Nestled in a picturesque village of Wilford within historic Nottingham, The Ferry Inn dates back to the 14th century, but has been a tavern since the 18th century, and was formerly known as The Punch Bowl.
The Ferry Inn has operated as a pub since the 18th century, named after the ferry through the city which was given a charter during the reign of Edward III. Part of the pub’s building, however, originates as a 14th century farmhouse, and The Ferry Inn briefly operated as a coffeehouse, during the 18th century fascination with coffee which swept Britain. The Church of St. Wilfrid, which lies just 300 ft from the pub’s entrance, dates from the same period as the farmhouse, and is an impressive Grade II listed building, notable for its spectacular pointed arch doorway and memorial stained glass windows honouring Nottingham poet Henry Kirke White.
An attractive pub nestled in a scenic corner of Nottingham, The Ferry Inn is a perfect location for relaxing Sunday lunches and delicious pub food. The beautiful country setting makes this a great setting to come in for one of the classic seasonal specials and a refreshing glass of cask ale.Read more...
The Ferry Inn first opened as a tavern frequented by city gentry in the 18th century, though the history of this site goes back to the 14th century. The original building was a farmhouse, and part of it is incorporated into the current Ferry Inn pub. By the 18th century, the former farmhouse had transitioned into a coffee shop, to meet the demands of a public keen on meeting in coffeehouses; locations described by Charles II as places where people “met and spread scandalous reports”. The Ferry Inn began its pub life around this period, with the name of The Punch Bowl, though changed its title, to reflect the often tempestuous and occasionally fatal ferry journey which was often used as a means of moving around the city.
Just 1.5 miles away, over the flowing Nottingham Canal, lies Nottingham Castle. Though a Castle possibly existed on the site before the Norman conquest, it would have been far less grand than the motte-and-bailey design which was initially constructed in 1067. A more imposing stone castle was created by Henry II’s alterations to the structure, and some of that original stone structure remains in the present day, despite much of the castle having been destroyed in 1649.
Based to the west of the city centre, and ten minutes drive from The Ferry Inn, is Wollaton Hall. This Grade I listed country house, which combines Elizabethan and Jacobean architecture, still includes most of its magnificent exterior appearance, and much of the interior was remodelled by Sir Jeffry Wyatville, the famed architect who worked on buildings as diverse as Chatsworth House and Kensington Palace.
The Ferry Inn is one of two especially historic sites in the village of Wilford – and this Grade II* listed pub stands just 300 feet from the Grade I listed St Wilfrid’s Church. The church is believed to have been founded around 1361 by Gervase de Wilford, and the church’s chancel remains from 1430, and the tower and celestory from later in that century. The church is also notable for its organ, built in 1878 by Henry Willis, one of history’s most renowned organ makers, whose organs also graced the Royal Albert Hall and St Paul’s Cathedral.
Wilford had been home to William Wilberforce, a central figure in the abolition of the slave trade, and the leader of the campaign for the 1807 Slave Trade Act, which was passed, abolishing the slave trade within the British Empire. Wilberforce wrote part of the act whilst living in Wilford. Also in the 19th century, Wilford was the birthplace of Jeremiah Brandreth, one of the last people in Britain to have been executed for treason. The village was also a particular inspiration for the artist Dame Laura Knight, herself a relative of talented Wilford artist Marjorie Bates, known for her sketches of British life. Much of Knight’s work was based on artistic impressions of Midlands towns and cities, and her painting of nudes made her a controversial figure.
Four miles north of The Ferry Inn lies Nottingham Castle, a site of incredible history. First constructed in 1067, and developed as a fortified stone castle by Henry II, this is where Edward III, assisted by Sir William Montagu and several other companions, staged a coup d’état against Edward’s mother, Isabella of France in 1330. Edward IV was proclaimed King in Nottingham in 1461, and throughout the Wars of the Roses, the castle operated as a military stronghold, the banner of the white rose was displayed from the Castle, showing open support for the Yorkist cause. Only a small section of the Castle remains, but the imposing Gate House is still intact. More recently than its royal significance, Nottingham Castle played a vital part in the development of football. Notts County FC, the oldest professional football club played their first matches at Park Hollow, inside the grounds of Nottingham Castle. The team’s first game, in 1862, was reported on by the Nottingham Guardian newspaper.
Just three miles across this immensely historic city is Wollaton Hall, a spectacular Grade I listed country house, completed in 1588. The hall was designed by Robert Smythson, the architect of Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, and Wollaton Hall is given a spectacular appearance by its combination of styles, and its construction from Ancaster stone. Smythson is said to have taken inspiration from buildings as diverse as Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem and Cornwall’s Mount Edgecumbe stately home.
Close to Nottingham Castle lies the Galleries of Justice Museum, housed within Shire Hall, in a former courtroom which dates back to at least the 14th century, indicating the city’s status as a hub of royal and social issues during the period. The museum, which during the 20th century also functioned as a police station, offers tours on topics as diverse as ‘Crime and Punishment’ and a ‘Prisoner Tale Tour’, both of which explore the lives of prisoners who were incarcerated in the gaol which was once housed in Shire Hall, and closed by the Victorian authorities, due to the conditions prisoners were forced to live in.