The history of The Chequers is simply intriguing
The origins of The Chequers are not entirely clear, however it has been suggested that it was originally built as a chantry farmhouse (a farm connected to a church) due to the chantry lands that were then nearby. The Chequers’ transition to and inn can be reasonably linked to the business aspects of the farm; providing accommodation and entertainment for visiting priests, workers and travellers.
The earliest reference that we have been able to find to The Chequers as an inn comes from Sarah Peacock in 1765 who was followed by other landlords and ladies with an entry in a document mentioning a courier named Brown, who is recorded as leaving the Chequers every Tuesday and Friday for London.
With The Chequers firmly established as an inn a long list of landlord and ladies have made their mark on the building with various degrees of information about The Chequers involvement in the local community being available. Some highlights include:
- In 1862 Samuel J Heard, carpenter and founder of the local undertakers of the same name was licensee along with wife Susannah, a straw bonnet maker.
- Mr Savigear held the licensee from 1937 and has been described as a very popular local person until his death in 1960 when his wife Elsie took over as landlady.
Changes in function and the passing of time have seen many changes to the fabric of The Chequers – accurately described as a ‘typical new world inn’ built in the sixteenth century. The original wattle and daub construction has been augmented over the centuries but has, thankfully, retained the character of the building with exposed beams and not a straight edge in site. Thriving today with a good mix of live music, good company and drinks it is an outstanding establishment and know as ‘The Best Pub in Billericay’