Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Great Yorkshire Pubs : The Malt Shovel, Harden


The Malt Shovel, Wilsden Rd, Harden, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16

On the moors above Harden, a few miles north-west of Bradford, there is supposed to be an ancient stone circle. There are also some prehistoric earthworks. General Fairfax camped his Civil War army in the fields just up the road, and the Bronte family lived only a few miles away. The whole area seems seeped in history and - like fruit that has been left soaking in a bowl of brandy - the buildings radiate a pungent warmth. Well, the Malt Shovel Inn certainly does.

The Malt Shovel is old : possibly seventeenth century, nobody seems to know.  It used to be owned by the de Ferrand family, but when their estate was broken up in 1919 the pub was sold for £1,476 : a decent sum back in those days and only a few pounds less than the price fetched by Harden Hall itself. Like so many country pubs, it has also served as a courtroom, an auction house and even a prison. There are surely worse places to be incarcerated.

Inside it is long and low : the way pubs should be. Real beams hold up a real ceiling and a hand-pump on the bar pulls real ale. I called in at lunch-time - it is rare these days to find a pub open at lunchtime - and soaked up some of the atmosphere, some of the history, and some of the Tetley Bitter. A little white dog came and sat under the table : didn't disturb me, just sat there as though it was part of the fixtures and fittings. A lovely Yorkshire pub, a visit to which makes the day worth living. What more can you ask for?

19 comments:

  1. While watching the news on tv last night they were covering an accident with a car and a light pole. In the background stood this lowly log cabin of split logs. It was a replica of what probably stood on the site of Fort Des Moines. Modern city stands all around it. Your old structures are such a fascination for me to see and the history that lies all around the area.

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  2. Alan, you sure know how to turn a man green.

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  3. It's interesting how old pubs served as civic centers in the old days. The old White Horse Tavern in Newport served as an impromptu city hall, municipal court, and colonial legislature. And here in Shippensburg the Widow Piper's Inn served as Cumberland County's first court. I'm wondering if they were still serving while court was in session? Heh, heh!

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  4. One of my favourite pubs, notable for the fact that I had egg and chips for lunch here on the day my daughter was born. I avoided them for quite a while after that - but now often have them to celebrate her birthday!

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  5. Very fine antique pub. Hope the ale was fresh. Our friend visited Canada and searched for a pub. It had Stones Ale. It was stale...antique! He was furious!

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  6. Oh By the way, Bingley was one of my childhood haunts...

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  7. When I saw your title, I thought I knew the Pub, but not so. The Malt Shovel that we went into was near Harrogate, and quite off the beaten track.

    We had driven out for a meal in a country Pub, but ended up in a roadside diner pub - serving indifferent grub and indifferent beer. On the way back we saw a sign for the "Malt Shovel" and after some discussion decided to have a look. It was just what you picture a country pub to be. Real Ales (several) and to make matters worse, they were serving food. It looked marvellous and by the expressions on the chops of the diners, tasted even better.

    We've been more selective since.

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  8. we are unfortunate enough to not have little pubs like this. We tear down all our old buildings. Really sad.

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  9. I used to say I have no desire to travel anywhere that involves more than 4 hours of airplanes. However, if I had the money and the energy, I would take that back and travel to The Malt Shovel for a couple of ales.

    This is such a charming place and with such history!

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  10. ...and I too would most certainly be pleased to stop inside here...and if it weren't for the satelite dish on the roof the building one might think the photo was taken long ago....what a worthy stop for lunch I'd say!

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  11. Looks almost exactly like Hay's parents' house - same size and style.

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  12. This new post of you is pure poetry to my senses. You're a good "travel guide" promoting your land. My mouth is watering right now, like a dog. I'm looking forward to get back to UK again.

    I imagine Tetley Bitter is a bear, not tea ;-) I apologise for my ignorance

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  13. sorry: "a beer" not "a bear" hahhaha

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  14. This is a really beautiful old pub!

    I've been catching up, and really enjoying all your posts, as ever. The sepia photo of your parents on the tandem bike, is just fabulous, as is the car-polishing photo, and too many others to mention, actually!

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  15. That looks just the place to relax with paper and a glass of red.

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  16. Ther Malt Shovel inns in my area but not as attractive as the one you visited.

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  17. Love it.
    Added to the list for our next visit.

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  18. What an attractive looking building. It has an air of solidity and welcome. I love that the dog came to keep you company :)

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  19. sounds fantastic - you've give me an idea about Welsh pubs

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