Nostalgia: Royal tribute

The Royal Oak and Sun Inns at Biggleswade By virtue of the town s strategic position on The Great North Road, there were at least five ancient coaching inns at Biggleswade, plus numerous smaller establishments offering accommodation and refreshment to tr

The Royal Oak and Sun Inns at Biggleswade

By virtue of the town's strategic position on The Great North Road, there were at least five ancient coaching inns at Biggleswade, plus numerous smaller establishments offering accommodation and refreshment to travellers.

The Royal Oak stood at the corner of Shortmead Street and Sun Street.

It is well known that King Charles II hid in an oak tree at the Battle of Worcester in 1651 and this was the origin of the inn's title.

Our Royal Oak was well established by 1669 when it was mentioned in the Manor Court Book.

It was originally just The Oak, but "Royal" was added by about 1700.

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Over the years Manorial Courts were held there and it was convenient for meetings of many official and unofficial public organisations.

In 1679, Robert Almore was committed to gaol for stealing a shirt from William Cotton at the Royal Oak.

He was caught after he stayed the night at the Crown Inn in the High Street and left without paying his bill of 2/6d (12p).

The inn was put up to let in 1788, when the advert below right in the Northampton Mercury on Saturday, September 13 of that year.

Thomas Nicholls was the proprietor in 1738 and his widow Ann Nicholls took over in 1785.

Samuel Wells, the Biggleswade brewer, purchased the Inn in 1817.

It had already been updated by refacing the timber framing with local red bricks and it was about this time that the original tiles were replaced with slates.

To be continued...

* I welcome feedback, suggestions about articles and additional information. You can send them to ken@biggleswadehistory.org.uk

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