“Some village pubs I’ve been to, everyone stops and looks you up and down as you walk in” said one of the locals. “Not this pub.” Before long another local was trying to persuade us to move to the village, with several houses recommended.
A pub since at least 1851, with two rooms, the left side laid out for dining with several people having Sunday lunch, the right side more the place to drink beer, and good beer it was.
The landlord comes from Tring and beer from Tring Brewery is regularly on. We had a nice drop of Dark Star Partridge Best Bitter before returning to the bar. “I’m just about to put on a new one from Tring, you should wait” he said. After a while the beer was pulled through and several glasses were held up to the light before the clip went on and it was served. It was worth waiting for. He said they visted the brewery the other week, clearly they care about the beer they serve.
Meanwhile, the locals regaled us with stories stretching back over twenty years, of a previous landlady who on her birthday was given the bumps and was swung up into a beam and soon after was taken away in an ambulance, and a ‘lady’ someone brought to the pub who did something that resulted in them “all being barred from the pub”. We couldn’t glean what it was the lady had done, but they were keen to emphasise it occured a long time ago.
I hope we’ll visit this friendly place again soon, drink more good beer and hear more tales, but I’m happy to keep imagining what happened that evening “a long time ago”.
Further back in time, during the Second World War, ‘local Rampton man Arthur Bowness’ recalls that for the village Home Guard, “all the parades and whatnots that used to take place used to mostly start at the Black Horse and finish at the Black Horse.” Nearby is the Giant’s Hill earthwork, an unfinished 12th Century castle that was utilised as a gun emplacement by the Home guard.
Along the High Street, on the opposite side of the road, stands the closed Chequers pub, open c.1765-1917, now a private dwelling.
Rampton is about 7 miles north of Cambridge by road. From the guided busway stop at Longstanton, it’s a four mile round trip along footpaths, or from the Oakington stop it’s a five mile round trip.