Monday, February 11, 2013

Obscure Stony Stratford Inns - Part 1

Although there have been some great survivors over the centuries, such as The Cock, The Bull, and The George, there have been those which have come and gone, leaving minimal trace.

Here are three of them.

The Queen's Head

I can tell you a few things about this place, except where it was located. It first appears in a document listing all the properties owned by Sir Edward Longueville, together with the tenant's name and the rent.
Michael Garment is the tenant of The Queen's Head Inn and in 1710 was paying £5 10s. a year in rent.  We can only assess prices by comparison with other costs at the time, but none of the other figures are helpful. A house on Gregg's Arbour, which might have been the forerunner of the Barley Mow, rents for 10 shillings a year, whereas the the Bakehouse Cottage with some land rents for £8. There are other houses which rent for 10 and 13 shillings. One might conclude that land was worth more than property.

So £5 10s a year for a commercial property is probably about right. There would have been the inn itself and several out buildings - stables, brewhouse, kitchen and privies. Michael Garment had been renting on a year-to-year basis since 1694 so one assumes that he was successful.

It was definitely located on the east side of the High Street as it was part of the Wolverton Estate. It was most likely to be found in that section that ran from Ram Alley (New Street) to the Wolverton Road.  argue this because by this date most of the land in the centre and north of the town had either been sold or in an identifiable lease.

It might also have been at the same location as one of the Angel Inns recorded later in the 18th century. Sir Frank Markham believed that this might have been at the site now occupied by The Retreat.

Which Queen the inn was named after will remain another mystery. As a name, The Queens Head has never been popular in Stony Stratford and this is its only known instance.

The Nag's Head

Another inn which appears in the same documents, and possibly near to the Queen's Head, was The Nag's Head. The Nag's Head property, which included a small close or back yard let for 12d. per annum cost Mr. Waggstaff the princely sum of 17 shillings a year which would suggest that the Nag's Head was neither very large or prosperous and may have been not much more than an alehouse. Like the Queen's Head this inn disappears from record in the 18th century. Was it renamed? Possibly. The name never again appears in Stony Stratford's history.

The Black Boy

Here is another inn which only makes a brief appearance, under a name which would not be acceptable nowadays. The location is unknown, apart from inferring that it must be on the east side.

Here is a transcription of the document, dated 1625:
Michael Boughey of Stony Stratford, innholder, and Margaret his wife, convey to John Parsons of Passenham, County Northampton, Gent., and inn called The Black Boy in Stony Stratford in the Parish of Wolverton.
Michael Boughey was a relative of Michael Hipwell and was probably at this time the Innholder of the Swan with Two Necks.

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