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.
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.