The Three Mariners Inn was established by three brothers who had served in the navy and settled in Bagshot. One story relates that they were pensioners of the famous admiral Keppel who lived at Bagshot park, and that they adapted it using old ship timbers, as much as possible in the form of those wooden ships that had been their homes, the bars and parlours to resemble cabins and every feature to remind them of their former life. Although there is no definite proof that the sailors formed their tavern this way, we do know that local builders bought old timbers from sailing breaking yards, so that men of war that had escaped being captured, sunk in battle, lost in storm or pirates, found an ultimate home by incorporating the timbers into houses and taverns in various parts of the country.
The earliest tenant of whom we have any record of is Sarah Sullings of Winkfield, Berkshire, who married first in 1750 to John Finch, a Bagshot carpenter. The Finch family formed a local dynasty of carpenters dating back to 1663, and as that was a trade much associated with the sea, it is possible that john may have been one of the Mariners. By 1764, Mrs Finch had remarried to William Middleton. At this time the Inn sheltered several famous highwaymen in the remarkable “secret loft” which still exists today. Mrs Sarah Middleton died in 1789 and directed that the lease of The Three Mariners should be sold to the benefit of her son and daughter.
Within the month of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897, a local bridegroom – in whose family the then landlord of the Mariners had been employed, allowed a free issue of beer to the people of Bagshot who had, by the end of the wedding day, in addition to emptying several casks, consumed at least 6720 pints of beer, trade being particularly brisk at this house, where the landlord was permitted to “lace” his beer with whiskey.
During the last world war, when Mrs Rebecca Stevens – known to locals as Becky, and her two sons, Henry and Daniel, owned the pub. Becky came from Chiswick, London, but she was in Bagshot at the outbreak of the war.
During her ‘reign’ the locals will remember her holding local ‘musical evenings’ with live entertainment; and talent competitions.
During the war years evacuees from London used to come down to the Three Mariners to get a night or two’s sleep away from the bombing, and so after the music had finished for the night, out would come the camp beds into the bar areas, where the weary could sleep.
Needless to say at opening time the pub was always full of soldiers, Canadians and Free French, and later on Americans, as well as British. Our soldiers had tents in fields behind Bagshot Railway Station. When it was their turn to go overseas Becky would set up a table outside the pub, so that the troops could be given free drinks as they started their journey, Becky, Danny and family, wishing them all well. A lot of those soldiers returned to visit her in the pub and bring news of those less fortunate.
On VE day evening, 8th May 1945, a very large bonfire was lit on the grounds that are now the Three Mariners car park. Hundreds of people came to celebrate the victory in Europe and as you can expect, most were well inebriated. As the fire was dying down a bit, two young Canadian soldiers from Bagshot Park camp, tried to jump over the fire whilst holding hands. Both fell in the fire and died – this, as you can imagine, stopped the celebrations for many people.