In the 1990s, if you told someone from outside of the immediate vicinity that you lived in Dadlington, they would either say, “Where’s that?” or, “Ah, The Dog and Hedgehog!” At that time, the pub was renowned for its no nonsense, good quality food, and very generous portions. Landlord, Chris Halliday had taken over the pub in 1968, and with his wife, Lucy, daughter Jean and son Tim, had begun serving proper meals rather than snacks that were the usual pub fare back then. Chris and Jean cooked the food whilst Tim served behind the bar. According to locals who remember those times, Lucy, after a few whisky & lemonades, used to regale the customers with song late in the evening, until Chris called time on the punters by ringing his bell.
The earliest document that the current owner has dates back to 1711. The Dictionary of Pub Names (David Rothwell: 2006) says that pub, the only Dog and Hedgehog in the country, was so called by a former licensee who is said to have enjoyed an engraving of a dog and hedgehog entitled Rough Customer. It was this engraving that served as the model for the original inn sign. However, the earliest mention of the pub; an article on 25th July 1840 in the Leicester Chronicle about one George Freeman injuring himselfwhilst shooting rooks, refers to it as The Bitch Hedgehog and Ferret.
The church is entered through a small porch. There used to be another entrance opposite this on the north wall, but this was filled in, in 1782. Inside, the church has a fairly simple design, with a central area containing the chancel and nave, and a south chapel on the right hand side. The arches between the two are thirteenth century. There is no medieval glass remaining in the building and the old wooden roof has also been replaced.
The churchyard is entered through a gate which was the village's monument to the five local men who died during World War I. To the east of the churchyard, stood the parsonage house, now long gone, and the land where the village hall now stands was chantry land, belonging to the church and granted to it to provide an income so that prayers could be said for the dead of the Battle of Bosworth.
The church of St James
There has been a church on the high ground, north west of The Green, since the thirteenth century. Although there is little of the original remaining, the building having been restored on a number of occasions,the layout has probably not changed much at all.
There is a small bell turret at the western end, reconstructed in 1890, that replaced an oak shingle belfry or dove-cote, thought to be unique in Leicestershire at the time. There are two bells, but records show the church paying rent to the vicar of Hinckley in 1209 for having a bell three times a week.
Quincentenary of the Battle of Bosworth 1985
The 500th anniversary of the battle was celebrated at the Bosworth Battlefield Centre. Two groups of soldiers from re-enactment and history societies followed the routes Henry Tudor and Richard III took prior to the battle and on the morning of the anniversary, Rev Teddy Boston took a service at the battlefield. There then followed a re-enactment of the battle for the crowds that turned up to the event. One group of 'medieval' participants was meant to spend the night before the anniversary camped out at the Battlefield Centre. However, the weather was so bad that Dadlington Village Hall was offered as a dry alternative. To say 'thank you' they put on a display on The Green and the women prepared a medieval meal to which villagers were invited.
Dadlington Meeting House
Non-conformists - those who wanted to follow their Christian beliefs outside of the established Church of England - established an independent chapel in the village in 1801-2. It changed from an Independent to a Congregationalist place of worship, though never actually becaming a church in its own right, and in 1894 it is recorded as having a congreagation of about twenty. The building is still in existence, being used today as a barn in the grounds of Hall Farm.
There is a very detailed description of the both the church and meeting house by Tim Parry which can be downloaded as a PDF file here.
List of Publicans
(dates refer to when the licensee is mentioned in historical records)
George Freeman 1840
Henry Freeman 1843, 1846, 1855
John Kendall 1863, 1865
William Hollyoak 1870, 1881
William Robinson 1884
George Martin 1887
Mrs Sarah Martin 1889, 1892
Thomas Foster 1893, 1895
Walter Wragg 1899
James Busby 1900
Charles Morton 1908, 1951
Frank Wood 1951, 1964
Gordon & Dulcie Craig 1964,1968
Chris Halliday 1968
Paul Bannister 1994 (owned by Steve Bowyer)
Various employees of Enterprise Inns Early 2000s
Graham Bannister 2004 (approx.)
Unoccupied 2009 - 2011
Bill Reinking & Robert Marko 2011 (owned by Sandra MacDonald)
1979 Extension to first floor
1982 Restoration of malthouse
1996 Dormer extension and installation of window
Personal Account by Anne Bull
When we came to live in Dadlington in 1965, the Village Hall was only used occasionally as it was in great need of repairs. I remember the church held Christmas Fairs there and it was also used as a polling station at elections. Stoke Golding Brownies met there for a couple of years, 1972-73.
Queen's Silver Jubilee 1977
We had to carry out the preparation at the various vilage farms around The Green and at the Dog and Hedgehog. It was proposed that we improve the hall for future events. We sent out a questionnaire to every house in the village to gauge the support for this. Two thirds of the village were in favour of some kind of renovation with the majority prefering to retain the old structure and to extend it to at least double its current size. Most respondents were against any form of rate increase and therefore grants were applied for and fundraising organised as we had to raise a third of the cost of the renovations to obtain a grant.
It was intended to hold a fancy dress competition , sports day and picnic to celeberate Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee, as communities around the country held street parties. Due to the weather, the sports mainly took place on the road and in Mr Furniss' empty turkey pen. The later was also the venue for the picnic and evening dance.
May Fayres 1981 onwards
The first May Fayre was held in 1981. This was successful and we decided to make it an annual event, incorporating more stalls and entertainments and to have a May Queen.
In 1982, we had 20 stalls and games, plus a prize draw and refreshments, giving us a profit of £200, which was a real encourgement. Following this success, we organised dance, jumble sales, a fashion show and a village supper.
In 1983 the Fayre was opened by the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Hinckley & Bosworth, Councillor and Mrs Derek Evans, formally of Dadlington; our May Queen was Elizabeth Reed who was chosen at a disco in Stoke Golding. Again we had a large number of stalls and games, pony rides, a marching band and a 'Buy a Brick' opportunity. We made £400 this time. There was also a fund-raising Valentine Dance at Stoke Club and a Summer Sports Gala.
By 1984, alterations were well advance. We had a village supper at the Dog & Hedgehog, another Valentine Dance, and a disco where May Queen Michelle Bradley was chosen. It was decided to incorporate the opening of the restored hall with the May Fayre. For the first time we were able to use our own ahll for a fund-raising event.
A sports day was planned for 1985, instead of the May Fayre, but this was cancelled and no further fayres took place.
Trade directories list the names of the various landlords and landladies (see below) who ran the pub over the years (. Henry Freeman was in charge at the time of the tithe map of 1843 and was still going strong 12
Dadlington Church in 1791, engraved by John Pridden
A Parish Room was erected in Dadlington in 1886. Below is an extract written by Dadlington historian Tim Parry about its creation
In 1880 the Reverend Henry Joshua Lomax became vicar of Stoke Golding-cum-Dadlington. At Dadlington he found a dilapidated, almost ruinous church. Moreover, because the 'lay rector' of the parish was the Dean & Chapter of Westiminster, and because of an agreement arrived at in the early 18th centruy, he received just £20 per annum (less income tax) for ministering there. Even then it was a pitiful sum.
Before beginning to restore the church, however, it was decided that there was a need for a Parish Room, both for the Sunday School (which then met in the church) as well as for fund-raising events and social functions. By 1885 the 157 parishoners, mainly tenant farmers and labourers, had scraped together £100, and the once familiar little red-brick building with steeply pitched roof was built on glebe land to the south of the church, adjoining the village green.
In a formal deed dated 1887 the vicar made over the Parish Room, and the land upon which it stood, to the churchwardens representing the parishioners of Dadlington. This building continued to serve for virtually all social events in the village until, in 1983, a start was made on enlarging and remodelling it to becomethe present village hall. Although by this time rather dilapidated, the old Parish Room was structually sound, and had served its purpose for nearly 100 years. If it hadn't already stood there, it is doubtful whether a new village hall could have been built. Perhaps a small debt of gratitude is therefore owed by present Dadlingtonians to the practicality and foresight of Henry Lomax and their forebears of the 1880s.
by Tim Parry
years later. He is described not only as a maltster and victualler, but also a carpenter and a farmer. William Hollyoak, who held the reigns from 1870 to 1881, doubled up as a tailor when not serving pints.
The pub appears in a number of newspaper stories during the 19th century. In April 1854, Henry Moon was accused of assaulting John Cross after a parish meeting and “making very free with the juice of Sir John Barleycorn.” Just over a year later and the papers reported Ann Towers being called “bad names” by her husband in the pub. Twice it was the venue for inquests. In September 1883, a young rapscallion who’d stolen a purse, rather unwisely decided to blow his new-found wealth on ale. The locals suspected he had committed a felony and held him captive in the Dog until the police arrived.
The fortunes of the pub have fluctuated in more recent times. In the early 1990s, it was bought by Steve and Roberta Bowyer for a knock-down price. Steve renovated the premises and introduced a massive menu of some 35-40 items, all written on a chalkboard above the steps to the lower dining room. He brought in Paul Bannister as manager and business really boomed. Unfortunately, it was not to last. The pub was bought by Enterprise Inns who installed a succession of managers. Finally, one of the firm’s directors bought it, but his costly renovations coincided with the financial crash of 2008 and the building was repossessed by the Allied Irish Bank.
For two years it lay unoccupied. Rumours as to its future circulated and a local campaign raised awareness as to its plight. Then, in October 2010, Madeleine Middleton, now a Dadlington resident, spotted the for-sale signs while boating on the canal. She passed the word to some friends in Covent Garden who were looking for a country pub. This led to Sandra MacDonald, a Canadian, buying the pub, with American Bill Reinking and Slovakian Robert Marko successfully taking over the running on 13 May 2011. The fifth anniversary of the Dog's reopening was celebrated at a dinner for about 30 villagers last month with its reputation has been restored and its future assured.
(Many thanks to Caroline Fielden and John Walliker for your memories.)
The Reinterment of Richard III - 2015
The discovery of Richard III's body in a Leicester car park brought the attention of the world's media to this corner of Leicestershire. As Dadlington is the only place where evidence shows that some of the dead from the battle were buried there, and as the main area of fighting is considered to have taken place within the old Dadlington parish boundaries, the village was chosen as a the first stopping place for Richard's body on its journey to re-internment at Leicester Cathedral. On the day, thousands descended on the village which had been closed for traffic since the early hours. Led by two medieval knights on horseback, the cortege entered the village along Shenton Lane and moved around The Green, stopping outside Ambion Court where a short religious ceremony was conducted. It then moved on the Sutton Cheyney. Before and after the visit, there was a range of activities including songs from Ambion Voices and Morris Dancing.
Further Improvements 2015-17
With the hall being used more often, the management committee decided upon a series of improvements to the hall. A kitchen area with serving hatch was created, along with a disabled access and toilet. The loss of main floor space was compencated by expanding the building towards the green and levelling off the area outside of the hall.
The picture shows building work in action.
The Leicester Chronicle, in 1886, reported that, "Skeletons and broken fragments of rusty armour still frequently obstruct the peasant's plough, and the old churchyard has known many ghastly re-interments of the poor soldiers remains."
There is a small permanent exhibition on the links with the battle on display in the church, which is open most days.