Nostalgia: The inn place to stop off

PUBLISHED: 12:30 20 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:31 06 May 2010

The well preserved Sun Inn building

The well preserved Sun Inn building

The Sun Inn, Sun Street, Biggleswade THE SUN, at 13 Sun Street was, in its day, the best-known inn in Biggleswade, located on the town bypass and adjacent to the Royal Oak. In 1670, the Inn was mentioned in the Manor Court Book. The Militia Act of 1757

The Sun Inn, Sun Street, Biggleswade

THE SUN, at 13 Sun Street was, in its day, the best-known inn in Biggleswade, located on the town bypass and adjacent to the Royal Oak.

In 1670, the Inn was mentioned in the Manor Court Book.

The Militia Act of 1757 required registration of all able-bodied men between 18 and 50.

Lots were then to be drawn so that a proportion of men from each parish would be chosen for a period of three years part-time military service in England.

Bedfordshire was to provide 400 militiamen.

Lists for Biggleswade, Wixamtree and Clifton Hundreds were to be read outside the Sun Inn at Biggleswade and lots drawn in public.

Rumour had it that they might be sent against their will to fight the French in Canada.

A mob of 1,000 to 1,500 angry men, mostly labourers from the parishes, converged upon Biggleswade on August 28 and were joined by local men, determined to destroy the lists and prevent the ballot by force. After threats of violence succeeded, they went on to the homes of some deputy lieutenants and justices who had fled from the Sun and extorted quantities of ale and money before returning to the Sun and smashing all the windows.

They dispersed later and troops were stationed at Biggleswade to discourage any further rioting.

However, this sparked off other disturbances and the Act was not enforced.

In 1770 there were 24 bedrooms, stabling for 44 horses, six post chaise and two carriages at The Sun.

The Hon John Byng travelled through England and Wales between 1781 and 1792, and extracts from his journals were first published in the 1920s.

There was no doubt that the Sun at Biggleswade was his favourite inn.

The Torrington Diaries are well worth reading.

Here are two extracts:

1789: "The last Miles are always long. So I thought the nine more to Biggleswade; for one grows melancholy in an Evening; and I was glad to come to the Old Shop, The Sun, there to find my Cloak-bag, to drink some good tea, to pull off my Boots and refresh."

1792: "My way though so well known seemed short; by half past eleven o'clock (thinking of nothing at all, What a blessing?) Arrived at my country seat, the Sun Inn at Biggleswade."

To be continued


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