Haycock, Wansford

London Road
Wansford
Cambridgeshire
PE8 6JB
01780 782223

The Haycock gets its name from the folk tale of Drunken Barnaby and his journeys to the north of England. On one of them Barnaby fell asleep on a haycock which was carried down the flooded River Nene. He awoke to find the locals asking him if he was from Greenland, and his reply was “No, from Wansford, England” (photo 2).

The Haycock is a stone-built ex-coaching inn on the old Great North Road and dates from 1622 (photo 1). Its size gives a clue as to how busy the pub was before the village was by-passed by the new A1. It is now a smart hotel and the modern road is visible from the back of the inn.

Royal visitors include the young Queen Victoria and Mary, Queen of Scots on her way to jail at Fotheringhay Castle. It is said to be haunted, possibly by a local Royalist soldier in the English Civil War who had written the Barnaby folk tales. Traveller Celia Fiennes stayed in 1697 and wrote later about the tale of Barnaby. Author Daniel Defoe visited in 1722 and was impressed by the bridge across the river funded by the local Lord until he realised he had to pay half a crown to cross it.

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