Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Three Horseshoes, Ecton, Northamptonshire

Thirsty travellers on the old Wellingborough to Northampton road might reasonably assume that the village of Ecton has just the one pub, the Worlds End on the busy main road. Indeed rural villages the size of Ecton are often lucky to have a pub at all, so the Worlds End is certainly a welcome local amenity as well as a useful venue for business travellers or a family looking for a meal. I've not been inside the Worlds End but the website gives all the clues I need to determine that this is probably not my kind of pub.

Take a turn off the main road and into the village itself, negotiating the narrow High Street for a pub more to my own tastes. The Three Horseshoes has been extended over the years, but the original pub dates to 1757 and is believed to have been the location of a blacksmiths business run by Benjamin Franklin's grandfather! The Franklin family connection means that Ecton receives a good few American tourists throughout the year, and I'm sure that many of these visitors must be delighted to find such an authentic and relatively unspoilt hostelry in the very heart of the historic village.

The pub recently became free of brewery or pubco tie, and the current owners have taken this opportunity to invest in the business with a sensitive refurbishment of the historic interior. The traditional multi-room layout has been retained, a separate bar and games area meaning the pub can continue to serves the needs of a diverse range of locals, visitors, and of course the resident games teams which include Northamptonshire Table SkittlesDarts, and Cribbage. I wonder what the tourists make of the unique local skittles game!

Skittles at the Three Horseshoes is played in the Dave White Skittles League, which follows the same format as that played in my own neck of the woods. Two teams of seven, playing man-on-man over seven legs. The winning team is the one with the highest total number of legs over the course of the match. A memorial trophy is also played for at the pub, the roll of honour having pride of place in the smart games room.

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