Monday, September 20, 2010

The Radcliffe Trust and Wolverton - Part II The Inns


As I have remarked before, the Watling Street was the dividing line between the Wolverton and Calverton Manors, so the land on the east side was always owned by the lord of the manor. As Stony Stratford grew in prosperity due to improved roads the land adjoining the High Street became more valuable and a number of inns were paying useful rents to the Manor.
This map, which I have borrowed from a Stony Stratford website, shows the town at about the time that Radcliffe made his purchase. Concise history of Stony Stratford

At the time Radcliffe purchased the Manor, the population of Stony Stratford as a whole was about 1,000. By comparison, the rural population of Wolverton was under 200.
The Inns of Stony Stratford would make an interesting study in itself, but here I will focus on those that were part of the Radcliffe purchase.

They were The Bull (1609), The Three Swans (1526), The Red Lion, The Horseshoe (1529), The Queen's Head and The Nag's Head. The Cock and The Rose and Crown had been sold some time before and were no longer part of the estate. The Nag's Head probably went out of business shortly after Radcliffe's purchase. The rent at that time was only 17s and it is never mentioned again. The Bull continues its trade on the same site, but the building has much developed since the early 18th century.

The Red Lion must have been near to the Three Swans as indicated by Red Lyon Close. The Horseshoe, which in its day was spoken of as the largest of the Stony Stratford Inns was pulled down in 1860 for the development of St Paul's School, later Mr Fegan's Homes. The Horseshoe also gets a mention in a late Elizabethan play called Sir John Oldcastle. It was a collaborative effort between Anthony Munday, Michael Drayton, Robert Wilson and Richard Hathaway - not William Shakespeare, as is sometimes suggested.

The Three Swans, which sometimes was known as The Swan or the Swan with Two Necks,
The Trust kept records of the tenants from 1713 to 1802 when they were all sold to meet the cost of a government land tax.

          The Bull            1713-1720     William Eyres
                                    1720-1760     James Hall
                                    1760-1764     William Burbridge
                                    1764-1790     John Coates
                                    1790-1802     Thomas Sleath

          Three Swans     1705-1729     Christopher Carter
                                    1729-1785     R Wilmer
The Three Swans was converted into two dwelling houses in 1785.


          Horseshoe         1685-1729     Matthew Eyres
                                    1729-1758     Aquila Cole
                                    1758-1767     William Whittaker
                                    1767-1784     Ann Whittaker
                                    1784-1802     William Godfrey
The Horseshoe and several surrounding houses were cleared in 1860 in order to build the new St Paul's School.


          Red Lion           1680-1713     Thomas Penn
                                    1729-1730     William Keen
                                    1737-1742     Charles Horne
                                    1742-1785     Edward Jeffcoate
The Red Lion was converted into a work-houe for the poor of Wolverton and Stony Stratford.


          The Queen's Head      1691-1742 Michael Garment
The location and fate of this inn is unknown.

The Three Swans and The Rose and Crown both compete to be known as the Inn where Richard III's nephews, Edward and Richard of York, stayed overnight on their way to London. Richard put the two of them and their companions into "protective custody". They were never at liberty again.

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