Wild hops up Maltby back lane, Braithwell - Descendants of Ale House brews - 2019
The history of the house as an Ale House seems to start with Martha Marshall who moved from being the landlady at 'The Plough Inn', Micklebring in 1900, to the house at Braithwell village cross. The house was originally a small holding and possibly originates from the late 18th Century. It was run as an ale house, brewing beer only and not selling other alcohol, until the 1920's. The house was inherited by Martha’s adopted nephew William Marshall and his wife Aimee. It ceased being an Ale House around that time.
Cheryl Brewster - My Grandma, Edith Brewster, lived nearby at Elmfield Cottage at the beginning of Maltby back lane and used to talk about the Marshalls and getting beer from them. In the early 1960's she used to send me over the road to the Red Lion, to the off licence, with a jug to fill with beer and said if they were still brewing beer in Aimee Marshalls house then I wouldn’t have to walk so far! She told me about the hops in the hedgerows that orignated from 'hop mash' waste that was thrown out along the field margins from the days of brewing at Harehound House. We sometimes walked up the lane to look and collect them, in summer, when they were in full bloom and I still visit them to this day. I remember Aimee and the many dolls she had in her house and recall being allowed in to see them when I was 5-6 years old.
Harehound Ale House, decorated for the coronation 2nd June 1953 by William & Aimee Marshall
Joyce Milnes - knew William and Aimee well and cared a lot about them. William had always been interested in the theatre and had travelled widely and ended up buying a small theatre company. He met Aimee who was a gifted pianist and she was always involved in entertaining in some way and also ran a small troupe of local village enthusiasts, singing and performing. She taught piano to many children.
Aimee Marshall, known as 'Mitty' Marshall, continued to live in the house until she died – she was famous for her doll collection and often showed them and was interviewed by the press many times.
Allen Smith - Its terrible that the roof was taken off the house - very sad. I used to take post out to the house at Christmas and it said 'Harehounds House' above the door. Aimee Marshalls house was fascinating and like a museum - full of memorabilia but also very untidy. I particularly remember that the fire ashes were never taken out from the fire grate and the fire fender would move across the hearth with the mound of ashes. Allen says he has been interested in the history of licencing for the ale houses and has tried to track down the licence for brewing at Harehounds House, but hasn’t had any luck yet. The documents are called the 'Brewster Sessions' (Brewster = female brewer) and were held at Conisborough where applications for licences to brew were kept. Once licenced then ale houses were tested for the strength of their beer. Allen says the Harehounds was the 4th pub in the villages... the Plough, Butchers Arms and Red Lion - 4 pubs and a Club!
Mrs Aimee Marshall and her dolls - a picture taken for the Yorkshire Evening News and Doncaster Gazette
Chris Brewster - When we were kids in the 1960's - Timothy Leigh and I used to explore, and would like to look in the shed at the back of Harehounds house - it was full of theatre props including large scrolled rolls of backdrop scenery and all kinds of interesting objects. Aimee would come out and shout at us. Aimee was always a character and liked to get about - she often used to sit in the old Arndale Centre in Doncaster next to the sculpture that used to be in the middle and talked to all, including the Press, about her interesting life.
Sylvia Wright - My brother, Norman, went to her for piano lessons. She had a lot of brass which he used to polish and she would give him extra lessons. I recall I couldn't see any lighting only paraffin lanterns, also I believe she had a well for her water. I think I would recognise her in a photo if not our Norman would. Living with her I think was her son a tall gentleman. The house was like museum, lovely. I couldn't believe it when they started knocking it down a crying shame, could have been made into a lovely house.
Aimee 'Mitty' Marshall in black dress on front row 1950s
Howard Pell - I am sorry to say I only met my grandmother Aimee once, and that was in Lincoln Hospital just hours before she died. Similarly, I only visited Harehound House once and that was when the property was being cleared ahead of its sale. But what a mess that resulted in, when a fine building was partially demolished before anyone could step in and stop it. Harehound House had such potential to be restored and could have been made again into a very fine home. Instead, it’s become a ruin and one fears that its destiny is to become an anonymous pile of rubble. That said, at least the Braithwell History web-site can be said to have made it live again, if only by reference to its past.
Fortunately, I did get to know and love my grandfather William Marshall (see William Marshall of Mickelbring & Braithwell). My mother Ella was the Marshall’s youngest child and when our family moved to Grantham we would take the coach down the A1 and see Grandad in his flat in Lots Road, Chelsea. On the other side of the River Thames lay Battersea Funfair and my grandfather would take us there and he always made sure the grandchildren were “rewarded” with those ridiculously-long paper bus-tickets churned out by the conductor’s machine. Looking back, William was the classic bundle-of-fun grandfather, one who always had time for his grandchildren and who enjoyed teasing us as much as we enjoyed hugging him. I remember too his watch and chain, and in particular the fob with its shiny gold $10 coin, a memento of his years in North America. I recall how one such London visit coincided with the 1966 World Cup Final when we all sat around a small black-and-white TV as England lifted the trophy – and I remember how the noise in the streets outside went on for hours.
Grandad seemed to get on with everyone, and had some interesting friends too, and in particular one I met still stands out. This was Henry Behrens, a theatre and circus performer who was billed in the 40s and 50s as the World’s Smallest Man. At 30 inches tall, this elderly pipe-smoking moustachioed man was smaller than I was as a four or five year-old!
In writing this now, I find myself thinking how pleased William Marshall would be to know that his memory lives on. My mother – Ella Marshall born 1920, the last of the four Marshall children and the only one actually born in Harehound House – would also have been bowled-over to see how the story has unfolded – and not least because, indirectly, she made it all possible. I say that because it was her decision that, after Grandad died, I should have the tin-trunk that he had beneath his bed and which, as I would discover, contained his life-story.
There was nothing intrinsically valuable within that trunk, but to me with a love of history, the contents were priceless. Postcards, letters, play-bills and scripts and best of all a 250-page handwritten life-story that told me in great detail of the ups-and-downs of William’s wonderful life. It was from this that I learned of the thing William talked about least, and that was the agonies of the Great War, albeit one that for him ended in lasting friendships among the people he had helped to free. Now, thanks to this web-site I have the privilege of sharing at least part of the story with those who now live where it all began in July 1885, when a farm-labourer’s wife delivered her second child and she and her husband decided to call him William.
And the rest, as they say, is history.”