The closest public house to the Port Royal in Larkbeare, in the 19th-century was the Windmill Inn, where Bull Meadow Road meets Holloway Street. The earliest record of the Windmill is November 1810, when it was mentioned in the sale of a field called Bull Meadow. The landlord was William Bending in 1816.
In 1852, the landlord, William Southcott was declared insolvent. The inn had been the centre, in the early 19th century, of the annual celebrations of the tuckers (fullers) and shearmen. On the last Thursday in August, known as Nutting Day, a good lunch was given in the Windmill followed by a ramble through the local woods around Larkbeare, gathering nuts. They then returned to the Windmill, in the evening for dinner.
In 1864 the Windmill was up for sale and in 1869, all the household utensils were for sale. An inquest was held in 1873 at the Windmill, into a young woman who had died as the result of taking 'an irritant to prevent her from becoming a mother'.
It was a noted hostelry favoured by the actor Edmund Keane when he was in Exeter, and the fishermen and women from Topsham, who would call in on their way home from the city, when half a dozen carts would be parked outside the premises. The Windmill was one of those inns that issued tokens or coins in the 19th Century. They were issued while James Gill was the landlord - the brass tokens, made by Seage of Exeter were used as change and as a local currency valid in the pub.
The Windmill's licence lapsed in 1885. I have never seen a photograph of the building, and doubt that one exists.
The list of known landlords from the directories are:
1816 - William
Bending - Trewman
1830 - Thomas Field - Pigot
1850/56 - W Southcott - White and Besley
1859/67 - James Gill - Besley
1878 - William Viner - White.
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