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Hare & Hounds
what3words location - ///unhappily.baking.tiny

The Hare & Hounds is at the far end of Hempstead and is in fact almost in Baconsthorpe. Rumour had it that the parish boundary ran through the bar area but that is not the case, as the line runs just beyond the property's own boundary. The Hare & Hounds started off as a village beerhouse before becoming a licensed public house. It was first recorded in 1789, and was variously owned by the Marchioness of Lothian, the Marquis of Lothian, Major Gerald Southerland, B. & R. Stevenson and during its sad demise, Val Purkiss.

The Hare & Hounds had a chequered career, shutting and opening again on more than one occasion. In the early 2000s the pub was a thriving and profitable business but after a change in ownership its popularity plummeted as clientele (for good reason) chose to go elsewhere. The pub finally closed in 2010.

Stay of execution for Hare and Hounds pub in Baconsthorpe/Hempstead
Hopes of stopping a once-thriving village pub being turned into a house have been kept alive by planners.
North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) development committee has voted to defer a change-of-use applicationby owner Val Purkiss for the Hare and Hounds, on Baconsthorpe Road, Hempstead.
Planning Officers had recommended that the controversial application should be granted this time, after a previos rejection which was upheld on appeal, because a pub had become unviable.
A report to councillors said the pub, which closed in 2010, had lost its sewerage system to neighbouring land after discovering it was illegal.
A new one suitable for commercial premises would cost £140,000 to install and another £10,000 every 45 days to empty, according to a quote submitted by Mrs Purkiss.
But councillors decided they wanted independent confirmation of the likely cost and have deferred their decision until officers have the new figures.
Several also felt that the pub had not been marketed well and had therefore not attracted a buyer.
Anthea Sweeney said the pub's closure was "absolutely tragic."
She added: "Not many years ago it was absolutely heaving. Since the applicant bought the pub it's been run down so much."
Richard Shepherd said the pub used to draw people from far afield. "We need that pub. It's the only one for blinking miles. It needs to be properly marketed and I don't think it has been," he added.
John Perry-Warnes, who supported the closure recommendation, said the current owners were "really not pub people."
Mrs Purkiss has previously stated that fewer than 20 locals a week used the pub.

Alex Hurrell, Eastern Daily Press - 19th December 2013

Hare and Hounds memories
Fred Ison was my grandfather and I remember spending several holidays there as a child in the 1950s.
Fred met Major Southerland in a pub in Essex And they became friends. Major (I was always told this was his first name not his rank) Invited my grandfather To keep house for him  along with his wife Dora At his farm Warren farm in Kelling. Apparently at the time he ate only raw eggs and needed a change of diet. At that time major , something of an entrepreneur,  owned The Farm and Kelling Heath and latterly the Hare and hounds Which he assigned to my grandad to run for him. I have many happy memories of holidays on the farm, on the heath - in the first caravan ever installed - and in the pub. The major was a bit of an eccentric to say the least, he would keep and tame a fox and A parrot would keep him company behind the bar He would drive a jaguar Mk 2 and I remember him taking me for  a hair raising drive across the heath in an open top - no windscreen Land Rover.
Grandad was much older than Major But he looked after him well and found him a cottage in Little Barningham to end his days . Dora, My step grandmother lived on and ended her days in an old peoples home in Upper Sheringham.
I was told  There was a sad ending to the life of Major Southerland, who having disturbed a burglary at the pub was ever after suffering from  post-traumatic stress which culminated in him shooting himself in the very pub I remember so well.
I have fond memories of Peter Gunnet mentored by Major though I believe he too came to an unfortunate end.
I hope this is of interest to you as part of my early life which left me a great fondness for this part of Norfolk which I return to whenever I can.

David Coveney - 12th August 2023

I remember the Hobsons – Jim & Lesley, they sold to Phil Bishop who put Billy Carder in to run it. Probably the best days of the pub.
Then came Ashley Brewster and his then wife, Brenda. They had a partner called Nigel Kern. He was called away briefly at the behest of Her Majesty but who returned and attempted an abortive eviction of Ashley & Brenda together with Nigel’s former friend and associate – a shadowy figure called Big Dave (money made in Timeshare and Double Glazing) who had taken up residence in the barn.
During his time away, Nigel had made friends with a West Indian gentleman who, accompanied by a Range Rover full of bailiffs and Phil Bishop, posed as the Sheriff of Norfolk and banged on the door of the pub with a home typed Writ.
Hearing the commotion, Big Dave peered out of the barn window and recognised the so-called High Sheriff as a former cell mate and phoned Ashley instructing him to call the police. This caused immediate alarm in our West Indian friend who immediately ran off up the Road towards Holt. I encountered him en-route and remarked to myself that encountering a large west Indian gentleman in a 3 piece woollen suit sprinting along a North Norfolk country lane was an unusual sight - for a Wednesday.
Apparently,; the whole operation was being choreographed by Nigel on his mobile phone from the car park at the Three Pigs in Edgefield. Nigel eventually regained controlling interest in the pub because Ashley, a dyslexia sufferer had mis signed the partnership agreement.
He continued to run the place, advertised as quaint country pub experience which unusually featured loud house music, a studded and pierced Brazilian barmaid with a bare midriff and musical evenings where the performers were paid in generous helpings of Peruvian marching powder.
Phil Bishop, still not receiving rent, then sold it to Jonathan and his mother who vandalised the bar by cutting it in half, painted the walls pink and served enormous, inedible portions of indifferent food to packed houses of the old and greedy. Drinkers and locals were actively discouraged by waiting staff who barged into them whilst ferrying the inedible piles of shite to the gaping gullets in the dining room.
My friend John who called in every weekday lunchtime for a pint of Guiness and to read his paper in his usual seat was asked to vacate his favourite spot for an ancient pair of these shabby old gannets and so never went back. The cellar was kept too cold for beer in order to preserve the mountains of food, and so the local trade inevitably dried up…. Much like the gravy.
Then came a lady who’s ambition to run a charming country pub was realised by her illegitimate daughter’s father buying her off with the pub as a gift until after a few months she became bored and sold it to the last incumbents who were deliberately so obnoxious that the pub was eventually decommissioned (no doubt their original nefarious intention) and remained in a filthy and neglected state.
A bloody shame and probably the Major’s curse.
I have left out many of the fantastically funny things that happened there,  wonderful locals like Bulldog and Wherry Terry etc. Also the shooting of the chef and many other things …
So I was told.
Work of fiction, do not quote me.
I am not liable to libel as this has been told to me and is not my experience or recollection.
Without prejudice.
Anon - 24th January 2024.

William Claxton 1789
James Pigg 1794
James Pegg 1836-1841
Henry Curson 1845
Thomas Cursin (also Curson) 1846-1875
Mrs. Emma Cursin (also Curson) 1875-1881
Robert Scarff 1881
Robert Scarff 1891
Samuel Scarff 1925
Robert Scarff 1901
Robert Scarff 1911
Robert Scarff 1916
Robert Scarff 1922
Robert Scarff 1925
Samuel Scarff 1933
Samuel Scarff 1937
John William Harmer 1939
Fred Ison 1954
Major Gerald Southerland 1957
Peter Marlow Gunnett 1970
Beryl Stevenson 1971
Jim Hobson c.1982
Phil Bishop / Billy Carder - publican c.1984
Phil Bishop / Ashley Brewster - publican c.1988
Jonathan Bruton - 2005
Val Purkiss 2005 - 2010
Closure 2010
More info available on Norfolkpubs website

O. S. Map 1885
O. S. Map 1885
Courtesy of NLS map images

If you have any memories, anecdotes or photos please let us know and we may be able to use them to update the site. Please or telephone 07836 675369

Website copyright © Jonathan Neville 2023
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