The Dog & Hedgehog  

A village pub 



In the 1990s, if you told someone from outside of the immediate vicinity that you lived in Dadlington, they would either say, “Where’s that?” or, “Ah, The Dog and Hedgehog!” At that time, the pub was renowned for its no nonsense, good quality food, and very generous portions. Landlord, Chris Halliday had taken over the pub in 1968, and with his wife, Lucy, daughter Jean and son Tim, had begun serving proper meals rather than snacks that were the usual pub fare back then. Chris and Jean cooked the food whilst Tim served behind the bar. According to locals who remember those times, Lucy, after a few whisky & lemonades, used to regale the customers with song late in the evening, until Chris called time on the punters by ringing his bell.

The earliest document that the current owner has dates back to 1711. The Dictionary of Pub Names (David Rothwell: 2006) says that pub, the only Dog and Hedgehog in the country, was so called by a former licensee who is said to have enjoyed an engraving of a dog and
hedgehog entitled Rough Customer. It was this engraving that served as the model for
the original inn sign. However, the earliest mention of the pub; an article on
25th July 1840 in the Leicester Chronicle about one George Freeman injuring himself
whilst shooting rooks, refers to it as The Bitch Hedgehog and Ferret.

Trade directories  list the names of the various landlords and landladies (see below) who ran the pub over the years (. Henry Freeman was in charge at the time of the tithe map of 1843 and was still going strong 12 years later. He is described not only as a maltster and victualler, but also a carpenter and a farmer. William Hollyoak, who held the reigns from 1870 to 1881, doubled up as a tailor when not serving pints.

The pub appears in a number of newspaper stories during the 19th century. In April 1854, Henry Moon was accused of assaulting John Cross after a parish meeting and “making very free with the juice of Sir John Barleycorn.” Just over a year later and the papers reported Ann Towers being called “bad names” by her husband in the pub. Twice it was the venue for inquests. In September 1883, a young rapscallion who’d stolen a purse, rather unwisely decided to blow his new-found wealth on ale. The locals suspected he had committed a felony and held him captive in the Dog until the police arrived.

The fortunes of the pub have fluctuated in more recent times. In the early 1990s, it was bought by Steve and Roberta Bowyer for a knock-down price.  Steve renovated the premises and introduced a massive menu of some 35-40 items, all written on a chalkboard above the steps to the lower dining room.  He brought in Paul Bannister as manager and business really boomed. Unfortunately, it was not to last. The pub was bought by Enterprise Inns who installed a succession of managers. Finally, one of the firm’s directors bought it, but his costly renovations coincided with the financial crash of 2008 and the building was repossessed by the Allied Irish Bank.

For two years it lay unoccupied. Rumours as to its future circulated and a local campaign raised awareness as to its plight. Then, in October 2010, Madeleine Middleton, now a Dadlington resident, spotted the for-sale signs while boating on the canal.  She passed the word to some friends in Covent Garden who were looking for a country pub. This led to Sandra MacDonald, a Canadian, buying the pub, with American Bill Reinking and Slovakian Robert Marko successfully taking over the running on 13 May 2011. The fifth anniversary of the Dog's reopening was celebrated at a dinner for about 30 villagers last month with its reputation has been restored and its future assured. 

(Many thanks to Caroline Fielden and John Walliker for your memories.)

List of Publicans
(dates refer to when the licensee is mentioned in historical records)

George Freeman                1840
Henry Freeman                  1843, 1846, 1855
John Kendall                        1863, 1865   
William Hollyoak              1870, 1881 
William Robinson             1884
George Martin                   1887
Mrs Sarah Martin            1889, 1892   
Thomas Foster                   1893, 1895 
Walter Wragg                    1899
James Busby                       1900
Charles Morton                1908, 1951  
Frank Wood                        1951, 1964 
Gordon & Dulcie Craig  1964,1968 
Chris Halliday                     1968
Paul Bannister                    1994  (owned by Steve Bowyer)
Various employees of Enterprise Inns       Early 2000s
Graham Bannister            2004 (approx.)

Unoccupied                          2009 - 2011

Bill Reinking & Robert Marko 2011 (owned by Sandra MacDonald)

Planning Permissions
1979 Extension to first floor
1982 Restoration of malthouse
1996 Dormer extension and installation of window 
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