Well, first and foremost we entirely accept and appreciate that many locals will undoubtedly continue to refer to the Inn as 'The Warbill'; and that’s fine. Those who are uneasy with the name change may be interested to know that it has been changed before; the original name was The Two Tuns. A few hundred years later the name was changed to The War-Bill-in-Tun Inn. This is excused/explained by a slightly far-fetched legend which relates to the Civil War – but the name wasn’t changed at that time. We are delighted that overall we have enjoyed a very positive reaction to the name The Black Duck. Changing the name is by no means a slight on anything that the Inn has been, but the Warbill-In-Tun Inn at Warbleton which you have to admit, is a bit of a mouthful; is no more.
We have made substantial cosmetic changes to the interior and although we intend for it to continue to be a lovely old country pub, it is different. So it was time for a different name too. In years gone by people (shamefully) used to stick a chicken or ducks up their chimney to clean it. All that flapping apparently worked a treat. It’s doubtful any ever survived the experience. Pretty foul play!
Think back to the so-called chimney sweeping and you can imagine what state a duck would have been in after the event – Black! What matters most is that during the past five hundred years it has stood the test of time and remains today. We will endeavour to continue its mission to provide a place of refuge to those who wish to eat, drink and be merry!
A bit about us...
We are Nikki & Gary Kinnell, we have two children who grew up in Rushlake Green where we lived for the sixteen years, before we bought the pub. Nikki is local with family routes in Burwash. Gary was born and bred in Suffolk. We moved to the area over twenty-five years ago. We love it here and feel privileged to be part of this community and share this wonderful part of the planet! Gary was an electrician by trade and has worked locally as such. Together we have embarked on various
projects during our thirty years of marriage. You may recognise Nikki from behind the bar in local pubs. Our daughter Lucie owns Pin-Ups Hair Salon in Mayfield and our son Oliver is qualified as a motor mechanic, helicopter pilot and licensee. He currently works locally in the building trade but he joins us on occasion to play pubs!
We’re having great fun running The Black Duck and we hope you enjoy sharing the experience with us...
The History of the Pub
Every indication points to the Inn being built in the early part of 1500’s. Finding out much of the history of the pub has been quite a challenge. The earliest definitive record relates to a will of a Mr Cheeseman in the 1600’s who left the property to a benefactor. All indications are that although the front clearly has three separate entrance doors, this was not a building divided into three individual buildings – & although it was let at one time as a property with considerable acreage, it appears that it was built with the intention of it being an Ale House, with a huge cellar below. Through the years parcels of land were sold off and the original sixteen acres has long gone.
In the old days a new brew would be “advertised” by the Inn Keeper hanging the hops around the outside door and adorning the inside of an Inn to dry out the hops was a work in progress; not an aesthetic touch to add character – and not even that now Mr Health & Safety has had his say! Regardless of some rather dubious improvements over the years, much of the original property remains unblemished, the fantastic inglenook fireplace with bread oven represents the heart of this building. It was common place long ago for the locals to place their roasting joint on the outside wall of the chimney while they attended Church. By the time they came out their meat was cooked (services did go on a bit then!) We hope our renovations have further enhanced your enjoyment along with the character of these amazing premises.
There are various referrals made in articles relating to Warbleton Parish but very little that we can consider fact! The Inn started life surrounded by the Sussex Iron Industry; Cralle Furnace was just down the lane. Observing instructions from Queen Mary (1553-1558) the Parish Priest changed his persuasion to Roman Catholic and a local ironmaster, Richard Woodman fervently and publicly objected. He called the Rector “Mr Facing Both Ways” and paid for his outspoken views with his life. Apparently he hid in the Inn but was captured and taken to London for sentencing. He was then locked in the Church Tower at Warbleton until 22 June 1557 when he was burned to death with nine other martyrs in Lewes.