The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

The Beehive, Maplebeck, Notts.

Nestling quietly in the pretty North Nottinghamshire countryside, the attractively named Maplebeck is a community of approximately eighty people. It’s nearest conurbations are Southwell and it’s mighty Minster which is six miles to the south, and the historic market town of Newark-on-Trent to the east.

At first glance, Maplebeck, though undeniably pretty in it’s rural and unspoilt location, holds little of note more than many a similar village, that is apart from one building, the local pub known as The Beehive.

Some three decades or so back, The Beehive was extended marginally. Prior to that it had laid claim to being the smallest public house in England.

Still viewed as the most diminutive inn in Nottinghamshire, the tiny pub is a complete treat to visit at any time of year. Summer perhaps brings the pub into its picture book best down it’s little leafy lane. It is however difficult to imagine a more cosy place to sit and have a pint in midwinter, warming oneself by the turf-burning open fire whilst chatting to the friendly locals, some who have visited there for decades.

My first introduction to The Beehive was on the advice of a friend who had found this rare gem and link to the past whilst out motorcycling the country lanes one fine summer’s day. I always remember his words, ‘you know – it’s the sort of pub where you can have a good argument about ploughing!’ .

The interior of the pub boasts two bars, both of minuscule dimensions. the main bar to the left of the old wooden door at the entrance can easily accommodate a conversation being held between drinkers at both ends of the room! Likewise, from some of the old fairly spartan seating it’s a simple matter to merely reach up to the bar whilst still seated and order drinks from the friendly landlord of some twelve years, Frank Shelton.

If one imagines the bar just described to be small then entering the left hand room makes the former appear like a Czech bier hall by comparison! Upon my last visit this little room was packed – with three customers!

It’s not often enough that I manage to visit The Beehive, it being not particularly local to me but when I do, it is always a rare treat – one that is usually following a great meal at nearby Caunton Beck in Caunton village. The Caunton Beck is for another post on another day suffice to say at this point that the two places make an ideal evening out being fairly close to each other.

Nottinghamshire at it’s rural best.

May 10, 2008 - Posted by | On The Road | , , , , , ,

36 Comments »

  1. It’s a beautiful pub – I haven’t been there for some years now, but I came across it back in the days when I used to explore the villages to the north of Nottingham on a Sunday evening. First impressions are that you have walked into someone’s house, but one which happens to have a bar!

    Comment by Skytower | May 11, 2008

  2. When you first come across it, it feels like your own personal discovery doesn’t it!

    You must have come across some other great pubs in those areas on your travels, Simon?

    Comment by Stuart | May 12, 2008

  3. Loads – however, so many of them were so many years ago now, that the memory has become a bit hazy.

    The Great Northern in Carlton-on-Trent has always been a personal favourite, if only for the thunderous rattle of the trains on the East Coast mainline causing your beer to vibrate across the table…!

    Comment by Skytower | May 14, 2008

  4. Back in the 1960’s I recall the landlord and landlady were Bert and Ivy wood – I can remember the day my mother sent me to buy her a pack of 20 john player cigarettes. The village bobby was standing inside the door conversing with Mrs Wood. I was too frightened of my mum to go back empty handed – luckily for me the bobby turned a blind eye!

    Comment by tim | May 26, 2008

  5. Hi Tim

    I’ve only ever spoken to someone from Maplebeck when inside the pub. In my imagination I always thought that everyone in Maplebeck actually lived in there! 🙂

    Comment by Stuart | May 27, 2008

  6. remember going to Italian Motorcycle Owners Club meetings and Rallies here in the the early 80’s,people having to kneel down when drinking the yard of ale because of the low ceiling!

    Comment by guzzisue | June 9, 2008

  7. I’ve seen one or two people come out of The Beehive on their knees as well, Sue. 😉

    Comment by Stuart | June 10, 2008

  8. Frank and Janet Shelton are retiring in September and I will be taking over the reins as of 15 September 2008 – would be lovely if you are in the area and visit again xxxx

    Comment by claudine | July 31, 2008

  9. Aw, thanks for letting me know, Claudine. I shall make an effort to drop by. A visit The Beehive is always a pleasant thought! Best wishes in your new tenure at the lovely old place, Claudine – I wish you well.

    Stu

    Comment by Stuart | July 31, 2008

  10. A GREAT TRADITIONAL PUB ,OLDE WORLDE ATMOSPHERE,LOVELY NEW BUBBLY FRIENDLY LANDLADY ,JUST A PUB THAT U DREAM OF WALKING INTO ON DARK COLD BREEZY NIGHT ,LOG FIRES AND FRIENDLY SMILES AND THAT ALL IMPORTANT GOOD OLD ENGLISH PINT !

    Comment by KEVIN & JAYNE | September 18, 2008

  11. Hello Stuart,
    Pleased to report that Claudine has taken over from Frank & Janet and she has been welcomed by all the regulars. She has settled-in and very happy to keep the traditions of this establishment on-going. Thanks to Kevin & Jayne for their comments….very much appreciated. Just registered a web site…. http://www.thebeehivemaplebeck.com (currently under construction) giving more info about the pub and activities etc. Cheers for now…Claudine’s Dad.

    Comment by John | September 26, 2008

  12. Thanks very much for the info John and sorry for the delay in replying to you. I’m glad to hear things are well at The Beehive.

    Good luck to Claudine – I look forward to my next visit!

    Comment by Stuart | October 5, 2008

  13. What a brilliant night down at the Beehive bonfire ,lots of food ,drink ,fireworks.A great atmosphere and lots of friendly ppl……I pity those of you that havent discovered the olde worlde delights of this great little pub yet,,keep it up Claudine ,ur doin a great job !

    Comment by KEVIN & JAYNE | November 5, 2008

  14. OI !……….STU ,WHAT U DOIN ?,SITTIN THERE, GET UR BUM DOWN TO THE BEEHIVE AND HAVE A FEW BEERS WITH CLAUDINE ,CARL AND CO , TAKE CARE MATE ,KEV

    Comment by KEVIN & JAYNE | November 5, 2008

  15. Well it sounds like I missed out there, Kev!

    My problem is that I don’t live too close to Maplebeck. I must make more effort because I love the place! Have one for me next time you’re in there!

    Comment by Stuart | November 6, 2008

  16. WILL DO ACTUALLY ILL BE A REAL MATE AND HAVE TWO ,MAYBE THREE FOR YOU ……….I’M GOOD ME ..MY HOUSE IS ACTUALLY 130 MILES AWAY BUT MY G\F LIVES IN BILSTHORPE …KEV

    Comment by KEV | November 18, 2008

  17. SORRY TO ALL AT BEEHIVE BUT THE WEATHERS BIN SO COLD AND WET AT NIGHT FOR US TO GET OVER ,BE OVER SOON FOLKS WITH UR CHRISSY CARD X KEV N JAYNE

    Comment by KEV AND JAYNE | December 13, 2008

  18. I am seeking information about an industrial enterprise I passed lit up late night on the deserted road between Caunton and the Travel Lodge at North Muskham and which during the day has a tall chimney billowing what? Just curious about finding the enterpise in the middle of nowhere doing what?

    Comment by Colin Smart | March 10, 2009

  19. Though I live in Nottingham I regard The Beehive as my ‘local’ being somewhere I can really chill out on a summer’s day. Arguably UK’s Best Pub !
    Best of luck, Claudine.

    Comment by Pete J | November 19, 2009

  20. It’s difficult to imagine how one could improve The Beehive, Claudine! Perhaps the fact that it’s not too accessible to many helps retain it’s charm. I agree, it’s an exceptional little pub.

    Cheers!

    Comment by Stuart | November 22, 2009

  21. I was a regular there in the sixties even though we had to travel from the far side of Mansfield, get drunk and drive home!!!
    The place had a magical atmosphere, open fires and beer served directly from the barrel via a jug.
    As said earlier in this thread, it gave the feeling of walking into someones house, to some part that was true since in those days the small bar doubled as the kitchen when the pub was closed.

    I live in Ireland now, but I fully intend to re-visit the beehive one day, so many fond memories.

    Comment by Ian | April 20, 2010

  22. Thanks for sharing your memories of The Beehive, Ian, lovely stuff. Spring is here again – time I took a trip over there to that little haven in Maplebeck!

    Comment by Stuart | April 20, 2010

  23. I’ve heard so much about this little place, mostly from my family, and brother in-law specifically…I know that one day I will pay this little public house a visit. The only problem is, I might never want to leave again…

    Comment by Sean Meets | September 28, 2010

  24. It may well have that effect on you Sean! It’s off the beaten track that’s for sure but well worth the effort to make a visit.

    Comment by Stuart | September 28, 2010

  25. went to a bike do at the bee hive last night, what a wonderful little pub!! and a really nice land lady claudine! she even paid for my fish ^n* chips!( i,ll treat her next time) a little gem (both pub and claudine!!!)

    Comment by pete ward | August 19, 2011

  26. I still haven’t been able to visit yet. My grandad was born in this pub. His father was percy whitworth. Is there any info inside the pub about previous owners?
    Can’t wait to visit. Would love to have a look round and see where my family lived 🙂

    Comment by leah | September 10, 2011

  27. HI Leah, I didn’t particularly notice anything inside the pub regarding its history but that’s not to say there isn’t any. What I can say is that the lady running the place is very friendly and I’m sure would be interested in your story and accommodating you regarding your family. I hope you make a little pilgrimage before too long.

    Comment by Stuart | September 11, 2011

  28. Beehive ran the Maplebeck paper delivery service in the 60s – I delivered papers from the Beehive as a schoolboy in the late 60s when Cyril and Violet Wood were the landlord/lady. I think Cyril was also miner and I remember he had a terrible morning cough.

    Comment by Nick Fordham | April 7, 2012

  29. Thanks for your nice memories of The Beehive Nick.

    Comment by Stuart | April 8, 2012

  30. Wow, found this by accident, Cyril and Violet Wood were my grandparents, sadly passed away long ago, they ahd three children, Sheila Wood is my mother. Raymond & Beryl my uncle and aunt. Cyril Wood was indeed a miner the pub ran by Violet, spent many times there playing in the village and the orchard out the back as a kid.

    Comment by Andy | May 18, 2012

  31. Andy

    Thanks for confirming the identity of Cyril and Violet Wood – there is an earlier comment by a Tim, who I think is my brother but has got the names mixed up. I forgot to mention that my remuneration for delivering the papers in Maplebeck was half a crown – 2s 6d ( per month or week – can’t remember) and a free monthly copy of the magazine “Practical Wireless” which I was in to then.

    I lived in Maplebeck from 1964 to 1971 – I don’t recall meeting you.

    Although I was too young to enjoyed the beer at the Beehive 🙂 it is good to see that so many regard it as an oasis of pleasure. I now live 2 hours away so visits are infrequent.

    Nick

    Comment by Nick Fordham | May 21, 2012

  32. Charlie Watson employed the Newark scouts to pick potatoes in October half term: they were paid £1 a day which was quite a sum in 1966. We youngsters (I was 9) received (only) ten shillings, but I still remember the crisp freshness of that first new brown note. Mester (sic) Watson drove his blue Fordson major with a potato spinner at the rear attached the the PTO: it literally spun the potatoes from the furrows.

    Tim

    Comment by tim | July 19, 2012

  33. yes, I too remember the potato picking and the big brown or was it blue ten shilling notes – it was a big sum in those days and backbreaking work even for fit teenagers!

    Nick

    Comment by Nick Fordham | July 20, 2012

  34. Maplebeck fete is being held tomorrow 21 July, for anyone that wants to (relive) the village life feel.

    Comment by Nick Fordham | July 20, 2012

  35. As a motorcycle mad young man, I bought a Ducati sometime around 1983, and wrote (yes remember that) a letter to the Italian owners club asking for details to join, they sent me back a rather nice letter saying they met every (I think) second Thursday in the month at the beehive, I had to find the place on a map, and off we rode to when the day came. Boy we loved that place, the Jukebox (with turntable in the cellar) worked back then, playing 78 singles that were ancient even then, brilliant!
    I still have an Italian bike, and occasionally visit the Beehive; must go on the bike one day and re live the old memory a new!
    Steve

    Comment by Steve Lacey | October 13, 2015

  36. Hi Steve, thanks very much for sharing your happy memories, a lovely story and excellent to read. I get over that way rarely, personally but I’m sensing a visit coming on shortly, you’ve set me thinking!

    Enjoy your bike and I hope you get to drop by The Beehive very soon.

    Stu

    Comment by Stuart | October 13, 2015


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