The building was first used as weaver’s cottages with records dating back to the mid-1660s. Its first incarnation as a pub was as ‘The New Inn’ in the late 1800s, when it was licensed for cider and beer only. In fact the pub didn’t gain a full licence until the early 1920s when it was run by the Saunders family. (At this time the main pub in the village was the Half Moon, which closed down in the late 1960s.) It was during the 1960s that the local council required all pubs that did not offer accommodation to change their names from ‘Inns’, so the New Inn became the Salamander, named after a local point-to-point racehorse that had run in the West Chinnock to Chiselborough steeplechase back in the 1880s.
Being called the Salamander, however, meant nothing to the majority of people who had never heard about the 19th Century racehorse, and who couldn’t work out why the pub was named after a lizard, so by the late 1970s the landlord decided that another change of name was required. At this time the landlord’s wife was in hospital, leaving him to run the pub and look after their young family, but as she did the book work, he would take the books for her to look through in hospital. On one occasion it seems he dropped the paperwork all over the hospital floor, exclaiming that he was such a muddled man. A passing nurse heard his remark and suggested that ‘The Muddled Man’ would be a great idea for a pub name as most of the men she knew were always a little muddled when they had a little too much to drink. After discussions with Ushers Brewery, owners of the Salamander at the time, the change of name was agreed, and the pub has been called the Muddled Man ever since. Interestingly, the landlord left soon after to take over a pub in Southampton which he also renamed the Muddled Man, but it appears the name never took off, and it was changed again soon after.