The first pub on our Dereham Pub Day was the Cherry Tree, one of the oldest hospitality venues in the town which has been trading since the late eighteenth century. There were fears that a closure in January 2011 might become permanent, but it was reopened in December 2012 and has remained open since serving the denizens of Dereham.
The pub was once at the entrance to Dereham’s pig market, which is today the main car park for the town. Norfolk Record Office has the diaries of John Fenn which he wrote between 1786 and 1794, which apparently mentions multiple incidents of trouble at the Cherry Tree pub. I’ll add that to my long list of things to request at the Record Office as I’m intrigued what trouble was going on in the parish back then, I suspect it’s not dissimilar to the trouble the police currently deal with in the area. Also whilst I’m writing about the Record Office, this is an interesting article about the marriage of one of their landlords, Mahershalalhashbaz Tuck.
There’s also a story from the ever fascinating Norfolk Pubs web-site, noting:
“On July 31st 1856, Mr. Burke, who was staying at the Half Moon, had visited the Cherry Tree and sat drinking with the girls until midnight. The two girls took him across fields to a stack where they lay down and he fell asleep. When he awoke the girls were gone and he could not account for his money. Several witnesses proved that he had spent freely in the public house and the girls were acquitted.”
The pub recently posted this photo on their Facebook page, the pub is on the right. The full version of this photo, where you can see the actual pub, is at https://norfolk.spydus.co.uk/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/ENQ/WPAC/BIBENQ?SETLVL=&BRN=712043.
Half a pint of Hobgoblin Gold from Wychwood and this was adequate, although not perhaps at its best. There were two beers on, this and the Coronation Ale from Greene King which has the sort of scoring on Untappd which is what I expect from the brewery. I like that the brewer’s signature has been placed on the pump clip, I suppose that they want someone to take responsibility and that’s a clever way of doing it.
For reasons that I don’t think I want to investigate, Julian was excited at the branding from Fosters and took out one of the brewery’s bar mats from his pocket. I think he gifted it to the pub to add to their marketing and I’m hoping he was more impressed by the wording on the bar mat than the beer itself.
The welcome was friendly and immediate with a feel that this is a community pub which seems non judgemental, it was a suitably inviting venue. There are no negative reviews on Google, I have to congratulate any pub which has managed not to annoy anyone over the last ten years. They don’t serve food, but they show sports and there are a number of community events which take place here, not least the weekly live music. Too often pubs don’t sell their distinct offering very well, but there’s an external sign at the Cherry Tree which mentions that they’re the town’s “number 1 live music venue” which seems like clear and useful marketing to me.
The reviews of the venue often mention “this is a proper drinking pub” and that seems to be a fair description.