Pub for auction

A picturesque pub once the home to a relative of Horatio Nelson is to be auctioned on Thursday.The Black Swan at Little Dunham was the home to William Nelson, Horatio's great uncle, who, it is believed, was the vicar of Sporle.

A picturesque pub once the home to a relative of Horatio Nelson is to be auctioned on Thursday.

The Black Swan at Little Dunham was the home to William Nelson, Horatio's great uncle, who, it is believed, was the vicar of Sporle.

Deeds to the pub, which reveal its historic past, date back to the early 1700s but it is thought the building itself dates back to the 1640s, around the same date the still running blacksmith next door was built.

Its owner, Christine Bowen, is reluctantly giving up her home and business for the last six years because of ill-health and aged 59, she is close to retirement.


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“It was a home when they were there and probably the biggest house in the village at that time,” she said.

“It still has some of its original features and a well in the garden.”

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Former landlord before Mrs Bowen was Dave Williams. He said William Nelson was the vicar of Sporle, just as Horatio's father was vicar of Burnham, and that his daughter was in Sporle graveyard.

As well as the pub, the Nelsons have left another lasting mark on the village - William Nelson's wife left a charitable fund to the village which is still in existence today, Mrs Bowen said.

The pub and restaurant is estimated to sell for £275,000 to £325,000 and although Norwich-based auctioneers Topps says there is potential for alternative uses subject to planning permission.

But Mrs Bowen said the village was keen it remains a pub: “There is definitely potential for it and the trade we have are very loyal. It is a nice village and it is very welcoming.”

She said she was very grateful for all the support and help from villagers and from the Breast Care Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.

Originally from Kent, Mrs Bowen moved to Norfolk 10 years ago to be near her son and because she likes it so much she is going to stay.

Prior to the pub trade she was a hotel services manager for hospitals in the NHS.

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