Like many such establishments it is almost impossible to see back through the mists of time and find out when the building we see today opened its doors as a beerhouse and became known by the sign of the Maybush.

... 1769 ...

1769 Alehouse Recognizances extract
Alehouse Recognizances extract from 1769 showing John Winney at the Maybush (2nd from bottom).
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The first written record we have for the pub is in the Alehouse Recognizances of 1769 when the Maybush appears licensed by John Winney. Winney is listed as a freeholder in Great Oakley in a 1763 Poll Book although it isn't clear how much property he owned.

The Maybush was purchased by John Bawtree in the late 18th Century and the pub formed part of the tied estate of Bawtree’s Colchester brewery in St. Botolphs. The Bawtree family were farmers and maltsters and the move into brewing and pub ownership is a familiar story at a time when brewing was becoming a larger-scale industrial operation.

19th Century agricultural scene from Great Oakley, Essex
19th Century agricultural scene from Great Oakley. Even with agricultural mechanisation there were still very many people employed by the farms, providing a living for rural pubs.
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... 1827 ...

The Bawtree ownership ended in 1827 when a Mr. Hume bought all the Bawtree pubs and brewery operation but it was bought and sold again just 6 years later when the newly formed Kimber, Gross & Nicholl stepped in.

... 1840s ...

In 1839 the pub appears in the Pigot’s directory as being run by Henry Cocksedge but by 1841 it is occupied by John Dawson, a Coach Builder aged 40 with his wife Mary and their seven children.

In a period of great change we find George Fall Betts in charge in 1844 but his servant “Eliza Sexton, 19, single woman, was convicted of stealing three penny pieces and two halfpennles” and by 1848 William Smith had taken over at the Maybush with his wife, Elizabeth, who came all the way from Penzance, and son George.

... 1860s ...

By 1861 William and family had moved to Frating and were farming one hundred and six acres there, and Charles Rayner and his wife Elizabeth were at the pub. Charles was a Ramsey boy and Elizabeth came from Harwich.

By 1867 Thomas Carter was landlord of the Maybush with his wife, Elizabeth, two daughters and a servant. Although they only stayed at the pub ten years they too went in to farming but only moved next door to Maltings Farm.

... 1878–1904 ...

Probate record for Fred Claxson, 1904.
Probate record for Fred Claxson, 1904.
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The next landlord was Fred Claxson who took over around 1878. Fred was a Plumber and Master Painter as well as a Licensed Victualler and had been born in the village. His wife Eliza was from Ramsey and they had one daughter also named Eliza.

Fred Claxson ran the pub right up to his death in 1904 when new landlord and landlady Edward and Ethel Chester took over.

... 1904–1956 ...

Great Oakley celebrations for the coronation of King George V in 1911.
The Maybush (with Edward Chester as landlord) as a backdrop to village celebrations for the coronation of King George V in 1911.
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Edward (actually Colin Edward Chester) and Ethel had met whilst working together at the Anchor on the Bathside in Harwich so were well-versed in the pub trade and obviously took on the Maybush when the opportunity arose.

At this point in time the Maybush was owned by Charrington Nicholl & Co. but many still referred to the company as Nicholls – referencing the original partner’s name from the 1833 Colchester brewery formation.

After all those Maybush landlords of the 19th Century Edward Chester stayed at the pub right until his death in 1956 with his probate entry describing him as being
“of the Maybush Inn”. After 52 years that seems entirely appropriate.

During Edward’s time as landlord the pub had changed ownership – being owned, briefly, by the Colchester Brewery Co. Ltd. from 1920 before they in turn were swallowed up by Ind Coope in 1925.

... Present Day ...

After that typical story of consolidation in the British brewing industry the pub found itself in private hands again in modern times before falling victim to challenging times and closing its doors temporarily in 2015.

Fortunately with 2016 came new hope and recognition from local people that the village needs to hang on to their last public house – a historic pub that has weathered the feasts and famines of the last 250 years and still has a lot more history to write.

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