The wooden timbers of this beautiful Grade II listed building are not only steeped in history but built into the fabric of the North Fambridge community.
Well documented as “a very good, substantial Public House” since 1807, the building has been recorded since the 16th century, welcoming locals and travellers on foot, by horse and cart and more recently by car, bike, yacht, and until the late 1990’s by the ferry boat.
A step back in time
With a colourful history of landlords, The Ferry Boat Inn has witnessed much drama over the centuries; tales of treachery and horse-snatching, the infamous Captain and his Lady love battling to outswim the tide of our neighbouring River Crouch, the gentle comings and goings of the ferry boat transporting her daily passengers and cargo from one bank to the other, with the Inn itself a constant at the heart of the North Fambridge community.
A Potted History
Inn documented as originally part of the estate buildings attached to North Fambridge manor which Queen Elizabeth I granted to Christopher Osborne, MP for Helston.
John Bastwick, a yeoman (farmer) of Burnham, referred to “my lands in North Fambridge and a tenement called the Ferry House, with passage, lands and boats thereto belonging called Fambridge Ferry.”
The ‘Ferry Farm’ or ‘Ferry House’ was already operating as an inn, despite being described only as ‘Ferry Farm’ in the 1840 Tithe Award.
William Palmer of the Ferry Boat, was fined 40 shillings and 10s 6d expenses for serving alcohol on a Sunday.
Chelmsford Chronicle, 26/7/1834.
Thomas Pawsey, a labourer, stole Palmer’s pony after drinking with him at the Inn. Because of previous good character, Pawsey’s sentence was reduced from transportation to 12 months’ hard labour, the first and last week spent in solitude.
Chelmsford Chronicle, 3-1-1851
The Ferry Boat Inn becomes HQ for the newly established Fambridge Sailing Club, set up by a group of yachtsmen, quickly gaining “a large number of influential members” with plans for their first regatta.
Herbert W. Tompkins’ book Marsh-Country Rambles (Chatto & Windus, 1904) paints an idyllic picture of the scenery surrounding the Ferry Boat Inn:
“…I rambled once again as far as to the ferry, pleased beyond expectation with every aspect of this picturesque country: the craft upon the winding waters of the Crouch; the smell of the weed upon the ooze at low water; the boatmen, in their blue jerseys, loitering outside the Ferry-Boat Inn and the Yacht Club; the diversified scenery of the opposite prospect, sloping upwards to the south…At North Fambridge, even to-day, the sentimental traveller will find himself as wholly out of touch with the ‘herd’ as heart can wish.”
Want to learn more?
We’ve put together a potted history of The Ferry Boat Inn with a range of fascinating, comical and unusual tales from the Inn’s various owners, landlords and tenants.