Bradenham pub is named the Lord Nelson again after ‘Battle of the Wissey’
- Credit: Archant
A pub in a village where Nelson's father was born has been named after our greatest seafarer.
The Lord Nelson at Bradenham, near Dereham, changed its name to the Heart of Norfolk when it re-opened under new management five years ago. But villagers still called in the 'Nellie.
On Saturday, they gathered to see the new sign - painted by village artist Chrissie Smith - unveiled outside, as the pub reverted to its previous name.
Regulars clubbed together to buy the artwork. As well as a head and shoulders portrait of Nelson, the reverse side shows the great man viewed from astern.
'I'm not very good at faces,' said Mrs Smith at the unveiling. 'I Normally do animals, not people. I said can I do him as a dog or something and they said no.'
Sue Smith is taking over the pub from her son and daughter Sheridan and Katy, who re-opened the pub six years ago after the family bought it at auction.
Her husband Andy said: 'We decided we'd go for a closed-down pub, to re-open a closed village pub.'
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He added the family changed the pub's name to emphasise the fact it was making a new start. But after they and their customers continued to refer to it as the 'Nellie, they decided to call it the Lord Nelson again.
As the unveiling neared Tim Shakesby, who lives across the road from the pub, warned that it was rumoured not everyone approved of the name change.
Sure enough, a fleet of three French walking warships marched into the beer garden, followed closely by a brace of British ships.
After exchanging insults and broadsides of party poppers, Nelson himself strode purposefully into the middle of the melee and seized victory in a fusillade of popgun fire, adding the Battle of the Wissey to his impressive tally.
Pub regular 'Wingco' said: 'Bradenham has more connections to Nelson than a lot of other villages. His father was born in the village, his sister was born and married in the village and lived here until her demise.'
Nelson's father Edmund was born in Bradenham in 1722. After university, he became a curate at Sporle, near Swaffham and rector of a church at Beccles before becoming the rector of Burnham Thorpe in 1755, where Nelson was born three years later.
The bid to buy the sign was led by regular Phil Hayward, who was unable to attend the unveiling because of work.
His wife Julie said: He loves the pub and he thought it would be a nice thing to do, it shows support for the pub.'
Sue Kszystyniak, who has lived in Bradenham for 18 years, said: 'We came here many years ago and it was a lovely sign. It's nice to see it all refurbished and looking beautiful again, it's the centre of the village again, it's lovely.'