Eating, Drinking & Dancing – The Chichester Arms 1841

North Devon Journal – Thursday 07 January 1841

Offence against Ale House Licence – Rev. J. D. Ness, rector of Mortehoe, exhibited a complaint against George Irwin Keeper of the “Chichester Arms” public house in Mortehoe for permitting drunkenness and disorderly conduct in his premises on the 27thDecember. The charge was supported by the evidence of three reluctant witnesses, James Hartnoll, Robert Hartnoll and Thomas Parker, from whose testimony it appeared that there was a large party in the house on the night in question, and they were there, eating and drinking, dancing and candles were repeatedly put out, and in attempting to re light them a flask of gunpowder exploded and burnt one of the witnesses, the evidence as to the time at which the party dispersed was conflicting, some of them making it only half past eleven, and others have past two in the morning. Elizabeth Parker, who went repeatedly during the night to fetch home her husband, fixed the time of her last visit as three o’clock. On cross-examination by Mr.Mortimer, for the defense, the witness said that although there were young women in the room, there was no indecently or irregularity. Mr Mortimer insisted that the evidence was inconclusive; it was not enough that the house was kept open a late hour; there must be proof od indecency or drunkenness, but that was none and dancing could not be construed into disorder.

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