The Rev’ds. Peter and Ingrid Owen-Jones
We had always wanted to live in a period house and when we spotted Bridge Cottage up for sale in December 1999, we put our modern house in Little Eaton on the market and moved to Stanley in March 2000.
Brief Historical Context
The house, we’re told, was built in 1812 and was originally occupied as a terrace of 3 cottages, known as Bankside.
It was around 1852 when it became a Beer House and was over the years owned by various breweries and inhabited by various families as Licensees. An Indenture Deed dated 18th December 1888 shows The Bridge Inn and associated cottages being sold to the Stretton Brothers for £1000. They worked for the Manchester Brewery on Ashbourne Road, Derby and produced Strettons Derby Ales which later ended up under the Brand name of Ind Coope. The Ind Coope logo remains part of the “Pub Sign” hanging on the west gable end wall of Bridge Cottage. The Licensees in the 1891 and 1901 Censuses were John and Elizabeth Starbuck. Perhaps they sold coffee as well as beer!
During the second World War, the Bridge Inn acted as a refuge for relatives of the then Licensees (the Goodwins) to avoid war damage in Derby.
Little has changed in the basic architecture of the Bridge Inn/Cottage, other than the addition of a covered porch and toilet block in the 1970s.
The main external alteration we have done is to turn the tarmacked carpark – directly onto which turf was laid after the building was converted back to a single dwelling – into the landscaped garden we now have.
We have added a small conservatory on the east side to replace part of the former pub yard.
Internally, there are still tell-tale signs of its life as a Pub. For example, we had to point out to potential buyers that the concentration of small holes in the woodwork of the downstairs office was not caused by woodworm but by missed darts round the dartboard.
There is a floor drain in the utility room (formerly the beer stillage area) into which beer spillages were swept. This used to drain directly into Stanley Brook (not any more) so on those occasions the fish or water fowl will have been quite merry!
We have a separate report of internal changes comparing post-war with current layout and facilities thanks to a visit by a lady who lived at “The Bridge” from 1937-1947 and whose parents were post-war Licensees.
In front of the Bridge Inn stood two Victorian cottages – Nos. 1 & 3 Sough Lane which later became Dale Road. They were sold to the brewery in the 1950s and later demolished. Their foundations lie underneath what is now the front drive.
The 1901 Census showed 6 Families living at the Bridge Inn and in these associated cottages.
Towards the end of its life as a Pub, the Bridge Inn gained a degree of notoriety. We were told that the police were very familiar with “The Bridge” for all the wrong reasons.
“The Bridge” closed in the early 1990s and in 1994 Ind Coope sold the pub and its grounds. Conversion to the present cottage followed. One interesting feature is that the 1970s toilet block was converted to the present double garage. The quarry floor tiles and cubicle outlines are still visible.
In our tenure we have further modernised the property. We completely refurbished the kitchen and bathrooms, decorated throughout and have added built-in furniture and underfloor heating in some of the rooms.
Life at Bridge Cottage
After moving to Bridge Cottage in March 2000, one of the first visitors we had was the Rector, the Rev’d. Simon White, who left a note to say that he had
In 2001 Peter, who had been ordained several years earlier and was ministering in Little Eaton and Holbrook, was licensed to serve in the Church Benefice of Stanley and Stanley Common, West Hallam and Mapperley. This enabled us to get to know the congregations in these villages. At the same time, he continued with his secular job at Railtrack and later Network Rail.
Ingrid at the time was a teacher at Ockbrook School, from which she retired and then started training as a Reader (Lay minister) in the Church of England and was licensed in 2005. Apart from Sunday Services she was allowed to officiate at funerals and visit parishioners. A few years later, with the encouragement of the Rev’d. Simon White, she started exploring the ordained ministry, which led to ordination as deacon in 2011 and priest the following year. Now she was able to do everything a vicar could do, although part time and non-stipendiary. Apart from doing church duties she had in latter years a close relationship with Stanley St. Andrew’s School as a Foundation Governor, and to a lesser extent with the other schools.
This ministry got her in touch with many people in the four villages and was a very joyful time until she and Peter decided to move to Hampshire for family reasons and both of them had to ‘retire’ at the end of 2018 to prepare for the move south.
After his retirement from secular work Peter, in addition to taking church services and officiating at weddings and baptisms, was very much involved in working parties at Diocesan level and working with the Bishop’s Leadership Team. Amongst his many roles, he represented locally and nationally the non-stipendiary clergy in the diocese and eventually became Rural Dean for the then Erewash Deanery.
Being sited next to Stanley Brook and adjacent fields, we’ve had an interesting relationship with nature. There have been horses and cattle grazing in the field, cows paddling in the brook (until the fence was mended), moorhens nesting on the bankside, and a good variety of wild birds to be seen including thrush, herons, moorhens, goldfinches, mallards, buzzards, rooks, who delighted in nesting very noisily in one of the disused chimney stacks, and the occasional kingfisher. We have even seen minnows swimming in the brook during the summer. The area has also been known to attract the water vole.
“The Bridge” still features in village life. The annual village gala procession forms up outside the cottage each summer. In some years it got so crowded that we invited the Brass Band to form up on our drive to lead the procession up into the village.
“The Bridge” has also left its mark on the Community by having its own named bus stop on Derby Road. This was originally sited immediately over
During the years we have lived here, we have enjoyed getting to know the people in Stanley and surrounding villages. It’s a great feeling that when
We shall miss all of this when we go from here. It will be for us a time of kindling again relationships with the local people in Hampshire and in particular the village in which we will live.
It has been a privilege to be custodians of “The Bridge” for 19 years and we shall miss its charm and character almost as much as we shall miss the people.
We wish our successors well.