Hare & Hounds
As well as being a key landmark at the ‘gateway to Corsham’, The Hare & Hounds is itself a historic building in local terms. Originally built in the late 17th Century (and having 18th Century and subsequent additions) it is grade II listed. As a former coaching inn on the London to Bath coach road its fortunes ebbed and flowed as passing trade fluctuated.
Its former importance can be judged by the presence of a separate ostlers house next door and a nearby former smithy (now the site of the Co-op petrol station). In recent times, in common with other public houses it has found business challenging. In recent years the landlord has created a garden down the length of its property in Pickwick Road and reinstated the old well on the site. This has had the effect of softening the landscape and improving the ‘gateway’ nature of this spot.
This famous coaching Inn is constructed of rubble stone with stone tiled roofs, a coped west gable and sundial. The central door is set in a chamfered and stopped surround with a hood on brackets.
To the left of it are two ground floor 2-light recessed moulded windows and on the first floor a pair of early 18th century 12-pane sash windows. The upper floor has a 3-light small dormer gable over it. There is a large 19th century south-east rear wing, in painted rubble, of 2-storeys with a slate roof.
Charles Dickens chose the surname of a Bath coach proprietor, Moses Pickwick, for his lead character in ‘Pickwick Papers’. Moses later became landlord of the ‘Hare & Hounds’.
With thanks to ‘A History of Pickwick and its buildings’ [unpublished] by John Maloney