/1834 fol. 178v p. 20
1861 Census: RG9/1273 fol. 76r p. 11
1871 Census: RG10/1884 fol. 85v p. 22
1881 Census: RG11/2021 fol. 83r p. 11
Kelly’s Directory of Wiltshire, editions of 1875, 1880, 1885, 1935, 1939
Ordnance Survey, National Grid Provisional Edition, scale 1:10,560, sheet SU 08 SE, 1960