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Our Story

Pub & Eatery

The Blue Ball Inn stands in the high street in the village of Kintbury formally known as Chenetbury or Kennetbury, close to a recently re-opened stretch of the Kennet and Avon Canal.

The structure of the Inn certainly dates back to the 18th Century and if stories of a priest’s hole, discovered behind a now blocked up fireplace are true it may have been in existence in the 16th Century


The sign if this historic Inn is unusual and eye catching. A large blue ball is shown poised above the figures of a male and female sea deities, ancient symbols of the sea found on old mariner’s charts. The Blue Ball depicts the earth as an astronaut might see it, on its watery side, that half of the globe’s surface is compromised largely by the great Pacific Ocean. There is an alternative symbolism. A blue ball was the sign of fortune tellers. The present sign was painted by Mr G.E. Mackenney in 1970.


Whatever its date of origin, The Blue Ball emerged into the clear light of history in the year of 1830, when it was in fact the focal point of a labourer’s revolt, known as the ‘Kintbury Riots’. The Inn was the rioters’ headquarters and most of them were eventually apprehended there. The cellar was said to have been used as temporary gaol for the malcontents whose ringleader John Winterbourne was hanged on 11th January 1831. The rest were transported to Australia, though one of them Josiah Truman claimed to have avoided capture by hiding in the copper of The Blue Ball.

At that time the landlord’s name was ‘Heath’. Some years ago a visiting Australian told the landlady that his surname was ‘Heath’ and he believed to be a descendant of the 1830’s landlord.

Traditionally there was a passage connecting the Inn with Kintbury Parish Church. It provided a convenient escape route for the highway men who were said to frequent The Blue Ball.

The Inn is said to be haunted by the ghosts of the highway man to this very day.

Regular customers of The Blue Ball are still in the main, local people whose families have frequented it for many years. The outside appearance has been altered since ‘The Riots’ and the inside has been discreetly but comfortably modernised.

Happily, The Blue Ball is still a local Inn for local people as well as being a small but precious part of England’s architectural heritage.

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