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Harold Meade

This is from an article in the Daily Express Magazine, of 7th March 1982

It was written by Robert Temple, and the pictures are by Dave Johnson


One of Athelney’s social hubs is the Kings Head, where Harold and Norah Meade, though retired, still welcome everyone who cares to drop in to tea. Every afternoon the postman, Ken Ashworth, stops for his cuppa, passes along the news from the route, together with any verbal messages. He likes to recount how his uncle could roll two cigarettes at once, one with each hand.


Till recently the Meades’ house was a unique pub without a bar or cash register. Now, the great nine foot high cider barrels are empty in the barn. The pub only served homemade cider and local beer, and customers helped themselves to it and left money in a box if they could afford to. They could also wander about the house if they wanted to.

There never was a pub sign, so some old customers who come visiting from “outside” still turn up wanting to relax on the enormous settle and engage again in the local sport of “cider wallopin”. The usual way to do this is with a series of eight or nine pints of “mixed” half of “old” and half of “mild” (Athelney language for dry and sweet).


Cider must be walloped in a china mug - glass spoils the taste. “Pints of mixed” are then walloped back by the thirsty toper. The Meades now only oblige friends and never charge. Harold Meade keeps “a bee or two”, producing honey from the willow blossoms, and from it he makes mead, the better one being the dry, “dry because it is older, just like I get drier the older I get,” he says.

Before you go . . . have alook at this little video of the Kings Head when Clive Gunnel arrived to do an interview with Harold  Click HERE

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