Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stony Stratford's first recorded Inn

Hostelries of some sort have been along the side of the road since the early middle ages at least, but they don't appear in any documents until 1317 when Grilkes Herber is recorded. It makes its appearance in this document:

It's in Latin. The deed relates to the transfer of rights to the fish ponds between the Stony Stratford bridge and "Grilkes Herber" from John le Forester to Sir John de Wolverton. It is dated in the tenth year of the reign of Edward II, which makes it 1317.

So from this casual reference we can infer that there was an inn near to the river, probably on the very north edge of the town. The word herber probably derives in this case from the French word to mean an inn - now auberge. "Grilke" is probably Grik or Gryk and about this time there is a Thomas le Gryk who appears as a witness to documents dated 1206 and 1304.

There is a consensus that this inn was most likely on the site of the house which used to be The Barley Mow. Some partial excavation has revealed some medieval foundations although it has to be said that a full excavation has not been undertaken. In 1713 this piece of land was still in the hands of Sir edward Longueville and known as Gregg's Arbour. Shortly after it was leased to William Perry, the miller,  with rights to moor boats. There is no indication that this included any buildings, so if there still was an inn here, it must have been separated from the land at some point.

There is not sufficient evidence to say that there has been an inn continuously on this site since the middle age. An inn called The Angel may have been here in 1677 according to Sir Frank Markham, although he does not say where he found this reference. Later this adopted the name of Barley Mow.

The building below, plainly 19th century, was The Barley Mow for many years but is now a private residence. This is probably the site of Grilkes Herber 700 years ago.


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