Nostalgia: Old inn’s crowning glory

23 High Street The only old coaching inn still trading in Biggleswade is the Crown Hotel. The weekly corn market was held outside, changing from a Monday to a Wednesday in 1672, suggesting that the original building dated from the Restoration of Charles

23 High Street

The only old coaching inn still trading in Biggleswade is the Crown Hotel.

The weekly corn market was held outside, changing from a Monday to a Wednesday in 1672, suggesting that the original building dated from the Restoration of Charles I.

The Great Fire of Biggleswade started in the yard on June 16, 1785.


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About a third of the town was devastated in the fire.

The Crown and The Swan opposite were destroyed.

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Both coaching inns were rebuilt with matching mansard roofs.

The Swan was demolished in 1973.

Among the many coaches calling at The Crown between 1839 and 1850 were:

The Rockingham from London to Stamford, Grantham and Leeds stopped daily at 2.30am.

The Express from London went to York at 5.30am.

The Perseverance from London to St Neots, Huntingdon, Peterborough and Boston called on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at noon and on Monday and Friday at midnight.

Gilbert's went to London via Shefford and Hitchin each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Carriers calling were Mr Clarke to Ampthill and Woburn three days per week, Clarke and Andrews to Fenny Stratford and Bow Brickhill three days per week, and Samuel Marsom, the licensee, travelled to London on Tuesday and Friday. Samuel was also an agent for the Great Northern Railway.

The original canopy outside The Crown was demolished in 1959 by a lorry carrying a large crane and never replaced.

Frank Madison established the cattle market behind the pub in Church Street in 1896, later moving opposite to part of the present brewery site.

By 1931, the market had moved to the Dolphin Meadow in Hitchin Street.

There was a general tidy up of The Crown in 1971 with the removal of outside coaching facilities, together with a house and workshops in the yard.

This is now the car park with two lock-up garages remaining in Church Street.

* The next article is due on to appear in the January 11 edition, when I will continue on to The White Horse.

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